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 (1866-1899) Other 19th Century Battles    
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anemone
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Battle of the Little Bighorn --25 June 1876
Posted on: 2/21/2016 11:38:39 AM
Summary

The battle of Little Bighorn occurred in 1876 and is commonly referred to as “Custer’s Last Stand”. The battle took place between the U.S. Cavalry and northern tribe Indians, including the Cheyenne, Sioux, and Arapaho. Prior to the battle of Little Bighorn in Montana, the tribal armies, under the direction of Sitting Bull, had decided to wage war against the whites for their refusal to stay off of tribal lands in the Black Hills. In the spring of 1876, Sitting Bull and his tribal army had successfully battled the U.S. Cavalry twice.

The U.S. Cavalry was attempting to force the Indians back to their reservations and divided into three columns to attack. One of the columns was led by Lt. General George Custer, who spotted a Sioux camp and decided to attack it. However, Indian forces outnumbered his troops three to one, and Custer and his troops were forced to reorganize.

While waiting aid from the other Cavalry forces, another group of Indian forces, led by Crazy Horse, effectively trapped Custer and his men. In a desperate attempt to hold off the Indian warriors, Custer ordered his men to shoot their horses and stack their bodies to form a barricade to protect them from the Indians.

It took less than an hour for the arrows and bullets of the Indians to wipe out General Custer and his men. Despite having won this battle, the Indians were not victorious. Outrage over the death of the popular Custer led the U.S. government to redraw the boundaries of the Black Hills so that the land would not be part of reservation property, which left it open for white men to settle.


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Question-Taking all into consideration-Was George Armstrong Custer a Hero or Misguided ????


Regards
Jim


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George
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Re: Battle of the Little Bighorn --25 June 1876
Posted on: 2/21/2016 12:04:11 PM
I would read "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" by Dee Brown before I ascribed the title of hero to any of these Indian hunters.

There was little that was honourable in the treatment of indigenous people in North America.

The Siege of Wounded Knee in 1890 and the Battle of Little Big Horn in 1876 were all part of the grand plan to control or eliminate the indigenous people.

Cheers,

George

anemone
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Re: Battle of the Little Bighorn --25 June 1876
Posted on: 2/21/2016 12:27:10 PM
As I am obliged to feel the same sentiments as your good self George.I am still left wondering just what went so disastrously wrong in this encounter- that caused a relatively high ranking officer of the US army to lose the whole of his command- that were with him at the time.

However-the entire 7th Cavalry was not destroyed in the desperate fighting. Under the command of Major Marcus Reno and Captain Frederick Benteen, about 400 soldiers and scouts survived a two-day siege on a bluff about four miles from where Custer was annihilated.

On June 27, reinforcements commanded by Brig. Gen. Alfred Terry arrived on the battlefield to rescue the survivors and bury the dead of the 7th Cavalry. A coverup of the facts of the battle immediately began–a coverup endorsed by many, but orchestrated first and foremost by Major Reno and Captain Benteen.

And so the plot thickens !!??Where were Reno and Benteen; and what were they doing, during the Indian onslaught ??

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Jim
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George
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Re: Battle of the Little Bighorn --25 June 1876
Posted on: 2/21/2016 1:05:27 PM
From the point of view of a battle and not whether it should have happened at all, it is an interesting study.

George

anemone
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Re: Battle of the Little Bighorn --25 June 1876
Posted on: 2/21/2016 1:45:35 PM
As the incident did happen -there must be a reason why all the men that Custer had with him; and including himself- were killed.

Dividing the regiment into four elements, Custer began the advance into the Little Bighorn Valley. The Indians were camped some 12 miles away.

Custer himself commanded two battalions–five companies–and Reno commanded a third battalion of three companies. These three battalions made up the main force of the advance, while Benteen and three companies were sent on a controversial and somewhat mysterious’scout’ to the left (south) of the main advance.

One company and several picked soldiers from each of the other companies made up the rear guard and pack-train escort.

As Custer’s and Reno’s forces neared the valley, hostile war parties were observed, as well as dust rising from the valley, indicating that there was activity in the village–probably that the Indians were preparing to flee.

Reno was ordered to advance directly into the valley, while Custer turned to the right and took a route parallel to Reno’s advance.

While Custer has been criticized for his tactics in the battle, this maneuver was, in fact, a standard cavalry tactic.

