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 (1866-1899) Other 19th Century Battles
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Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 4041

The Controversial Battle of the Little Big Horn! What say you??
Posted on: 2/20/2018 7:53:38 PM
One of the most controversial, and discussed battles in American History is also known as Custer's Last Stand! Many books have been written on this battle, with many takes on what happened? A lot depends on your references, & point of view? To some Custer is a heroic figure, who fought well against impossible odds! To others he is an egotistical bully who after killing Native American women, & children, got what he had coming?? I highly recommend watching the 1st video to better understand why the 7th Cavalry lost!? Some of these Indians were 1st Nations Indians from Canada, in fact many different tribes were involved! Many of the 7th Cavalry Troops were young Immigrants from, Germany, Ireland and other European Countries! Why? because it was one of the only jobs an Immigrant could get at this time of history! Also the Native Americans largely out numbered the Troopers by more than 10 to 1, & out-gunned them with more & better weapons!/ How can this be? Plus Custer divided his Troops which really sealed the deal! In the end troopers were panicked & running for their lives! In the end many were tortured and their bodies mutilated!? What do you think?? And what of the Native American perspective? They are not necessarily the bad guy in all of this? are they? Also do you know the 7th had up to 3 extremely effective and massively deadly Gatling Guns, but Custer thought they were to hard to transport? Boy could have he used them to even the odds in this lop sided battle! Many compare this battle with Isandlwana, & there are similarities? And in the end it could just be that Native Americans were tired of broken treaties & countless white-man lies!? Also there seems to be conflicts between the other officers involved & Custer!? Did you know 2 other Custer's close relatives died in this battle?

[Read More]

Lately I have read several books on the subject, & watched many documentaries on it as well!

Is Custer the dashing officer played by Errol Flynn? or a very mistaken. & flawed leader??

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Much to discuss here? What's your take on Custer's last stand?
Websites, books, & videos welcome!

Regards,
Dave

BTW Custer was from Monroe, MI.. His wife defended him until her death bed!
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

dick evick
Waco , TX, USA
top 40
E-4 Corporal
Posts: 236

Re: The Controversial Battle of the Little Big Horn! What say you??
Posted on: 2/21/2018 10:07:17 AM
M.D. alot of varying opinions on the subject.As for myself I plan on reading the books by Joseph Medicine Crow, a highly educated chief of the Crow nation. He is also a decorated WW2 veteran.

Dick.

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 4041

Re: The Controversial Battle of the Little Big Horn! What say you??
Posted on: 2/21/2018 6:51:16 PM
Hi Dick,

Its interesting that you are reading a history of the battle written by a Native American. Most people would say, hey no one survived Custer's Last Stand so how can there be an accurate history of it? Well there were a lot of survivors with the story, that would be all of the Indians who were there! Keep us posted what you find out? Here is a great Battlefield talk from a NPS Ranger at the Battlefield Park, it very enlightening I invite everyone to view it & comment!?

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What say you about Custer's Last Stand??
Regards,
Dave
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

wazza
Sydney , Australia
top 25
E-6 Staff Sergeant
Posts: 453

Re: The Controversial Battle of the Little Big Horn! What say you??
Posted on: 2/22/2018 1:22:25 AM
He was outplayed by a better more motivated foe.
We could play the what if game; Gatling guns, not splitting the column, repeater's instead of single shot so many variables.

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 7958

Re: The Controversial Battle of the Little Big Horn! What say you??
Posted on: 2/22/2018 7:36:10 AM
The issue for me is the appalling treatment of the First Nations people in the US.

Was it necessary to attack a village or multiple villages gathered by that river?


Lightning
Glasgow, UK
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class


Posts: 524

Re: The Controversial Battle of the Little Big Horn! What say you??
Posted on: 2/22/2018 7:57:12 AM
Some brief thoughts:

Custer's main worry (as was Chelmsford's in the Anglo-Zulu War, see my post in the relevant thread) was that the Native Americans wouldn't fight. He surmised they would form a ferocious rearguard, let the women, children and elderly escape and then themselves disappear again. Custer's main tactical objective was to get himself between the Native braves and the women, children and elderly, so he could effectively use them as hostages to force a wholesale surrender.

He had a fair chance of achieving this; although he didn't know it, they had achieved total surprise by attacking later in the day (the US army normally attacked Indian encampments just after daybreak) and the various tribal groups had spread out for the day to take rest and carry out domestic tasks. Reno's attack the river stalled not because of Indian resistance, but because he dismounted his command to form an advancing skirmish line. This robbed him of momentum and allowed the Indians precious moments to form up for a counter attack. Indian accounts of the battle state that had Reno kept on going he would have reached the main body of the Indian "civilians" and thus achieved Custer's tactical objective and probably ended the battle almost instantly. Instead, his skirmish line was soon forced into headlong retreat, eventually reaching Reno Hill, where they were joined by the lumbering Benteen (I can't forgive his lack of urgency in joining Custer when requested) and held off the Indians in a ferocious two day fight.

