Really Senior Member
Nice, but I was into the Indian War history for many years, and collected arms, uniforms, equipment, manuals, AND read a number of BOOKS on the subject. Plus reenacting that period.
You can praise Custer all you want but you will find no love of him by the soldiers of the 7th cav, aside from Tom Custer. they did fear him as he had the reputation of a martinet. One example for your edification. On campaign any infraction was dealt with by having the offender dig a hole and remain in it overnight while the rest of the command slept above ground.
I no longer collect that period in our history but I know damm well That "Lieutenant Colonel" Custer was not the brightest bulb in the lot.
As far as the gatlings go, don't hand me the bull that he couldn't have taken them with him. or at least one of the four. Those carriages were not restricted to paved roads.
As for the information that Custer intended to run for political office that is a known fact.
Second guessing Grant? Custer pleaded with Sherman to go on that campaign.
And the courts martial sentence still had not been entirely served.
Cavalry tactics that you are so proud of do not apply in this case because there were too damm many indians, as his scouts accurately reported. Custer figured the Indians had always run before, so they would run again, WRONG.
He was discovered by the indians? yeah, a couple of kids herding livestock. why did this happen? Because Custer pushed his command to get there FIRST so he could grab the "glory"
Now I mentioned high casualties in the Civil War, because his casualties were HIGHER than any other cavalry command! Getting your men killed faster than any other officer is NOT a sign of brilliance even if you are at the head of them.
Of course they had to blame someone else for his incompetence because the wonderful "boy general" was perfect, so they blamed the officer who saved a portion of the 7th. There was NO WAY Custer could have managed a victory. Some even believe Custer was among the first casualties, as on crossing the Rosebud, one person was shot out of the saddle and the entire command stopped to rescue him. Would they have done that for a trooper?
Last edited by John Sukey; 03-19-2009 at 04:33 AM.
03-19-2009 04:10 AM
Friends and Sponsors
Your impassioned misconceptions are noteworthy but still wrong. I do not "praise" Custer, I only point out facts. Custer did make some mistakes but what commander doesn't make mistakes. One fact in particular is that the battle took place no where near the Rosebud. Obviously Custer was not shot "crossing the Rosebud". You're being "into" Indian ar history you should know that. Perhaps you meant crossing the LBH at medicine Tail Coulee? There is no factual evidence that any soldiers crossed the LBH there. There was an exchange of fire when the soldiers crossed Medicine Tail Coulee (verified by Indian accounts and archeological evidence) near the LBH, perhaps that is what you meant?
Discipline was indeed harsh in the Army back then. Custer used no methods that weren't in common use by every other commander. It was the way things were.
As to the cavalry tactics; had the 7th been trained and actually the "elite" fighting force most think it was (it wasn't by the way) then things would have been quite different. It was known by Custer and all other officers with any Indian fighting experience that the warriors would fight to protect the women, kids and old ones. They also knew if you captured any of the woman, kids and old ones the warriors were loathe to fight. They also knew the Indians seldom stood and fought in pitched battles but would use delaying actions until the village escaped. They also knew you shouldn't ever run from Indians during a fight. Custer knew the Indians would fight. The problem was many of the soldiers weren't trained and many of the soldiers and officers had little or no Indian fighting experience. They lost tactical stability and broke and ran. Soldiers do not fight when running and the Indians took advantage of that. Besides, if the reason was "there were to many Indians" how is it that Custers battalion held them off for 2+ hours? How is it those same Indians, now armed with 200+ M1873 and thousands of rounds of ammuntion, were unable to "massacre" the Reno/Benteen contingent the same way? If there were "to many Indians" and that worked against Custer then why not against Reno/Benteen? The reason is tactical stability and the Indians loathing of a standup fight against soldiers armed with M1873s. Another point to ponder as to why Custer, and all the other officers of the 7th, wasn't concerned about all those Indians was because there was supposed to be over 4,000 soldiers converging on the LBH. Unfortuneatley what Custer did not know was that rook had gone fishing and Terry had Gibbobs column lost in the Tullock.
"He was discovered by the indians? yeah, a couple of kids herding livestock." There may be some kids herding livestock in that vicinity these days but there wasn't any then. I don't think you've read very much of the 1876 Campaign as you claim. You'rte making to many erroneous statements to write it off as a onetime mistake.
