Benteen in his famous Washita letter says that as he was taking part in the slaughter of the captured indian pony herd, Custer was warned by one of his officers that he was endangering those of his men who were posted beyond the herd. Custer callously dismissed the officer's concern and continued to fire.
Two enlisted men were killed by gunshot wounds during the fighting in the village. Both men were members of Co B. They were Pvts Charles Cuddy who was apparently killed outright, and Augustus DeLaney, who died of wounds the same day. Co B sustained no other casualties.
Benteen did not write that anyone was actually hurt by Custer's negligence and bloodlust. Are there any accounts that state these men were stuck by American bullets during the killing of the ponies, or was Custer right?
Just by experience in reading or hearing about armies who accidentally kill their own men, I can draw a few painful similarities. The major similarity is the effect that Custer had very low casualties on his side of the fence, and that clearly means that he either pulled off a brilliant attack or that the enemy was less existent. Another similarity was the style of the battle, the hit against a village. We can draw visions of Waco maybe a little bit (except I admire Custer and detest what happened at Waco. I mention Waco because of the clear overall dominance that the ATF had against the Davidians, and how they probably shot a lot of their own people in the particular styles they used to hit the "compound". There are also many facts that make Waco more sinister, but we can go either way in this discussion as an example.). The firing lines used to hit a village or home or a herd (simultaneously?) might clearly endanger the lives of soldiers. Friendly fire deaths could have happened, it happens in many battle with or without anyone's fault but it would have more significance for Custer at Washita (if it were true) because Custer had such a low casualty rate.
I don't think it did happen. Unless Benteen is on some vow secrecy to the military, I don't think he'd resist letting something out like this against Custer if he had any personal knowledge of it. Benteen relies on a lot of nitpicking in order to choose his words against Custer, and when people do that it usually means that their tangible reasons for hating someone or accusing them of wrong doing are limited. The accusations against Custer have always been limited, and much the result of Benteen's backbiting. We don't have very much solid evidence about Custer cheating on Libby or doing something to foolishly endanger the lives of soldiers.
Just my thought. I'll let the rest of you do the real work.
Post by bandboxtroop on Jul 29, 2011 4:30:25 GMT -5
There are many accounts of Hamiltons death and it was from indian fire. Im just starting to research him more as i have a signed cdv he sent to a friend and he died the youngest captain on active duty at that time. he is buried in new Yorl for years many thourght he was still out west , his grave is a bitch to find but its beautiful and in a nice location. Custer and Sheridan were 2 of his pall bearers.