Dimanche 17 juin
HOW THE LAST STAND LOOKED LIKE
Here is one of the most accurate portrayal of the Last Stand ever (taken from "The Custer Album")
42 men behind 39 dead horses, in a 30-feet circle.
"Custer's men were along a ridgeline, and they were either running along it or trying to control it. But those men shot their horses and made a barricade. The highest
number of casualties happened right there,"
says Paul Hutton, a professor of history at the University of New Mexico and a Custer scholar.
(US news Online, July 24, 2000)
Lundi 4 juin
The Bugle on Last Stand Hill
SOUNDS OF BETRAYAL
During the last stand, Beard and Crazy Horse tell us about soldiers in the last stand hill who were playing bugle until the
Custer's men were probably making efforts to take the attention of the soldiers on Weir Point - men who never came, and
never attempted to come, except Captain Weir, who acted by himself.
" The bugle call was the means by which orders were relayed and transmitted. Chief Trumpeter Henry J. Voss was part of the Headquarters Group and his body found on LSH. Voss, a
trumpeter of G Troop, was assigned to Custer that day as an orderly messenger and though his body location is disputed, I tend to accept it was found on a slope of LSH. To the extent
that Custer, or whomever was in command, wanted to relay orders to the scattered survivors or was sending a last plea to Benteen, who was expected to show at any second and rescue them up until
the last man died, the bugle was the sole methodology available to them. " (Arthur Unger, author of "The ABC of Custer's Last Stand")
The bugle : sound of betrayal.
BENTEEN, RENO, WHERE ARE YOU?
Vendredi 1 juin
Jeudi 31 mai
CUSTER DIED ON HIS
One of the most dominating myth of Little Bighorn is that George A. Custer was killed near the river, in a ravine etc.
It's totally impossible. Custer was killed on the location he was found, in other words, in the middle of his last stand, with 32 horses and 42 men around him, his brother being behind him. Here
are the evidence:
1) If Custer had been killed in an other location, Captain Keogh, second-in-rank, should have taken command of the whole column. It wasn't the case. Keogh died with his company, and Custer
died with his headquarter staff around him. Near Custer's body was the regiment's adjutant and chief trumpeter, the regimental sergeant major may not have been too far away. One officer of Gibbon's
command thought he recognized the surgeon nearby. The body of Custer's personal flag bearer may have been down hill from Custer's body. No member of the regiment's headquarters establishment seemed
to have been found near Keogh.
2) Custer's ammunition was found around his body by Sergeant Ryan and other soldiers.
Custer died on Custer Hill.
LITTLE BIGHORN CAMPAIGN
Jeudi 31 mai
THE LAST STAND
William Rini is a teacher, a long-time LBH specialist and a Frontier reenactor.
Concerning Dr. Richard Fox's theories about "no last stand at Little Bighorn
archaeology) : he is clearly an expert in the field of archaeology and forensics,
however, it is also quite clear that his weakness is in the area of military tactics and military analysis. I feel he fell far short of the mark concerning the latter.
One great flaw in his theory concerned the alleged lack of organized defense on Custer Hill. There is certainly evidence to suggest otherwise:
1) Concerning the lack of cartridges: any amateur student of the battle could tell you that Last Stand Hill has been more or less picked clean of cartridges and bullets for many
years, when the first Superintendant allowed visitors to the battlefield to fill their pockets with souvenirs.
Further evidence pointing to an organized defense on Last Stand Hill is indicated below:
2) there were 32 dead horses (primarily Bays from Co. F) shot and positioned in a semi-circle near the crest of Last Stand Hill, as well as 7 more horses shot as breastworks at the
3) Custer and his Headquarter's Staff were found at the summit, while most of F Co. (including their Commander Capt. Yates and survivors from C, I, & L were found behind the
32 horses just below the summit.
4) the 30 or so troopers who were killed in and around Deep Ravine were nearly all members of E Co., which would indicate a tactical movement to the Ravine, as opposed to a
panic-striken rout. Had it been the latter, there would have been an equal number of troopers from F Co. involved as well. Yet nearly all eye-witness account of the bodies in Deep
Ravine after the battle identify the soldiers as belonging to E Company.
5) Dr. Fox ignored a number of Indian eye-witness accounts that state very clearly that there was hard fighting (a last stand) in both the Keogh sector and on Last Stand Hill. Of
course, we know there was hard fighting on Calhoun Hill for well over an hour before they were overwhelmed by sheer numbers.
6) Dr. Fox also ignores the fact that Custer's 5 companies held off 10 times their number for approximately 2 hours before being overwhelmed, instead relying on a quote claiming the
battle lasted "as long as a hungry man eating his dinner." Since when did a hungry man take over 2 hours to eat his dinner?
In short, Custer was on the offensive and was expecting reinforcements at any moment. Had he known that his command had been abandoned by the rest of his regiment, he would have taken
a stronger defensive posture. This mistake aided the hostiles greatly in their efforts to penetrate the perimeter. Dr. Fox seems to ignore this critical aspect of the battle
As I said before, Dr. Fox and Dr. Scott are to be commended for doing a great service in uncovering important archaeological clues as the what happened that day, however, I feel that
his Achilles heel lies in his attempts to properly interpret military tactical movements and to incorporate them into all of the Indian oral accounts (not just the ones that
support a particular theory.) I do think Dr. Fox is right on the money in his analysis of the action at Medicine Tail Ford, and I think his research has opened up a whole new
vista supporting the theory that Custer was heading north to reach the non-combatants. They did not mention it, but Dr. Fox has done excellent research demonstrating that Custer
actually reached a ford well north of Last Stand Hill, which corroborates the oral account of John Stands-In-Timber, tribal historian of the Northern Cheyenne, and nephew of Wolf
Tooth (a battle participant). All in all, he did a very good job, and I recommend his book to all who wish to learn more about this fascinating subject.
see also Indian casualties to understand the strength of Custer's
LITTLE BIGHORN CAMPAIGN
Jeudi 17 mai
Vendredi 27 avril
INDIAN TESTIMONIES ON CUSTER'S RESISTANCE
source: Gregory Michno, Lakota Noon, the Indian narrative of Custer's defeat, Mountain Press, 1997
Crow King, Sioux hunkpapa warchief (Michno,
mounts scattered across the hills and ran to the river but the soldiers kept in order and fought like brave warriors.
It was a hotly contested battle.
The shootings [by the soldiers] Eagle Elk had witnessed within the last minutes had been enough to convince him of the good sense in staying away from
the front lines.
Even tough virtually surrounded, the soldiers put up a stiff resistance, for it was in this
charge [chief Lame White Man’s charge] that the Lakotas lost more of their men. Red Horse thought that 136 Indians were killed and 160 were wounded in that
phase of the battle.
Hollow Horn Bear, Sioux Brule warrior (Michno, p.177):
In fact, Hollow Horn Bear believed that the troops were in good order at the start of the fight, and kept
their organization even while moving from point to point.
Sitting Bull, famous Sioux hunkpapa chief (Jones, Custer’s Horses,
There was so much doubt about the outcome [of the battle] that I told
the squaws to break the camp and be ready to leave.
Here the soldiers made a desperate fight.
The Indians pressed and crowded right in around Custer Hill. But the soldiers weren’t ready to die. We stood there a long time.
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