This all sounds quite proper from an army point of view-so why the need for a coverup. Were Reno and Benteen being "frugal" with the truth.????

NB.Throughout his career, Custer exhibited a reckless temperament that kept him in almost constant trouble with superior officers. Yet his courage has rarely been questioned.

In life he was a flamboyant man who attracted ardent admirers and severe critics. In death it has been the same.

His wife, Elizabeth, through her publications and lectures during the half century she survived him, did much to create the image of a beau sabreur that still persists.

Probably more words, pro and con, have been written about George Armstrong Custer than any of his military contemporaries of comparable rank.


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jim
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Mike Johnson
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Re: Battle of the Little Bighorn --25 June 1876
Posted on: 2/21/2016 5:22:39 PM

Quote:
One of the columns was led by Lt. General George Custer,
--anemone


Custer never was a Lieutenant General--a rank very rare at the time in the US Army (Grant from 1864 to 1866, Sherman 1866 to 1869, and Sheridan from 1869 to 1888) with only one person holding it at a time from its re-recreation in 1864 until 1909 when it disappeared until until 1918. Two men held the rank in WW1 (both appointed 3 weeks before the armistice--Liggett and Bullard--to command First and Second Armies and both vacated the rank in June 1920) and then there was a gap until 1939.

Custer emerged from the Civil war as a regular captain, a major general of volunteers (mustered out in 1866), and had been repeatedly breveted for heroism up to major general in both the regulars and the volunteers.

In 1876 he was serving in his regular rank of lieutenant colonel of the 7th Cavalry.

Michigan Dave
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Re: Battle of the Little Bighorn --25 June 1876
Posted on: 2/21/2016 5:36:14 PM
Some recent research is disclosing that the end of Custer & his troops was actually a full speed retreat with most of the troops killed while fleeing! Also the Lakota Warriors mutilated the dead troops of the 7th! And recent findings suggest that one man from Custer's unit did escape!? Custer of course did a terrible job commanding the 7th in this battle, making multiple mistakes!

What say you?
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morris crumley
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Re: Battle of the Little Bighorn --25 June 1876
Posted on: 2/21/2016 9:16:29 PM
The great falsehood of the defeat of Custer`s command is that " there were no survivors to tell what happened. There were a great many Cheyenne, Sioux, Brule, and Sans Ark survivors of the fight...and for too long their stories were not counted.
In addition, a fire that swept the grasslands of the battlefield a couple of decades ago was good cause for the Parks Service to allow the field to be forensically examined and plotted out. What we now know from that study is that Custer was outgunned...at least more so than had originally been thought. While Custer`s troopers had the model 1873 single shot, breechloading Springfield carbine,(a very fine long range weapon), many of the Indians were armed with Henry Repeating rifles. The Henry`s were not as effective at long range, but the rate of fire was far above that of the troopers. And, given the rugged terrain,cut with coolies and ravines, much of the firing was not of such long range. (Also not very good for the benefit of cavalry).
Many Indians commented that the fight was more like a "Buffalo chase", the implication being that the soldiers were stampeded and run down. While there are portions of the fight that indicate some truth to that description, the forensics also proved that Custer`s command and control was greater than those statements make it appear. It is now proven that Custer`s battalion was deployed in skirmish lines at various locations of the field, from the crossing at Medicine Tail, to the southern end of the ridge upon which last stand hill forms a peak,( Miles Keo`s battalion) and even before last stand hill itself. The calamity that befell those who survived until the end, as the skirmish lines began to fall and break is what gave rise to some incidents that resembled "a buffalo chase."
The horrible terror that must have been felt by those who stayed on the line until the very end, knowing that to stay meant death and horrible mutilations..and to run broke the one warning all troopers learned early on "never turn and run from an Indian, it`ll become just a buffalo chase," is hard to comprehend.

Respects, Morris
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anemone
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Re: Battle of the Little Bighorn --25 June 1876
Posted on: 2/22/2016 3:43:57 AM
Thank you Morris for your interest and valuable input

In his official report of the battle, Reno mentioned that Custer may have crossed the river and attacked the camp, but he later changed this view.

Benteen, in a letter to his wife, also mentioned the possibility that Custer got across, but by the time of the Reno court of inquiry, he had changed his view: ‘I can’t think he [Custer] got within three furlongs of the ford.’

