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BS: 'Custer's last stand' a myth??

Bonzo3legs 10 Aug 21 - 06:07 PM
Stilly River Sage 10 Aug 21 - 08:45 PM
meself 10 Aug 21 - 09:52 PM
Stilly River Sage 10 Aug 21 - 10:32 PM
Mr Red 11 Aug 21 - 03:10 AM
Donuel 11 Aug 21 - 06:00 AM
mayomick 11 Aug 21 - 09:23 AM
Donuel 11 Aug 21 - 01:20 PM
Lighter 11 Aug 21 - 02:20 PM
meself 11 Aug 21 - 03:39 PM
Bonzo3legs 11 Aug 21 - 06:09 PM
Malcolm Storey 11 Aug 21 - 07:23 PM
Rapparee 11 Aug 21 - 07:40 PM
robomatic 11 Aug 21 - 07:56 PM
Dave the Gnome 12 Aug 21 - 04:04 AM
Neil D 12 Aug 21 - 04:34 AM
Rapparee 12 Aug 21 - 09:37 AM
Mrrzy 12 Aug 21 - 10:38 AM
meself 12 Aug 21 - 11:12 AM
Stilly River Sage 12 Aug 21 - 02:42 PM
Rain Dog 12 Aug 21 - 03:08 PM
Stilly River Sage 12 Aug 21 - 03:19 PM
Stilly River Sage 12 Aug 21 - 03:32 PM
Rapparee 12 Aug 21 - 03:42 PM
Bonzo3legs 12 Aug 21 - 06:12 PM
Malcolm Storey 12 Aug 21 - 06:41 PM
Rapparee 12 Aug 21 - 10:50 PM
Bonzo3legs 13 Aug 21 - 01:42 AM
Big Al Whittle 13 Aug 21 - 09:50 AM
Bonzo3legs 13 Aug 21 - 01:53 PM
Stilly River Sage 13 Aug 21 - 03:32 PM
Mrrzy 13 Aug 21 - 03:53 PM
Donuel 14 Aug 21 - 09:59 AM
Rapparee 14 Aug 21 - 09:32 PM
Bonzo3legs 15 Aug 21 - 06:02 AM

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Subject: BS: 'Custer's last stand' a myth??
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 10 Aug 21 - 06:07 PM

Why I wonder were Custer's men armed with mere single shot carbines, when many of the Sioux had traded for repeating rifles, and probably wiped out Custer's union soldiers in s matter of minutes!!!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Custer's last stand' a myth??
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 10 Aug 21 - 08:45 PM

Cite your sources, please.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Custer's last stand' a myth??
From: meself
Date: 10 Aug 21 - 09:52 PM

I don't get the premise here - are we being asked if 'Custer's last stand' is a 'myth', is somebody else suggesting that it is, is somebody else suggesting that it isn't - and what do the rifles have to do with it?

None of Custer's men who might have witnessed his end lived to tell about it - but over the intervening years, much of the action has been 'reconstructed' from contemporary accounts - including those of Sioux warriors who were there - battlefield excavations, letters, etc. So ... what is the question, again?


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Custer's last stand' a myth??
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 10 Aug 21 - 10:32 PM

I think he's suggesting they were out-gunned; what they were was out-numbered. (210 US soldiers vs est. 7,000 Lakota and other tribes)


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Custer's last stand' a myth??
From: Mr Red
Date: 11 Aug 21 - 03:10 AM

I guess he was not a-Custermed to the odds.



I'll get my headdress ..................


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Custer's last stand' a myth??
From: Donuel
Date: 11 Aug 21 - 06:00 AM

It is fitting that George had no children except by those who were born by a Cheyenne Indian. History vs oral tradition is at a loss but I prefer the version as depicted in the movie 'Little Big Man'


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Custer's last stand' a myth??
From: mayomick
Date: 11 Aug 21 - 09:23 AM

Charles Drake Esq.,the only survivor?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dl1RltqVK4I


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Custer's last stand' a myth??
From: Donuel
Date: 11 Aug 21 - 01:20 PM

I remember that song now. Do you suppose there was a cavalry survivor?


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Custer's last stand' a myth??
From: Lighter
Date: 11 Aug 21 - 02:20 PM

The lone U.S. survivor of the massacre itself was the horse ironically named "Comanche."

But seven more companies of the 7th Cavalry, commanded by Major Reno and Captain Benteen also took part in the Battle of the Little Big Horn. These were forced to retire but not "massacred."

Proobaby the biggest myth of the battle is the belief that the entire 7th Cavalry was wiped out at the Little Big Horn.

Custer's force, outnumbered something like 15 to 1, was destroyed in twenty minutes or so.

Indian veterans of the battle reported that some of the soldiers committed suicide in fear of being taken prisoner.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Custer's last stand' a myth??
From: meself
Date: 11 Aug 21 - 03:39 PM

My favourite anecdote from that event concerns the Crow scout whose last recorded words were, to Custer: "I wouldn't go over that hill if I were you, Captain".

(Still waiting to find out what the 'myth' is or isn't.)


