Clair - i agree the devil is in the details - if we believe Thompsons story - then there were NA warriors in the area but no massing of resistance untill the cavalry gets well down mtc - as i read it his horse gives out shortly after weir - about a mile after the last watering hole - if you dont mind me taking liberty with the map you drew - d
Here's a closeup of the Ford B fight positions, potentially. The shaded blue areas show the "deadly fire zone" of the two cavalry companies deployed on Butler ridge in doctrinal skirmish lines. They'll quickly kill anything in this zone that shows itself. It is about 250 meters out from the ends of their carbines.
They'll cause significant casualties to anything mounted within the view of this picture...out to 500m + with massed fires. No Warriors are going to stay long mounted, much less massed, anywhere in this picture.
The red arrows show firing positions of individual Warrior sharpshooters crawling around under cover...not mounted, and not in any kind of signficant mass. Masses can be found on the west side of the river, and up on Bouyer's Bluff...the only place they could survive in this fight.
1. Custer gets back to his wing, and orders Keogh and Yates to move out up the ridge...A few Warriors (and families) flee down MTC to village; some boys gather on west bank to defend ford; Warriors at Reno fight see Custer moving in MTC.
2. Keogh and Yates split, Keogh headed to secure high ground; Yates to secure ford and attack village...Warriors begin to build on Bouyer's Bluff and begin arriving from Reno fight.
3. Yates pulls up on "Butler's Ridge" and fires on village; Keogh fires volleys off Luce Ridge to pin down Warriors attempting to flank Yates across MTC from Bouyer's Bluff and off Weir Peaks...Warriors begin to gather on Greasy Grass ridge, as well, to flank Yates from high ground on both sides of Butler Ridge; Warriors continue to build up from both village and Reno fight.
4. Yates has to withdraw toward N-C Ridge under covering fire from Keogh...Warriors pursue as closely as possible and also attempt to flank Keogh's position on Luce Ridge; Warriors block any path in Reno's direction, or directly up Calhoun Ridge.
5. Keogh displaces to N-C ridge, firing mounted, as Yates mounts on N-C ridge and then moves over to Calhoun Hill.
Post by Horsethief on Dec 16, 2009 22:40:52 GMT -5
all we can go by are the story's after the battle and the archaeologist findings - unless a person had a good reason to lie or there is conflicting testimony, then we should believe - with a grain of salt - the cavalry on tired horses would have probably followed the easiest, out of sight route - Custer was scouting and giving direction like a man with a mission - E company was probably with Custer except for the run down the bluff --- feint or not, in mtc the head of the hammer met the point of resistance and it was a bigger nail than it could drive - i will be taking pics from horseback this summer i will title them "what i think happened here" or "what can you see from this spot" - i will carry a gps for coordinates - start requesting your shot list now - or join me - right after we get out of jail we will go to the closest INTERNET bar - yes, i will probably be trespassing and i promise to watch out for rattlesnakes - d
Hmmmm...so if Benteen is leaving the morass about 10-15 minutes before Reno bugged out, how long does this give Benteen to arrive at Reno's location?
Does Benteen meet Reno 15 minutes after Reno arrives at the top of the bluff?
And does Reno leave the timber 5 minutes before he arrives at the top of the bluff?
This time line would have Benteen moving from the morass to meeting Reno personally over a maximum of 35 minutes.
In this time, Weir bolts on Benteen at the morass, Benteen meets Kanipe, and then Martin, Weir bolts from Benteen a second time to gallop to Ford A, Benteen's other two companies "charge" with pistols drawn Gerard's second knoll, see the tail of Reno's column, and then gallop up the bluff to meet Reno.
That's a pretty tight schedule for a movement of over six miles, some stop time near Ford A, and walking most of the way from the morass to meeting Martin?
Pvt. Peter Thompson wrote some words concerning these movements. As shown, you have the Thompson’s Ford and OP. There is one other point where Thompson observes the Reno charge down the valley towards the village; my approximate location is on the ridge where you have the “Bulk of Warrior testimonies.”
Yeah...Fred and I like to call that point "3411."
I’ll start at this point, Thompson’s horse has given out and is moving north along the ridge.
