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Vinatieri Archive and Research
Felix Vinatieri (1834-1891), an Italian immigrant cornet player, fought in the Civil War, went West to serve at Ft. Sully on the Missouri River near present-day Pierre, S.D., then settled in Yankton, the first capital of Dakota Territory. In 1873 he joined Custer's Seventh Cavalry as bandmaster, and accompanied Custer's troops, when they explored the Black Hills in 1874. During the infamous Battle of the Little Big Horn, Vinatieri and the members of the Seventh Cavalry Band were ordered by Custer to remain on the steamboat, the Far West, an order that saved their lives. Afterwards, Vinatieri returned to Yankton, where he continued to teach, conduct, and compose.
The Museum's Vinatieri Archive contains the surviving, handwritten music composed or arranged by the bandmaster, as well as photographs and biographical information.
Anyone willing to contribute biographical, genealogical, or pictorial material concerning Vinatieri, the 7th Cavalry Band, and the band's members (see list below), is urged to contact the Museum at the address below.Members of Vinateri's 7th Cavalry Band included the following: