Post by blaque on May 3, 2018 7:07:08 GMT -5
Excellent analysis Jose. I will offer one additional interpretation concerning the possibility that Benteen stopped to water his horses at two separate locations along Ash/Reno Creek. Consider that we know that D Co. took off early after watering their horses without waiting for the remaining two troops to finish watering at the morass. We also know that Benteen soon took off after them in a gallop in order to regain the lead of his battalion. If Benteen overtook D Co. and caused them to halt their advance in order to await the arrival of the remaining two troops of his battalion, that halt may well have been made at the Hartung morass (ie. see Bob Doran's book Horsemanship at the Little Big Horn) located about 2.5 miles east of the LBH river. It is certainly possible that Weir's horses were seen by Kanipe watering for a second time at this morass while waiting for H and K Companies to catch up to their location. That may well explain Kanipe's belief that Benteen's command was watering their horses as he rode down Weibert's Ridge. By the time Kanipe got there, Benteen's battalion was reunited once again and on the move towards the western lone tepee.
Your hypothesis may sound feasible, but still no witness recalled two watering halts, and it’s contradictory that Weir started out without orders out of his impatience at hearing faint firing from the valley, but later on –when the firing would be more distinct and heavy– he decided to halt and water his horses a second time. It would make sense if, as you say, this second halt was imposed by a direct order from Benteen; but the Captain, always highly critical of Weir, never claimed to have done so.
I’d rather go with the actual recollection of participants: The battalion halted to rest and water after a long and tiring march over the southern bluffs; 10 or 15 minutes later Weir became impatient at the faint sound of distant firing and moved on with his company; this prompted Gibson’s company to start out also a few minutes later; and Godfrey’s followed after some delay caused by the uncontrolled arrival of some Company K mules which went head on into the morass. Godfrey recalled how his men lent a hand to their comrades in the pack detail, and that’s why his company stayed longer than the others in the morass (at least 10 minutes more as per his own testimony).