Elsewhere (and again to draw comparisons with the Zulu War), Custer, like Pulleine at Isandlwana, felt as those he was winning right up until he was wiped out. The cavalry appear to have reformed on several occasions to form a skirmish line but ultimately were outflanked and forced into a final semi-stand and subsequent flight. Robbed of momentum, Custer's command lost its main advantage and was wiped out.

My summary - Custer nearly pulled off the greatest victory of them all.

Lots to discuss, I'm sure.

Cheers,

Colin
---------------
"There is no course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end."

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 4041

Re: The Controversial Battle of the Little Big Horn! What say you??
Posted on: 2/22/2018 11:22:03 AM
Hi Colin,

Your right about Major Reno's part in Custer's demise, It is said he panicked & rode off saving his skin & leaving wounded behind? Also both Reno, & Benteen disliked Custer, I'm not saying they left him, but they had their hands full being outnumbered by attacking Braves on their own, by joining together in a defendable position they saved their command!

George,

Your right about the treatment of the Native Americans it is a black eye to the US even today! But broken treaties are why Native Americans have extensive fishing & hunting rights, and can even have Indian Casinos across the US on their reservations today! Losing your shirt at a Casino today, can be termed an Indian's Revenge!?

Custer's handling of this battle was terrible as far as tactics go? & it cost him big time!

What say you?
Dave

[Read More]
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

wazza
Sydney , Australia
top 25
E-6 Staff Sergeant
Posts: 453

Re: The Controversial Battle of the Little Big Horn! What say you??
Posted on: 2/22/2018 1:52:31 PM
Inexperience amongst his command must play some factor, as well as how tired they were and how run down the cavalry mounts where from the forced marches.
A lot of people forget, Custer wanted to wait one more day prior to attacking, the Scouts pushing for an attack, Indians finding dumped stores and the columns discovery by a small band of Indian's all factor in an attack on the camp.

Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 3314

Re: The Controversial Battle of the Little Big Horn! What say you??
Posted on: 2/22/2018 2:52:38 PM
Hubris and Nemesis : for the United States at Little Big Horn, for the British Empire at Isandlwana ....and damned close in terms of time, too !

Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

Lightning
Glasgow, UK
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class


Posts: 524

Re: The Controversial Battle of the Little Big Horn! What say you??
Posted on: 2/22/2018 2:56:57 PM

Quote:
Inexperience amongst his command must play some factor, as well as how tired they were and how run down the cavalry mounts where from the forced marches.
A lot of people forget, Custer wanted to wait one more day prior to attacking, the Scouts pushing for an attack, Indians finding dumped stores and the columns discovery by a small band of Indian's all factor in an attack on the camp.
--wazza


Some important points in there. I would also add that many of Custer's troopers were recent immigrants and weren't the seasoned, grizzled, square jawed professionals portrayed in so many films. That they fought so well under pressure is a credit to them, but ultimately they were still wiped out, with the others under Reno and Benteen only just holding on.

Cheers,

Colin
---------------
"There is no course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end."

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 4041

Re: The Controversial Battle of the Little Big Horn! What say you??
Posted on: 2/22/2018 10:26:08 PM
And what about Mrs Custer, Libby was quite famous in her own right!?

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She spent the rest of her life defending George Armstrong, even authoring 3 books in his defense,

& going on the lecture tour, living to be the ripe old age in those days of 90 years old, dying in 1933!

MD

BTW She was responsible for having a great statue of General Custer unveiled in Monroe, MI. in 1910, where it still stands today!

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Back to the Battle itself, What do you think of the US Cavalry's tactic of dismounting, forming a skirmish line with each trooper @ 5ft from the other? Doing this 1/4th of their strength is holding the horses, & not involved in the fight?? Also many of the Native Americans had Henry Repeater Rifles, while the 7th had Springfield Carbine single shot rifles, more fire power to the Indians!?

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Perhaps weapons were a big factor as well?
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

wazza
Sydney , Australia
top 25
E-6 Staff Sergeant
Posts: 453

Re: The Controversial Battle of the Little Big Horn! What say you??
Posted on: 2/23/2018 4:21:23 PM
I have read that the Springfield had better range and hitting power than the Henry's and Winchester repeaters that the Indians had.

It's weak point was the cheaply made copper cartridge case that was soft and susceptible to jamming in the weapon. There has been reports that one skirmish line was handing rifles back to an officer who was using a cleaning rod to bash out jammed cartridges before handing the weapon back. If this is true, then there is a loss of fire power and confidence when screaming savages are set to bash your brains out!!!

morris crumley
Dunwoody, GA, USA
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major
Posts: 1823

Re: The Controversial Battle of the Little Big Horn! What say you??
Posted on: 2/23/2018 11:19:18 PM
Many fine points made already.

