I think the 7th was operating on an official time and that it was probably St Paul time. But I am open to the idea that Terry may have set a new official time once Gibbon's column in effect met Terry's. This assumes that Gibbon was operating on a different time. That much being said, I don't see that there was much need to worry about the official time not being near to local time, but then I think the whole world should be on Greenwich time.
There was at least one chromometer with the engineer detachment, so it would have been possible to keep the watches with Terry's column on the official time.
I think there are 2 pretty good base times. About noon on the 22nd when Custer started down the Rosebud and about noon on the 25th when the regiment crossed the divide.
At the RCOI both Custer and Benteen were said th have riden fast waking horses. Do you have any idea what that would mean in mph?
I have no problem with anything you just posted and I fully accept Wallace's claim regarding the noon-ish crossing of the divide. Now... let me digress just a moment.
Gibbon started out on San Francisco time (that's how they kept the clocks at Fort Ellis), so if and when Gibbon switched, I have no idea.
At this point, I am absolutely certain Custer operated on St. Paul/HQ time. We have two statements from officers-- one of them charged with keeping the regimental itinerary-- who state about as categorically as you could hope for, that the column never switched off HQ time or was switched onto local time. Another thing to remember is that there was no local time! There was nothing there, no settlements, no active forts, by which they could adjust their watches. The only possible guide was the sun.
Since the issue of "time," per se, had played absolutely no roll at all in the entire campaign other than the administrative duties of reveille and "move out," it is not inconceivable that "time," per se, played no roll at all even in the battle. If it did, Varnum would have been a lot more careful with his comments regarding not knowing what time it was, and generally basing his opinions on those of others.
Carlo DeRudio was very specific with his time references and even claimed to have looked at his watch. Fred Gerard, the same. And other than a 4:20 p.m. reference by Godfrey-- and he couldn't even remember what took place with that reference-- we don't have a lot more that isn't merely guessing.
To me, the two base times are Wallace's divide crossing and DeRudio's claim of looking at his watch while he was sitting in the timber. That sentence should bring howls of dissent, but I am rather adamant about it. The dissent would be a direct result of John Gray's "time-motion" study, which I believe to be severely flawed. [I can already hear the pounding of fists on computer tables!] I don't think Gray's methodology is wrong, but his conclusions are and his input is wrong as well. You know the old computer saw: garbage in, garbage out.
I think Gray used much of the data from Philip St. Geo. Cooke's book on cavalry tactics. In 1876, the rule of thumb was 4 mph for a walk; 6 mph for a trot; and 8 mph for a gallop. Let's put this is some sort of perspective: anyone in any semblance of shape can walk 4 miles in under one hour (I walked 4 miles in 50 minutes at the age of 22, with a 70-pound pack on my back, a rifle in hand, a steel pot on my head, wearing leather combat boots, in August at Fort Benning, GA; not a problem); a miler runs the mile in 4 minutes-- that's 15 mph; a marathoner runs 26 miles in a little over 2 hours-- that's 13 mph; even if you add an hour to that, it is still faster than 8 mph. British mail coaches in the 18th and 19th centuries regularly ran at or in excess of 12 mph in excess of an hour at a time. Chariot horses could run at 20 to 23 mph; thoroughbreds run at speeds exceeding 30 mph. Why would a cavalry horse carrying a 140-pound man with minimal equipment (remember, everything had been left behind but horse feed and an overcoat) not be able to exceed 8 mph, even for longer periods of time? Remember, as well, these horses were now used to it; they had been campaigning for 40 days, and while some of the grazing was sparse, they were loaded with oats, maybe some of the most nutritional food horses would eat.
