We must go to Custer!

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"We must go to Custer!"
WEIR versus RENO   

 By David Cornut

Author of “Little Bighorn, autopsie d’une bataille légendaire” (384 pages, France, 2006)
Sources: Hammer, Custer in ’76, page 71
Gray, Centennial Campaign, page 183
McClernand, On Time for Disaster, page 71-88
Captain Michael J. Koury, Diaries of Little Bighorn, page 11 

Benteen’s battalion reached Reno Hill (see "Benteen's scout"), found Reno’s battalion, which had suffered of casualties after its commander had left it without any bugle in the woods (see "Reno's attack"). Benteen dismounted and stayed on the hill with Major Reno.
Both never acted to support Custer at any kind. They had orders to “come quick” and knew that the main duty of any soldier is “to support the commander at any level” and to “go to the sound of the guns”. But nothing happened.
They just stayed on the hills, while shots and volleys were heard in the valley, coming from Custer’s men.
Lieutenant McDougall testified: “It appeared to everyone that all should go to support of Custer”.
Lieutenant Godfrey wrote: “I thought General Custer was below us and we could join him that we had no water and a few wounded; that we would have our casualties and burdens increased on the morrow.”
Lieutenant Edward McClernand, of Terry’s column, arrived on the battlefield on June 27, 1876. He drew maps of the battlefield and wrote several articles on the battle. Here’s what he wrote on Major Reno, who was the senior commander of Reno Hill: “Some of (Reno’s) officers looking from the edge of the bluffs (from Reno Hill) at the large number of mounted warriors in the bottom below (the valley of the Little Bighorn), observed that the enemy suddenly started down the valley, and that in a few minutes scarcely a(n Indian) horseman was left in sight. Reno’s front was practically cleared of the enemy.
It is not sufficient to say that there was no serious doubt about Custer being able to take care of himself. (Custer) had gone downstream with five troops, heavy firing was heard in that direction, it was evident a fight was on (…) Reno with six troops (…) still ignored the well known military axiom to march to the sound of guns.”
Weir was livid. Private John Fox heard this conversation between Captain Weir and Major Reno:
Weir: “Custer must be around here somewhere (shots were heard) and we ought to go to him.”
Reno: “We are surrounded by Indians (it’s false. There weren’t any Indian around Reno Hill) and we ought to remain here.”
Weir: “Well, if no one else goes to Custer, I will go.”
Reno: “No, you cannot.”
Weir was so angered that he left Reno, mounted up and went towards the sounds of the guns with his orderly. Lieutenant Edgerly saw his commander leaving and followed him with the whole company D. As Edgerly understood afterwards, Weir had disobeyed orders. Both Benteen and Reno didn’t want to move.

Publié dans LBH: Reno Hill

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