Weir Peaks is owned by the Preservation Committee and a good deal of the property heading south from the peaks is also owned by the Committee; on both sides of the road. The road area, running from the peaks to the NPS land around Reno Hill is surrounded by Preservation Committee land, except for one tiny area almost directly opposite from the head of Cedar Coulee. If my memory serves me right, Charley was killed closer to Weir and probably on Committee land. The Preservation Committee owns the entire lower half of Cedar Coulee and much of MTC, certainly most of the section we believe Custer rode down.
The NPS has to tread a fine line with stuff like that. They are charged with preserving the site, so they can't be digging it up all that often. They just did a dig down by the river; Friends of LBH funded it. Didn't find much of anything; nothing battle-related. They did it because the course of the river is changing, and there is a chance that in a year or so, the area they dug would no longer be considered to be within the park boundary.
You might be able to talk the Preservation Committee into a dig for Charley; I have no idea what kinds of permits, if any, might be needed. Everything around there is so convoluted. People claim ownership of Preservation Committee land, and it would probably require a trip to the appropriate office to prove what is what--meanwhile, somebody is standing there with a shotgun telling you to get off his property. So you want to make sure you've got all your ducks lined up in advance, and that they're the right kind of ducks--no matter what you do around there, somebody is going to object to it.
I was told that the 28 guys from E Troop were probably near the top of the ravine, not the river--and that that area had been used as a trash dump for years before the battlefield became a national park, so they could be more than ten feet down. Or they could have washed away in the last 134 years of storms. Or could they have been removed from Deep Ravine in 1877 or later, and reburied as what is called the South Skirmish Line?
Post by bandboxtroop on Oct 1, 2010 4:06:53 GMT -5
Ok Fred so If the Preservation Comm owns the land cant they do a dig? And as I mentioned in 1923 Darris boot was recovered in Deep Ravine. He had a outstanding Civil War record and was in I troop so he was one of the few to make the long run up to LSH from Keough position and then run down to the Ravine to die with that last breakout. I actually found 2 of Darris's ancestors been talking to them. They want to know where the 1923 boot and bones were buried if thier ancestor has a stone I sent them the info to the battlefield. I will def try to make one of your NYC guys meetings I just have to get a ride up their the VA has me on stuff that by law I cant drive on. Please send next meeting and location date. On my off time been working on a LSH diorama with the yellow 7th regimental flag and a Doctor Lord figure have it glass encased will try to get pics out. This one company I buy my painted 54 m figures from actually have a Boston Custer out now. Joe
Ok Fred so If the Preservation Comm owns the land cant they do a dig?
I would assume so, but I don't know really. Melani is the real pro when it comes to stuff like that. Maybe I will dump an e-mail to Bob Reece, the president of "Friends" and see what he says about it.
I will def try to make one of your NYC guys meetings I just have to get a ride up their the VA has me on stuff that by law I cant drive on. Please send next meeting and location date.
I definitely will, Joe. It would be great to have you at one of these things. Dan "Benteen" drove 50 miles to get there and I am wondering if he might be near you. We'll find out.
On my off time been working on a LSH diorama with the yellow 7th regimental flag and a Doctor Lord figure have it glass encased will try to get pics out. This one company I buy my painted 54 m figures from actually have a Boston Custer out now.
I used to paint WWII, 54mm figures, then my ex-wife stole them all from me during our divorce. There is a place in Saratoga, NY, called the Saratoga Soldier Shop and owned by one of the original founders of the old Imrie-Risley Miniatures Company. They made marvelous figures and they are still be around.
BBT. The problem with any archeological digs/metal detecting is that an organized dig takes mucho dinero to do it and do it right. A few guys with metal detectors don't cut it any more.
I'd think the Preservation Trust would sponser a dig, someone just has to pony up the tens of thousands of bucks to do it right. Everything has to be laid out right, dug right, artifacts preserved, bones preserved and sent to paleontolygists to study and so on. Have to make sure the bones aren't NA. Artifacts require special preservative treatment in labs. Probably have to pay guys like Scott and Fox and staff for months worth of work from beginning until a report/book is written. I suppose they are up to it if someone would fund them.
