Historian and LBH specialist Bruce Liddic on Benteen's and Reno's behavior during the Court of Inquiry on the Little Bighorn
BENTEEN'S AND RENO'S TESTIMONIES
source: Bruce Liddic, Vanishing Victory: Custer's Final March, Upton & Sons, 2004, pages 38, 91-92
Winner of the 2004 Little Big Horn Associates Arward
2004 Custer Battlefield Historical and Museum Association Arward
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"(Benteen’s tesimony at the Court) shifted about constantly with half-truths, evasions and falsehoods : by the time the Inquiry ended he had spread enough whitewash to cover Chicago."
“The Recorder (of the Court) asked Major (Reno) if he had read Custer’s order to Benteen. Reno replied he had and although he couldn’t repeat the exact “phraseology” as he remembered, it said to come on, there was a big village and to bring the packs. Reno was asked if the message didn’t have the words “be quick”.
Reno casually said: “Yes, I do, now that you called my attention to it.”
Reno had previously told the court about the “immense” number of Indians he had faced alone in the valley, and the Recorder asked:
“From the number of Indians you saw around you and you estimate of the number that were there, did it occur to you at the time that, with only 225 men, (Custer) might need someone to “be quick”?
The junior major of the 7th Cavalry looked at the Court and then the Recorder, and answered:
“It never occurred to me at all.”
No further comment is necessary on Benteen and Reno’s testimony regarding “Custer’s last message”; it defies coherent description.”