"so they blamed the officer who saved a portion of the 7th. Assuming you are referring to Reno? If so you are wrong. It was Benteen who actually "saved' that portion by lending tactical stability to a rather inglorious route. The problem was that in doing so he abanded his orders from Custer. The 'dark secret" kept by the surving officers "for the good of the Regiment" was that had they gone to "the sound of gunfire" as several officers and a 1SG wanted to the Indians very well might have broken off and at least some of Custers men would have survived. As it was they didn't. Actually it was everyone above Custer who blamed him to cover their own culpability in this disaster.
Perhaps you should reread some of the books you've read or read some of the newer ones. You might learn something new.
Really Senior Member
Thank you for that great post, And it's clear to me you know what "YOU" are talking about.
I don't understand why it is so easy for some people to try and ruin the reputation of one of our Military leader's out of history, And esp. one Simpley follow'ing orders and who gave his life in battle for his Country, I think Custer did what was right for that time, I don't think he wanted his men or himself to die that day, Sure he could have done better IF he had overhead map's of the battle field, night vision, cell phone's, Or even more important --Trooper Sukey's advice on what he had learned during his reenacting battles, But he diden't, He did the best with what he had, And he is one of this country's Hero's. Have a good day.
Really Senior Member
Perhaps you should quit making excuses for Custer.
I will give you the bit about the Rosebud, but then I stopped collecting that period over 30 years ago and sold all but one of my 35 trapdoors and my Indian war collection.
You are engaging in wishful thinking if you believe that there was any way Custer could have survived or extricated his command
I know I am simply wasting my time trying to convince you that Custer was a victim of his own ego, so lets leave it at that.
As for inexperienced troops ,you could say that of the 7th at wounded knee.
And yes an indian fired the first shot and they actualy identified him.
The 7th at that time WAS filled with inexperienced troops.
The Soldiers of the 7th and Custer rode into history that day with little intention of dying. They were brave men who were doing as they were ordered. My studies over many years was to detemine what had happened. It is easy to get involved in the personalities of the participents but that was not my objective. I only desired to know what happened and why it happened. The facts are probably about 95% known today. The problem is much of the old works lend themselves to theories, myths and personal beliefs of what happened. The campaign of 1876 is an interesting campaign to study. One must look at the whole context, including the Indian perspective, of the campaign to get a good concept of what and why things happened at the LBH. If one only looks at the LBH battle it is easy to lose perspective. Thanks for the comments, I always enjoy a good discussion on this subject.
Originally Posted by lboos
I make no excuses for Custer. I only state the facts of what happened and why it happened.
Perhaps you should quit making excuses for poor "Lo" and try to take an objective look at the facts. It is obvious you've biased opinions. I've no problem with that as you're entitled to your own opinions. It does however cloud you perspective of the facts. Good day to you and I've actually enjoyed this conversation.
Really Senior Member
I always enjoy these conversations. Looking back at various times; Washington was thought to be incompetent, Patton was a butcher as was Grant. Along the same lines, we have "revisionists" today who bemoan the acts of people long dead, accusing them of all sorts of crimes. These folks, of course, like to pontificate "from the high moral ground"....as they drive across the nation in their air-conditioned SUV's slurping on their latte's. One one occasion, #1 son came home ticked off as his history teacher in COLLEGE stated that ALL US Army personnel in the 1st wave at Normandy had "below average IQ's" because the generals knew a large percentage would die. Sent a letter to the "professor" asking if he considered Teddy Roosevelt Jr (Phi Betta Kappa) as one of those with a "below average IQ", seeing as Teddy was in the first wave, and had suffered a heart attack just weeks before the invasion. Also informed said professor that you don't take and hold a hostile shore with idiots. Closed by stating that it was my opinion that there is evidently no such restriction in the selection of history professors.
The Following 2 Members Say Thank You to Dan Shapiro For This Useful Post:
Really Senior Member
I would have loved to have been there when the "history professor" read your letter.
I agree with john, it indeed would have been interesting. I had my share of "discussions" with history professors in college.
Originally Posted by John Sukey
My great great uncle was with Custer at the Little Big Horn
His name was Benjamin Franklin Brown and he was a private in F Troop. I have a letter that he wrote just before they left on the campaign. I have left the spelling uncorrected.
Fort A. Lincoln DT May 13th, 1876
I received your kind and welcom letter. It found me well and I hope this may find you the same. I was very sorry to hear that Sister Alice was sick. I think Alice might send me her picture, and also, tell Tom to send his.
There will be no excuse for them. They will have til next fall to have them taken. If they do have them taken don't send them til next fall. We are going to start next Monday on our Journey to the Big Horn Valley.
You can write and if the mail is sent out to us I will get it.
Benjamin F. Brown
F Troop 7th U.S.