Watching a battle

Publié le par custerwest

Inspired by a love of history and its amazing accounts of human endeavor, model making and dramatic representations of the people, places and things that have shaped our culture.
WATCHING A

BATTLE

ON WEIR POINT
  
by David Cornut, author of "Little Big Horn" (France, 2006)
contact@custerwest.org 
 
Benteen eventually followed Weir (see "Reno Hill"), but only 30 minutes after him. The battle was still raging on, as Historian Gregory Michno shows in his book “Lakota Noon.” (he makes the timeline of Custer’s movements with Indian testimonies)
Despite what countless books said, when Weir reached a peak named afterwards Weir Point, Custer’s battle was still raging. Little Bighorn specialist Wayne Michael Sarf admits that many officers on Weir Point “apparently saw more than they would later admit. There is little doubt that (Lieutenant) Edgerly destroyed the portion of a letter to his wife dealing with the Weir Point episode.”
 
Sergeant Charles Windolph remembered what he saw on Weir Point : “Way off to the north you could see what looked to be groups of mounted Indians. There was plenty of firing going on.”
 
Lieutenant Hare was interviewed by Walter Camp, who wrote: “While out in advance with (Captain Weir’s) Company D, the Indians were thick over on Custer ridge and were firing. (Hare) thought Custer was fighting them.”
 
Private Edward Pigford: “at first when looked toward Custer ridge the Indians were firing from a big circle, but it gradually closed until they seemed to converge into a large black mass on the side hill toward the river and all along the ridge.”
 
 Captain Weir was watching his comrades battling without helping them, because Benteen and Reno were still on their hill. When Benteen eventually reached Weir Point, he put an American flag on the peak to “show my position to Custer. The bugle began to sound on Custer Hill, which means that Custer was watching the flag or the dust of the other battalions and was using the bugle as a signal. Custer’s men asked for help, after having waited for Benteen and Reno… during more than two hours!
 
Sitting Bull: “As (Custer’s soldiers) they stood to be killed they were seen to look far away to the hills in all directions and we knew they were looking for the hidden soldiers (Benteen’s and Reno’s soldiers) in the hollows of the hills to come and help them.”
 
A little band, led by warchief Low Dog, eventually attacked the men on Weir Point while the battle on Custer Hill was still raging (see Michno). Benteen decided to withdraw his troops, according to Private George Glenn and Lieutenant Francis Gibson. The troops fell back without any rear guard, just like Reno had done in the woods. Lieutenant Godfrey decided to deploy his men on his own initiative. He later said to the Reno Court of Inquiry:
 
Question by the court: “Was the engagement severe in and around (Weir Point)?”
 
Answer by Lieutenant Godfrey “No severe engagement at all (on Weir Point).”
 
Question by the court: “Was there much firing on the part of the Indians down at that point up to the time to command started to go back (from Weir Point to Reno Hill)?”
  
Answer by Lieutenant Godfrey: “No, sir.”
 
Question by the court: “State if the Indians drove (Weir’s and Benteen’s) command from that position (Weir Point).
 
Answer by Lieutenant Edgerly: “They did not. The orders were to fall back and we fell back.”
 
400 men fell back without ever supporting the last stand. Custer would never have the support he had asked for during more than two hours. His heroic last stand would end at 6.20 p.m., almost at the time Reno had reached Reno Hill again.
A betrayal had just happened at Little Bighorn. A betrayal that would be covered during a century, and which is still covered up by many scholars and historians.
 
Major General Thomas Rosser, cavalry officer during the Civil War, wrote in 1876:
“As a soldier, I would sooner lie in the grave of General Custer and his gallant comrades alone in that distant wilderness, that when the last trumpet sounds, I could rise to judgment from my part of duty, than to live in the place of the survivors of the siege on the hills.”
 
_____________________________________________
Sources: The official recording of the Reno Court of Inquiry, 1879
Nightengale, Little Big Horn, pages 129, 184-185, 190
Unger, The ABCs of Custer’s Last Stand, pages 191-218
Sklenar, To Hell with Honor, page 302
Michno, Lakota Noon, page 233-287
General Thomas Rosser, Chicago Tribune, August 8, 1876

Publié dans LBH: Weir Point (I)

Commenter cet article