Giovanni Martino

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Giovanni Martino or Giovanni Martini, also known as John Martin (Italy, 1852-1853(?) - New York City, 27 December 1922) was an Italian-American soldier and trumpeter. He served both in Italy with Giuseppe Garibaldi and in the United States under George Armstrong Custer. He is best known as the only survivor from Custer's company in the Battle of Little Big Horn.


Details of Martino's origin and birth are unclear and controversial. Both name "Giovanni" and surnames "Martini"/"Martino" are very common in Italy; he was an orphan, and orphanage and parish documents of the late 19th century were often unreliable. Two main municipalities maintain that he was from there, namely Apricale (Province of Imperia) and Sala Consilina (Province of Salerno). Some scholars identify him with some "Giovanni Battista Martini", born in in 1853 in Apricale, while others believe he was born "Giovanni Crisostomo Martino" in Sala Consilina in 1852. New evidences have been found in recent years that support the latter option. Martino himself, in an interview in 1922, claimed to have been born in Rome in 1851, but his interviewer observed that, at the time, his memory was feeble and his account of his own life largely self-contradictory.

In 1866, Martino joined the Corpo Volontari Italiani led by Giuseppe Garibaldi, participating in several battles, including...
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