Reno was a horrible choice, but Custer may have just been professionally going by rank, Reno being (apparently) the highest ranking next to Custer.
This is where the Indians are better than us. Rank is far too strict in "organized" military. Indians have high leaders that are large and in charge, but they climb "rank" based on coup systems and testaments to their fighting ability. Reno was just a "career" military man, sort of going through the motions and climbing rank through "experience" or "seniority" rather than displaying any special action in battle that would get him promoted. Reno's screwed up retreat was made in a wholly unsober state of panic. Benteen would, and was, far more competent.
My beef with Benteen is his praise of Reno's actions and the lies and denials that came afterward, whereby he went all the way to his deathbed looking for every reason and making excuses to be unrepentant, to praise and back Reno, and to just hate Custer. Benteen's a stubborn old goat, with a pension as a chatty cathy. And thats me being nice.
I think Cooke or Yates would have done well in the timber.
Cooke is such a good marksman, the finest in the 7th, I feel he could have been very comfortable with the surroundings of the timber and he alone could have picked off many Indians all by himself if he had the kind of cover that Reno felt so insecure with.
Yates is one of Custer's civil war pals, I think he'd be wiser about acceptable casualties in this type of battle. Reno fled after just a few of his men had been killed, lost far more in his retreat, and whined to Benteen about losing "half his men" and needing support.
What color was Crittenden's eye(s)-- glass eye? Did anyone hear of what happened to it? I thought something was mentioned about an arrow getting shot into his eye socket. That would make for one interesting artifact exhibit...cartridge cases, arrowheads, bullets and buttons....and one lone glass eye....staring at you..... Hmmmm.