So... I am not at all put off by the idea that Custer's column high-tailed it down Reno Creek, arriving in the flats long before most historians and writers think they did. This is one of the reasons the timing seems so far off and becomes so confusing. Gray has Reno moving into action at 3:18 p.m. How do you reconcile that with DeRudio's claim of being in the timber at 2 p.m.? When Benteen tells people he arrived on Reno Hill at 2:30 or 3 p.m., they claim he's a liar, that he dogged it, and didn't arrive until 4 p.m. Why? Because Gray said the battle began at 3:18. Well... Gray was wrong and he skewed the times to fit with his theory and his dislike of Benteen. And that's the problem so many people have when assessing the time references.
[Incidentally, I have not completed this work, so I cannot yet address Bill's problem of Weir and his arrival at Weir Peaks. I'll get to it, hopefully soon.]
But I think you are right, Ray, about your base times.
As for the fast-walking horses, since others claimed they had to trot to keep up, I would think "fast-walking" might equate to 6 or 7 mph.
Best wishes, Fred.
PS-- By the way, I'll be putting that time chart in the mail tomorrow morning. FCW
Post by benteeneast on May 20, 2008 8:05:07 GMT -5
If the horse is gaited, that is a walking horse, it could easily walk at 9 to 10 miles per hours. I believe walking horses were not allowed to set the pace for the intended gait. I also believe that the cavalry trained horses to walk at a certain rate along with the trot. Those were consistent easy to maintain speeds. They were not set to burn up the world speed records but to maintain the horses staying together and being usable whenever they were called upon to go into battle.
The faster you increase the walk pace the more likely some horses will trot because you can not change the break point from walk to trot in some horses. Depending on the length of column the accordion effect to the end of the column would cause them to have to speed up and stop. It becomes irritating to horse and rider and I am sure they would try to avoid having some horses trotting while other are walking.
That being said a walking horse can walk as fast as a horse trotting which may have been the intended gait. So moving quicker at the trot does not mean the gaited horse would break into the trot which would be what the trooper saw on his non-gaited horse. He was trotting and the officers on gaited horses were walking.
The running walk for a Tennessee Walker is about 10 to 20 miles per hour.
That's a great post; I intend to print it and keep it for reference.
My issue is not so much with the trot or the walk or even the gallop, for that matter. My issue is the military exigency created by the situation at hand, the need for speed and the ability of the command to provide it. There were even a couple of reported cases where troopers couldn't keep up in the move down Reno Creek. That, plus the only two eye-witness statements that we have-- or at least that I am familiar with-- regarding the speed of the command.
It's sort of like the watch times: no one specifically said, We were on HQ time. But when you are told, We did change our watches, or, I never said we were on the local time, you can pretty much take it for granted what time the command's watches were set on. Anything else only helps feed favorite, but incorrect theories.
There was some testimony at the RCOI that as the 7th moved down from the divide the companies, at least, sometimes moved abreast of each other. That should have reduced the accordian effect.
My recollection is that after a long slog uphill, it was natural to pick up the pace on the downhill.
I think the idea that the horses had been conditioned is terribly interesting. Another thing to remember is that the horses that went on Reno's Scout may not have been as used up as is sometimes stated. I recall an article in the Research Review which gave at least an aproximate daily mileage and it didn't seem to be too bad, though it may have been hard on the Gatling Gun detachment.
Somewhere on the website, someone posted a much anticipated "horse-ride" this summer following Custer's trail from the divide, and presumably over to LSH. With all the timing proposal's being floated about; what I would really like to see done with this is at least two if not more of this group do what Custer's men actually did. Benteen, and I believe there may have been more, from his battalion stated that when he observed the White Horse troop they were moving down Reno Creek at a "gallop". If this is true. Then the only way to settle the timing issue is for someone to undertake that gallop speed from the divide, following Custer's presumed trail all the way to Calhoun hill, and perhaps beyond! AND; while doing so time this thing out! Thats the only way anyone will ever know for sure.
THEN, if a 2nd rider doing the same experiment would turn around somewhere near ford "B" and go back to the "flats" to simulate Martini's ride, only then will anyone get an appreciation for possibly how long it took him! Because there is ample evidence that no one in Custer's nor Reno's battalions tarried after they left the divide, Benteen's statements are proof of that.
