Sergeant Charles Windolph, Medal of Honor

public profile

Is your surname Windolph?

Research the Windolph family

Sergeant Charles Windolph, Medal of Honor's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!


Charles Albert Windolph

Also Known As: "oldest survivor"
Birthdate: (98)
Birthplace: Bergen, Germany
Death: March 11, 1950 (98)
Lead, Lawrence, South Dakota, USA
Place of Burial: Sturgis, Meade, South Dakota, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Joseph Windolph and Adelphina Windolph
Husband of Mathilda L. Windolph and Mary Windolph
Father of Mary Harms; Robert Nicholas Windolph and Irene Fehliman
Brother of Frederick "Fritz" Windolph and Robert Windolph

Managed by: Shirley Marie Caulk
Last Updated:

About Sergeant Charles Windolph, Medal of Honor

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Private Charles Windolph, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism on June 25 & 26, 1876, while serving with Company H, 7th U.S. Cavalry, in action at Little Big Horn, Montana. With three comrades, during the entire engagement, Private Windolph courageously held a position that secured water for the command.

General Orders: Date of Issue: October 5, 1878

Action Date: June 25 & 26, 1876

Service: Army

Rank: Private

Company: Company H

Division: 7th U.S. Cavalry


Charles Windolph was last survivor of the Battle of the Little Bighorn. He died in 1950 at the age of 98.


Charles Windolph (December 9, 1851 – March 11, 1950) was a soldier in Company H of the George Armstrong Custer's Seventh U. S. Cavalry who survived the Battle of the Little Bighorn and was the recipient of the Medal of Honor.


Windolph was born in Bergen, Germany, December 9, 1851, to Joseph and Adelphina Koch Windolph. He arrived in the United States in 1871, and enlisted in the army's 2nd US Infantry November 12, 1871. He deserted July 18, 1871, and promptly reenlisted as Charles Wrangel in 7th US Cavalry. He later surrendered and was restored to duty without punishment. He was a shoemaker and did cobbler work among his comrades. He was a participant in the Yellowstone Expedition of 1873 and the Black Hills Expedition in 1874.

Windolph took part in the Reno-Benteen hilltop action at the Battle of Little Bighorn, and was wounded in the buttock. He later received the Medal of Honor for his actions during that fight, specifically for providing covering fire for his comrades (including Medal of Honor recipient Peter Thompson) who went for water for the wounded on June 26, 1876. He was also awarded the Purple Heart many years later. He was discharged in 1883 as a Sergeant. Like Thompson, he moved to Lead, Dakota Territory, and took a job with the Homestake Mine, where he worked for 49 years. He married twice and had three children. His wife had a bakery. He was the source/subject of a book I Fought With Custer, The Story of Sergeant Windolph which is listed as written by Frazier & Robert Hunt, published in 1947. He died in 1950 at age 98, the last of the white participants in the Battle of the Little Bighorn. His remains were interred in the Black Hills National Cemetery.

Windolph first married in 1882 to Mary Jones who died in 1883. He later married a childhood friend, Mathilda Lulow. Mathilda Lulow was born ca. 1861 on the Isle of Rugen to Karl Christian Christoph Lulow and Marie Sophia Henrietta Kagelmacher. Mathilda died on 23 March 1924 and is buried with Charles Windolph in the Black Hills National Cemetery. They had children: Marie Elizabeth, Robert Nicholas, and Irene.

view all

Sergeant Charles Windolph, Medal of Honor's Timeline

December 9, 1851
Bergen, Germany
June 16, 1884
Age 32
Lead, South Dakota, USA
June 13, 1892
Age 40
August 30, 1898
Age 46
Lead, South Dakota, USA
March 11, 1950
Age 98
Lead, Lawrence, South Dakota, USA
Sturgis, Meade, South Dakota, USA