The RCOI in General Mar 23, 2013 12:24:23 GMT -5
Post by tunkasila on Mar 23, 2013 12:24:23 GMT -5
Reno and Benteen found themselves trapped in a situation not of their choosing and, did the best that they could under the circumstances forced upon them, or so the underlining theme of their testimony seemed to indicate.
In my unsolicited opinion, the responsibility for this fiasco should rightfully lay upon the shoulders of the superiors who devised an unproven and ridiculous plan based upon an erroneous theory that Indians could not and would not make a "stand" against the U. S. Military. Coupled with an equally untested and unproven theory that Gibbons' foot soldiers would be agile enough to catch fleeing warriors, in a mad dash for sanctuary, mounted upon Indian steeds.
But, I regress! In a letter to W.M. Camp, 7/20/ 1908, Daniel Knipe wrote the following passage among others:
"Just then Reno, with his three companies, came around the bluff in sight;then Custer told the adjutant,[ Lt. William W.] Cooke to signal Reno to cross the creek and come to him. Reno came at once and rode for several hundred yards with Custer, as we [were] moving at gait of a slow gallop;then Reno left us with his three companies at a more rapid gait."
Traveling at a "slow gait" affords a great opportunity to "talk." Maybe even discuss ideas or plans between two men. I understand Reno conveniently not remembering this episode, after all he was under a hot seat but, what surprises me is that somehow Wallace (who testified he was at Reno's side during this time yet, heard no orders) forgot to mention this at the Inquiry!
Judging truth in a letter is very difficult indeed, if not impossible. However, one may arrive at a reasonable assumption of veracity by examination is the underline motive for the position a person chooses to expound upon.
In 1910, Kanipe had no motivation, reward, nor vindication for describing this gentle walk in the park at Reno's side by Custer; other than it happened as he claimed. The hearing and its results were in the distant past and Kanipe was not asked about this specific issue during the hearing.
He may have been mistaken and confused a direct order, via the adjutant, and the movement (accompanied by the unmistakable sound) of hundred of horses from a distance to his immediate vicinity, as something that he "thought" happened back in 1876?
Anything has some possibility. The only persons who possessed a motivation for hiding, disguising, or not remembering the above are the same gentlemen who swore that no such an event ever occurred.
Knipe was not called to testify at the RCOI. He gave three accounts of his experiences at the LBH, the first in 1903 to the Montana Historical Society, the second in 1908 to Camp and the third in 1924 to the Greensboro Daily Record. All three accounts differ from each other on important matters and all have glaring errors but what he says regarding Reno being called across to Custer is verified by others, though where he gets a 'bluff' from I've no idea as there isn't one at that location.
I'd also agree that Reno and Benteen were motivated to state that Custer had no plan, as they used that to justify some of the actions they did or didn't take. The idea that an officer of Custer's experience rode into the LBH valley without a plan is ludicrous, but a dead man couldn't be called to testify and Reno and Benteen could say what they liked about him.