I received the 2011 annual Research Review today along with the Nov. newsletter.
The review has 3 articles: A critical analysis of Elwood Nye's "Marching with Custer" by Lt. Col. Robert Anderson (our HiPlanesRancher from RR Denver); The Book that Never Was, Lemmon's Developing the West and Mary Crawler's Battle of the LBH account by Bruce Liddic; and Custer's mindset as he approached the Indian Village by Donald Horn.
I've read the first article so far. Col Anderson completely destroys Col. Nye and Fred Dustin's thesis and claim that Custer's pushing of his horses and men to hard was partly to blame for the disaster. Poor ol Fred Dustin just can't get anything right but I'll keep reading and digging and maybe something can be found down deep.
Board is quiet tonight. Either everybody else got their research review or watching MNF. The Chefs got good news, Matt Cassel is hurt so they will finally replace him.
In that same R&R, Mr. Don Horn also wrote an article. Very interesting idea he brings forth. Where I thought that Custer was surprised at the warriors not running, it was worse than that. Custer actually thought they were running. He didn't support Reno because he felt that Reno was only facing a rear guard, and that the main body was fleeing to the North. I have had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. Horn and although he is completely Pro-Custer his idea does have merit and is fair. Which of course means that with my anti-Custer bias I will have to try to debunk it
Be Well Dan
Last Edit: Nov 15, 2011 14:55:32 GMT -5 by benteen
Hello Dan, when the question over ‘’ He didn't support Reno because he felt that Reno was only facing a rear guard, and that the main body was fleeing to the North’’ came up, I remembered that when Custer first got a good look at the village, he thought it was empty apart from old men, women and children and maybe a few dogs, I wonder when he thought that the main body of Indian warriors had left the village to attack Reno, and that Reno could be under real pressure (with the village being very large, he must have had a good idea of the amount of warriors a camp of this size may contain).
Last Edit: Nov 16, 2011 8:26:47 GMT -5 by yantaylor
That was Don Horns theory. I don't agree with it, but in the interest of fairness I put it up for others to contemplate since it was the first time I had been aware of that possible thought process by Custer.
Be Well Dan
Last Edit: Nov 16, 2011 11:47:23 GMT -5 by benteen
The expected conduct of the Indians by any officer, I think, would be that the Warriors would come out to force the attacking cavalry to dismount, allowing the village to escape, taking the property if possible (probably not the lodge polls, but all the valuables).
I wouldn't use the term "rear guard" and "main body," because that implies an organized division of Warrior forces. I doubt any officer expected such a thing...the "rear guard" were ALL the Warriors present except the Akacita and a few misc., and the "main body" were the women and children and old people on ponies with packs.
That should be no surprise to anyone...this would be the norm that Custer, Reno, Merritt, MacKenzie, etc. would expect in any situation where they ran across a village that had been alerted before the Army could get there.
So Horn is probably saying that Custer was trying to prevent the village from escaping, rather than the "main body," I assume.
No matter how good you are, you have to get there first...
April 3, 2012 LBHA Newsletter has a follow-up article by Don Horn, "Did Custer Plan to Follow Reno into the Valley?"
Don Horn continues with his belief that Custer believed that the village was on the move when he sent Reno into the valley. The meeting of Girard with Cooke at the knoll at the mouth of Ash Creek is the main reason Horn puts forth. Cooke would still be there awaiting Custer to come up. It was not till Girard reached Cooke and informed of the Indians coming out to meet Reno and the village was still standing that Custer changed the plans and moved to the north.
Horn puts forth the thought that Custer would not have sent Reno's three companies into a standing village, but only into a fleeing village. The most Reno should have encountered where the "rear guard" to protect the packing and fleeing village.
Horn also made comment to the fact that Varnum and the scouts where sent with Reno. A significant point as the scouts where generally not used as combatants and would not be used to hit a standing village.
