William H. White Diary, 1876 January-July

Overview of the Collection

White, William H., b. 1854
William H. White Diary
1876 January-July
1 item
Collection Number
Collection 0515, MtBC, us (collection)
The William H. White Diary describes White’s garrison life and his experiences in the field, including the march of the Montana Column of Colonel John Gibbon in the 1876 campaign against the Sioux.
Montana State University Library, Merrill G. Burlingame Special Collections
Montana State University-Bozeman Library
Merrill G Burlingame Special Collections
P.O. Box 173320
Bozeman, MT
Telephone: 4069944242
Fax: 4069942851
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

William H. White was born on 6 Nov. 1854 in Indianapolis, Ind., to Robert and Rebecca White. Orphaned at the age of six, he lived in Indiana until 1872 when he enlisted in the army. From 1873 to 1877 he served with the 2nd United States Cavalry regiment at Fort Ellis, Montana Territory. White's company participated in the 1876 campaign against the Sioux marching with the "Montana Column" from Fort Ellis. Two nights after the Battle of the Little Bighorn, White's company came upon the site of Custer's and Reno's stands. He participated in the evacuation of Reno's wounded and the burial of some of the dead. About 1889, White settled near Columbus, Mont., where he owned 640 acres of farmland. Towards the end of his life he worked as an informal guide at the Custer Battlefield monument. White died in 1938.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Diary describing garrison life and his experiences in the field, including the march of the Montana Column of Colonel John Gibbon in the 1876 campaign against the Sioux. The entries date from January 1 through July 23, 1876 and describe White's life at Fort Ellis, his periodic visits to Bozeman, a march down the Yellowstone to Fort Pease to relieve the garrison and its subsequent burning on March 6, 1876, incidents ocuring during the march of the Montana Column starting in April, and clearing the battlefield on June 27 after the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Acquisition Information

Photocopy of a typed transcription prepared by Jim Annin, Columbus, Montana was donated by him to Montana State University in 1967. Annin's transcription was taken from another previously prepared by Helen Peterson of the Hardin Tribune Herald. The original diary kept by William White was, at the time of Annin transcription, in the possession of Peggy Kopac of Billings, Montana, but its present location is unknown.

Processing Note

This collection was processed 2012 March 20

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Dakota Indians--Wars, 1876 Personal narratives
  • Little Bighorn, Battle of the, Mont., 1876 Personal narratives
  • Soldiers--Montana Diaries

Personal Names

  • Custer, George A. (George Armstrong), 1839-1876
  • Gibbon, John, 1827-1896
  • Reno, Marcus A. (Marcus Albert), 1835-1889
  • White, William H., 1854-1938 Diaries

Corporate Names

  • United States. Army--Military life
  • United States. Army. Cavalry, 2nd

Geographical Names

  • Bozeman (Mont.)
  • Fort Pease (Mont.)
  • Montana--History, Military--19th century

Form or Genre Terms

  • Diaries--Montana