I appreciate your patience, all of you. I am more concerned about "CLW," however. I like her a lot and don't mean to be the horrible pedant I can be.
As for Gordie... well, I like him a lot, as well. I think our "issues" are best resolved over a beer and once that would happen, it would be OK. To my way of thinking, Gordie and Elisabeth are two of the most knowledgeable in this whole affair. I miss them both.
It could be that quite a number of men accompanied Custer. They simply may not have been seen, or they may have been back a little in a place where they couldn't be seen from the valley floor. In addition to the orderly trumpeters, Custer may have had a personal orderly as he had at the Yellowstone fight in 1873. Orderlies might accompany him to carry his rifle or to hold his horse.
Aw heck, Fred. I rarely take things personally. And when I do, I say so, just to keep the air clear. Don't worry about me, but thanks for caring. And stop apologizing, it's a sign of weakness according to Nathan Brittles.
Bless you keogh, for posting a map that doesn't make it impossible to read this thread. I see it CAN be done.
What about the route Godfrey submits? He tracked him and later walked the route with Gall, although it's unclear if this part of the route was included in the tracking. On Godfrey's map it looks to me to be the route between 1 and 2 that is mentioned above. His description of the area is on page 94, The Custer Myth.
The Godfrey thing is one of the most interesting and least understood parts of this whole fiasco. Everybody I know of misinterprets Godfrey's writing in this regard: the route he talks about is not where people think and it has absolutely nothing to do with Sharpshooters' Ridge. I must have read that section of Godfrey's article a hundred times before it hit me. How can I get it to you without spilling all the beans?
Fred ~ I know the route he TALKS/WRITES about has nothing to do with SSR and refers to a place called Godfrey's Spring. That location is shown on the McElfresh map and may or may not be in the right place. I've discovered some things on that map are misplaced. Anyway... that is a looong discussion for another part of the battle. But on the map he supposedly drew, he does show the route he thinks Custer took accross the area we're discussing. And it looks to me to be just west of SSR along it's base.
The map is notoriously inaccurate and the notation on the McElfresh map has nothing to do with the battle, per se, though I know what you are talking about. You are correct-- as far as I am concerned-- about the route being to the west of SSR. Every bit of testimony, every bit of descriptive work, every measurement "guessed" at, points to that route "west" of SSR as Cedar Coulee.
The arguments against Cedar are all couched in the hindsight forum: too narrow, too difficult, etc. That may be true, but how would Custer have known? If you do the math and figure out the timing, you will see that my initial calculations posted on some of these boards are incorrect. I have gone over all this stuff and have discovered-- based on a number of sources-- that Reno was probably in the valley longer than we give him credit for-- though NOT longer than some eye-witnesses have said. Reno stayed on his skirmish line at the upper end of the time guesstimates. That pushes DeRudio's timeline a little, but it gives Custer more time to have reached Ford B (and this is where Godfrey was wrong... Custer did go to Ford B). The volley firing gives us another point from which to calculate-- though that point is very flexible when determining Custer's actual Ford B arrival. Am I making myself clear here?
The "proof" is all based on two factors: archaeology and testimony. Unfortunately, Godfrey had no access to the former and that's why his map is incorrect. There is more, but I am hesitant to give it out just yet. Your instincts are very, very good, however, and I think-- if you include Ford B-- you have it pretty much nailed.
You are absolutely correct; it is just one of those niggling little points we all seem to strive to solve... the pursuit of perfection I guess. Sort of like a second morass, the lone tepee, and all the rest of the stuff. The fascination is in the uncertainty.
As usual, I am a day late and a dollar short, so I will give you the short version and maybe we can discuss it further, though I am sure it has already been fully covered. It is just that I do not have the time right now. Here goes.
Custer swung off from the Reno Creek trail only a few hundred yards from the LBH. He did not water at North Fork, but in a small feeder ravine that ran N-S, not E-W like North Fork. He moved up that ravine-- it can be seen easily today and it clearly seen on the topo maps. From there he moved up the east side of the bluffs for a few hundred yards, then swung over to the east to follow easier-sloping terrain. He keyed onto Sharpshooters' Ridge.
As he reached the high ground approaching Benteen-Reno Hill, he doglegged left toward the bluffs and the burgeoning sound of firing. Custer himself probably rode between his command and the bluffs, but ahead of his troops.
As he swung left, he brought his men-- in a changed formation-- toward a coulee (Cedar) between the two promontories (Weir and SSR). Custer then went to the edge of the bluffs-- 3,411 on the topo map-- and viewed Reno's initial deployments.
Once finished-- 4, 5 minutes, probably no more-- he moved to his command and they began their trek down Cedar, not an easy journey. He reached MTC and moved left. When he saw the easier route up toward Luce-- right where the northern fork comes into MTC-- he moved up the hillside and stopped on Luce Ridge. He dropped off Keogh (C, I, and L) and himself, proceeded down toward Ford B: (1) along the ridges; or (2) one company in MTC and one on the ridges; or (3) both companies in MTC... your choice.
Fred and everyone: What do you think of the story/account I read somewhere of a siting of Custer himself and alone scouting along the river in the ford B area with, I assume, part of his command still back up MTC waiting? Don't know if there is any truth to it, but the more I think about it, it just seems like one of those natural things that Custer was prone to do. Which also explains why the command may have been halted at MTC for a while. Also wonder if that was before or after the Martini departure.
Yes, his story does hold some merit, although I do think he, like several others there, were prone to exaggerate their accounts so as to tell a more interesting story. There are those battle researchers who, having found a single exaggeration or falsehood in an account, will then conclude that the entire account must be a fabrication. To me, this is, in essence, throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Many of the enlisted men accounts will include a few "stretchers" here and there so as to make for a more interesting story. We see this in Pvt. Pigford's account, Pvt. Korn's account, and certainly Peter Thompson's account as well. But yes, I do believe that the crux of his story holds true and matches up quite well with the terrain described and time factors. His fellow troopers certainly had no qualms believing him.
"The more I see of movement here (Little Big Horn Battlefield), the more I have admiration for Custer, and I am satisfied his like will not be found very soon again.”
~ Gen. Nelson Miles, Commanding General of the Army ------
"With our cherished ones deliverance within our grasp we waited breathless two hours, for the order that never came."