Reno changed the words of his orders to make people believe that Custer wanted him to make an impossible charge inside the Indian village
RENO CHANGED HIS OWN ORDERS
source: Richard Fox, Archeology, history and Custer's last battle, University of Oklahoma Press, page 309, 375-376, note 67
The plan : Custer sends Reno on the south, says him to charge, make noise, attract the warriors, begin the fight to give time to the other battalions to attack from different locations. Benteen is supposed to attack into the village from Medicine Tail Ford and take the warriors by the rear. Custer rides north, catches the fleeing civilians and sends troops back on south to catch the fleeing warriors. Reno is the first into the fight, he is the anvil and Benteen & Custer the hammers. (Custer's plan according to private Giovanni Martini, Custer's last messenger).
Major Reno needed a lie to cover the fact that he had to attract the warriors and gain time to the other column (precisely what he had failed to do, leaving the battlefield after 20 minutes). Reno thus let people believe that Custer ordered him to launch a suicidal charge inside the village!
In his report of July 5th 1876, Reno wrote that he remembered Custer's orders word by word. He wrote Custer's orders were : "General Custer directs you to take as rapid a gait as you think prudent and charge afterwards and you will be supported by the whole outfit."
During the Reno Court of Inquiry in 1879, Reno said the Custer's orders were :
"General Custer directs you to take as rapid a gait as you think prudent and charge the village afterwards and you will be supported by the whole outfit."
In the military code, the difference is huge. By adding the "village", Reno pretended that Custer gave him a precise objective. "The village" becomes the primary goal of the orders, although, in the real orders, the word "charge" was the primary goal.
Doctor Richard Fox indicated this changing and its important difference. Reno added the words "the village" in his orders because nothing in his real orders said he had to attack the village.Nothing. He only had to bring the Indians to battle, as Scout Frederic Gerard remembered it.