I haven't read Pigford's account. Anyone know where it is?
If Edgerly heard the general's devoted band for Weir point then he had good hearing cause wasn't it left at FAL? Their horses given to others.
I believe also that Godfrey has Weir and the other companies setting up a defense on the bluffs until conditions stabilized. He might have been covering Reno on his jaunt to look for Hodgson's body. I put his time for moving out much later, accordingly. Weir couldn't have left with NAs to his front across the river. It was all the NAs moving north to Custer that probably prompted Weir to move anyway. I doubt he tailed them as they would have turned back on him. (just adding a little common sense here)
I think he meant, like, "band of heroes," not "marching band." And I thought they were left at the Powder River depot.
Re: other comments--I don't think you can see the Keogh swale from Weir Point--it's too low. You can see the top of Battle Ridge, so you might see Indians converging on the swale, but you wouldn't see much that was going on down the back of Battle Ridge.
Post by thehighwayman on Jan 23, 2010 12:44:18 GMT -5
I have no problem concerning the concept of Tom Custer’s attachment to (official or not) the headquarters group on the 25th, or actually, with Boston’s presence on the expedition. Fred is right about George doing as he damn-well pleased out from the fort on a campaign, but (I think) the case of Tom’s absence from C Company command went a little beyond that. Further, I don’t see that it was based so much on a frivolous and nepotistic ‘party-time’ atmosphere, in George’s thinking, for the following reasons.
George had expressed before this, his respect and admiration for Tom’s martial skills. Not that Tom was another Bonaparte or anything close, but it seems obvious to me that something more than mere nepotism was involved in their working relationship. I believe that George trusted in and valued Tom's advice in the field. I would keep such a man close as well.
The intentional chasm dividing officers from enlisted men was broader and deeper then, than it is today. Many officers never even talked with or oversaw training of the men under their company commands. Not a small number of commanding officers, at company level, ever even served with their companies, in the west. Being rather, on extended leave or detached service, in positions in the east. NCOs were in charge of just about everything, and often interacted with officers little more than to make periodic reports to them. There were exceptions to all that, certainly, but absentee company commanders (even when they were present at the post) were not out of the norm by any means. The point is, there seemed to be little concern over who was in charge. Beyond the established pecking order of assignment 'by right' rather than by ability alone. Officers and their individual abilities and qualities were of primary concern to the regimental commander, but any group of enlisted men were looked upon as little more than any group of horses were looked upon.
George had been absent for about a year before the 1876 campaign. Major Reno had commanded in that absence, and been in charge of what preparations for the expedition there had been. Tom had only had his captaincy for a short number of months, and had been serving as a lieutenant in M Company until that time. In some ways, the 7th was new to George, and C Co. was new to Tom. Harrington’s experience and familiarity with C and its NCOs was more solidly cemented than was Tom’s. As such, it would seem that George could reasonably believe that Tom’s closer working relationship with him would be of greater value overall, and come at no detriment to C Company’s capabilities.
Boston wasn’t a total greenhorn at the time of the Summer 1876 expedition. He’d been ‘around’ and active with the 7th Cav. on occasions before this one. George had attempted (unsuccessfully) to secure a commission in the 7th, for Boston, and it’s doubtful - in my mind - that he’d given up on the idea, probably even thinking that a successful campaign that summer would add a little ‘sparkle’ to Boston’s resume. Even Captain Cranky (Benteen) didn’t seem to have any derogatory things to say about Boston being along, the roll he played, or of him being present only as an indulgence of priviledge on George’s part. I would suspect that there would be no hesitation on his part to grouse about it, all things considered. At least, I haven’t seen any such complaint expressed by him, and he rarely passed on an opportunity when it came to Custer.
Mel, I think you are right on all counts. However, I was under the impression that Pigford may have been deployed further east of where Weir was. Possibly giving him a better view but I don't think they could see down below the ridge anyway.
Good to hear from ya, Highway. I was reading a year old thread the other day you posted alot on and had me wondering what happened to ya. Guess I didn't realize that he was new to Co. C and if he didn't go on the Reno scout then that seals the deal on what his function was. If he didn't go with his company on the scout, then I suspect it was mutual that he didn't want to go and Reno probably didn't want him along either.
1. Most of the time after Benteen seperated from the main 7th Cav Column, Gibson was leading the point detachment. He couldn't be a de facto CO.
2 The wings commanded by Benteen and Reno on the march from FT Lincoln never acted seperately, but DeRudio and Hodgson were adjutants of those wings.
3. I don't think Custer always used the order of reporting as a basis for determining the order of march. The organizations that Custer used nearly always involved squadrons, battalions, and wings in some form. I'm not sure what he used in 1867. He used one 3 company battalion and four 2 company squadrons during the Washita operation. Later when he operated with both the 7th Cav and the 19th Kansas Cav, I don't think he turned command of the 7th over to Capt Thompson. He used two wings of two 2 company squadrons each on the Yellowstone Expedition. On the Black Hills Expedition he used two 5 company wings. On the march from Ft Lincoln he used two wings of two 3 company battalions each. The order of march was formalized, and I think designed with the task of guarding the wagon train in mind.
What allowed Custer to base the order of march on the order companies reported was the absence of formal subordinate commands. All company commaders reported to him or the adjutant for the march down the Rosebud.
When did he use this method before?
4. The commanders of the rear guard on 23, 24, and early on the morning of the 25 Jun had more to do wth seniority and availability than tardy reporting. The rear guard totalled 3 companies in addition to the packs on those days. That meant a relatively senior capt would probably have to command it. The rear guard commanders on those days were Benteen, Yates, and Keogh, the 1st, 3rd, and 2nd senior capts present. That the 3 senior capts would be in dutch on 3 successive days is a hefty trifecta.
5. Boston Custer had worked in the forage master's department of nthe 7th Cav and may have gone with the regiment in that capacity. No other man is listed as forage master on Lt Nowlan's roster of civilian employees. I can't say that this is conclusive, because Nowlan wore 2 and sometimes 3 hats and there may be a list of civilian employees of the 7th Cavalry that hasn't been published..
6. Civilians often accompanied troops in the field. Grierson's son was in the field with him. So Reed's presence with his uncle was not a violation of any kind.
7. Kellogg had been with the expedition from the start. The whole English speaking world, including Sherman, must have had that information available to it. In addition Sherman's hatred of reporters was probably well known to and ignored by Terry, who himselfhad to know that Kellogg was present for 5 weeks. In addition Crook marched with so many reporters that he could have used a press secretary.
Was Keogh meant to come back and rejoin with Custer after he was sent forth with Reno? Should he have stayed with Reno? Could he have stayed with Reno? Would someone like Keogh have any influence over Reno?