Horn believes that Custer had misread the situation. After receiving the Girard information from Cooke, Custer moved to the north and arriving on the bluffs saw the village was indeed not running, Reno committed in the valley and Benteen off to the south; the best to do is send for the packs to come up and Benteen to come on. With Custer's 5 Company's, Benteen's 3 Companies, McDougal's Company, and the 80+ troops with the pack train, this would provide enough power to hit the standing village.
Don Horn article puts forth a compelling read of the battle in the early stages as Reno goes into the valley. Well worth reading, short but to the point.
According to LBHA Newsletter Editor, Joan Croy, Don Horn will be presenting some more articles for the newsletter.
"Now, Custer, don't be greedy, but wait for us." General Gibbon "No, I will not." Custer, noon, June 22, 1876 passing in review.
I read the article before retiring last night after having an old-time prohibition era cocktail known as the 'Rolls Royce' (1/2 oz of dry vermouth, 1/2 oz of sweet vermouth, 1.5 oz of gin, 1/4 teaspoon of benedictine shaken -- not stirred -- over ice). The drink was good (I had a double) but the article was indeed better, and Don Horn should be congratulated for submitting an excellent article for the readership of the LBHA.
I can recall our Roundtable group debating and discussing this very subject, and we were all in agreement with Don's interpretation on this. That it was Custer's initial intention to follow Reno into the valley before deciding (after receiving word from Girard) to swing north along the bluffs, which he did no further than 1/2 mile from Ford A (note: which means he did not cross at the North Fork).
The only area of disagreement I have with Don in his article, is his belief that Custer intended Benteen and the pack train to join him farther to the north along the bluffs. I believe that when Custer sent Martin back with his orders to Benteen, Custer had every intention of crossing at Ford B and joining Reno in the valley. If all went according to plan, Custer's command would be long gone from the bluffs east of the river and would have joined Reno in the village proper, thus it would make no sense whatsoever for Benteen to have taken an extra 45 minutes to an hour in following Custer's trail across the bluffs when he could reach him in the valley by following Reno's trail and get there in half the time, and Lt. Edgerly stated they were doing just that when Benteen was diverted up to the bluffs by Reno's precipitate retreat.
But kudos go out to Don Horn who is both a stand up guy and a premier researcher on the Little Big Horn battle. Don has spent over 6 decades studying this battle, which is quite a feat when compared to some who loudly claim expert status for themselves after studying the battle for only a few years. Compared to Don's level of expertise, they are still pursuing their 'GED.'
I just received Vol. 30 (2016) of the Research Review today. On the cover of the issue is the superb painting of artist Jerry Thomas' Toward the Valley depicting Custer's HQ's group on June 25th, with the General flanked by his brother Col. Tom Custer and Adjutant Col. W. W. Cooke. Kudo's to Jerry on a job well done.
Inside the issue are 3 impressive articles by:
David Harrington entitled, "...The Only Man That Never Failed Me": The Birth of the Custer-Sheridan Relationship & the Richmond Raid of 1864.
It is a well-known fact that general's Phillip Sheridan and George Custer shared a close-knit bond. This relationship was forged during the final year of the Civil War. Author David Harrington takes us through an in-depth look at the beginning of this bond during Sheridan's 1864 cavalry raid on the Confederate capital at Richmond, Virginia.
Lorne Langley entitled, "A Brevet of a Coffin For Doing All You Can": The Intertwined Fates of Major Joel Elliott & Clara and Willie Blinn
At the Battle of the Washita in November of 1868 Major Joel Elliot, after uttering his famous "Brevet or a coffin" statement, rode off with a small number of troopers in pursuit of fleeing Cheyenne. There has been much speculation as to the specific reason for his actions. After lengthy study, author Lorne Langley looks at some of the speculation and furnishes the answer that he believes the primary source evidence provides to this long-standing mystery.
Michael Donahue entitled, "Crow Revisionism & Custer's Last Battle"
Do modern-day Crow Indians tell a different story of the Little Bighorn battle than the Crow scouts who accompanied the Seventh Cavalry? Author Michael Donahue presents evidence and a compelling story of how some ideas among the Crow have definitely changed through the passing years.