Post by hevat on Aug 22, 2014 17:24:32 GMT -5
The inclusion of assumptions, expectations and hopes for success underlie all tactical decision making. Its not at all the same as the motto "a la grace de Dieu."
Hope, in its many forms, is leaving matters in god's hand, if only because what we hope for isn't based on calculations or arguments - as our assumptions and expectations should be.
I agree with you that Custer believed to have everything under control for most of the battle, and that was because the assumptions he made about the enemy behavior up to the point of his return to Cemetery Ridge fulfilled his expectations.
I cannot imagine a commander of a regiment going into battle assuming that nothing would keep him from moving north and coming to the conclusion after several miles that his expectations were fulfilled. That's not how we act in a demanding situation, unless we panic. As a rule we move step by step, taking all the time we can spare to assess our situation, always ready to adapt ourselves to changes. Unless Custer was a fool, the same must be true for him.
However, his hopes for the rest of the Regiment to reunite with Keogh's battalion was not fulfilled, thus his assumptions that they would at least make an effort to do so were likewise unfulfilled. In this matter, his expectations were effectively dashed.
From Custer's actions we cannot deduce what he hoped, assumed or expected from the rest of his command. None of his actions indicate that he was concerned about where they were and how they were doing. The lack of any indication is one of the great mysteries of Custer's movement north.