Supplementum: Custer is seen on the bluffs Oct 1, 2014 19:54:25 GMT -5
Post by rolotomasi on Oct 1, 2014 19:54:25 GMT -5
Not certain that I understand your point here bill on Cooke’s travel time…where does the 40 minutes that you mention come from?
I am not aware of any reference by Martin that Cooke remained at the bottom of the hill. I can assure you that he didn’t @ the RCI. If he said it in 1922 … a minor point mentioned by Martin almost 50 yrs after the battle hardly holds much weight. But if in fact Cooke was at the bottom of the hill with the troops, the obvious next question is when did he arrive? His duty would be w/ GAC @ the ridge w/o question, unless he had just arrived as GAC descended from the ridge. And if that is the case, then GAC didn’t know about Gerard’s statement that the Indians were coming out to fight.
Regarding Martin’s statement that Custer may have stayed on the ridge for as long as 10 minutes - I don’t buy it. And I believe that I’m being consistent in not using Martin’s testimony regarding the time issue on the ridge even though I have used much of Martin’s testimony in other areas of my theory (will discuss later). It is my opinion that eye-witness testimony is most accurate when recounting major aspects of big events, but accurately recalling time & distances is very difficult. I typically take witness testimony stating a time of day or length of time w/ a grain of salt. And as the length of time passes between the event & testimony, I give it even less credence. When reading testimony that Person A spoke to Person B for say “5 minutes”, I typically take that to mean that they spoke for a “short period of time” – that is all.
In addition, when you read Martin’s testimony, it is clear that he has difficulty w/ the English language @ times. Most often w/ time & distances. Martin obviously has a more significant problem w/ these 2 elements – so I believe that it is reasonable to disregard his “about 10 minutes” statement. Considering that the Regiment was in combat conditions & GAC was in a hurry to flank the village – 10 minutes standing on the ridge is an eternity. But if Martin was correct in his time estimate of “10 minutes”, the only possible purpose that I could see in remaining on the ridge for that long was to allow Reno’s command catch up in order to better coordinate the attack. Hitting the flank too early would not be desirable. Just as hitting too late would be. So if the "10 minutes" is in fact true (which I don't believe is), it only adds more credence to my theory that GAC was well north of Reno, much further than most theorists speculate.
Don’t believe that this is possible Bill. (Unless u are willing to throw out other considerable witness testimony). You have to consider Gerard’s timeline in all matters of Cooke’s movements. That is vital. As well as the testimony of Reno’s men in the valley.
Yes, Martin tells us that Custer reached the top of the bluffs well before Reno had made his appearance in the valley. Many of the warriors had apparently slept late that day after engaging in a celebratory dance which lasted most of the evening and early morning hours, as Stands in Timber's accounts relate. I would suggest to you an alternate scenario wherein Cooke returns to Custer to relay Gerard's message while Custer was still in Ash/Reno Creek about 1/2 a mile east of Ford A. In this model, Custer has already received Gerard's message -- as well as McIllargey & Mitchell's -- before he halted his command at the top of the bluffs, or in the case of the last two messengers, at least while he was halted at the top of the bluffs, if not before.
Question – how many of Reno’s men in the valley claimed to see GAC on the ridge prior to charging the valley? And of these, were any credible? Why or why not.
Why is this important? Cause after Gerard leaves Cooke, he heads back to Reno’s command which is working its way along the tree line in an easterly direction. And then moves into charge formations across the valley floor. Before commencing the charge, some of Reno’s men claimed to see GAC on the ridge overlooking the valley NE of their position. If true, it is impossible for Cooke to have delivered Gerard’s message before GAC was on the ridge. I repeat – it is impossible.
In addition, even if we throw out all of the eyewitness testimony mentioned above, Gerard claimed to see Custer @ or near Reno Hill on his way to Cooke. Do we throw out his testimony also?