I'll add that I believe Thompson's horse gave out a bit south of this point, closer to the foot of Sharpshooter ridge. I say this because as he walks north, the column "disappears" over the ridge. 3411 gives a good view down all of Cedar Coulee to the north, where Custer's column was. So it must have disappeared to Thompson from south of this vista, I think.
Pvt Peter Thompson wrote, “I then looked across the river at the Indian village, it was all in commotion. One party of Indians was dashing down the river; others were hurrying towards their ponies; 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,”
Fred...now place the timing of where Custer's column must be as Reno's column is still a mile up the valley charging toward the village?!
Thompson continues toward the north following Custer’s path.
“I saw a small party of Indians about thirty in number driving a small bunch of ponies and mules, coming towards us.”…” On coming close I saw that they were our Ree scouts and two Crow Indians” This location is about 3 miles at most from the Lone Teepee, and closer to the watering hole, where Benteen is signaled up the bluffs to Reno Hill. Others see the pony herd, the scouts have collected.
Well, that is rather inexact due to the vagaries of placement of the burning lone tipi, eh? But it does correlate with the Crow testimonies as they drove captured ponies to the rear and saw Thompson on the way. I believe they climbed the bluff at the same place Thompson later went down the bluff to the village ford...the main lodge pole trail.
As Thompson moves more to the north on the ridge he states. “When I had nearly gained the top of the hill, I saw five Sioux Indians. We discovered each other about the same time. Three of them turned aside and rode toward my rear. The other two brought their guns to their shoulders and aimed at me.”
I think THIS is point "3411," most likely.
These warriors would be coming from the direction of Weir Point on the ridge toward the Reno Hill fight.
Probably trying to find their stolen ponies...
This indicates that more warriors were coming out of the village probably using Thompson’s Ford to gain the route to Reno Hill.
I agree, and probably as much to get back their ponies as to attack Reno. They may have been Akacita, not allowed to join the Reno fight.
Making his way down the bluffs Thompson writes, “The trail I was on led directly to the river and thence into the village. The commotion in the village had subsided; the signs of life were few; it appeared to me that it was deserted, so quiet and deathlike was the stillness.”
At this time most warriors are engaged with Reno in the valley fight.
Aye, and the women had moved to the Oglala camp area. Now those Warriors were waiting in that camp with Crazy Horse, but the Miniconjou area camps were deserted...they had all left to fight Reno, and perhaps most of the Akacita that should have been there had just gone after the ponies?
Pvt Thompson and Watson make their way to the ford leading into the village. Getting close to the ford Thompson says, “We saw plenty of Indians on our side of the stream; they seemed to get bolder and more numerous, but so far they were some distance away. We kept very close to the underbrush which lined the bank of the river.”
These were likely the Warriors trying to flank Reno's line behind him...through or behind his "timber." I don't think they were between him and Custer/Ford B.
“Suddenly a small band of Indians came up towards us on a jog trot which made us seek the cover. When they had passed we moved on our way. Again we were sent to cover by the approach of more Indians. No doubt they were coming this way in order to enter the village by the ford.
Places the flanking movement of Warriors around behind Reno a bit before they all come streaming back...logical sequence.
This is describing the return of the warriors from the Reno fight following the return trail Conz shows on the map at the Thompson Ford. Thompson also puts this timeframe, one half hour after the start of the Reno valley advance.
Not exact, but close enough to put in perspective with the rest of the fighting.
Thompson continues, “We had scarcely been concealed ten minutes before we heard a heavy volley of rifle shots down the stream followed by a scattering fire.” This I believe is the volley to protect the advancing troops down MTC toward Ford B. Timeframe is about 40 minutes from Reno advance down the valley after crossing Ford A.
By either Yates or Keogh, or both. A heavy firefight breaks out here. I'm not sure we can reliably say how long it was after the Reno advance, but in general this is okay...it could have been one hour, or half an hour. Probably longer than shorter, judging by all Thompson has done since seeing Reno's charge.
Thompson then continues, “During the fight between Custer and the Sioux scores of Indians had stationed themselves on the bluffs overlooking the village as far as we could see” At this time the warriors have left Reno and are on the path shown of Conz’s map above the bluffs and are then engaging Custer and the battle moves to the north.
That is up on Bouyer's Bluff, all Thompson could see (he could see Greasy Grass Ridge in the distance, as well).