A couple of more. Not only is it true that many recruits were raw and had little experience, but many Junior officers were also missing from the regiment at the time of the campaign.

Many of the horses were new as well, and were not conditioned to the sounds of battle, and the new recruits were not experienced horsemen.

And, a big factor was the terrain itself. Hilly terrain, inter cut with numerous ravines and gullies...or coolies, is not ideal terrain for cavalry. The topography of the battlefield allowed for Indian encroachment upon their positions to within a relatively close proximity. This took away the advantage the troopers had of better long-range weapons..while giving the Indian fighter the advantage of more firepower at closer range. Even indirect fire from arching arrows took a toll, and there was no target for the troopers to aim at.

I think there is little doubt that Custer was making a run at the women, old men and children who were fleeing to the north.

Reno not only lost the element of "shock and awe" when he dismounted his troopers, a major asset of cavalry, but he lost one out of four men as horse holders..thus taking a quarter of his fire power out of action.

But, I blame Custer, and he alone for what happened to his command. He chose to attack an Indian village that his own scouts had told him was very large...too large for his regiment alone. He chose to attack without reconnaissance. He divided his command twice, sending Benteen to the south and the west in a "cover his ass" waste of time and men. ( Terry had ordered Custer to "constantly feel to the south to ensure the hostiles were not making their escape in that direction." This was also a timing device to allow more time for Terry`s own column to advance into position north of the village. Custer`s attack of the village by Reno`s battalion, and his movements along the bluffs and further to the north...meant that his divided battalions were incapable of proper support and communication and coordination of action, and being farther separated by distance as the minutes went by.

Reno didn`t know Custer`s specific intentions, other than attack the southern end of the village and be supported by the entire command. And Benteen had no idea what either were doing.

It was, in short...a complete guide to what not to do in a military action.

Respects, Morris

---------------
"You are a $70, red-wool, pure quill military genius, or the biggest damn fool in northern Mexico."

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 4041

Re: The Controversial Battle of the Little Big Horn! What say you??
Posted on: 2/24/2018 9:25:06 AM
Perhaps we need more of a Native American perspective on the battle!?

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[Read More]

They won after all,

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Regards,
MD
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 4041

Re: The Controversial Battle of the Little Big Horn! What say you??
Posted on: 2/26/2018 10:53:04 AM

Quote:

Quote:
Inexperience amongst his command must play some factor, as well as how tired they were and how run down the cavalry mounts where from the forced marches.
A lot of people forget, Custer wanted to wait one more day prior to attacking, the Scouts pushing for an attack, Indians finding dumped stores and the columns discovery by a small band of Indian's all factor in an attack on the camp.
--wazza


Some important points in there. I would also add that many of Custer's troopers were recent immigrants and weren't the seasoned, grizzled, square jawed professionals portrayed in so many films. That they fought so well under pressure is a credit to them, but ultimately they were still wiped out, with the others under Reno and Benteen only just holding on.

Cheers,

Colin
--Lightning




Colin,

Your right over 40% of the 7th at this time was relatively new recruits from European Immigrants, Hardly the Crack Cavalry Troops we are lead to believe!? And your also right that the 7th was wore down by extensive travel, just before the battle!

Cheers,
MD
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

wazza
Sydney , Australia
top 25
E-6 Staff Sergeant
Posts: 453

Re: The Controversial Battle of the Little Big Horn! What say you??
Posted on: 2/27/2018 1:10:24 AM
Sort of a cumulative effect of many factors affecting positive command and control of a terribly fluid battle.

I think Son of the morning Star best captures the terror of this battle. Well, its my favourite anyway.

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 4041

Re: The Controversial Battle of the Little Big Horn! What say you??
Posted on: 2/28/2018 10:06:30 AM
There seems to be something solemn at the Custer National Battlefield? Like Gettysburg, & other sites where a significant battle occurred, you can sense it!? I wouldn't go as far as to say it's paranormal, but??

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Anyone else sense this kind of feeling at such a battlefield??

Regards,
MD

BTW Has anyone actually been to the Little Big Horn Battlefield, what was it like??
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 7958

Re: The Controversial Battle of the Little Big Horn! What say you??
Posted on: 2/28/2018 11:32:02 AM
Yes, at Vimy Ridge and at Beaumont-Hamel in France.

Beaumont Hamel in particular was the site of the near complete annihilation of the Newfoundland Regiment.

There are hundreds of battle sites like this in France and Belgium.

But I don't believe in the paranormal but the enormity of those slaughters does draw an emotional response from the visitor.

You can't help but feel that the ground upon which you walk is sacred. You cannot help but feel the enormity of the slaughter.

Specific to this thread, one wonders how the First Nations people regard the battle ground where Custer met his demise, or the site of the murders at Wounded Knee, South Dakota.

In Canada's history First Nations and Métis people regard a place like Batoche or Duck Lake in Manitoba as sacred ground. There they fought the Canadian armed forces despatched by the PM to quell the uprising. I threw this in just to assure all that this is not an anti-US attack.

