Post by bandboxtroop on Apr 21, 2008 15:41:01 GMT -5
I need feedback on the number of 7th Cav guidons lost at Little Big Horn. I have 5 troop guidons lost with Custer and 2 with Reno's attack. Plus Custer's personal flag and possibly the 7th Regimental flag. I have one recovered on Last Stand Hill by Sgt Culbertson found during burial detail under a body of a trooper, what troop it belonged to is not mentioned. The one recovered in Dull Knifes Village and one at Slim Buttes still on the staff and said to be I troops Guidon. I have looked at detail pics of 2 of the guidons the one found by Culbertson and the so call I troop guidon I see no troop marking on these guidons so how did they come to the conclusion of what troop they belonged to. Also what happened to the Dull Knife guidon all I can read is that it was made into a pillow case when found. Was Reno censored for loosing 2 guidons. I know lost of colors in Civil War was a disgrace to regiment.
I believe Troop I's guidon was found wrapped around Keogh's gauntlets--not sure why else it was identified as such. But I'm gonna get to SEE it on June 28. I highly recommend that anyone who hasn't done so join Friends of the Little Bighorn Battlefield, and then sign up for this event. The Friends always put on a great show!
Where was the photo of the flag found by Culbertson?
At least some American Flag type guidons contained troop letters within the circles of stars.
At the 1964 New York World's Fair, Montana displayed exhibits from its history in railroad cars. Under the Ralston painting "After the Battle" were the items from the Custer Battle. One of them was a guidon. As I remember it was labeled as having been carried at the battle. I've since purchased on ebay a guidebook that has photos of the variuos exhibit cases and though the items are not identified the flag is as I remember it.
The guidon at the exhibit had the letter "A" within the circles of stars. This flag was apparently owned by or loaned to the State of Montana.
It is of a slightly different pattern from the guidon in the battlefield collection. The Company "A" guidon had 20 stars in the outer ring and 10 in the inner ring for a total of 34 including the corner stars. A color photo a guidon in the battlefield collection appears in the 1988 NPS guidebook, but the book does not say it was carried ar the battle. In addition to the corner stars that flag has an outer ring of 19 stars and an inner ring of 12 for a total of 35.
The photos of the guidon retaken at Slim Buttes which I have been able to find are not very good, and I don't know if there are any recent photos, but that flag appears to more like the one in the guidebook.
These guidons may have been Civil War surplus to be used while the supply lasted. In 1881, before the cavalry switched back the the red and white guidons, there was a regulation that required the company letter to be embroidered in yellow silk or painted on one of the white stripes. It's possible that the company commanders decided if or how the guidons were to be marked. They could also have been marked on the lance.
If you go on to the NPS site for the Battlefield you can email them with questions about the Slim Buttes flag.
Post by bandboxtroop on Apr 22, 2008 10:32:25 GMT -5
It was found on the staff a photo was taken of it by the famous photographer Morrow. I have read one account saying the guidon was found with Keoughs gloves in them and 3 accounts it was seperate on staff. Keoughs bloody gloves were found in a seperate lodge also 12 McClellan saddles and 3 , 7th cavlary mounts, a bag of 7th Cav letters . Also Keoughs watch and a cdv he carried blood splattered of McDougalls sister. In Dull Knifes village they recovered a guidon made into a pillow case (troop not listed) a necklace made of white fingers, Tom Custer's buckskin jacket, Lt McIntoshs note book with bullet hole through it a a few 7th cavalry mounts.
Post by bandboxtroop on Apr 22, 2008 18:24:16 GMT -5
I beleive there has to be a official report. There has to be a list of the carbines, revolvers, horses and equipment lost by the 7th. I think it will require a trip to the National Archives. When the troops that were lost were reformed request forms for new guidons had to be put in.
Thanks for the information on the Culbertson flag.
None of the official reports that I've been able to find mention that guidons were lost. As you say the individual company records should contain requisitions for new guidons. They would probably have gone to the Quartermaster Depot in Philadelphia, which was then supplied flags and was still supplying them into the 1980's. I understand has since been the depot has been closed.