The distortions and untruths told by Reno and Benteen about the Battle of the Little Bighorn are so many and so obvious that almost everything they said about it becomes suspect. These ‘errors’ have been pointed out by many researchers.

‘There are many elements to this story that indicate that others besides Reno and Benteen were involved in a coverup of the facts, distortions and outright criminal acts,’ Zimmerman said. ‘Some of these issues require a more in-depth investigation to expose the truth or otherwise’

Source History.Net

PS-Yes Mike I can see where I made Custer's rank mistake-Custer was described as Lt Col brevet Maj.General.I typed Lt General and left our Col.brevet Maj.

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jim
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Jim Brinton
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Re: Battle of the Little Bighorn --25 June 1876
Posted on: 2/22/2016 1:17:22 PM


JB

anemone
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Re: Battle of the Little Bighorn --25 June 1876
Posted on: 2/22/2016 1:33:52 PM
My!!Jim- What a beautiful, but desolate place-quite untended and seemingly forgotten....

The battle of Little Bighorn would be the last victory for the American Plains Indian.

If the U.S had accomplished what they hoped, to return the Indians back to reservations, it would have just been another Indian uprising put to rest. All would have been the same, except the Indians and their way of life would have been destroyed sooner.

Smaller battles were fought later, ending with the Battle of Wounded Knee in 1890. After that, the Indians were forced on to the reservations. The United States crushed the spirit of the American Indian.

The Indians were no longer independent. They relied on the government for food and shelter, most of which was low quality. Indian Life for many on the reservations today has not changed. They are some of the poorest areas in the U.S. today.

My Thanks and Regards

Jim
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Jim Brinton
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Re: Battle of the Little Bighorn --25 June 1876
Posted on: 2/22/2016 7:04:12 PM




A coverup of the facts of the battle immediately began–a coverup endorsed by many, but orchestrated first and foremost by Major Reno and Captain Bentee

Regards
Jim
--anemone

There couldn't have been a coverup without Gen. Sherman. The Army ordered a court of inquiry to forestall a Congressional investigation which they would not have able to control. Sherman signed the order on 25 June 1878 exactly two years after the battle. Interestingly, the statue of limitations under military law for a more serious court martial was two years from the time of the offense for which a man is charged.

JB

Mike Johnson
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Re: Battle of the Little Bighorn --25 June 1876
Posted on: 2/22/2016 8:59:48 PM

Quote:
PS-Yes Mike I can see where I made Custer's rank mistake-Custer was described as Lt Col brevet Maj.General.I typed Lt General and left our Col.brevet Maj.
--anemone


I thought it was something like that. We have so many 3-stars these days that it is hard to imagine a time when that rank was rare. Sometimes I just feel inclined to remind people that the situation today is not like it was then. Now, I think the British army had something like 20 lieutenant generals then (and a number of generals and field marshals).

wazza
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Re: Battle of the Little Bighorn --25 June 1876
Posted on: 2/23/2016 2:08:18 AM
So many myths, so much speculation.
One of my favourite plains war battles.

What must it have been like to be in the skirmish lines, the horses have been stampeded, my cartridge pouch running low, screaming yelling, crying. And the constant barrage of bullets and arrows cutting down my comrades either side of me......looking over my shoulder wondering if their is some escape.......... Wow!

anemone
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Re: Battle of the Little Bighorn --25 June 1876
Posted on: 2/23/2016 2:31:30 AM
Yes- some troopers tried to give themselves up fearing death and mutilation; but the enraged Plains Indians gave no quarter-they were all killed to a man.

Regards
Jim
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George
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Re: Battle of the Little Bighorn --25 June 1876
Posted on: 2/23/2016 8:03:43 AM

Quote:
Yes- some troopers tried to give themselves up fearing death and mutilation; but the enraged Plains Indians gave no quarter-they were all killed to a man.

Regards
Jim
--anemone



The First Nations people of North America were persecuted and subjugated by the imperialism and colonialism practised by whites.


I too grew up on stories of the opening of the west and the romance of battle, if I may call it that. Cowboys and Indians. US Cavalry vs the Indians.

The US Cavalry marching music, Garyowen certainly is a rousing tune. It was for this Canadian boy who read stories of the opening of the west and watched "oaters" on TV.