US and Canadian history is fraught with mistreatment of FN's and Métis.

I cannot have too much sympathy for a man like Custer. Those FN tribes were defending themselves.


Cheers,

George

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 4041

Re: The Controversial Battle of the Little Big Horn! What say you??
Posted on: 3/2/2018 9:04:38 AM
Well then George,

You must be happy, that Custer got his, at the Little Big Horn!?

Was he really that bad??
MD
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 7958

Re: The Controversial Battle of the Little Big Horn! What say you??
Posted on: 3/2/2018 10:48:39 AM

Quote:
Well then George,

You must be happy, that Custer got his, at the Little Big Horn!?

Was he really that bad??
MD
--Michigan Dave


That's harsh Dave.

But the more I read about the marginalization of First Nations people in North America, the more that I feel shame for what my people had to do with it.

I am not happy that a group of men who were doing their duty as ordered were cut down in their prime.

But did the FN's deserve to be attacked while living peacefully along that river bank?

In that sense, Custer reaped what he sowed.

But I also know that extermination of the Indian was the goal of some politicians and military people in the US.

So I find any aggrandizement of Custer and his ilk to be a way to dehumanize the target, the Indians. This wasn't a cavalry and Indians movie.

It was a real life attempt to destroy an Indian encampment.

Not so much in Canada. No, we were going to eliminate the culture through assimilation and the banning of native languages spoken by school kids. In fact, we took the school kids and sent them to residential schools to have the Indian taken out of them.


Quote:
“When the school is on the reserve, the child lives with its parents, who are savages, and though he may learn to read and write, his habits and training mode of thought are Indian. He is simply a savage who can read and write. It has been strongly impressed upon myself, as head of the Department, that Indian children should be withdrawn as much as possible from the parental influence, and the only way to do that would be to put them in central training industrial schools where they will acquire the habits and modes of thought of white men." 1879


The quote is by PM John A. Macdonald, our first PM and considered one of our greatest PM's and the man most responsible for cobbling together the Canadian federation.


Look I don't mind discussing the ins and outs of this battle but an discussion that revolves around this attack at Little Big Horn as a noble and necessary military effort, just makes me sad, that's all.

We have a lot to answer for.

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 4041

Re: The Controversial Battle of the Little Big Horn! What say you??
Posted on: 3/2/2018 6:09:26 PM
George,

Here is an example on how the Native Americans were able to defeat the Troopers!?

[Read More]

MD

What the 7th thought!?

[Read More]
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

wazza
Sydney , Australia
top 25
E-6 Staff Sergeant
Posts: 453

Re: The Controversial Battle of the Little Big Horn! What say you??
Posted on: 3/2/2018 9:09:57 PM
One way of looking at it i guess.

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 4041

Re: The Controversial Battle of the Little Big Horn! What say you??
Posted on: 3/3/2018 11:10:54 AM
Sorry Wazza,

Didn't mean to get side tracked by silly humor, this is a serious discussion thread. Back to it, It is interesting that the Native Americans had a battle plan but Custer and the 7th really didn't? The Indian leaders knew the terrain near the Little Big Horn River had lots of ravines and area's of cover. This would render the long range rifles of the 7th ineffective! While the Native Americans could advance using the closer range weapons, and larger numbers deadly effective as their planned surrounding of the 7th, led to no escape for Custer! Like I said Custer really didn't have an effective plan, he just tried to attack the village expecting retreat, was he in for a rude awakening!?

What say you?
MD



BTW George,

Do you know what part your area north of our border played in aiding to the numbers of Indians involved in the battle itself? Many 1st Nations involved in the battle? Was the territory north of Montana used as a sanctuary? What did the Citizens of our neighbors to the north think on this travesty to the US military? Did they cooperate with the US Army to go after the Indians involved, post battle??

Thanks,
Dave

& BTW again; to the 1st Nations there probably was no border? It was all their homeland, the Great Plains, & they were being pushed out unfairly by the lie-ing Paleface!?
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 7958

Re: The Controversial Battle of the Little Big Horn! What say you??
Posted on: 3/3/2018 11:45:41 AM
Exactly, we were on their land.

You call it a travesty but I disagree. From what I understand the collection of tribes were not on a war footing. They had left the reserve and the US Army was tracking them down.

They were attacked and fought back and they were concerned about their women and children. I daresay that given previous developments, those concerns were valid, don't you think?

Anyway, about one year after Custer's death, Sitting Bull headed north, seeking a safe haven from the pursuing US Army.

Sitting Bull had met with a Colonel Miles to discuss surrender but he refused the terms.

The US Army continued to harass him as he moved his band around what became called Montana.

So he took his people to Canada.

The laws of Canada were enforced by the Northwest Mounted Police (now RCMP)

Sitting Bull was met by a Mountie whose name escapes me (McLeod maybe) and told that they were welcome to stay so long as they observed the laws of Canada.

