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James Muir • The Last Embrace


The Last Embrace by James Muir. The passage provided describes a scene from history, specifically the departure of an officer from the 7th Cavalry from Fort Lincoln on May 17, 1876, for the campaign that would ultimately lead to the Battle of Little Bighorn. This historical account details the officer’s attire, equipment, and the preparations for the journey.

Some notable points from the description include:

Uniform and Equipment: The officer is described as wearing a tape-trimmed, bib-front shirt with embroidered insignia on the collar points, a buckskin scout’s jacket, and the officer’s version of the ’72 folding campaign hat. He is armed with an 1873 Colt Single Action Army .45 caliber pistol, carried on a converted sabre belt, and equipped with an 1875 Officer’s Model Springfield rifle. The officers of the 7th Cavalry apparently purchased these rifles, and the officer carries it in a civilian-type scabbard.

Sabres: Although the officer carries an 1860 Light Cavalry Sabre on his saddle, the passage notes that these sabres were eventually sent back on the boat “Far West” once the troops rendezvoused at the Yellowstone River on June 21st. The sabres were not used in the Battle of Little Bighorn, as neither Custer nor any of the troopers had them during the fight.

Equipment on Saddle: The officer’s saddle carries various items, including a rolled overcoat, canteen, tin cup, non-issue haversack, binoculars, a grain bag with oats, and sidelines for hobbling his horse at night.

Mount: The officer’s horse is described as one of the 300 thoroughbreds originally acquired by the 7th Cavalry when stationed in Kentucky. Officers could either buy their mounts privately or from the government. In this case, the horse is government property, bearing the 7th Cavalry and “U.S.” brand.

This detailed account provides a glimpse into the preparations and equipment of an officer from the 7th Cavalry during a significant historical event. It captures the atmosphere of the time and the challenges faced by those heading into the uncertainties of warfare in the late 19th century.

His beloved wife has mustered her courage, dressed in her finest and done her best so that her husband’s possibly last sight of her would be a lovely one. After the Regiment passed in review, they were halted by the Commander a final time in order that the married men could break ranks and go back for one more “last embrace” with their loved ones. A brief respite. They remounted and followed the 7th to their destinies on the Little Big Horn-some came back, some stayed forever.

Sculpture ID: 15380



The Last Embrace


James Muir

Height: 20 inches
Width: 18 inches
Depth: 12 inches
Weight (Approx): 100 pounds
Edition Numbers: 25/30
Medium: Bronze


The Last Embrace – In every age, in every war, whenever men went off to fight, there have been wives and loved ones left behind. The pain of separation, already felt even as the last words are being spoken, is compounded by the ever present awareness that for a soldier there may be no homecoming. Each parting may truly be a ‘last embrace.’
This is an officer of the 7th Cavalry departing from Fort Lincoln on May 17, 1876 on the long campaign that would take him to the Little Big Horn.

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