Benteen's valley skirmish line Nov 30, 2014 9:13:30 GMT -5
Post by blaque on Nov 30, 2014 9:13:30 GMT -5
Q: Was that before or after Major Reno's retreat, if you know or can form any judgment?
Benteen: I suppose they had retreated, and those were what were left and could not get their horses, or they would have been with the command. [Note: Benteen speaks of Reno's retreat having left these 13 men behind, as he believed they could not get to their horses before the rest of Reno's command had retreated and left them behind.]
Benteen’s supposition makes perfect sense, although he was wrong in assuming that those skirmishers were there for not getting their horses. That platoon had been left behind in the valley –apparently by French’s orders– when the rest of the battalion retreated inside the timber. Benteen could not possibly refer to the retreat to the bluffs since he observed it later, after he abandoned his first lookout at Ford A. It was utterly impossible that he could observe the skirmish line and all those warriors scampering around the bottom, but not Reno’s retreat to the bluffs. Edgerly did notice it later, while he was approaching the vecinity of Ford A, and also Martin with Co. H, then following Custer’s trail up the bluffs. Had the retreat occurred earlier, by the time the skirmish line was first seen, Benteen would have noticed it also, his position being several hundred yards closer than Edgerly’s. His line of sight to French’s retreat would have been particularly splendid, since company M rode for a time directly towards Ford A. How on earth would Benteen, at Ford A, have failed to notice this?