We knew little of the efforts of the North-West Mounted Police and later the RCMP in Canada to keep the peace in our part of North America and our part of the plains occupied by some of the same people who were targeted at the Little Big Horn river.

The Canadian experience was far less bloody but the effect on the First Nation's tribes was the same; subjugation and control on reservations.

We in Canada are still assessing and dealing with our treatment of our First Nations cultures.




Quote:
What must it have been like to be in the skirmish lines, the horses have been stampeded, my cartridge pouch running low, screaming yelling, crying. And the constant barrage of bullets and arrows cutting down my comrades either side of me......looking over my shoulder wondering if their is some escape.......... Wow!



The Indian encampment by that river at Little Big Horn was large. Many plains Indians had gathered there. These were families and a lot of women and children were present.


I think that we should wonder at the fear that these people must have felt when word came that the white soldiers were approaching.

I believe that an atrocity was about to be committed by a man who had promised not to fight the Sioux again. Custer did so in a council meeting a few years before.

As Custer's columns approached, they encountered individual or pairs of Indians who were hunting and gathering food. Some of these people were cut down. Some ran back and sounded the alarm.

I believe that they came to kill Indians.



So the encampment was really several encampments from different tribes who had gathered together for safety. The greater camp was fairly tightly packed but much larger than normal villages.


I don't know whether Custer knew how many people were present but he did not have sufficient soldiers to carry out the task.


The way I see is that these Indian people reacted to an attack in the way that they had for thousands of years on these plains. They defended their homes and their women and children.

Much is made of the slaughter of the cavalry troops. Much is made of the mutilation of bodies and the fact that no prisoners were taken.

Plains Indians would take women and children alive if they wanted them but that didn't happen with enemy warriors very often.

But the Indians had had prior experience with the mutilation of Indian bodies at the hands of US soldiers at other battles.

As horrible as it is to contemplate, this war between white Americans and indigenous people was fought often with no quarter.


The Smithsonian Magazine published an article by Thomas Powers entitled, How the Battle of Little Big Horn was Won.

Powers is also the author of The Killing of Crazy Horse.

This article presents an account of the battle reconstructed from the views of First Nations people who were there. It differs from the official account.


Of note is the recognition that at times the cavalry attempted to fight as professional soldiers and as directed by their officers. Other times they were scrambling for their lives.


I do not know whether Powers account of the battle has been discredited but I present it here because it humanizes the other side, the ones who were under attack.



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anemone
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Re: Battle of the Little Bighorn --25 June 1876
Posted on: 2/23/2016 8:24:28 AM
Strictly speaking-the deliberate molestation and massacres of the Plains Indians and their families by Government cavalry was IMHO- a national disgrace.

As bad in intent- as any "pogrom" perpetrated on the Continent, by any number of countries; wishing to rid themselves of unwanted people .eg. Armenians,Kurds,Jews,Slavs,Gypsies,Cossacks,etc.etc.It is altogether too sickening.

regards
Jim
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morris crumley
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Re: Battle of the Little Bighorn --25 June 1876
Posted on: 2/23/2016 10:58:14 AM
One small point...it was the Southern Cheyenne who Custer promised in counsel to never fight again...and who promised him he would die if he ever did.