I present the following at leasure for all to enjoy and participate in.
Reno's Valley Fight:
I am at this point interested in basic timelines associated with Reno's attack upon the village and his retreat. Now i'm not so much interested in what time of day you may have thought these events occurred as much as I am the time intervals between or the time it took for an event to transpire. So please keep those "time of day" opinions to yourself.
I will start this off to show you what i'm looking for. Basically it's very simple. And "simple" as it has been explained to me is the best way, no?
Event.......................Location....................time interval. Reno departs Custer.........Tepee/Girard knoll.....1 mile from river.
Arrives at fd. "A".................Fd "A".......................15 minutes
Arrives at SL.......................SL -undeployed..........15 minutes
Time on SL...........................Open SL....................10 minutes
Retreats to woods...............Retreat/woods...........5 minutes
In woods..............................Woods.......................10 minutes
Retreat to bluffs....................Bluffs.........................10 minutes
What I would like everyone to do is state what they believe is the correct timing sequences here and then state the Time Interval of that action or from one action to another. The above was just an example, not what I believe the timing was. Surely there is a diversity of opinion as to how much time it took from start (tepee/Girards knoll - or other) to finish (Reno's 1st position on the bluffs). If your timing is different from anothers please explain why; that is if you didn't choose the path as outlined above. Thank you.
Last Edit: Mar 26, 2015 12:37:09 GMT -5 by moderator
This is what I am trying to do from Halt 1 to the first Reno skirmish line.
Boston, not sure I can help alot since I haven't read all the accounts of how long they were there. I may have a few basic perceptions about how long something may take.
To your timeline, you should add the pause to reassemble at Ford A.
Also there were 2 skirmish lines or maybe actually 3 plus the timber line. I believe there was the first stop on line, then they advanced further down the valley for a second line, then they pivoted around and back towards Girard's brow for a 3 line, then they formed a line in the timber. I'll defer to Fred on this. Each line would have time on line firing and then time for the movement in transition.
Then to develop the timelines, we have to lay down the distances traveled.
Boston, not sure I can help alot since I haven't read all the accounts of how long they were there.
Aye now there be the rub, me bucko. Sorry, I felt as giddy as a pirate when I read your response. You perceptively hit the proverbial nail on the head! And well it wasn't or I should say isn't my timeline, the previous was just an example to illustrate what how I would have liked other to post. But, being in fear of being reprimanded and then 'bein forced to walk the plank' again. Thought better of it, that is my post, and decided to change the wording this morning after I slept on it. However, yours is a beginning, so my words remain.
The Skirmish line episodes you mention are but 1 of many "arguements" that I am sure would ensue, and this would of course affect any timeline. Yet as well documented as this period of time was, primarily COI, no one seems to be content with what has been published. We have for instance some who challenge the official cavalry (1876) times that it took a horse to travel from one point to another. This of course was just an average, because no horse could travel any great distance without equal rest periods between; whether that be stopping, walking or trotting. So the only way I would be willing to accept a 15 mph horse ride anywhere is if an equal amount of time be spent walking. What I am saying here is the average speed, using 1876 standards, at a gallop was about 7 1/2 mph; double that and you get 15 mph. Halve it and you get 3.75 mph, where perhaps stopping, walking and trotting periods were not known.
Then of course to counter your 2 -3 skirmish line episodes: There would be some who would challenge this by stating that there is ample evidence to suggest that there was only one position, but that it changed formation from its initial set, and then fell back against the woods, and that "no advance" had been made. These kinds of arguements should be resolved, I feel, before any intelligent discussion about other parts of the battle could be truely ascertained. Was Wallace right in his assessment of about 1 1/2 hours from the time they left Custer until they arrived at Reno's first position on the bluffs? And if he was, or perhaps even was close, because most of those who stated a time was just approximating it, even a 10 minute differential, one way or another, throws off anyone's timeing sequence by as much as 20 minutes. Now while John Grey thought that 10 minutes wasn't all that bad in his timing hits and misses. If he had made just 2 errors that accumulates to some 20 minutes: That amount of time had been stated by some Indians as the amount of time it took to destroy Custer's battalion.
