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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Melani BS: Errol Flynn's willy and General Custer (321* d) RE: BS: Errol Flynn's willy and General Custer 09 Apr 06

This is definitely a very weird thread. Gnu, you can probably buy a copy of "They Died With Their Boots On" pretty cheap through Amazon--mine was $10 about a year ago. It does include a sung version of "Garry Owen," though not all the verses, but the words are easily available. I will look them up and post them, if you like.

Little Hawk, Rapaire, Stilly, etc.--The Indian woman who was Custer's mistress was Cheyenne, not Lakota, captured at the Washita. Her name was Meotzi or Monaseta, and it has been said that she considered herself married to him. Cheyenne oral tradition has it that she later had Custer's baby, but probably not--after a nasty case of gonhorrea at West Point, he probably couldn't reproduce. If Monaseta had a light-haired kid, it was probably Tom Custer's--she got passed on to him when Libby joined the regiment, and Tom already had an illegitimate son back in Ohio.

Speaking of nepotism, the Little Bighorn claimed three Custer brothers, one nephew, and a brother-in-law.

Re: brevet rank--it was the usual military courtesy to address officers by their brevet ranks rather than the actual ones. Most of the troop captains were Civil War vets and had brevets of Lt. Colonel from the war, and so were addressed as "Colonel" rather than "Captain," just as Custer was addressed as "General" rather than "Colonel." When the army was downsized after the war, most officers were reduced in rank, if not mustered out all together.

It was Major Joel Elliot who said, "Here goes for a brevet or a coffin!" as he left his assigned position at the Battle of the Washita. He and 18 men got the latter, and Custer created a permanent breach in the regiment when he didn't go looking for them for two weeks. Of course, if he had, the Little Bighorn would have happened on the Washita eight years earlier, since Elliot had ridden into about a gazillion more Indians downriver.

The currently popular estimate for the size of the Little Bighorn village is about 5,000, with about 2,000 of those being warriors. The guys who survived tended to estimate high, at least partly out of trauma and partly as an excuse for losing.

Custer was right about the Gatling guns--they were a humongous hassle, and they probably wouldn't have helped. The village would have dispersed long before Custer could have gotten there towing the things--which is exactly what happened to Terry and Gibbon, who were a day later than the planned rendezvous. The Indians saw them coming and left before they arrived.

Custer's experience was that the Indians would run if they could. He didn't know Crazy Horse had just totally whupped Crook on the Rosebud and was spoiling for more. He sent Benteen off to the south because he was afraid the Indians would try to get away in that direction--which doesn't make dividing the regiment any less stupid, because it was. The whole thing was stupid. He was supposed to wait for Gibbon and Terry, and the Indians would have been gone by then--after all, would you hang around with your wives and families if they were going to be attacked by a bunch of armed soldiers, or would you try to get them out of harm's way? While the warriors held off the soldiers, the women and children retreated to the bluffs to the west. Attacking in the middle of the day was also stupid.

The pack train with the spare ammo was made up of mules that had been trained for harness, not packs, and was lagging behind Benteen. Benteen arrived just in time to save Reno's behind--he had just lost about a third of his men in a pell-mell, helter-skelter retreat which the Indians described as "a buffalo shoot."

"They Died With Their Boots On" has absolutely nothing to do with reality expect that a guy named Custer was the field commander of the Seventh, though it does flirt with reality. Custer was honest in that he did not approve of graft, whatever else you may say about him, and he nearly didn't get to go on the expedition because he had testified against President Grant's brother (speaking of nepotism). Custer was also a self-centered, oblivious jerk who had no regard for the welfare of his men--they did three days of forced marches on the way to the Little Bighorn, and were exhausted when they arrived. Interestingly, I have recently realized that he was an absolute poster child for ADHD, and his brother Tom not far behind. It does run in families.

And one last tidbit, in response to Les's joke about the arrow--it ain't a joke. It's often said that Custer's body was not mutilated, but several sources dscribe just one thing that was done, but usually not mentioned out of respect for Libby--exactly what Les said. Monaseta was said to be there that day...So you see, it does all come back around to his willie!

I could go on...and on, and on, and on...but I'll stop now. If any of you guys want to get into this subject on a depth that is really unimaginable, check out (bringing the two halves of my internet life together). If I haven't been around Mudcat a lot lately, it's because I've been there. And I have my summer vacation all planned--I will be attending the 130th anniversary reenactment of the battle. So now you know about my secret life!


P.S. Though the intention might be good, Crazy Horse would be totally grossed out by that monument!

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