Something that's always bothered me: In almost all the accounts describing exactly the position of the Generals body as was first found. Paraphrasing here: 'Laid back reclining across the bodies of two troopers beside or against a horse, arms folded in the lap, peaceful expression, etc. etc.'?? Very Romantic, prestigious, austere, whatever you call it? I'm Not trying to be morose, or disrespect the dead hero's here, BUT: They were all stripped down, almost bare, including the saddle etc. from the horses etc. So, this is NOT! how they "FELL", this is how the NA's placed, or more likely, tossed them, AFTER removing and stripping everything from the bodies.
Can we ALL agree on this??
It's just the way it was. With the exception of Private Peter Thompson's account of a fully clothed Custer, ALL OF THEM, no matter who was looking, agree that there was an expression of peace and rest on his face. Even Reno said he looked like he was sleeping. Benteen says the same. The alternate versions of his recumbant body versus a more seated one are easily cleared out by what Jose and others described above, that he was eventually "laid out" and prepared for burial. And it's not impossible, as me and Joe contend, that something was possibly thrown over to cover him, like the shirt of Corporal Teeman. The only piece of info that was temporarily withheld, from what I am told, appears to be the arrow in the penis, which I know was eventually confirmed by Godfrey. Two or three (living) wounds, and three or more additional mutilations (arrow in the penis, thigh cut, two or three fingers chopped off).
I'm afraid the myth and all the romanticism surrounding Custer just goes on, and on, even after all this time. Apart from the fact that almost none, if any of the Indians would have recognised him ~ ask yourself this ~ why should they, he was just another white man? As far as they were concerned, he was enemy who, a few moment before had been alive and well and threatening their women and children. Why in that case would they have been spared his body the same terrible sort of damage they'd inflicted on most of the other bodies, including his brother Tom? Surely, if you know who they were, you'd mangle the leaders bodies even more than their underlings for daring to bring all these men to attack you? In which case maybe they'd assumed that Tom was the actual leader, hence his mutilations. No, Custer had been killed, stripped, mutilated then tossed aside while they moved onto the next body.
Yes, I know all the arguments which say that most of those who viewed the body spoke of a peaceful pose and of him having the appearance of a man who'd only just fallen asleep, but what did you expect them to say? He was their commander in chief with all that implies, and what's more, they had to think of the families, people that many of them knew, families who almost certainly wouldn't want to know about the state of their loved ones bodies after the Indians had finished with them.
It was different with the rank and file, for we have remember that this was very much a class system, thus the officer class probably had little concern for sensibilities of the lower ranks, so you could tell the press what kind of state they were in, but certainly not the nations hero.