I'm sorry but I never said Vickory "usually" or dare I say "always" carried the Colors. Most of the time Colors are cased, secured, protected, kept from loss or harm if you will, brought out for parades and campaigns. Custer for whatever reason had them cased with the pack train which was part of the regiment and was in combat that day as well. I don't see any shame in that either. I've also never heard of a guidon being cased. I don't need to have Vickory holding the mules tail either for he seems like a good soldier to have by your side in a pinch. He most likely was dutied to carry Custer's HHC Guidon. Now as for why the colors were cased? Perhaps Custer didn't want to risk losing them to the Indians. Knowing in advance what he intended to do that day. (the possibility of splitting up his command into many wings)But who knows. Although I'm going to find those Seifert and Kanipe interviews for I've never heard of them before mentioning the standard, and as for Godfrey, I'd agree (except for the color) he did carry the standard, just (in my opinion) not on that day of the Campaign. The others you mention I could take with a grain of salt for the simple reason they were not there, or the fog of time had settled in. I would also imagine that if it were indeed lost many more people (ie officers of the Seventh) would have admitted it I think. There is no shame (albeit unfortunate) in dying to the last man and losing your colors.
A Hussar who lives past the age of 30 should be shot for malingaring.
Post by bandboxtroop on May 16, 2008 20:06:13 GMT -5
Yawn ONLY one secondary and questionable source said the colors were cased with the pack train, many primary sources said they were lost and your were given that info by another poster. Hughes carried Custer's personal flag.
Last Edit: Mar 11, 2017 14:35:42 GMT -5 by moderator
Post by bandboxtroop on May 16, 2008 20:39:02 GMT -5
Private John F Donohue "Having a good rest and no Indians in sight, five of us got permission to visit the place where we first engaged the Indians. Here I found the waistband of Sergeant Hughes' trousers, he having been the bearer of General Custer's battle flag, showing that he was taken alive and brought here, and moreover his body was never found"
I didn't mean to say that you said "always" or "usually." What I meant was that those men who referred to the flags and flag bearers did not say that Vickory "usually" carried the flag, which would be a likely way to express the idea if for some reason Vickory was not carring the standard on the day of the battle.
Custer mentioned that the standard was carried into battle at the Washita in "My Life on the Plains;" Godfrey also mentioned the standard in his account of the Washita which can be found in Hutton's collection "The Custer Reader;" and Hardorff in "Washita Memories" identifies the standard bearer as Sgt J. Bales.
As for dismissing the statements of those who were not there, then there are no sources that I know of who say that the flag was with the pack train in any form.
This is how Graham put it in his article:
"It's [the standard's] presence at the Battlefield Memorial would seem to establish that the regimental standard was not [Graham emphasized not] carried into the fight by Custer. Neither was it with Reno, nor Benteen. It follows, therefore, that it must have been left with the pack-train, furled and cased, in accord with what I understand was regimental custom."
Graham did not explain where this unprecedented custom came from in the seven plus years since the Washita, or who enlightened him on the subject. .
What I think we have here is Graham assuming the flag was with the pack train because there was a flag at the Battlefield, and historians assuming that the flag at the Battlefield was with the pack train because Graham said it was.
No officer bothered to mention that the flag was with the pack train.
Regimental colors were taken into battle all the time. They were certainly carried into battle during the Civil War and the Spanish American War. There is even a photo of the 7th Cavalry color guard carrying their uncased standards on the regiment's return march from Mexico in 1917.
Why would Custer bother to take the standard with him for hundreds of miles only to retire it at the very moment that justified the flag's existence?
As far as I know the only source for the story that Vickory had his arm cut off is John Burkman. The problem is that Burkman did not go to Custer's part of the field. He would have had to get that information second hand. Burkman then told his story to I. D. O'Donnell who took notes, then G. D. Wagner used the notes to write "Old Nutriment." I'd like to believe the story. Was any other sourse given?
I think the idea that Tom Custer was an ADC is another one of those stories that got started on the thinest wiff of a possibility and is now regarded as established fact.
I'd like to see Paxson's correspondence made available.
Custer also returned the flag captured from Gen Crook.
Do the people who wanted to test the flag believe that they could find something on the flag that was unique to the Little Big Horn area in 1876? Even though it was protected its been in that area for over 60 years and the regiment served in Montana in the years following the LBH.
Post by bandboxtroop on May 17, 2008 9:20:29 GMT -5
Rch. I found a good Paxton link, here is what they have on his research. "Near the end of 1899, Paxson completed Custer's Last Stand, which he had begun painting eight years earlier; a painting he was determined to finish nearly a quarter of a century earlier. The monumental documentary painting measures 6 by 9 feet and contains nearly two hundred figures, many of which are identifiable participants in the battle. In his efforts to achieve historical accuracy in essence and detail, Paxson had interviewed 96 officers and soldiers who were close to the battle. One of the most notable tribal Indian leaders he encountered of the Cheyenne was "Two Moon" who accompanied Paxson over the battlefield not long after the event ended. Paxson acquired photographs of the men in battle, both Indian and white, and had personal collections of relevant artifacts from the Indian wars" I understand now the painting is in the Cody Museum that may be a good source to inquire if his research material is stored there. home1.gte.net/espaxson/artist.htm For Vickory's multilation I used Hardorff " The Custer Battle Casualties Vol 1" pg 117 also stated is this comment by General Godfrey on same page. "Vickory carried the regimental standard, a yellow flag" This comment was taken from the Camp notes. Pvt O'Neill G troop stated "Vickory lay right near General Custer. Vickory lay on the ground with his face up and Voss's body lay across Vickory's head Voss face being down."
