The chairman of the official inquiry on the Little Bighorn accused Reno and Benteen of betrayal
THE COURT CHAIRMAN AGAINST BENTEEN AND RENO
Lieutenant General Nelson A. Miles, general in chief of the entire US army, made his own inquiry on the battle of the Little Bighorn during 22 years. In his Personal Recollections, a three-volume book (1898), he accused Captain Benteen and Major Reno of betrayal. He also supported General Custer for having acted judiciously during the battle. The battle, writes Miles, was lost only because Benteen and Reno had betrayed. The Indians clearly stated that if the regiment had been in full power, they would have been defeated.
Miles was particularly interested by the Reno Court of Inquiry, a military court convened January 13, 1879, which had concluded that Major Reno wasn’t guilty of cowardice and betrayal.
The Reno Court of Inquiry Recorder was Lieutenant Jesse M. Lee, who read 1’300 files on the battle and interviewed 23 witnesses. After having read the Miles’ book, Lee wrote the following letter (1898):
“Your chapter on Custer’s last fight (which said that Benteen and Reno were traitors) is a vindication I have long wished to see from the pen of one who writes “without fear or favour or affection”; one whose potent words of truth will carry conviction to millions who wanted light in clean, straight-up rays about that tragic event.
I thank God that you have lived to spread before the world what I believe to be “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” on Custer.
I was Recorder on the Reno Court of Inquiry, but the proceedings were never published in full. I talked with many Indians who were in that fight, and you chapter is almost identical with what I learned from a variety of sources.”
The Reno Court of Inquiry Recorder was supporting US general in chief Nelson A. Miles. An other strong condemnation of the traitors, Major Reno and Captain Benteen.
LITTLE BIGHORN CAMPAIGN