Very nice job. Hard to key the markers map to the top maps, but it looks pretty close.
When time comes, I'd be glad to help transfer your detailed map to topo as a neat visual, perhaps from a different angle. The trick will all be in the scale...my portrayal had to use one cross for about four markers to just be manageable, but a very large one can be done, if folks don't mind zooming in and out.
I would be inclined to take that (C Co) designation, and put it on Battle Ridge in that small gap between the group of five and the group of four.
Aye, that is why it is in parens. Only C Co was scattered all over, with no real "formation" of bodies except at the Finley point. Normally this would be indicative of a catastrophic tactical event on a unit (if you can say it suffered more than the other annihilated companies <g>)...meaning it had more "tactical distress" and lost cohesion, where the other companies have little indication of this.
I'm not sure about where you have Kellogg and Butler - there are still questions to be resolved, if they ever can be, about those two. Foley is pretty close, as far as I can tell.
Yeah...no one can tell, but analysts will get the idea. I also didn't put those "eight bodies" the Natives reported...that report is just too dubious to justify, much as I like Native witnesses. If it is true, where would you guess it might be? Only three real choices, I think...ford B, Deep Ravine ford, or a northern ford D location.
There are still too many in total,
Looks like I have about 203 or so shown, counting white crosses as one (although the Sharrow one is two). We have 210 casualties...that accounts for seven men not shown...aren't I short crosses, then?
...and I think that the E company men you have in Deep Ravine should be on the ridge/slope/whatever. And maybe move that white one over to opposite Deep Ravine.
In your notes you don't really explain why you think the innumerable witnesses of 28 or so men in the gully is wrong, but I guess you are relying on that author...is it Michno?...to make that case. Will be very hard to negate current evidence.
The justification that it isn't tactically feasible that they should be there cannot be used, I think, since I have offered a very reasonable explanation, tactically sound, how they got into that gully. If folks can believe that E Co tried to attack across it and 'fell in,' then you still have a "breakout" attempt that was pushed into there. But I don't think an author can reasonably make an argument that his model shouldn't put them in there just because he can't figure out why they went there. <g>
But it is quite different from what is there now, don't you think?
It is interesting that you think so...why? I see absolutely no difference in interpreting the current park markers and interpreting this excellent, and more accurate, body location accounting as you well portray. It is better and more accurate evidence, but I don't see how it changes anything, at least in the common models that I've seen around.
Companies are in the same locations and still pretty well together, considering. Same looking formations and tactical conditions.
Eventually, I will get around to transferring my large scale maps into a more manageable size, the key word being eventually, and I will see that you get one so that you can post it, if you like -
I would love to do that for you...we'll even design our own "markers" and put them in place instead of the current ones.
But there should only be a maximum of 197 within the fenced area, perhaps fewer. I only got it down to what? 199? and that does not include the 8 you mention as having been found by that passing party of warriors.
As to Deep Ravine, you are entitled to hold whatever opinions you choose, but as to evidence, you need to re-read the "preamble" sections, where it is clearly shown that A) bodies were buried substantially where found, with a few notable exceptions B) there is no credible evidence that the bodies supposedly buried in Deep Ravine were ever brought out, and C) there has been no evidence found in any of the explorations of Deep Ravine of bodies in there, anywhere, but to the contrary, there WERE significant finds on the SSL.
It makes no difference to my reconstruction of the Custer fight, whether those men of E Company were indeed shot down along the edges of, or in, Deep Ravine, because I know where they were and what they were doing, and when they were killed.
And no, I don't agree that the marker locations show any military disposition of the troops, because of other evidence of how they got where they got - and I'm sorry but I cannot, and will not share that evidence.
And you should have a marker up near the top of MTC [the spot does not appear on your posted map, but I will one day post the co-ordinates to you, once I have finalized the location from generalized to specific [if I can]. Four, and perhaps five troopers were killed there - the first casualties from the Custer command . Not all on the same spot, but within fairly close confines.
And Highway - you're not too far wrong about that. Even got the cyanide pills left over from, well you know - and an older Colt Woodsman which still works great.
From Makers (burp; "Markers") to Models...this is why the bodies are where they are (my simple tactical explanation):
I've fixed the mislabelled "I CO" with the #1 action in photobucket, but my post keeps remembering the old photo and won't correct it. So if you see two "I Co's" in your download, the bottom one charging GGR as action #1 is actually C Co.
Location of those two markers, and many others, is always a matter of dispute, but most historians agree that Kellogg was further down near the river, and Sharrow was further away from the hill than the markers indicate. How close my indicators on the map are to reality, only Gordie knows, and he ain't telling.
I agree that those two markers, and many others, have been disputed, but was under the impression that Hardorff's Battle Casualties, I & II where pretty definitive. Who are the "most historians" you refer to?
Post by keithpatton on Apr 30, 2019 10:20:01 GMT -5
There seems to be a lot of wishful thinking when it comes to analyzing maps of the battle field. While looking at a map and the "makers" one needs to remember to subtract the nearly 50 spurious markers misplaced on the Custer battlefield that were intended for the Reno-Benteen field.
Current count has 210 men with Custer in five companies. that means he had no more than around 42 men in each company.
