Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

Ole Miss

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They should have captured Custer alive, with a few of his men.
As far as I know, the Indians did not know it was Custer as the cavalry had several expeditions against the Tribes that Spring and Summer. They had met General Crook as his troops a few weeks earlier at the Battle of Rosebud and were not sure who was attacking.
Regards
David
 
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Unquestionably. The Pine Ridge Lakota Reservation is dirt-poor, and has no resources to pay for such things
Which unfortunately is a vicious circle. If they could raise the money to make the site more interesting for visitors, with decent historical documentation, and make in known in travel guides and tourist magazines etc. they sure could make some money from it.
But as it is, even in our German TV there are spots l that ask for donations for poor Lakota Children.
Nice summary @19thOhio. I've been to LBH twice and found that if you walk the road between Last Stand Hill and the Reno/Benteen hill area you get away from most of the "tourists" and have a chance to really contemplate.

When I was there I was shocked how far scattered the gravesites are... and as you said, we were contemplating what these soldiers must have felt and if they were killed while trying to flee from the carnage.
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Eric Wittenberg

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Which unfortunately is s vicious circle. If they could raise the money to make the site more interesting for visitors, with decent historical documentation, and make in known in travel guides and tourist magazines etc. they sure could make some money from it.
But as it is, even in our German TV there are spots l that ask for donations for poor Lakota Children.


When I was there I was shocked how far scattered the gravesites are... and as you said, we were contemplating what these soldiers must have felt and if they were killed while trying to flee from the carnage.
View attachment 389137

It's important to note that these are cenotaphs. The men are NOT buried at the locations of the markers. Rather, these mark where they fell.
 

James N.

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When I was there I was shocked how far scattered the gravesites are... and as you said, we were contemplating what these soldiers must have felt and if they were killed while trying to flee from the carnage.
@FarawayFriend yes the graves are far apart. Major Fredrick Benten remarked that the dead were scattered like corn. One must remeber that they battlefield was spread over 5 miles in length and not all 200 plus cavlary members were not killed on Last Stand Hill.
Regards
David
Contrary to Hollywood depictions, it's believed the troops and their officers were attempting to confront an overwhelming situation with conventional military tactics of the time: Custer had five troops or companies consisting of approximately forty men each at his disposal in possibly two battalions, one of two companies led by senior Captain Myles Keogh who apparently formed an extended skirmish line between the Sioux and the other battalion of three companies, possibly led by Capt. Tom Custer. Instead of fleeing, Keogh and his men likely died fighting in line-of-battle along a slight ridge that was their defense position and the one David has pictured here. The other battalion may have been similarly extended when it was discovered that another large group, likely led by Crazy Horse in person, was attempting to encircle them from the north. Custer and his headquarters group were eventually joined by Tom and others on Last Stand Hill where around fifty bodies were discovered. It's possible there were even more there, and according to Indian accounts, toward the end of the battle, a group rose and attempted to flee down a coulee or ravine toward the river and were picked off one by one along the way.
 

dlofting

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Tom Custer was acting as an aide to his brother at the time of the battle and so was with the headquarters group. C company was commanded by Lt. Harrington. Some historians speculate that Tom Custer was killed or wounded during the Medicine Coulee crossing reconnaissance, if that's what it was.
 
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Tom Custer was acting as an aide to his brother at the time of the battle and so was with the headquarters group. C company was commanded by Lt. Harrington. Some historians speculate that Tom Custer was killed or wounded during the Medicine Coulee crossing reconnaissance, if that's what it was.
The marker (front right) indicates that he fell next to his brother though. George Armstrong Custer's marker is in the center and marked black)
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dlofting

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The marker (front right) indicates that he fell next to his brother though. George Armstrong Custer's marker is in the center and marked black)
View attachment 389314
Yes, that's where his body was found, but he may have been carried there.

No one knows for sure who was killed or wounded at Medicine Tail crossing. The Cheyenne claimed to have shot a cavalryman wearing buckskin who was on his horse beside a trooper carrying a guidon. This led to the conclusion that it was an officer....the question is who. One of the Custers or Jack Sturgis or someone else.....once again it's the enigma that is the Little Bighorn.
 