And to provide some balance. The Lakota Sioux moved west onto the plains and spent decades fighting every tribe they encountered and driving most of them off of their ancestral lands. At one point in time, the Lakota and Northern Cheyene waged brutal war upon each other, before the Southern Cheyene were driven north to their northern cousins by the whites, and joined up with the Sioux to battle a common foe. The notion that the plains tribes were nomadic and therefore cared nothing about conquering lands and peoples is just not the case. The Indian scouts, the Arikara and Crow, who traveled with Custer were the progeny of the driven and conquered, and who swore to kill Lakota and their allies the Cheyenne at every opportunity.
When that campaign was begun, General Terry knew the "hostiles" would be somewhere in the Powder river country, from the Powder to the Little Bighorn. Why only as far west as the Little Bighorn? Because to the west of that valley was Crow land, the mortal enemy of the Sioux and Cheyenne. They would not go deeper into Crow land because of decades of brutal warfare...over land.
The mutilation of the dead was not in response to white aggression, but was based upon the deep held believe that, when one dies, he travels the other world the way he was in death. Experienced Indian fighters were able to tell which tribe had done the mutilations because most tribes had their own way of mutilation...it was a source of pride. A sliced open thigh, was a "Sioux slash." Others would slice open the throat and cut off the nose...you get the drift.
George is correct in pointing out the terror of the Indian side. Women and children and those too old to fight were often the objective. Many believe that, once Custer saw the true size of the encampment he had foolishly attacked without scouting first, he changed his plan to attack the village with his battalions and was trying to race ahead to the North to capture the fleeing women and children. He had done that very thing on the Washita and was able to hold off other Cheyenne warriors converging upon his command. (This explains why he was in the process of distancing himself from his supporting battalions, not a very smart thing to do.)
As to rank and command, the Seventh Cavalry was commanded by Col. Samuel Sturgis. Lt. Col Custer had "field command" of the Seventh. And, if Custer had any thoughts of retreat before his battalions were wiped out,(something not very likely knowing Custer) that went out the proverbial window when Col. Sturgis`s own son, Lt. Jack Sturgis was killed at some point, his severed head being found in the Indian encampment by Terry`s men. ( Difficult to explain to your commanding officer how you gave up the fight...after you got his son killed.)
What happened that day along the Little Bighorn would seem to be a simple story. But, when you read the stories of the Lakota and Cheyenne, and the stories of the troopers of the Reno-Benteen battalions, and the subsequent studies of the battlefield itself, it becomes much more interesting and compelling. Many of the claims and stories of the victors are not true....yet many, maybe most are. The exact same can be said of the surviving troopers of the Seventh Cavalry.

Respects, Morris
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anemone
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Re: Battle of the Little Bighorn --25 June 1876
Posted on: 2/23/2016 11:34:33 AM
Again excellent reportage Morris-but it certainly is a most disagreeable story-this planned programme of cleansing the land of the indigenous populace by terrifying attacks on weak of the tribes-quite pitiless.The popinjay Custer got his due comeuppance.I found his decision to order the horses shot as barricades
questionable-I agree they may well have been killed by the hostiles; but some may have survived-I also thought an open hill side- a pretty poor place to conduct a defence/

regards
Jim
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George
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Re: Battle of the Little Bighorn --25 June 1876
Posted on: 2/23/2016 12:25:18 PM
Good points Morris.

The First Nations protected their lands or spheres of influence. Some were nomadic. Some were not.

And they did fight.

But it is also true that they did not always kill. Sometimes it was sufficient to count coup, to get close and get away.

But I don't think that that makes the whites and their armies just another player in the game of life on this continent and I don't believe that you were suggesting that.

The history of Indian or FN conflict is interesting.

In my area, the Huron people were wiped out by the Iroquois nation whose lands were south of the Great Lakes.

The Crows were actually pushed out of Ohio and moved to what was to become Manitoba.

I don't pretend to know a lot about all the tribes but with the advent of horses, they were competing for space to hunt bison on the plains.

So they fought.

What is interesting is that there was a coalition of the oppressed who gathered at the Little Big Horn river. They had a common enemy.


George


morris crumley
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Re: Battle of the Little Bighorn --25 June 1876
Posted on: 2/23/2016 1:50:31 PM
Jim..."popinjay." We don`t hear that term on this side of the pond that much...but very accurate and proper for Custer.

Last stand hill is not a very good defensive position. But, it was desperation time, cut off from having a chance to get to the women and children, no help coming from the south, and exposed to direct small arms fire and indirect arching arrows...just not much else to do. In the cavalry, the horse is just about everything. No matter how hard the day, how long the march, the horse is groomed and fed and watered before the trooper even eats and rests. When a trooper hears his commanding officer say, in the midst of horrible battle, to "shoot the horses" one can just imagine the " uh oh" feeling.

Respects, Morris
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wazza
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Re: Battle of the Little Bighorn --25 June 1876
Posted on: 2/23/2016 2:09:29 PM
I guess the indians tactics were more fluid than the strung out troops/companies of soldiers, so they seemed to dictate the state of play. Some companies did manage to form effectuve skirmish lines with controled vollay fire, but quickly collapsed..?
Love reading about this battle, both sides accounts.
Anyone think the scout 'Curley' is a bit of a shadey character?

morris crumley
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Re: Battle of the Little Bighorn --25 June 1876
Posted on: 2/23/2016 2:29:04 PM
wazza, when I think of Curly, I am reminded of the old "Lone Ranger Joke." The masked rider and his trusty Indian sidekick, Tonto, are attacked by hostile Indians. Time is running out.
The Lone Ranger: "Well Tonto, looks like we are surrounded."
Tonto: " We?...Kimosabi"
I think Curly was the youngest of the Crow scouts, and a bit of an odd duck.

