Indian Enthusiasts will usually want to describe Custer going down very quickly and with more minimal damage to the natives. That way its a big loss for Custer and a big win for the Indians and there are no ifs, ands, or butts.
Pell mell direct close combat fighting, storming and swarming can likely finish Custer very fast, though the Indians run a potential that major casualties migt be theorized. Long distance shooting and using the land and terrain is enough to give people the impression of a battle where Indians lose very few men, but fighting that way could never finish Custer fast enough for the tastes of an Indian enthusiast. Thus, they are caught up in a web of some of their prejudices and agendas.
In reality, it was much of both. And certainly still, it was a big loss for Custer and a huge win for the Indians.
I believe during the early part of the cw, they were using a lot of end loaders with ramrods. Maybe a few but not many muskets without rifled barrels but most had rifled barrels by then. At least they didn't have to use powder horns. They bit the end off of the paper containing the rifled minie ball and powder and poured the powder down the barrel. Then rammed the ball afterwards.
Other than the repeaters, I'm not sure when of if they used breechloaders in the cw (off the top of my head).
Not sure but the documentary seems to agree with you and bc, that it was a heavily wooded area. But it states that the cavalry had to charge 600 yards to reach the Confederate forces so there must have been a fairly large field in the middle
There were some open areas there around Mine Creek. Just not the vastness of points west. The confederate lines were a mile wide. Apparently Benteen was not in front leading the charge however. Probably in the rear. It faltered and had to be rallyed by a Major Pierce. Gen. Alfred Pleasonton was in command. There were really 3 battles that day and this is the second one. The Confederate general is F a g a n. For some reason I can't edit in the first 3 letters and it keeps leaving the astericks.
Here is what the wiki says:
Six miles south of Trading Post, the brigades of Colonels Benteen and Phillips overtook Price's army once more, this time as it was crossing Mine Creek. The heavily laden Confederate wagons were experiencing difficulty with the rain-swollen ford, and Price had accordingly anticipated making a stand at this location. He formed a line on the north side of the stream, with Brig. Gen. James F. ***an's division on the left, and John S. Marmaduke's on the right. Eight cannon were deployed in support of this force. Brigadier General William L. Cabell's brigade formed up on the south side of Mine Creek in reserve. General Price himself had gone on with the main wagon train toward Ft. Scott, about twenty miles south, in the company of his third division, under Brig. Gen. Jo Shelby. Price was hoping to capture that post, which held valuable military stores.
The Union troops consisted of Philips's brigade, containing three regiments of Missouri militia cavalry; and Benteen's brigade, which included regiments from Missouri and Iowa, augmented by two companies of the 7th Indiana Cavalry. In all, about 2,600 Federal troops would face around 7,000 Confederates.
Although outnumbered by more than two-to-one, the Union cavalry immediately commenced an attack. Col. Philips initially hesitated in the face of the overwhelming Confederate superiority in numbers, but he was overruled by Benteen (who would later ride to fame at the Battle of the Little Bighorn), who charged full-tilt into the Confederate center while Philips hit Price's left flank. Faced with this sudden assault, ***an and Marmaduke ordered their men to remain mounted (rather than dismount, which had been their usual practice), turning the ensuing combat into one of the largest mounted cavalry engagements of the Civil War.
Disaster nearly overtook the Federals, as Benteen's men inexplicably stopped their charge about halfway between their original position and the Confederate lines, refusing to start again until Major Abial R. Pierce of the 4th Iowa galloped ahead of his regiment toward the Southern lines, followed in turn by his own regiment and then the rest of Benteen's brigade. Hitting the Confederates "like a thunderbolt", according to William Forse Scott's The Story of a Cavalry Regiment: the Career of the Fourth Iowa Veteran Volunteers, the Union troopers forced the Confederate line to disintegrate "like a row of bricks". Mass confusion reigned on the battlefield, as many of Price's men had donned captured Union uniforms, making it harder to distinguish between them and real Union soldiers. General Marmaduke was captured by an Iowa trooper named James Dunlavy, as he went to rally what he thought was a group of his own men (but who turned out to belong to Benteen's command). General Cabell similarly became a prisoner, as would nearly 1,000 of Price's army by the time the battle had ended.
Although the Confederates had numerical superiority, they were overwhelmed by the rapid attack and greater Union firepower, which included revolvers and breechloading carbines (the Confederates were mostly equipped with muzzle-loaders). The battle itself lasted barely 30 minutes; by the time General Price arrived on the scene, it was practically over. Although many Southerners fought tenaciously, especially Price's artillery, most chose to flee. General ***an tried to reform these men south of the creek near the Jones house, but was not able to hold his troops there and retreated to a new position atop a treeless mound still further to the south. However, lacking artillery support (Price's artillery had been captured on the main battlefield) and having lost several of his immediate subordinates, ***an could not hold this position either. Benteen's brigade began its charge up the hill, supported by Union artillery, and ***an's command broke and ran for the nearby Ft. Scott road. Coming upon this scene, Price tried to rally his retreating men, to no avail.
Confederate casualties were 1,200, including those wounded during the retreat. Union casualties were 100.
Benteen and Philips continued their pursuit of Price's diminishing force, joining combat with it again at the Battle of Marmiton River later that same afternoon. The Army of Missouri would continue its withdrawal until reaching relative safety in Arkansas, though with only about one half of its original numbers. The great Missouri Raid had been a complete fiasco for Price, and the overall Union victory had precisely the opposite effect from what the Confederates had hoped, helping in Abraham Lincoln's successful campaign for reelection and contributing to the overall Union victory in the war.
According to the documentary, when Benteens force got to within 100 yards of the Confederate line they got panicked by the artillery fire, Benteen got in front and urged them on but apparently they were too shaken. Another young Officer with 300 men moved around them and started to charge, Benteens men then got their confidence back and they charged and broke the Confederate line
Didn't know it but Benteen had part of his jacket shot off when he leaped over a Confederate gun position.
Sounds like this action was pivotal in getting Benteen a Captaincy in the Regular Army after the war.
You may very well be right about that, I believe after this action his CO wrote a letter to the Governor of Missouri requesting a promotion for him. That didn't work out but as you say the action may very well have been instrumental to his rank in the regular Army.