The scale on the white map is wrong. The distance from Last Stand Hill to Calhoun Ridge is only around 3/4 of a mile or 3960 feet or 1320 yards. So if troopers stood at the mandated five yard intervals for a skirmish line across that distance they would have needed 264 men to reach from Calhoun Ridge through Keoghs position to Last Stand Hill.
But oh,wait. Cavalry doctrine stated that each man held his horse to shoot OR one man in four would hold horses for the other three. So take a quarter of the 210 men available to hold horses. From the skirmish line leaving only 157 men, over 100 men short to man the necessary skirmish line. This doesn't even begin to extend the line down the South Skirmish line toward Deep Ravine, or down along Calhoun Ridge. as it was to cover the 1320 yards of some imaginary skirmish line along battle ridge, troopers would have been standing eight yards apart. The death or wounding of one soldier meant a 16 yard gap in the skirmish line. Two troopers going down next to one another meant a 32 yard gap, or one third of a football field. Hardly a feasible defensive line.
If you read multiple suppositions in vogue today rather than wishful exaggerated thinking from the 100 years after the battle, you start to see some rational patterns.
First Custer divided his command at least four times in the face of the enemy. First McDougal with the Pack Train. Second when he sent Benteen with three companies off to scout the Rosebud. Third time when he ordered Reno with three companies in the Valley. Fourth when he then moved north and sent two companies under Calhoun and Keogh to try and force a crossing at Medicine Tail Coulee at the north end of the village that failed. The book Lakota Noon makes a good case for the true extent of the Indian camp based on around 1000-1200 warriors max in the village according to the Aboriginal accounts and a detailed analysis of the number of Tipis in an acre and the size of the pony herd. He shows that the white eye witness accounts could not be anywhere near true estimates and the author believes that the village and the herd were exaggerated over time in order to help assuage the embarrassment over the defeat.
If Custer had kept his command unified and not scattered over more than ten miles ( Custer to Reno battlefield distance of four miles plus where ever Benteen and McDougal were at the time of the attack) he would have had between 600-700 men. McDougals company was augmented by men attached from the other companies for additional pack train security. That would have given Custer more than enough firepower to deal with 1000-1200 hostiles, IF they had been unified rather than spread all over the countryside.
It is supposed that Custer continued North to try another crossing possibly to cut off any Aboriginals he thought might try to escape north. There were reported artifacts found at the ford below the current Cemetery and Tourist Center. This however might be confusion due to the real extent of the village which the author of Lakota Noon says was no farther north than Medicine Tail Coulee. Previous interpretations put the village much farther north, but the author demonstrates convincingly that the number of tipis per acre that the aboriginals usually placed (around 12 per acre) would have resulted in far more Aboriginals than were reported by the Aboriginals themselves. Their estimates place no more than 1200 warriors in the village. Not quite a 2-1 advantage in numbers.
Scott shows rather convincingly by firearm forensics that the Aboriginals didn't have as many repeating arms as has been supposed. Only 127 individual Aboriginal firearms have been identified, and of them only 108 were identified as repeating arms. Statistical analysis/ extrapolation from the sample population pushes the number to between 350-414 firearms in aboriginal hands and of them 198-232 were Henrys or Winchesters.
Everything taken together it is pretty clear that Custer pushed his famous luck way too far and the troops under his direct command were destroyed piecemeal as they were spread out over the battlefield. Calhoun and Keoghs company were overwhelmed from the South East and struggled to reunite with Custer's three companies who had been driven back onto Last Stand Hill by Aboriginals moving up from the river north and west of them.
The two companies wiped out along Battle Ridge were likely those victims ridden down in the "buffalo hunt" described by the Aboriginals. Those scattered along the "south skirmish line" in my opinion were likely those killed in a belated break from Last Stand Hill by nearly 40 troopers trying to reach Deep Ravine. One could understand the attempt since the exposed position on the ridge was not much of a place to stage a last stand. The Aboriginals describe a rush from the hill toward the ravine and Terry's men describe finding between 28-30 plus bodies in the "ravine" that might have included the entire drainage area and not just the steep sided head of the cut.
There is still some confusion over details in the time line but Scott et al's work and the work of Michno in Lakota Noon help in reconciling the actions postulated from the archaeological finds on the battlefield.
General of the Army (Medicine Man/Chief))
I suspect that any defensive employment by line, with ends, against superior numbers of Indians was doomed to failure. We know that Custer understood that and must therefore look to ad hoc tactics and maneuver to reveal the practice of his intention. At the time that Benteen was messaged, I assume that Custer intended the five companies to fight in the valley after crossing the river. Benteen would then be arriving to Ford A, followed by McDougall. This would have concentrated the regiment in the valley, as you say, and provided a better chance of stalemate or victory or their massacre. Unfortunately, Reno cashed in that hand by retreating as Benteen arrived late. We do not know why Custer's customary zeal was absent in the valley.
As you correctly deduce, the markers do not tell the story of the battle or where the men fell. It is Owen J. Sweet's theory of the fight, marked out with markers. He explained what he did in 1890 and why. His report and description of the battle under orders issued by Brisbin.
Click the orders document to get the report. The website is being difficult with a slow feed at the moment. Sweet did his absolute best to carry out his orders.
Last Edit: May 7, 2019 20:01:53 GMT -5 by moderator
If it walks like a duck, sounds like a duck, and looks like a duck ~ it is probably a goose.