Respects, Morris
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Jim Brinton
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Re: Battle of the Little Bighorn --25 June 1876
Posted on: 2/23/2016 3:00:07 PM
Curley was 18 at the time of the battle and quickly became a favorite interview for reporters from the east. He hadn't actually been in the battle, Custer had dismissed the Crow scouts, but claimed to have seen it. He gave differing accounts but later claimed that he had been interviewed by interpreters that didn't understand the Crow language.

JB

George
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Re: Battle of the Little Bighorn --25 June 1876
Posted on: 2/23/2016 3:05:04 PM

Quote:
I guess the indians tactics were more fluid than the strung out troops/companies of soldiers, so they seemed to dictate the state of play. Some companies did manage to form effectuve skirmish lines with controled vollay fire, but quickly collapsed..?
Love reading about this battle, both sides accounts.
Anyone think the scout 'Curley' is a bit of a shadey character?
--wazza


The post that I provided with the link to Indian accounts of the battle seems to indicate that this was a kind of a running battle. The bodies were not all in one place.

And there would be places where bodies were found and then a gap and then more bodies as the soldiers tried to consolidate.

From what the Indians said it seems that if they saw soldiers, they would just move behind them using the hills as cover.

There weren't enough soldiers to handle the number of warriors.

And there were pauses in the fighting.


The Indians did compliment some of the troops on their ability to fight, when they could establish skirmish lines to fight as they had been taught.


The saddest description, for my anyway, was when the soldiers had collapsed back in a tight group, fully surrounded and were involved in hand to hand fighting. That must have been frightening and primal with the outcome all but assured.



George

Jim Brinton
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Re: Battle of the Little Bighorn --25 June 1876
Posted on: 2/23/2016 3:27:14 PM
Morris, its difficult to imagine how Custer thought he could use the same tactics at LBH that he had at Washita. At Washita he had moved on a friendly Cheyenne village of 51 teepees and quickly captured the women and children. At LBH, when he finally found the women and children at a ford well north of Medicine Tail Coulee, there were thousands of them. He couldn't possibily capture them with the troops he had with him. Indian accounts claim that he was idle for 20-30 minutes while waited for Benteen. When he finally made that dash for the nearest high ground he could see I think he must have known that the end was near.

JB

Jim Brinton
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Re: Battle of the Little Bighorn --25 June 1876
Posted on: 2/23/2016 4:28:49 PM
"There weren't enough soldiers to handle the number of warriors"
That's the whole story in a nutshell. It was commonly thought in the Army that a trained regiment of cavalry could defeat any number of savage Indians.

JB

morris crumley
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Re: Battle of the Little Bighorn --25 June 1876
Posted on: 2/23/2016 4:31:38 PM
Jim, I do agree. But Custer made some of the same mistakes on "the greasy grass" that he made along the Washita. He attacked without sufficient reconnaisance of exactly what was along the Washita. He had no idea of how many warriors were in close proximity at other villages, and his attack against Black Kettle`s village, (a peace chief who was flying the American Flag that had been gifted him) was a rather simple affair. I can`t recall the exact numbers, but if memory serves me, Custer said they killed upwards of over 100 warriors, while the Cheyenne said his men killed mostly old men and women.
That 20 to 30 minute time frame is probably close to the real time as he threw out skirmishers to delay the Indians assaults and hold out a juncture with Benteen`s battalion when it arrived. When that support never showed, I think he was just thinkin` on the fly, tried to make for the women and children, couldn`t get there...and had no where else to go but the high ground, (perhaps in hopes he might still be visible to Benteen as that battalion made it`s advance.)

Respects, Morris
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Re: Battle of the Little Bighorn --25 June 1876
Posted on: 2/23/2016 4:48:59 PM
Thanks Morris.
Custer did claim to have killed over a hundred warriors at Washita. The Cheyenne claimed to have lost 30-40, half of which were non-warriors.