It was a foolish undertaking for a short distance below us the bluffs came close to the river and the water washing at the base for so long a time had caused the bluff to cave in and for the distance of a hundred feet up was so steep that even a goat could not climb it. On top of the bluff just where we desired to go were seated three Indians with their ponies but a short distance behind them.”
This is a very important location...it well places Thompson's location and affects all the rest of his testimony, before this and after (see map below).
Most of the warriors have now moved out of the Boyer Bluff area and moved north.
Most, but a few hang back...
Thompson is referencing Reno start down the valley, till the end of firing on the Custer battle as three hours.
Probably...again, such estimates that can easily vary 20-25% either way.
I would like to see an expanded view that includes Weir pt. on the right along with the positions of Thompson's sighting of Custer and the crows firing position from Bouyer's bluff. Any routings you have are welcome to. I'm trying to see which bluffs Thompson couldn't go past as well. Is that the one you mention?
The below satfoto might do...Thompson was probably travelling between point #4 and #2 when he saw Custer at #2...he was probably walking just past the word "Buffalo" in the pic when he saw him. You can see how the Scout and Custer would seem to "come out of the ford" in the low ground out of sight, up on the cutbank where Thompson could see him. Then Custer would go back down into the cutbank again.
Custer could easily go back and forth using the cut in the bluff at point #1. Just below the river from #2, just past the route to #1, you can see where the bluff becomes a cliff and there is no room on the right bank of the river to travel.
I think Thompson's OP was the upper (lower on the river) one, closest to #2. I've pretty much discarded the one with the longer arrow at this point. That's an old photo/diagram.
Key decision I have to make is did Martini leave with his note before or after any Custer scout to the river, assuming a model that fits Thompson's story.
I think it almost has to be before for any timeline to fit. I don't think Custer went down to the ford at #2 from "3411" or Weir hill...I think he went there from his column halted in MTC where he dispatched Martin. IOW, I think Custer took off at the same time as Martin, and they both travelled around Weir Hill on opposite sides of it, Custer going to #1, and then down to #2, and back again, all in about 10 minutes.
Second key decision is trying to reconcile Martini's look over his shoulder and seeing troops moving back. That opens up Butler/Luce, Eastern Ridge, and Weir point and points thereabouts as those possibilities for Martini's departure point. His over the shouldder sighing most likely was high up on Sharpshooter or by Weir point.
Since the Warriors weren't attacking yet, I think he is seeing Keogh's battalion climbing East Ridge, on its way eventually to Luce Ridge. That is all a rider would see as he climbed back up towards 3411 after leaving Custer in MTC.
Here's a map to help us decide if Custer was "tardy" in launching his attack at Ford B.
Let's make one assumption that the best tactic here was for Custer's command, now at the head of Cedar Coulee (marker “0” on map) with Custer at 3411 watching Reno, to attack across Ford B and back upriver towards Reno as quickly as possible. Now that is not necessarily a true assumption...there is room to say Custer should pause and allow the Reno fight to develop, but let's get to that later.
The action will open up about 3 miles from the head of Cedar Coulee, even if you use a slightly more southern route than Cedar Coulee...won't make but a couple minutes difference is you have a bit longer route (some models use a route south of Sharpshooter Ridge, and that's okay).
At a canter the whole way, you are at Ford B in 18 minutes. At a reasonable trot the whole way, you are at the Ford in 30 minutes. So it should be reasonable to expect that Custer would be attacking across Ford B 20-30 minutes after starting down Cedar Coulee...the last time his column was probably seen from some Soldiers in Reno's command in the valley.
> So at what stage of the Reno fight was Custer's column last seen? In my model, it was last seen slightly before Reno dismounted.
> At what stage of the Reno fight was firing heard on the other side of Weir Hill (presumably around Ford B, but not necessarily)? In my model, this was just as most of Reno's command was across his retreat ford (the ones that would make it at all), and most up on the bluff already.
In my model, Reno fights dismounted for 20 minutes, and fights in the timber for 15 minutes, and takes 10 minutes to get most of the men up on the bluff. This is a total time of 45 minutes.
If Reno's men last saw Custer's column disappear down Cedar Coulee just before dismounting, Custer is attacking at Ford B 45 minutes after Reno dismounts.
But the distance above should only take at most 30 minutes to travel, or 20 minutes with alacrity.
What was Custer's command doing during this "lost time" of 15-25 minutes in MTC?