When in the late 1920's the 7th Cavalry tried to find out if the regimental standard had been replaced, the request for information was forwarded through the QM Department to the Philadelphia Depot. They said they searched the records and could find nothing, but it's not clear how extensive the search was. The Depot at that time had been in operation for well over 100 years, and I suspect some of those records may have been warehoused. By now they may very well be in the National Archives.
Anybody know what size the company guidons were? I've just seen a replica of one, and it looks largish...3'x5.' Most guidons I've seen are more a 2x3, but I don't recall seeing dimensions of the historical ones.
Post by bandboxtroop on May 12, 2008 14:49:46 GMT -5
Troop guidons lost at LBH C,E,F,L,I,G and M Troop Recovered I troop guidon at Slim Buttes Sgt Culbertson recovered a blood covered guidon on LSH under a body. Why would he have been allowed to keep this guidon? Now in the Detroit Institute of Arts Collection. It is in much better shape then the I troop guidon.
In response to your question of criticism for losing guidons, I've never read that the loss of these was much of a stigma. A small one to be sure, but not nearly as equivalent to losing the regimental color, national color, or your "eagle" if you are French. <g>
Guidons, while some attachment may exist for them, are more command/control devices than symbols of your unit. When you print your company/squadron name on them, they would have more sentimental value.
But I've never seen any officer, American or European, censured for losing one of their many company/squadron guidon pennants.
Post by bandboxtroop on May 13, 2008 12:53:13 GMT -5
Conz there is much debate in that the 7ths regimental colors were lost at LBH. The colors may have been replaced and kept secret. In the art work of LSH done by Paxton after great research the 7ths colors are shown . All 5 of Custers troop guidons were lost and Reno lost 2 of his 3 guidons. A passage from Donovans book "Captain French found his guidon bearer eighteen year old Private Frank Sniffen " You damned fool, where are your colors? he snarled. The other two companies in the valley fight had lost theirs. Sniffen reached under his shirt and pulled them out-he had torn the guidon from its staff and stuffed it close to his chest during the frenzied retreat. The captain affixed the colors to a carbine and stuck it in the ground" Another passage same book on what they saw from Weir Point "They could only glimpse hundreds of horsemen on and around the far end of the ridge a great many, remembered Edgerly, riding around and firing at objects in the ground and several guidons flying. Through the binoculars Weir could see the figures were indeed indians riding around and firing at objects on the ground. He dismounted and stood on the hill. Custer had never lost a flag during the war a units colors were protected at cost of life itself. If those objects were cavalry guidons then the General had suffered a serious setback, probably the loss of at least two or three of his companies." Conz one other thing remember the 7th was carrying American flag guidons, not the old pre 1863 white and red swallowtails, they were the colors of the USA. I think the loss of then would not be taken lightly by the chain of command
You could be right...especially since they have the American flag on them. I fly a replica of that at my farm, although it is a bit larger than regulation, I think.
But we must be careful that these are not "colors," like THE Regimental Color is. THAT is, by long tradition, the great shame if lost. A company or squadron commander needs his guidon so he can rally his unit in a dusty melee or large fight. Its value is much more in its "C2" feature than in its historical/ethical/moral significance.
If these guidons were really treasures and trophies, by the Art of War, they would be protected better, like the Regimental Colors always were.
A commander could be relieved of command for losing his regimental color, even if he won a fight! But no such thing would ever be considered for losing a guidon, I think...only perhaps for the tactical mistakes that the lost guidon was a secondary effect of the error.
Men will die to protect their colors, but there is no reason to die to protect your guidon, that I've seen. A small matter of pride, to be sure, but not one worth your life, is my perception.
But others may put more value on guidons...especially if they have the national colors on them or your unit designation written on them.
The loss of guidons at LBH is no big deal...the loss of the 7th Cavalry's regimental color would be a HUGE deal! And a matter of great shame for the life of that regiment, within the rest of the Army.
Clair, there is some evidence that the 7th did indeed lose its regimental colors that day. According to Godfrey, the regimental colors were cavalry yellow in color (as it was accurately portrayed in Paxton's famous painting). Afterwards, the regimental flag seems to have reappeared, but in a blue color....we are then told by certain members of the 7th that these colors were supposedly kept wrapped up in the pack train during the battle. A bit hard to believe, if you ask me. Perhaps the shame of losing their regimental flag was a bit too much for these officers to admit to their fellow colleagues.