Steve. I'm jealous of your trip to the battlefield. With the Calgary Stampede cancelled for the first time in 100 years we had lots of time to travel but of course the border was closed & it's still buttoned-up.
Hopefully, next year things will open up. I need a trip down to the LBH, I haven't been down since 2015 & I used to get there at least three or four times over the summer. I'd set my range tepee up at Chip's ranch & visit for several days. Do some sketching & scout the country on my lonesome, just my old "Appie" & me. Late August was always best & the crowds were almost non-existant.
I've got quite a bit of material on the action along Custer Creek & apparently, up until the 1960's there were a least two markers over that way which corroborates some of the work I'm doing. And I believe I know the identities of the individuals. Not Sharrow, he was further out.
Post by bluehorse on Sept 29, 2020 17:34:03 GMT -5
its good to hear a fresh voice being so fort rightly dismissive of some the notions that have taken root in this debate over recent years. Speaking for myself, and I'm not a military man, I've always had a problem as why Custer would choose to use Cedar coulee when it would only take him out of his way once the battle was joined, especially given that the usual excuse which is given, is that he was trying keeping his force out of sight of the enemy, until Reno had them completely tied them down.
Now several members of Reno's command claim to have seen Custer up on the bluffs shortly before battle was joined; these were of course members of the officer class, but then who knows how many ordinary soldiers saw him up there as well? The short answer is that we just don't know, and the reason is because nobody thought to ask people like that. So, if he was seen by members of Reno's command, then I think we can take it that he was undoubtedly seen by a number of Indians.
By the time Custer was passing Cedar coulee, Reno was about to become engaged, and by then one assumes that he ~ Custer, must have realised that he was dealing with a much larger force of enemy than he he'd been expecting, in which case, given that time was of the essence, why take the long route when you need to be in the middle of the action?
Likewise, I've spent way too much of my precious mental time trying to fit the theory that he went off to the fords D into my own mental picture of the battle. As far as I'm concerned, whatever did or didn't happened down at ford B, a part of his force were already being engaged up on Luce and Nye Cartwright ridges, and yet we're asked to believe that at this point, Custer just went off swanning around on a sight seeing mission like some tourist.
Thanks for the supportive commment. I just get a bit tired of certain notions, that as you aptly say, "have taken root over recent years" & based on nothing at all.
With regard to what Reno's command saw of Custer. Several officers stated for the record that they saw Custer's command on the bluffs while on the skirmish line & I do know, for a fact, that the ordinary ranks witnessed the same. In one particular case, they drew a certain officer's attention to the fact, with one sergeant pointing ("gesticulating") & shouting, "By God! There goes Custer! The red devils are for it now." Which garnered rousing "huzzahs" from the embattled men on the firing line.
My thoughts on Ford D.
No commander worth is salt, certainly no commander as experienced as Custer, takes French-leave of a sizeable percentage of his command, already deployed & heavily engaged against a rapidly growing force of the enemy in some carzy attempt to find a "possible ford" while at the same time increasing the distance between himself (Command & Control) & his support (Benteen & McDougall) and also, placing a serious obstacle, the Little Bihorn River, into the mix. Totally idiotic. But I discovered long ago that some people will believe almost anything if it suits their fancy.
Custer went to ground on LSH. It became "root-hog or die."
I link to a sketch made in 1887 during Company I, 7th US Cavalry's escort of Lt. Col. Sheridan to the battle site and valleys. Note that the expedition camped all over Reno's battleground for several days. The Little Big Horn battle field one year after the battle. Drawn by an artist with Colonel Sheridan's 1877 visit for the N.Y. Graphic . The tents and wagons pertain to Colonel Sheridan's command .
I'll post the image also but it may not stay up.
This was the 'new' evidence with which Brininstool had Kuhlman re-assess the locations of fighting in the valley and particularly with respect to the 'ditch' which was given in 1879 as reason to halt.
It was a broad re-write of understanding. Benteen never saw Reno dismount or deploy or else we are all barking up the Rowantree. Moving into supposition with Benteen's July 4, '76 map and pointed comment regarding comment to Maguire, by Benteen, given in his (Maguire's) 1876 report - it is reasonable to believe that Benteen advised Maguire where the Reno Battalion deployed in the valley and this brought immense confusion, which Brininstool then re-ignited with Kuhlman in the 1950's. Sheridan's 1877 camp and the site of the scout's stand in timber east of the river (which is now west of the river) have helped to confuse understanding of relics found in the valley.
The important point is of course that no-one in 1876, 1877, or 1878, including John Gibbon - ever intimated that troops (mounted or on foot) deployed or marched, as platoons, companies or battalions; anywhere towards the western fords below Custer's Hill. The evidence which does exist is horses fleeing into Deep Ravine and there was never any indication of cavalry horses mounted or not, fleeing towards Custer's Coulee to the west.
It has been said that Cheyenne fighting clans were camped near and opposite the mouth of Deep Ravine when Custer attacked and this is known from Woodenleg for example who was sleeping in the trees with his brother, rather than the family lodge. Ergo, Cheyennes were up that way in the timber sleeping, resting, swimming, fishing and whatever else but the tipis were not there when Custer arrived to the B fords. The Tipis were were Woodenleg indicated them to be, opposite the mouth of Deep Coulee and the 7th Cavalry's advance east of the river.
I did topic this sketch several years back, but it aroused little other than antipathy due to the gathering storming of Ford D theories.
For Cheyennes and Sioux to travel to the D fords, cross the river, and ascend to Battle Ridge would be insanity.
Would anyone care to explain why?
What makes you think Sioux traveled to Ford Ds? Some of the Cheyenne horses were north of the river grazing, and it was from that location they saw Custer (soldiers) moving toward LBH. You can read it in JSIT accounts. So your starting point is not correct for those Cheyennes. The fastest way to head off Custer starting from the Cheyenne horses across the river to the north is exactly what they claim, according to JSIT. It is an easy ride and the artifacts found are consistent with that account. Cheyennes hold events in different locations around the anniversary date. One location is where JSIT states some of the Cheyennes were located.
Other Cheyennes went with Sioux across MTF. Some Cheyennes were along Custer Creek and had to move back toward the battlefield. There was also a Cheyenne hunting party returning from hunting in Tullocks. Where they state they engaged is in the north fork of MTC. The artifacts found in the drainage leading form NMTC toward Luce are consistent with that account.
To put this together, you need to talk with specific persons, both Cheyenne and Sioux. The Elks have different accounts then the Dog Soldiers, for example. Unlike our military, there are no combined reports. The oral accounts are individual-specific, and you have to know their affiliation, location, and time.
I think you need to look at the Kit Fox and see what their location and duties were.
I am reasonably sure that if you look at what the Sioux did at that battle, it will follow the same pattern. You need to oral accounts handed down by specific participants and put them at specific locations and times.
Last Edit: Oct 2, 2020 15:14:45 GMT -5 by moderator