He agreed.

But there was conflict between Sitting Bull's band and the other FN nations on the plains. They felt that the newcomers were going to be a drain on limited food resources.

There were a couple of incidents of horse theft from other tribes by Sitting Bull's young men and he was angry about that because he had given his word to the mounties

As well, the Canadian government refused to provide meat to Sitting Bull and his people began to starve. These weren't "our" Indians.

Some drifted back across the line and accepted reservation life.

Finally, Sitting Bull did so as well and as we know he died an ignominious death on the reservation at the hands of Indian police.

He had been ordered apprehended because the Indians had the temerity to continue to participate in a banned form of dancing, Ghost Dancing.

He was apparently shot by these men at his cabin on the reservation.


The NWMP were more welcoming that the US Army. I can say that. They didn't try to kill these people.

The NWMP did what they could for them but the Canadian government wasn't thrilled to have them on Canadian soil because it created a diplomatic incident.

The US wanted their Indians back.

The mounties were a tough lot. They weren't shooting up Indian villages but clearly they were present to ensure that settlement by white Canadians could proceed peacefully in the west. From a white perspective, they did a good job. They enforced the laws and that included taking guns away from American booze runners who crossed the line.

Subjugation of FN tribes was rather more subtle though I can point to a number of times when shooting broke out as our west was won.

But subjugation was effected, eventually.



As well, we recall that the Canada-US border was rather porous and people wandered back and forth looking for work.

So it should come as no surprise that Canadian born men enlisted in the US army.

We believe that 17 men had enlisted in the 7th cavalry. Some had fought in the civil war and admired Custer. Others joined for many other reasons.

Many died with Custer.

I haven't read this book but it corroborates the claims from other sites.

Canadians With Custer by Mary Thomas

[Read More]


Cheers,

George

Rick Schaus
Capon Springs, WV, USA
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class


Posts: 561

Re: The Controversial Battle of the Little Big Horn! What say you??
Posted on: 3/4/2018 2:30:43 PM
George,

According to the book, They Died with Custer (Scott/Willey/Connor) There were 14 Canadian born officers/troopers assigned to the 7th Cavalry at the time of the LBH.

1 EA in A, C, D, G, & K Cos.
2 EA in L Co.
3 EA in F, & I Cos.
1 EA on the Regimental staff

Included in the above numbers were 2 company grade officers, 1LT W. W. Cooke (adjutant), and 1LT McIntosh (CO, G Co).

57% of the 7th were U. S. born.
---------------
VR, Rick Schaus

"When things go wrong in your command, start searching for the reason in increasingly large circles around your own desk."
-- Gen. Bruce Clarke

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 7958

Re: The Controversial Battle of the Little Big Horn! What say you??
Posted on: 3/4/2018 7:20:11 PM
Thanks for the firm numbers Rick.

These men may have been born in Canada but with such easy movement between countries in those days, there is no way to know whether the Canadians were still living in Canada.

Lt. William Cooke is one example. He is a descendant of United Empire Loyalists, who fled the US either during or after the revolution.

And yet when the Civil War broke out, he felt compelled to join the Union cause.

Cooke had been educated in Canada in Hamilton, Ontario and he headed south when the war broke out.

Served with Burnside. Wounded at Petersburg.


Apparently he fell in that group that had gathered with Custer.



Cooke is buried back home, in Hamilton.

Apparently he was buried on the battlefield, disinterred and buried in a military cemetery and then had his body removed and sent to Hamilton for final burial.

Now I thought that everyone who died with Custer was buried at the battleground, at the cemetery on site.

Is that not true? Were most moved?

Cheers,

George

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 4041

Re: The Controversial Battle of the Little Big Horn! What say you??
Posted on: 3/5/2018 11:57:15 AM
George, & others,

What do you think of the bodies of the 7th being mutilated?

Is this some Native American spiritual practice, or something??

Why??
MD
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 7958

Re: The Controversial Battle of the Little Big Horn! What say you??
Posted on: 3/5/2018 1:20:43 PM
Depends on the tribe I suppose.

The First Nations' cultures are different from one another so I would have to research to see whether the mutilation of the 7th was based upon and religious rites are was simple retribution for past injustices committed against them.

Iroquois and Huron used to torture one another but more often than not, they adopted captives into the tribe and embraced them.

In Nova Scotia, Cornwallis put a bounty on the heads of Mi'kmaw FN's. Bring in a scalp, get money.

During the war of 1812, it is said that Tecumseh was mutilated by US troops.


There is the question of who started mutilating whom I suppose.

There are accounts that say that Tom Custer was the most brutally mutilated and the suspect was a Lakota Sioux who had been arrested by him the year before. The man had threatened Custer so who knows, was he seeking revenge.

I understand that the stories of mutilation changed over time. Has there ever been a definitive statement on just how many of Custer's men were mutilated?

It is a horrible way to treat human beings whether you are European or indigenous.