JB

wazza
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Re: Battle of the Little Bighorn --25 June 1876
Posted on: 2/24/2016 1:40:53 AM
That ( Washita) has to be a bit of a stain on the regiments history surely...?

anemone
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Re: Battle of the Little Bighorn --25 June 1876
Posted on: 2/24/2016 3:38:26 AM
How much Lower can you get

Having surrounded the Washita village the night before, at dawn Custer called for the regimental band to play “Garry Owen,” which signalled for four columns of soldiers to charge into the "sleeping" village.Such bravery is breathtaking.

Outnumbered and caught unaware, scores of Cheyenne were killed in the first 15 minutes of the “battle,” though a small number of the warriors managed to escape to the trees and return fire.

Within a few hours, the village was destroyed–the soldiers had killed 103 Cheyenne, including the peaceful Black Kettle and many women and children.

Regards
Jim
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Michigan Dave
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Re: Battle of the Little Bighorn --25 June 1876
Posted on: 2/24/2016 7:46:21 AM
Jim,

Are you suggesting Custer got what he had coming to him??
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anemone
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Re: Battle of the Little Bighorn --25 June 1876
Posted on: 2/24/2016 9:43:05 AM
I most certainly am Dave-a fitting end for a soldier who's main aim was to kill
the Plains Indians, their wives and children without compunction or a vestige of mercy.

Regards
jim
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George
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Re: Battle of the Little Bighorn --25 June 1876
Posted on: 2/24/2016 12:33:49 PM

Quote:
Jim,

Are you suggesting Custer got what he had coming to him??
--Michigan Dave


Dave, you can contrast the treatment of the First Nations in what became Montana with the treatment that they received just north of the border.

I won't claim any moral high ground here because Canada's goal was to assimilate these cultures into the Canadian culture.

We had a small war with the Métis people too.

But there was no policy to seek out and destroy Indians just because they were Indians.

I think that that is what Jim objects to.


Now there was a great difference in the sizes of populations in Canada and in the US but we were dealing with members of some of the same tribes.

The North-West Mounted Police impressed the First Nations on the Plains as fair men who applied the laws of the land equally to First Nations and whites. While that wasn't and isn't always true, in those early days they sensed a difference between the blue clad US cavalry and the red serge clad Mounties.


Right after the Battle of Little Big Horn, Sitting Bull took his people and crossed the white man's border into Canada. He sought peace and safety for his people in the Cypress Hill area of Saskatchewan.

He felt that they would be hunted down and killed in the US.

Let's compare his treatment:

1. He arrived in Canada and claimed that the hunting grounds of the plains knew no borders, that his people were as much Canadian as they were American.

He claimed that his people were loyal to the British crown. He even brought out medals awarded to his grandfather for support given during the American Revolution.

2. The Mounties met him and advised that he could stay but would have to fend for himself. You see the Canadian government didn't want his people. It felt that they were America's problem

But the Mounties said that if you obey the laws and don't mount raids into the US, you can stay. Sitting Bull agreed.

It is true that the First Nations already in Canada like the Blackfoot and Assiniboine FN didn't want Sitting Bull's people. They thought that there weren't enough bison to support their people and Sitting Bull's

3. For some reason the US wanted their Indians back.

On Oct. 17, 1877, a meeting between US General Terry and Sitting Bull took place at Fort Walsh, Saskatchewan. The mediator was Sitting Bull's good friend, Major Walsh of the Mounties.

4. General Terry brought greetings from the President and said that Sitting Bull and his people could come back if they would return to the reservation set up for them.


Sitting Bull's reply speaks volumes:

"for 64 years, you have kept and treated my people bad; what have we done that caused us to depart from our country?

We could go nowhere, so we have taken refuge here…

We did not give you our country; you took it from us; see how I live with these people; look at these eyes and ears; you think me a fool; but you are a greater fool than I am; this is a Medicine House; you come to tell us stories, and

we do not want to hear them; I will not say any more. I shake hands with these people; that part of the country we came from belonged to us, now we live here."



5. While Canada said that they could stay, the government would not provide food. The bison declined in population and Sitting Bull asked his friend Major Walsh whether he should go back. The Mounties no longer were responsible for the First Nations. There was an Indian department for that.

But Walsh contacted an American friend and Sitting Bull was assured safe passage.