Just a lot of expensive study. I personally would like to cover the area with ground penetrating radar as well but that takes moolah. The trust is trying to buy land first.
The problem with the NPS is that they have no taxpayer money to do anything. They can't even get a new visitors center. Thousands of park service sites all vying for a little money. It takes a special event like a fire or the threat of erosion to do something. No threat in Deep Ravine unfortunately. Then to do anything at all, they have to conduct studies first and prepare environmental impact studies. That is an expensive process waiting for someone to pony up some bucks for. Then you get people who are against it that can shoot a project down and it takes special NPS personnel to fight for their share but it only took a few to shoot down the visitors center.
I always thought the land between the two battlefields was owned by the Realbirds. They treat it like they own it. It is good knowing the trust owns it. What part, if any, does the Realbirds own? If the Bonafides map is up to date, it appears most of MTC is trust land as well. And to think I worried about being sniper bait when we talkied about walking up to SSR.
Charley was wounded during the withdrawl. I am guessing he was shot out of the saddle. Did Godfrey's rear guard pass over him? Or was Charley shot in a different drainage than what Godfrey was covering?
That's a helluva good question, and I for one do not really know. From what I can figure, D Company was on the south side of the "sugarloaf," at least at first. That would mean they would be closer to Cedar Coulee than either K (Godfrey) or M (French). Godfrey, I believe, was on the bluffs, closest to the river, while French was on the forward high points.
I am not sure about H (Benteen). A (Moylan) and G (now Wallace) lagged, so they aren't an issue.
Hold on... I just thought of something. This might help:
Edgerly, W. S., LT-- Edgerly described Benteen’s position in such a way as to make me think H Company occupied the 2 peaks—as Benteen said, in a file—and D Company deployed on the loaf at a right angle to H. Edgerly said M was a little to H’s rear. Godfrey’s K seemed to be adjacent to D, on a narrow spur. [RCOI, 1879]
Hare, L., LT-- M, K, and H “were strung out along bluffs behind Company D parallel with the river but not quite up to Company D.” [Camp interview, 7Feb1910]
Now how do we interpret this?
It still seems to me that D Company was the farthest east while K was the farthest west. That would account for Godfrey missing Charley. It would also seem to me that Charley fell fairly close to the head-area of Cedar Coulee. Would you agree?
In Donahue's map book, a map by Micheal Reynolds shows a body found near the head of a coulee east of Weir Point. I would say that it was Charley. It shows it very near the head of the coulee. Must pay more attention to that area next year!
After a quick review of the Charley episode in Terrible Glory I get the impression that Charley was shot and unhorsed prior to Godfrey's deployment of K Co. as rear guard skirmishers. If so then poor Charley was chopped to pieces in Godfrey's front; hence he was not overlooked. They could not get to him.
As far as any "dig" to find Charley's death site; if you are looking for just a few metal artifacts like casings, bullets or even a guidon tip, a few good metal detectors could find that. (I'd be willing to go do it myself A dig is an excavation designed to locate foundations of structures or dump sites like at Reno Hill or dinosaur fossils. I just took part in a dig at Ft. Ruby NV (my second time there) where we found more building foundations and hearth sites for the post commander's quarters. I also found three .50 cal bullets in one grid square; in addition I also dug up a .44 Henry rimfire 1860 rifle casing. Perhaps brougt to the post by one of Connor's California volunteers.
Last Edit: Oct 8, 2016 14:06:00 GMT -5 by moderator
Thought I'd revisit this old thread with something I read in "The Edgerly Account" signed by W. S. Edgerly, Brigagier-General, U.S.A. Ret that is his typewritten account of the battle about 13 pages long found the the book Scalp Dance by George Clark.
Previously we had been discussing where Vincent Charley was killed and Edgerly's request to Weir to go back and get him. I somehow understood from one account someone posted that Edgerly was dismounted in a firefight with NAs and VC was killed just as Edgerly was mounting his horse with oncoming NAs just yards away.