Years ago I read, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, by Dee Brown.


Quote:
"On the morning of November 29, 1864, 600 Cheyenne and Arapahos camped on a bend of Sand Creek were awakened by the sound of charging hooves. Two thirds of these 600 were women and children as the government granted able bodied men to go east and hunt buffalo to feed their hungry families. Only 35 braves were in the camp. This made the ensuing charge all the more frightening for the women, children, elders, and remaining braves.

So great was the fear of the coming charge that men, women, and children ran from their lodges into the biting cold taking no time to fully dress. The partially dressed Indians began to gather under a huge American flag above Black Kettles lodge (Black Kettle was given the huge American flag and peace medals by Abraham Lincoln and Colonel A. B. Greenwood in Washington only a year earlier and was told that as long as the American flag was above them, no one would be harmed). The braves present surrounded the women and children gathered under the flag. At 8:00 am more than 700 cavalry men under the command of Colonel John M. Chivington and Major Scott J. Anthony, rode in and fired on the huddled Indians from two directions. After the initial charge the US soldiers dismounted and continued the indiscriminate killing of men, women, and children. During the killing unspeakable atrocities and mutilations were committed by the soldiers. Accounts from two white men, John S. Smith and Lieutenant James Connor, described the acts of dehumanization."

According to John S. Smith, Colonel Chivington knew these Indians to be peaceful before the massacre. Smith witnessed, as did helpless Indian mothers and fathers, young children having their sex organs cut away. U.S. soldiers mutilated Native American women, cutting away their breasts and removing all other sex organs. After the Massacre, soldiers displayed the women's severed body parts on their hats and stretched them over their saddle-bows while riding in the ranks. The sex organs of every male were removed in the most grotesque manner. One soldier boasted that he would make a tobacco pouch with the removed privates of White Antelope, a respected elder. Conner witnessed a soldier displaying the body parts of a woman on a stick. The fingers of Indians were cut off to get at the rings on them. Connor remembered a baby only a few months old who had been hidden in the feed box of a wagon for protection. When the soldiers discovered the baby some time later, the baby was thrown onto the frozen ground to die. In going over the site the next day, it was noted that every corpse was mutilated in some way, and scalped.

Two other men, Robert Bent and James Beckwourth were forced to ride with Chivington that morning. They recorded similar images. Beckwourth noted that before the massacre, White Antelope (age 75) ran out to meet the soldiers. He came running out to meet the command, holding up his hands and saying Stop! Stop! He spoke in as plain English as I can. He stopped and folded his arms until shot down. Bent remembered seeing the shooting of a little girl carrying a white flag. He also remembered seeing an Indian woman on the ground whose leg had been shattered by a shell. As she lay helpless, a soldier drew his saber, breaking the arm she had risen in defense. She then rolled over on her other side. The soldier did not leave until breaking her other arm with his saber, whereupon he left without killing her. Bent saw a pregnant woman who had been cut open and disemboweled. Her unborn child lay mutilated almost beyond human recognition beside her. Quite a number of mothers were slain; still clinging to their babies. Such was the scene that cold gray morning at Sand Creek, November 29, 1864.



Dee Brown wasn't an historian. That is one of the criticisms of the book but if this excerpt is correct or partly correct, it is a sad indictment of the way that the Indian was persecuted in the American west.

I always try to remember that this was their land. Treaties were respected among FN tribes across North America.

The FN felt that they were negotiating nation to nation with the white settlers and they agreed to share their land under certain conditions.

For the most part, all over North America, they were sadly duped.


morris crumley
Dunwoody, GA, USA
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major
Posts: 1823

Re: The Controversial Battle of the Little Big Horn! What say you??
Posted on: 3/5/2018 3:00:49 PM
Dave, you should do a GOOGLE IMAGE search for " Sergeant Frederick Wyllyams" an Englishman who joined Company G Seventh Cavalry and was attacked by a raiding party of Cheyenne, Sioux, and Arapaho while protecting a railroad survey crew in Kansas in the late 1860`s.

Slashing and mutilating the arms is indicative of Cheyenne, or "cut arms"...most likely stemming from the tradition of Cheyenne women slashing their arms to express grief.

Slashing, or cutting off the nose is an example of the "smeller tribe," or Arapaho.

And the slitting of the throat, in some cases to decapitation, is Sioux.

Most of Custer`s command had been stripped and mutilated in some fashion. Keogh was not, he wore a medallion presented him by the Vatican about his neck which the Indians felt was "big medicine" and was left alone. Custer, according to Kate Bighead, was not mutilated because he was husband to a southern Cheyenne woman, but a finger tip was cut off...and sewing awls pierced his ears so that "in the spirit land he could hear better. He had promised not to make war on the Cheyenne again, and that he would die if he did. He didn`t hear so good."

Terry`s column found several severed heads in the deserted encampment, ....the Sioux.

