Post by conz on Jul 23, 2009 8:24:28 GMT -5
I agree with the traditional model that by the time Custer arrived on Calhoun/Battle Ridge his presence, although noticed, was not hotly contested. The village was basically open to him. Numerous Indian accounts plainly state that when Custer first appeared, most of the warriors were at the upper end of the village with Reno. A period of long range desultory fire followed for some time until enough warriors returned from the Reno battlefield to give the Indians the advantage. Do you agree with this setting?
Not really...I think the MTC ford was well defended right from the beginning. I don't think there were enough Warriors to seriously attack Custer's wing at this point, but I do think there were more than enough, at the ford itself, and along Bouyer's bluff, to shoot down any mounted attempt to cross the ford.
I think Custer discovered this Warrior opposition in the ford area, and along Luce ridge to his north and east, at about the same time as Reno was leaving the timber.
My model has Yates already dismounted and moving on the Warriors defending the ford when the hordes from Reno begin coming over Weir Hill on his left (south) flank, which stymied him. So my model has Keogh, who was sent up to Luce Ridge to secure that flank, turning around and firing volleys into the MTC to stop the mounted force coming over Weir Hill and Bouyer's bluff against Yates' flank.
It is from this point on that I’m the most puzzled by Custer’s apparent dawdling but then my assumption had always been that Custer did not know of Reno’s retreat. If he did know, then his actions may not be that puzzling after all.
I just think there was plenty of opposition at the ford even without any of "Reno's Indians."
If Reno is no longer holding the Indians to his front, there is no immediacy for Custer to cross and strike their rear. I’m convinced that Custer, by this actions at and north of Calhoun ridge, was in a waiting/preparatory stage. The problem was, with Reno holding fast, why was Custer waiting?
That is right...as soon as Custer sees Warriors coming over his trail on Weir Hill, he KNOWS Reno has failed. So he needs to make new decisions about how to break the Warrior's resistance.
Another thing he knows when he sees Reno's Indians is that he has successfully relieved the pressure off Reno. Now HE has to deal with it. Can he break the Warriors, where Reno failed? That is his new task on Calhoun Hill.
With Reno on the fly, I can easily see why Custer might wait for Benteen to get into the action before he makes his next move. However, if he thinks Reno is holding fast, I can’t find any logic to Custer’s moves.
What would he know about Reno? Firstly, I think he would think that the Warriors hadn't had time to finish Reno off, so Reno's command is still out there somewhere, and obviously not threatening the village, since "his" Indians are coming north. So he's "holed up" somewhere to the south, on the other side of Weir Hill.
He would also assume that Benteen and the pack train are, or soon will be, with Reno. So he is no longer too worried about Reno. If anything, he would hope/assume that Reno will soon be marching either to him, or against the village, now that the Warriors have moved north.
He would have liked, I'm sure, to have any action on his part be in concert with the expected action by Reno's wing. But he can't wait too long...he is impatient, and anyway, wants to retain the initiative, making the Warriors play to his tune (react to his moves) rather then giving them time to do what they want to him. He doesn't want to be reacting to Warrior moves...he wants them to react to his. Keep them off balance, and keep maneuvering/charging/firing until you break them.
Other than that, I agree with rch's thinking above.