Texas Johnny

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I got to visit in 2019, very interesting. The most surprising thing to me was that the fight was so spread out and that because of the numerous hills, ones ability to see very far was rather limited. Some of the photos I took were as the sun was going down on top of Custer Hill, Custer marker, and me with a Trapdoor Springfield just outside the Visitors Center.

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dgfred

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Contrary to Hollywood depictions, it's believed the troops and their officers were attempting to confront an overwhelming situation with conventional military tactics of the time: Custer had five troops or companies consisting of approximately forty men each at his disposal in possibly two battalions, one of two companies led by senior Captain Myles Keogh who apparently formed an extended skirmish line between the Sioux and the other battalion of three companies, possibly led by Capt. Tom Custer. Instead of fleeing, Keogh and his men likely died fighting in line-of-battle along a slight ridge that was their defense position and the one David has pictured here. The other battalion may have been similarly extended when it was discovered that another large group, likely led by Crazy Horse in person, was attempting to encircle them from the north. Custer and his headquarters group were eventually joined by Tom and others on Last Stand Hill where around fifty bodies were discovered. It's possible there were even more there, and according to Indian accounts, toward the end of the battle, a group rose and attempted to flee down a coulee or ravine toward the river and were picked off one by one along the way.


keogh pictorial.jpg


Keogh's death site is highly interesting to me... slaughtered almost where they stood it seems. Only a handful ran for it.
 

Ole Miss

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I believe Keogh and his men were overrun by Crazy Horse before they could do anything. Crazy Horse had gone around the soldiers and hit Keogh out of the East. Custer did a poor job of commanding and it cost over 200 of his men their lives.
Regards
David
 

MAJOR DUNDEE

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I've read many books about LBH, mostly in english (so I hope to have understood at least 75% of what was writen), the most disturbing fact about these testimonies, studies, reports, etc...is that they are often contradictory, sometimes because of deliberate lying, sometimes because of the will to save the morale of the victim's families, or simply because of a partial view or understanding of the events (even from direct witnesses).
 

7thWisconsin

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It´s been many years since I read him, but I believe Wooden Leg mentions charging very quickly at the cavalrymen, before they could form a powerful skirmish line. I think he was talking about Keogh´s troop. If so, that corroborates that they were overwhelmed at the most critical moment for any military body: a change of formation.
 

Morrow7x

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I've read many books about LBH, mostly in english (so I hope to have understood at least 75% of what was writen), the most disturbing fact about these testimonies, studies, reports, etc...is that they are often contradictory, sometimes because of deliberate lying, sometimes because of the will to save the morale of the victim's families, or simply because of a partial view or understanding of the events (even from direct witnesses).


IMHO, especially in later years, there is also the tendency of the lonely and/or forgotten to sense and tell the interviewer what that interviewer wants to hear in order to prolong the attention. Similarly, blues musicologists discovered that over a meal or a bottle, nearly every ex-blues musician had been Robert Johnson's best friend before they moved north and were swallowed up in the anonymity of the big city... It's just human nature.

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And a 'thumbs-up' to the Philbrick book "The last stand". I think it's a great book for those of us who want a very readable, modern, non-mythological overview of the battle and the personalities involved as opposed to hardcore tactical analysis.
 

Ole Miss

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@MAJOR DUNDEE , I read most the books in English and have trouble understanding many of them and I grew up speaking English!

These items below are off the top of my head but believe them to have been true factors
Regards
David

Problems with Little Big Horn Accounts
1) No survivors of Custer's command after Martini left
2) Indian Accounts problem
a) Fear of Reprisals from soldiers and whites
b) They did not speak English so various translators involved with possible bias
c) They did not know military formations or tactical terms
d) Few if any knew Custer or any of his force by face yet may have heard the name
3) Th earmy did not hold a formal investigation, in fact no discussion till Reno's court of inquiry in January, 1879
4) Soldier accounts are from personal letters, diaries or folklore all about peripheral actions
 

danny

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Being the big fan of Custer that I am, I'd really like to see the battlefield. Not sure I'll ever make it. I really appreciate all the information and photos you guys have posted! Thanks to all!

John
Go to the Shenandoah and imagine everything burned and in ruins.
 
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