6. Sitting Bull went to his reserve and was murdered in 1890 as he was about to be arrested. The American Indian agents feared the revival of an Indian independence movement and the Ghost Dance.

Sitting Bull, who had gathered his people at Little Big Horn and was there as Custer was killed, was shot outside his home on the reserve as other Indians tried to prevent his seizure. 12 other Indians were killed.


It's a sad, sad tale of discrimination but I think that Sitting Bull was a noble man. Custer was not.

Did he deserve to be killed?

Well, I don't know about that but there was a sense of retribution about the Battle of Little Big Horn.

And in the end, the great holy man, Sitting Bull was victimized by the American system to take Indian land and control the Indian people.

And he paid with his life.

Who was the greater loss, Custer or Sitting Bull?


George


anemone
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Re: Battle of the Little Bighorn --25 June 1876
Posted on: 2/24/2016 12:48:08 PM
Did he (Custer) deserve to be killed?=Yes-live by the sword-die by it

Well, I don't know about that but there was a sense of retribution about the Battle of Little Big Horn.

And in the end, the great holy man, Sitting Bull was victimized by the American system to take Indian land and control the Indian people.

And he paid with his life.

Who was the greater loss, Custer or Sitting Bull?

This world lost a great man in Sitting Bull's shabby death.

Custer-was an arrogant,cruel man who met with his Nemesis in the Plains Indians wrath; but "He went to his death as a soldier" Kipling

Regards
Jim
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Michigan Dave
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Re: Battle of the Little Bighorn --25 June 1876
Posted on: 2/24/2016 6:49:05 PM
White man speak with forked tongue!!!
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Re: Battle of the Little Bighorn --25 June 1876
Posted on: 2/24/2016 10:48:49 PM
If I am not mistaken, several of Custer's male relatives were also killed in the battle. Maybe 2 brothers and a brother-in-law, possibly another relative as well.

JohnT

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Re: Battle of the Little Bighorn --25 June 1876
Posted on: 2/24/2016 11:42:54 PM

Quote:
Thank you Morris for your interest and valuable input

In his official report of the battle, Reno mentioned that Custer may have crossed the river and attacked the camp, but he later changed this view.

Benteen, in a letter to his wife, also mentioned the possibility that Custer got across, but by the time of the Reno court of inquiry, he had changed his view: ‘I can’t think he [Custer] got within three furlongs of the ford.’

The distortions and untruths told by Reno and Benteen about the Battle of the Little Bighorn are so many and so obvious that almost everything they said about it becomes suspect. These ‘errors’ have been pointed out by many researchers.

‘There are many elements to this story that indicate that others besides Reno and Benteen were involved in a coverup of the facts, distortions and outright criminal acts,’ Zimmerman said. ‘Some of these issues require a more in-depth investigation to expose the truth or otherwise’

Source History.Net

PS-Yes Mike I can see where I made Custer's rank mistake-Custer was described as Lt Col brevet Maj.General.I typed Lt General and left our Col.brevet Maj.

Regards
jim
--anemone



I would take criticisms of Reno and Benteen with a rather large grain of salt. I would also be very careful in evaluating "researchers" of the battle. A whole cottage industry was built around preserving Custer's reputation, beginning in 1876 and spearheaded for many years by Custer's widow, Elizabeth (Libby). Much as some in the post-Civil War years sought to polish Robert E. Lee's reputation by trashing Longstreet, Libby Custer led those who would preserve George Custer's reputation by trashing Reno & Benteen.

JohnT

Jim Brinton
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Re: Battle of the Little Bighorn --25 June 1876
Posted on: 2/25/2016 2:19:58 AM

Quote:
If I am not mistaken, several of Custer's male relatives were also killed in the battle. Maybe 2 brothers and a brother-in-law, possibly another relative as well.

JohnT
--jthlmnn


Two younger brothers Capt. Tom Custer, CO Company C, and Boston Custer- civilian guide.
Nephew Audie Custer, herder
Brother-in-law Lt. James Calhoun,CO Company L- married to Custer's sister Margaret.

JB

wombat1417
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Re: Battle of the Little Bighorn --25 June 1876
Posted on: 2/25/2016 8:31:34 AM
In 2006, Blue and Gray magazine had a really good issue on battle.
Also, Nathan Philbrick's "The Last Stand" does a terrific job on so many of the related aspects from both sides.
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