It is important to note that although most consider Custer’s command “behind” Reno as the regiments reached Ford A & North Fork, that is based on their approach to Ford A. In relation to Custer’s plan of attack, the command is actually positioned parallel to Reno. In order to scale the bluffs & flank the village, Custer is approx 1 mile from Reno Hill. At Ford A, Cooke is approx 1.25 miles from Reno Hill. If Custer heads to the bluffs before Cooke leaves Gerard, the distance between the two increases rather quickly. A matter of only minutes here will be the difference between Cooke reaching Custer before the ridge or not.
And regarding McIllargey & Mitchell – they are irrelevant here. The first messenger from Reno passes Gerard after he leaves Cooke – on his way back to Reno’s command. He is way behind Cooke. In addition, if these 2 messengers don’t see Cooke move off to the bluffs toward Custer, they will most likely head back to the last place that they saw Custer – north Fork, putting them even further behind Cooke & Custer's command. So these 2 messengers have very little impact on future events.
Based on a preponderance of the LBH evidence, it is evident that GAC was well ahead of Cooke & Reno when he arrived at the ridge overlooking the valley. In addition, based upon the same evidence, it is highly unlikely that Custer received Cooke’s message from Gerard before reaching the ridge. To state otherwise is going out on a limb, something that I believe is done far too often by Custer theorists. Which only manages to deviate the theory further from what most likely occurred that day.
Yes, I have been to the area on a number of occasions and have reenacted the battle on parts of the battlefield itself. Martin's observations clearly were made well before Reno's command had made their appearance in the valley. I believe Martin was quite clear in stating that Reno's command could not be seen at that time, thus they were likely still in the vicinity of the timber just west of Ford A. I agree with you that Custer did not remain behind to watch Reno's battalion dismount or begin shooting into the valley. I believe Martin states that he heard the start of the valley fight just a few minutes after he began his ride back to deliver his message to Benteen.
We have had a number of interesting discussions here questioning the accuracy of Kanipe's claims to have been given a message for the pack train at that time. Firstly, the HQ's detachment had a number of available couriers ready to ride back with just such a message, and it would be their role to do so, not a Sgt. from a combat company about to go into battle. Secondly, the officers in the pack train and rear guard both denied ever receiving any orders from Kanipe claiming to do as Kanipe claimed he told them to do. Neither did Benteen admit to receiving the orders that Kanipe would later claim he was given to bring to him if they met. It seems to me that Kanipe's horse was likely playing out and he rode back to the train to get a fresh mount before going into battle. When Kanipe realized all of Custer's command had been killed, his story of being the "last living messenger" was concocted to explain and condone his absence from his company during the battle. Art Unger published an interesting book about a year ago exploring the whole Kanipe caper. Fred Wagner has also done a tremendous amount of research on this aspect even earlier. Martin claims to have known nothing at all about any messengers being sent back at that time.
I am convinced that Cooke did not ride up to the hill where Custer, Martin, Tom & either Calhoun or Reed first viewed the village. I believe he stayed at the bottom of the hill with the troops. I think Cooke had delivered Gerard's message to Custer within minutes of Gerard giving him the message, as I believe that Custer and his command were still on Ash/Reno Creek about between 1/4 to 1/2 mile east of the river when Cooke reached them. I think it was only after getting Cooke's message from Gerard that Custer elected to swing his 5 troops to the north over the bluffs for the purpose of enveloping the Indian force which was now expected to come out in force to confront Reno's advance down the valley. Had it not been for Gerard's message, I think it very possible that Custer intended to follow Reno on into the valley via Ford A. I think Martin was sent back with his message to Benteen only after Custer had seen Benteen's approximate position (from the dust raised on his back trail) while viewing the upper valley of Ash/Reno Creek from atop Sharpshooter Ridge, and only after Custer had ridden far enough north, down into MTC, to view the northern extension of the village proper. I don't think Martin's message for Benteen was influenced at all by Gerard's message given to Cooke about 40 minutes earlier.