CHESTER, CT — One of Kansas’ best known inhabitants, the venerable warhorse, Comanche, preserved resident of the University of Kansas at Lawrence, is the subject of a new book, “Comanche and His Captain — The Warhorse and The Soldier of Fortune,” by Janet Barrett. The famed survivor of one of the greatest clashes between the U.S. Cavalry and the Plains Indians, the Battle of the Little Bighorn, has been a popular attraction at Dyche Hall’s Natural History Museum since 1893.
Set against the fury of the U.S. Civil War and the challenges of securing the frontier, the intertwined stories of the tough Mustang and his owner, the Irish soldier of fortune, Captain Myles Keogh, move toward a climax that is both an ending and a beginning. The two rode together for eight years, a partnership that took them to the Little Bighorn.
No soldier survived that fight. Only Comanche remained standing on a battlefield covered with the dead, his survival bringing comfort to a country horrified by the disaster. He became the most famous horse in America, his presence helping to restore the Cavalry’s image of strength and courage.
With this, her second warhorse tale, Barrett’s appreciation of horses and the relationships with their human associates again shines through. In her previous book, “They Called Her Reckless — A True Story of War, Love And One Extraordinary Horse,” she wrote about the Korean pony, Reckless, and her fellow U.S. Marines in the Korean War.