A Life Cut Short at the Little Big Horn: U.S. Army Surgeon George E. Lord

Front Cover
University of Oklahoma Press, Feb 23, 2023 - Biography & Autobiography - 260 pages
0 Reviews
Reviews aren't verified, but Google checks for and removes fake content when it's identified
Of the three physicians at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, Doctor George Edwin Lord (1846–76) was the lone commissioned medical officer, an assistant surgeon with the United States Army’s 7th Cavalry—one more soldier caught up in the U.S. government’s efforts to fulfill what many people believed was the young country’s “Manifest Destiny.” A Life Cut Short at the Little Big Horn tells Lord’s story for the first time. Notable for its unique angle on Custer’s last stand and for its depiction of frontier-era medicine, the book is above all a compelling portrait of the making of an army medical professional in mid-nineteenth-century America.

Drawing on newly discovered documents, Todd E. Harburn describes Lord’s education and training at Bowdoin College in Maine and the Chicago Medical College, detailing what the study of medicine entailed at the time for “a young man of promise . . . held in universal esteem.” Lord’s time as a contract physician with the army took him in 1874 to the U.S. Northern Boundary Survey. From there Harburn recounts how, after a failed romance and the rigors of the U.S. Army Medical Board examination, the young doctor proceeded to his first—and only—appointment as a post surgeon, at Fort Buford in Dakota Territory. What followed, of course, was Lord’s service, and his death, in the Little Big Horn campaign, which this book shows us for the first time from the unique perspective of the surgeon.

A portrait of a singular figure in the milieu of the American military’s nineteenth-century medical elite, A Life Cut Short at the Little Big Horn offers a close look at a familiar chapter in U.S. history, and a reminder of the humanity lost in a battle that resonates to this day.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


List of Illustrations
From Maine to Chicago
Dakota Territory and Beyond
All in the Line of Duty at Fort Buford
To the Little Big Horn
A Note on Thomas Lord at the End of His Life

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2023)

Todd E. Harburn, an independent scholar, orthopedic surgeon, and doctor of sports medicine, is coauthor of A Most Troublesome Situation: The British Military and the Pontiac Indian Uprising of 1763–1764. Harburn and his wife, Shirley, reside at the Straits of Mackinac, Michigan.

Paul L. Hedren is a retired National Park Service superintendent residing in Omaha, Nebraska. He is the author of Fort Laramie and the Great Sioux War and Great Sioux War Orders of Battle: How the United States Army Waged War on the Northern Plains, 1876–1877.

Bibliographic information