The worst mutilation was inflicted on the black interpreter, Dorman...also known by the Sioux as "Teat," who was shot in Reno`s fight along the river banks. Dorman was the husband of a Hunkpapa woman, and was found sitting upright, a bullet through his chest. Despite Sitting Bull admonishing the women to not cut him up, Dorman was shot in the head, his body slashed, a picket pin driven through his testicles, his penis cut off and stuffed in his mouth, along with the customary Sioux slashes to the bones of the thighs and the calf.

Respects, Morris
---------------
"You are a $70, red-wool, pure quill military genius, or the biggest damn fool in northern Mexico."

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 4041

Re: The Controversial Battle of the Little Big Horn! What say you??
Posted on: 3/5/2018 3:16:32 PM
George, & Morris,

Do we have to get so descriptive? School age kids who might read this will cringe!?

MD
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 7958

Re: The Controversial Battle of the Little Big Horn! What say you??
Posted on: 3/5/2018 3:46:03 PM
I cringe Dave. But we know that atrocities occur in war to this day.

George

Lightning
Glasgow, UK
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class


Posts: 524

Re: The Controversial Battle of the Little Big Horn! What say you??
Posted on: 3/6/2018 6:23:40 AM

Quote:
George, & Morris,

Do we have to get so descriptive? School age kids who might read this will cringe!?

MD
--Michigan Dave


Then they will learn that war is awful and the history of humanity similarly so.

Cheers,

Colin
---------------
"There is no course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end."

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
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E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 4041

Re: The Controversial Battle of the Little Big Horn! What say you??
Posted on: 3/13/2018 9:27:24 AM
Hi Colin,

So true, why sugar coat it! War is hell after all, certainly true of the Indian Wars!?

MD
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

morris crumley
Dunwoody, GA, USA
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major
Posts: 1823

Re: The Controversial Battle of the Little Big Horn! What say you??
Posted on: 3/13/2018 2:25:44 PM
I`m not meaning to gross anyone out Dave.

But, while we discuss the harm... the mean spirited, and hateful acts by the white man on the American Indian...lets not gloss-over the truth of the American Indian.

There are, for example, many contemporaneous accounts of how Indians did not always just "kill enough buffalo to subsist upon...and nothing more" but, in point of fact, they also killed buffalo for sport. Many accounts were written about how the Indians, on raiding parties, would kill buffalo just for their favorite parts...say the tongue...and leave the rest of the carcass to the wolves, and to rot on the plains.
While the buffalo was a source of many materials used for everyday life, they were not above mindless slaughter too.

Plains Indians also frequently set fire to the grass to make room for new growth. Many animals of the plains died when trapped in the fires. There is a legend that the Blackfoot Tribe got it`s name because some of the tribe had survived a "burning" and had to walk miles through blackened grounds...and emerged with blackened feet.

They also had pony herds that destroyed entire stands of cottonwood trees by eating the bark off the tree. They were not exactly pristine environmentalists.

In addition, though mostly nomadic, they none the less killed each other over favorite lands, took prisoners...held some as slaves. They tortured some captives...and mutilated the dead.

The point is, we should have realistic presentments of the Indians of America...and of the settlers who came. As I said, "Dancing With Wolves" is an important film, one of the best at treating the Plains Indian as realistic human beings, not Hollywood stereotypes. But....even it falls into the Hollywood trap. All the white men, except John Dunbar, were crazy, racist, criminals, malcontents, and ignorant fools....while the Sioux were almost all decent and wonderful people. Yet, the Pawnee are made out to be evil villains. And it still maintains the meme "heroic white man who discovers a new culture...and manages to become a beloved..not just member...but a leader..who rescues the poor cultural group.( See also "Last Samurai" and "Shogun")

Respects, Morris
---------------
"You are a $70, red-wool, pure quill military genius, or the biggest damn fool in northern Mexico."

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 7958

Re: The Controversial Battle of the Little Big Horn! What say you??
Posted on: 3/13/2018 3:59:15 PM
Fair enough Morris but we also need more accurate accounts of the mistreatment of the Indian and the theft of his land by the European people.

I noted that you said the same in your post but will a Hollywood movie that shows what actually happened actually sell?

I can only think of Black Robe as an example of a fairer treatment of the FN's living in New France. It dealt with the attempt by Jesuits to convert the Huron tribes to Christianity and was not shy about including torture as part of the culture.

Too often, the history is warped to portray the Indians as savages and the white settlers and cavalry as somehow engaged in a noble cause.

But we know that the FN tribes had territories that they fought over if necessary.

The Huron were wiped out by the Iroquois in the 1600's as the Iroquois came north of Lake Ontario to attack.




Most sites confirm what you said, that the Indians used all of the bison.

There are some sources who confirm hunting for sport but not as a practice that would wipe out the herds and nothing to compare to the slaughter of bison by buffalo hunters.

There were 30 million bison on the plains before the white man got there. What do we have left in NA, 30,000 bison.