A good healthy discussion centered around these events is what I feel is needed to hash out the truth: And for me, it appears the best place to start is with the COI's voluminous record and everyone's diversity of opinion with all those facts coming to light.
As for a timeline for this event, as I stated, I would prefer the actual time of day discussion "not take place." I feel that it is irrelevant to each event and only serves to waylay the discussion from its true mission.
Boston, if you need to resolve all those issues "before" you try to establish a timeline, then start those threads separate from this. Problem is there will be no resolution to everyone's satisfaction. Everyone will have their own opinion. The only way a timeline thread will work is to allow each person try to arrive at their own timeline based upon the facts they believe. Then when done we can see if there is any common ground and what the upper and lower parameters are. Anything else is fruitless and I just see this thread ending right here and going to file 13. I personally see the Ford A to Weir point arrival of Benteen as upward of 2.5 hours plus or minus without being specific. I agree using watch times hinders any discussion and I didn't see anyone carrying time cards and punching the clock when they arrived somewhere. Proceed how you want to proceed. I'll still read your threads about it though. I'm waiting for you to teach me something.
Last Edit: Mar 26, 2015 12:33:43 GMT -5 by moderator
"Keogh" keeps hammering with these five guys who said the column crossed the divide before noon; Clair keeps insisting a high-speed run down Reno Creek is "ludicrous," and now you have "woundedknee" interpreting Reno's orders. All of this with overwhelming testimony and the best evidence man can muster (especially with the horse-speed issue).
It is the same thing with the issue of Sharpshooters' Ridge versus "3411." Two people claimed to have seen Custer watching the fight from the bluffs and both agreed, through various testimonies, where that point was. Yet "keogh" insists that Custer was also atop SSR. How do you refute that? Well, the short answer is, You cannot.
Go to the timber argument. "Keogh" uses the word of a couple of veterans who were at the 50th re-union to determine where the timber was. Yet when I use Martini's reckoning of a noon divide crossing (and "noon" in 1922 was the same as "noon" in 1876... that much hadn't changed!), well... those were the rumblings of an old man whose memory was too foggy to be accurate! [Mod. note: Actually, Martin's account relates that at 12 noon, Custer was atop the bluffs looking down at the village. It is very likely that Martin's "noon" in 1922 was actually Wm. Graham's "noon". Graham did the same thing in his interviews with Godfrey, turning Godfrey's 2:30 p.m. arrival on the bluffs to 4:20 p.m.!]
So what's the answer? You skip posts. There is absolutely no basis imo for "woundedknee's" statement that Reno disobeyed his orders. Any military man worth his salt imo will tell you the same thing.
Best wishes, Fred.
Last Edit: Nov 15, 2014 19:28:50 GMT -5 by moderator
Yet when I use Martini's reckoning of a noon divide crossing (and "noon" in 1922 was the same as "noon" in 1876... that much hadn't changed!), well... those were the rumblings of an old man whose memory was too foggy to be accurate!
Hmmm...just a warning flash...wasn't Wallace's noon watch time actually about 11am local time.
IOW, anyone who wasn't using a watch would say the crossed the divide about an hour BEFORE noon, by the sun. When Wallace says he looked at his watch and they crossed the divide at noon, it really wasn't "noon" yet by the sun, right?
The impact is how you interpret the witnesses time reports. Some of them might base them on a guesstimate from how long it had been since they last looked at a watch.
Others might base it on sun time. Probably all the Native times are sun-based. Some might be ritual-based (since breakfast, etc.).
I can see officers switching back and forth, sometimes thinking sun-time, and sometimes reporting a time based on a watch-reference.
So take your pick. But at least we can try to fit them into one hour, or the other. Wallace, of course, is somewhat specific as to looking at his watch, with his other times in reference to that benchmark.