I think Hardorff was trying to put out the raw data from the sources that mentioned casualties and was not trying to evaluate the sources. The Burkman statement is interesting, because the clear implication is that Vickory may have held the standard in such a death grip that his arm had the be cut off to get the trophy or, less dramtically, that he may have died with the standard in his hands, and that fact may have inspired the mutalation. If there was just one other source it might be enough to move the arm into history from where it is now, a source for a novel about Vickory.
Here is what I found in Reedstrom's Custer's 7th Cavalry. It has a pic of the 1876 regimental standard that is blue silk with yellow silk fringe with the stars and eagle on it. Says it is 2 feet 3 inches tall on the lance and 2 feet 5 inches wide/long. This would be a fairly square flag. States it was encased with the pack train.
Also has a pic of the stars and stripes swallowtail (the V notch in the right edge offt the flag) flag that was recaptured at Slim Buttes. It is 2' 3" tall and 3' 5" long to the end of the swallowtail.
Also has a pic of the personal HQ flag of Custer carried during the CW which they say is the same as the one he carried at LBH. 3 feet high by 5 1/2 feet long with a swallowtail. Top half is red silk and bottom half is blue silk. Has crossed sabres (blades up) the length of a cw sabre are stitched on. Anyway, a big difference between red & blue vs. yellow. This is much bigger and longer than the regimental standard. Side by side, Custer's personal flag would dwarf the standard.
I keep thinking that there ought to be a lot of souvenirs from Custer's battalion hiding around the reservations including his pistols, etc. But thinking about NA burial customs, I suspect the stuff that wasn't buried before their return to the reservations, has ended up buried with the NA that recovered something.
Appreciate that, but I must respectfully disagree...
Today, of course, if our companies/troops/batteries lose a guidon it is because it was stolen out of the orderly room. Nobody would shed a tear...you would just order a new one. Now whomever failed to lock the office that night might have a report of survey done and have to pay for it...he/she might shed a tear. <g>
Nobody in Iraq or Afghanistan is taking their guidons into harms way, of course, much less any regimental colors.
Now in our period, only the cavalry had guidons, I believe. The artillery batteries had colors as I recall, but perhaps the batteries had a guidon as well...I can't remember.
In Europe, traditional cavalry had one guidon per squadron. American cavalry had one per company. Both had a regimental color with the regimental headquarters.
The guidons ALWAYS charged around with the company...it always went into close combat, melees, etc., and it was very common for them to be lost. I haven't ever ran across any European or Civil War Soldiers worrying about their guidons being lost. It was simply too common, and almost expected that you would lose one about every battle.
The regimental color, however, was rarely sent into a charge. It stayed and "watched" as the squadrons were dispatched on charges, then rallied back, often near the regimental color. Its loss would be a signal of shame for any regiment.
I would expect that in all our Civil War battles, if we could research such, that any cavalry regiment heavily engaged lost several guidons in charges, but few ever lost their colors. The former would rarely be noted in anyone's stories or unit histories...loss of the color would almost always provoke notice.
I'm not sure how this impacts our LBH studies...perhaps goes to any loss of Soldier morale to the loss of the guidon? That would indeed be discouraging to the cavalrymen that saw it lost, not because of any attachment to the cloth, but rather because it would indicate a horrible event for that group of men.
A couple interesting guidon-related events at LBH: - A guidon bearer reportedly tried (unsuccessfully) to attack a Native with his staff used as a lance. You would never do THAT with a color, eh? - Benteen stuck a guidon in the ground at Weir Point as a marker, and left it there. Again, this would NEVER be done with a regimental color.
So there may have been some short-term morale impact to losing a guidon, I can judge, but the overall loss of a guidon was nothing compared to the short and long term effects of losing a color.
Post by bandboxtroop on May 23, 2008 21:33:10 GMT -5
I beg to differ with you Conz I came back from my last tour in 2007 from Iraq. I had posted my email to keep it off line we lost a guidon near Basra. It was a major issue and JAG was involved. Im with a Seabee Battalion. We do not have orderly rooms etc and I dont want to take this post from the 1800"s where it belongs but Im stating loosing a guidon is a major issue. I can see the 7th letting the 5 troop guidons under Custer and the Regimental and HQ colors slide as all were killed but Im sure the 2 troop guidons under Reno had to have been reported.
Post by bandboxtroop on May 24, 2008 0:30:39 GMT -5
OK Remf I did 7 years with Airborne MOS 11B1P 2/504 then with Air Assult 2/502 Im Airborne 'Air Asault CIB (*) Pathfinder' 2 years at Camp Hovey with 2nd Infantry Div ROK. I got out and came back in as a Navy Bee which Im dam proud of 2 deployments with the Bees. Afghanistan and Iraq. Your insults run off as rain on a windshield. As I stated before a guidon was lost in a convoy IED bushwack. It was a major deal. I apologise to this board for bringing up current service.
Post by michaeldonahue on Jul 9, 2008 13:53:24 GMT -5
I'm trying to contact Raymond Hillyer on his article on "Which They had Captured All" in last year's Research REview. There is some new evidence I want to share with him. If anyone has his address or email or phone, let me know. The captured yellow flag was at Crow Agency in 1921 and it is not a regimental standard but another headquarters flag used by Custer.
Michael Donahue, Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument