Custer's Route to Medicine Tail Coulee? Nov 15, 2008 17:36:24 GMT -5
Post by Gerry on Nov 15, 2008 17:36:24 GMT -5
Private Peter Thompson stated,"The plan marked out was to attack the Indians in the following manner: Major Reno was to cross the river to its left band and proceed down until Custer had time to pass down the right bank and cross over and attack them in the rear. On the left side of the river the country was flat, on the right it was very rough and broken: there was a low range of hills cut up by numerous intersecting ravines. It was Custer's intention to keep out of sight of the Indians until he had time to cross over the river, three miles below. After Reno left us we commenced to travel in paralleled lines with the Little Horn river, which was thickly screened by cottonwood trees and underbrush. We now left the valley in which we had been traveling and commenced to climb the bluffs overlooking the river and surrounding country. At this time our horses were in a trot. At our right, and on a slight elevation, sat Gen. Custer and his brother Tom reviewing the companies as they passed by. This was the last review General Custer ever held. Cook (sic), the adjutant, was giving orders wherever Custer deemed it necessary. When we reached to top of the hill, we were ordered to form into sets of fours which would make us a more solid and compact body."
Shorty after Thompson has trouble with his horse and spurs, runs into Sargent Finkle and James Watson whose horse is down.
Thopmson says,"By this time, the last of the companies had disappeared over the crest of the hill."...."I then looked across the river at the Indian Village, it was all in commotion. One party of Indians were dashing down the river; others were rushing toward the upper end of the village. The cause of this commotion was Major Reno with three companies of men about a mile distant from the upper end of the village, dashing along in a gallop towards them."..."major Reno seeing that he was greatly outnumbered ordered and immediate retreat to a grove of cottonwood trees."..."Major Reno led the retreat toward the river and across it and up to the top of the bluff."
After listening to Thompson, I believe the three on the hill were George Custer, Tom Custer and Cooke.
As they left Reno and proceeded up the valley they climbed up the ridge (Reno Hill) in view of the village, with Custer staying to the right on SSA. The troops staying on the ridge till the top of Cedar Coulee when they were ordered to sets of four to go down the coulee. From atop the ridge where it drops down the Cedar Coulee both the village and SSA are in clear view from the view of Thompson, where Custer on SSA only has a view of Reno on the valley.
The movement of the troops down Cedar Coulee would hide them from the village, just as were Custer's intentions. I added the view of Reno on the floor as time frame and as the fact the Thompson was able to view Reno's valley retreat up the hill.