[Read More]

But even if true, the bison population was not nearly wiped out by the actions of the indigenous people.

Their weren't enough of them to do that and the bison herds were an important source of food. The killing of the bison also involved some religious ritual as well.

White hunters and even people riding on trains exterminated the bison. And for some, it was a means to eliminate the food supply for the Indians.

General Sherman felt that so long as the bison existed, plains Indians would never agree to become farmers on reservations.

Sherman in a letter to Sheridan regarding bison in parts of Nebraska, May 10, 1968


Quote:
“Indians will go there. I think it would be wise to invite all the sportsmen of England and America there this fall for a Grand Buffalo hunt, and make one grand sweep of them all.”


Sheridan to Sherman in Oct. 1968


Quote:
“make them poor by the destruction of their stock, and then settle them on the lands allotted to them.”



My wife took a university course many years ago given by Conrad Heidenreich at York University. He was the leading scholar of his day on the subject of the Huron/Wendat people.

She was shocked to learn some of the behaviours of these people including torture. They respected the land but weren't necessarily observant of good practices. They made garbage and when a campsite became overused and messy, they would just move. But their numbers and general practices could never cause significant environmental damage that could not see a regeneration.






Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 4041

Re: The Controversial Battle of the Little Big Horn! What say you??
Posted on: 3/20/2018 4:40:43 PM
George,

I think in General the Native Americans on the whole used much more of the Buffalo, than white hunters did! The Buffalo were the life blood of the Plains Tribes! Also it's no secret on how many treaties were broken, & mercy-less treatment of the Tribes, including women & children by the US Government, it's army, & settlers in general!

Can hardly blame them for the Little Big Horn Battle!?

MD
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 4041

Re: The Controversial Battle of the Little Big Horn! What say you??
Posted on: 4/2/2018 9:47:10 AM
Many believe Custer was involved in the biggest inhumane attacks on Native Americans, not so!?

[Read More]

A sad despicable tragic episode!?
What say you?

Regards,
MD
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 7958

Re: The Controversial Battle of the Little Big Horn! What say you??
Posted on: 4/2/2018 10:09:38 AM
Dave, for many reasons there was animosity between the colonizers and the First Nations.

I believe that in some cases and especially on the plains, there was a philosophy to exterminate these people.

Otherwise, how to explain the violence between indigenous people and the Europeans who came here.

There was less violence in Canada because there was more room for everyone out west but some awful tales of subjugation of First Nations.

US/Canada, all a matter of degree but the goal was the same I believe.

Cheers,

George

morris crumley
Dunwoody, GA, USA
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major
Posts: 1823

Re: The Controversial Battle of the Little Big Horn! What say you??
Posted on: 4/2/2018 12:26:16 PM
Yes Dave. Sad also for the irony that this massacre of Shoshone in Idaho...came only fifty something years after a Shoshone woman named Sacajawea, born in Idaho, helped make the Lewis and Clarke Voyage of Discovery possible...which helped to bring about the migration of the Mormons and whites into those lands.

Respects, Morris
---------------
"You are a $70, red-wool, pure quill military genius, or the biggest damn fool in northern Mexico."

jahenders
Colorado Springs, CO, USA
top 25
E-6 Staff Sergeant


Posts: 444

Re: The Controversial Battle of the Little Big Horn! What say you??
Posted on: 4/2/2018 1:20:53 PM

Quote:
Dave, for many reasons there was animosity between the colonizers and the First Nations.

I believe that in some cases and especially on the plains, there was a philosophy to exterminate these people.

Otherwise, how to explain the violence between indigenous people and the Europeans who came here.

There was less violence in Canada because there was more room for everyone out west but some awful tales of subjugation of First Nations.

US/Canada, all a matter of degree but the goal was the same I believe.

--George


In some immediate cases, some leaders may have essentially been fine with extermination. However, I don't think that extermination was the general philosophy throughout most of push West. The true philosophy was actually to get the natives out of the way of whatever colonization or development was going on. The powers-that-be in each didn't necessarily want to exterminate the local natives, they just wanted to make them go somewhere else, whether by agreement or by physically pushing them out of the area in question. Now, those powers may not always have much cared who difficult it might be for the natives to move nor how well the natives could sustain themselves wherever they went, but letting the natives leave (or forcing them to do so) was often faster/easier/safer than trying to actually wipe them out.

In a way, you could consider the US (and before them English) settlers as being sort of a like a nomadic incursion (like the Celts, Goths, Alans, Magyars, etc.). Like those, they rarely tried to exterminate the locals -- they pushed them elsewhere or conquered them.

The distinction between intent of extermination or extermination as a side effect of forcing people from their lands may not seem to important when your people suffer as a result, but their is a difference of intent and (often) of outcome. Had English/US leaders had a consistent policy of true extermination, all the "Indian Wars" would have been far bloodier and there would be far fewer natives (and, especially, far fewer native tribes/nations) today.


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