Post by Californian on Dec 11, 2018 22:03:01 GMT -5
Letter by Captain John S. Poland of the 7th Infantry Regiment to the Assistant Adjutant General of the Department of Dakota in Saint Paul, Minnesota dated 31st July 1876, which provides one of the earliest formal accounts about the events pertaining to the battle of the Greasy Grass. The original was sold at Heritage Auctions in Dallas, TX in 2014 for the sum of US$ 30'000 - a transcript is with the National Archives in Washington DC. See link catalog.archives.gov/id/301973
National Archives Catalog listing:
Record Group 393: Records of U.S. Army Continental Commands, 1817 - 1947 Series: Special Files of Letters Received, 1863 - 1885 Item: Letter from Captain John S. Poland to the Assistant Adjutant General of the Department of Dakota in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Which Gives an Account from Seven Sioux Indians of Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer's Defeat at the Battle of the Little Bighorn on June 25, 1876
Attached color PDF scan is courtesy of Heritage Auctions' website.
Post by natethegreat on Dec 27, 2018 17:21:08 GMT -5
Thank you. This Battle is full of interesting facts. Why was the 7th Cav massacred? Did Custer charge into his own death because he refused to give the Lakota any respect?
When Reno formed the skirmish line at the south of the village he looked to the east on a high ridge and saw Custer waving his hat in the air, like he was saying good job. Within minutes Reno's skirmish line was overwhelmed by hundreds of warriors. Reno gave the command to retreat and took off. 3/4 of his men did not hear the command at first and a lot of them were cut down like wild animals. While this was happening Custer went farther North to the northside of the mountain and attempted to descend into the village but he met heavy resistance and decided to turn back, but he was cut off from escape. His last command was to take hostages to use as bargaining tools. But heavy fire did not allow his men to move. Custers then ordered his men to kill the horses and build a wall of dead horses to hide behind. But it was too late. It was obvious they were going to die. After Custer was killed, about 40 of his remaining men made a last ditch effort to shoot their way out of the cordon, but they were cut down.
Post by Californian on Dec 28, 2018 11:51:20 GMT -5
Hello Nate the Great - Thank you for comment. There are literally hundreds of opinions attempting to offer insights into the chains of events pertaining to this battle. Having been a student of G. A. Custer for many years I deem the root cause of the demise of his immediate command to his own recklessness and vanity, as well as his demonstrated tendency to nepotism and preference to surround himself with an inner circle of hero worshipping staff that would not think of countering him. He marginalized anyone criticising him. In a remote way Custer's command mirrors our current president, although I would personally consider the former intellectually far superior to the present occupant of the White House.
Post by natethegreat on Dec 29, 2018 21:07:43 GMT -5
After Custer fell, the remaining men who did not jump on the remaining horses and attempt to cross the river threw their carbines down and begged for mercy, but the Sioux did not believe in mercy during a battle. I think Custer thought his 280 Troopers with advanced weapons and loaded with ammunition could defeat the village. That may have been true in his mind, but he split his forces in two. Against a numerically superior enemy that is not a smart move. General Philip Sheridan said that Custer should have kept his men together. Remember, before Reno advanced on the village, Custer took time to think about what he was going to do. He was forming his plan as the situation was happening and did not know how many warriors were in the village.
Post by natethegreat on Feb 9, 2019 17:19:18 GMT -5
I was reading a book about this battle and the Author pointed out a key fact. Custer ordered Major Marcus Reno to ATTACK the village, and Custer would march along the ridge and finish off any warriors still fighting. The village was caught off guard and Reno was supposed to charge into the village. Standing between Reno's 90 Troopers and the outer circle of the village was Chief Gall and 4 other warriors who were taken by surprise and the order was given for the village to run away. Gall and his 4 men would stand and fight to allow TIME for the women and children to run.
To Gall's amazement, Reno HALTED his advance and formed a skirmish line. This gave time for more warriors to group. The Troopers lay om their stomachs and awaited orders. Reno gave the order to fire, at what? They wasted precious ammo firing at the teepees. This is when Gall's 2 wives and 3 children were killed. There were now about 30 warriors grouping to return fire at Reno's skirmish line. After about 15 minutes this is when Custer was seen "Waving his hat", It is assumed he was waving his hat toward the village. Why was the village not still running away? To make a long story short. I think the fact that Reno did not charge into the village gave the warriors the ability to mass and stand their ground.
I believe another tragic error involved Captain Benteen and the supply wagon taking their time after recieving Custers message to "Hurry. Bring the supply packs" Be Quick. Big village". Benteen stopped twice to water his horses before getting to the village. Im sure Custer and his men took a few glances to the south to see if they were coming to the rescue. The sight of Benteens detachment may have caused the Indians to break ranks, maybe not.