However, here is what he wrote in his later account from page 20 after Weir said he was going to go talk to Reno and Benteeen and then Weir mounted and rode off to the bluff to see Custer:
"... As I did not know of his change of plan I presumed he had the desired permission, and without orders, mounted the troop and followed him.
In a short time Lt. Hare came to Weir with an order from Reno to open communication with Reno ( I don't know if this "Reno" word is a typo by him or not (maybe not?)) if possible, and M and K troops were sent to our support. I saw no Indians on the bluff during our advance until near the lowest point, where we could see the bodies of Custer's men and horses with swarms of Indians.
At this point there were a few Indians who commenced firing at us from behind some rocks.
I dismounted the troop, and also from behind rocks, we had an interesting duel, until Capt. French called up to me that Reno had sent orders for me to return to his position.
French then mounted and started back, and I mounted D troop and followed. As we left our places behind the rocks the Indians occupied them, firing rapidly at us, but doing very little execution, although they had a whole troop in columns of twos to shoot at. They hit but one man and one horse.
There were very few Indians on the bluffs at this time. Upon arriving at Reno's hill we dismounted, and took up defensive positions. ..."
VC was his only casualty during that time frame so this appears to be a different account from what I understood before. with VC being in a column of twos.
I enjoyed our visit at the hospital Joe. Regarding Charley Vincent, the sources don't give us to many details, so it will have to be more supposition. Based on the Indian account describing how they cut off the head of that wounded -- and conscious -- trooper, it appears likely that Charlie would have been turned onto his back with an Indian on each side of him holding him down on the ground by stretching out his arms while a third Indian found a good stick -- perhaps a broken arrow or the stem from a nearby juniper bush. An Indian may have been prodding his gunshot wound to make Charlie scream, and while his mouth was opened wide, the Indian jammed the stick down his throat with one hand while holding onto his hair pulling his head back with the other. I think you can do this with about 3 Indians total: 2 on Charlie's arms -- one of them prodding his open wound -- and a third doing the honors with the stick. Try to get the artist to capture the look of glee on the faces of the savages as well as the look of terror and pain on Vincent's face.
Post by bandboxtroop on Nov 24, 2011 17:11:34 GMT -5
Bill (Keough) Leary is going to do or try the Vincent Charlie figure you suggested for me. He always thourght the figures I asked him to make were disturbing, but your idea is gruesome, next one after this is Sturgis being burned at the stake.
Here is Learys reply
Hey Joe, pretty gruesome stuff! I'll see what i can do. Thanks,
Gentlemen Think Vincent Charleys is one of the most tragic known facts of the BLBH he wasn't unconscious so he was aware of what was happening and must have known that even if they tried to the troop couldn't return before the NAs got to him.I just hope the warriors were to intent on dealing with Reno and just killed him outright.and that stick down his throat was done after death.best wishes Trish.
Post by benteeneast on Nov 12, 2014 7:02:24 GMT -5
The current VC marker is in the wrong location. When Edgerly mounted the Indians were closing in on him. You can not load someone on any horse under those conditions. There are no time outs in combat for humane purposes.
A letter from Walter Camp to Gen. Godfrey, dated Jan. 16, 1921 (Godfrey Papers, Library of Congress) with my annotations in brackets:
My Dear Gen. Godfrey:--
Gen. Edgerly; his orderly, Sergt. Harrison; and a very intelligent retired enlisted man named Wiley [sic. Wylie], all were very clear in their recollection that the man wounded [of D Co.] and left behind in the retreat from the "high point" (which I designate as "Weir Peak") was Vincent Charley. And Gen. Edgerly told me certainly that he passed him on his way to join his troop that had gone ahead while he was having difficulty in mounting. Charley was then on the side hill and Edgerly says he had [ a] conversation with him. Sergt. Harrison said that Charley was then on his hands and knees trying to follow the troop, which had left him 1/4 to 1/2 mile behind. He had been shot through the hips. Suppose you discuss this matter with Gen. Edgerly the next time you happen to see him. The story is such a pathetic one that I do wish a marker could be planted where Charley fell, with his name inscribed upon it. It is, as I said in my previous letter, an important landmark, as showing where that part of the command was in the battle. ...
"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."