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Custer's last stand' a myth??
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 11 Aug 21 - 06:09 PM

This was discussed by eminent university historians on BBC Radio 4 In our time a few years ago.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Custer's last stand' a myth??
From: Malcolm Storey
Date: 11 Aug 21 - 07:23 PM

I'm never sure about eminent historians - especially as they seem to be the same ones spouting eloquently on diverse subjects - the wonders of the internet.
With regard to his last stand - perhaps his wife or Indian girlfriend would know about that!


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Custer's last stand' a myth??
From: Rapparee
Date: 11 Aug 21 - 07:40 PM

The Model 1873 .45-70 "Trapdoor" Springfield rifle was standard issue to the US Army in 1876. As Cavalry, the troops would have been using carbines -- some longer range sporting rifles were personal weapons of various officers. Benteen's forces would also have been destroyed had not the ammunition train arrived too late for Custer but just in time for Benteen.

As for repeating rifles the number among the Cheyenne and Lakota was probably very small. Ammunition was a problem and so many were armed with muzzleloaders. The real question is, "Who is buried in Custer's grave at the US Military Cemetery at West Point?" When the bodies were collected there were only skeletons left, making identification difficult. Animals had dragged body parts around, intermingling Indian and Cavalry, so -- who IS in Custer's grave? Some of it could be horse bones.

Go visit the battlefield, it's open to tourists and I've been there. It's quite and eye-opener.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Custer's last stand' a myth??
From: robomatic
Date: 11 Aug 21 - 07:56 PM

I like the version in "Little Big Man" where LBM is hearing the story from his Indian family known in the book "Black Elk Speaks" as 'The Rubbing Out of Longhair".

Little Big Man remarks that since they didn't scalp Custer he must have had some respect among the Sioux.

The answer is that Custer was going bald and thus his scalp was inferior.

Though the source is fictional I find it believable.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Custer's last stand' a myth??
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 12 Aug 21 - 04:04 AM

Custer asked his Geordie corporal if they were war drums.

No, replied Geordie, I think they brought their own.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Custer's last stand' a myth??
From: Neil D
Date: 12 Aug 21 - 04:34 AM

meself, what the Crow scout, Half Yellow Face, actually told Custer was: "You and I are going home today by a road we do not know." This was related by an interpreter who had left the column before the battle began.
As to the assertion by the OP that he natives were armed with repeating rifles while the cavalry had single loaded carbines, There is some truth to that. In the months leading up to the battle Sitting Bull's forces had managed to procure about 200 repeaters from gunrunners. This meant that approximately 1 in 10 warriors were armed with these "all-day guns". The rest were armed with muzzle-loaders, with some of the youngest warriors still using bows. The 7th Cavalry, like all troops in the west were armed with Springfield carbines. The government had judged them superior to the Henry and Spencer manufactured lever action repeaters. They had twice the range and stopping power as breech loaders and they were much faster to reload than muzzle loaders. Combine that with the fact that repeaters also had reloading downtime after a rapid burst and a well operated breechloader could actually maintain a higher rate of fire over the long term. It was also believed that repeaters would use up ammunition too fast.
   Did this possession of about 200 repeaters by Lakota fighters effect the outcome of the battle? Perhaps. Battlefield analysis long after the fact, based mostly on the recovery of spent ammo, has led to the speculation that a strategic use of these rifles at a crucial point of the battle may have turned one of Custer's flanks.
    This is as much as history has to say on the matter. As for my personal opinion, once Custer led his men to that point of no retreat, where his force was outnumbered 10 to 1, they were doomed. If Custer had accepted the offer of Gatlin guns at the beginning of the campaign and taken a more defensible position, it might have been a different outcome. He rejected the Gatlins because he thought they would slow him down on the trail. He didn't fight defensively because ha was relying on intelligence that the native force was much smaller than it was. Indian agents had provided the army with info that there were no more than 800 "hostiles" in the area, based on the number who had originally followed Sitting Bull off the reservation. They did not consider that in the weeks prior to the battle thousands more had unofficially left the reservation and joined force with Sitting Bull's band for the summer buffalo hunt.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Custer's last stand' a myth??
From: Rapparee
Date: 12 Aug 21 - 09:37 AM

More on the 1873 .45-70 Trapdoor Springfield.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Custer's last stand' a myth??
From: Mrrzy
Date: 12 Aug 21 - 10:38 AM

I love this place.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Custer's last stand' a myth??
From: meself
Date: 12 Aug 21 - 11:12 AM

Neil D. - You seem to have all the details at your fingertips, and I've not read much on the subject for decades - but since your quote and mine have absolutely no similarity, and I believe Custer had more than one Crow scout - correct me if I'm wrong - I'm curious as to why you're so confident that the quote I gave bears any relation to yours?


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Custer's last stand' a myth??
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 12 Aug 21 - 02:42 PM

It would be useful to learn of your SOURCE MATERIAL for the various opinions offered up here. Otherwise it is just opinion.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Custer's last stand' a myth??
From: Rain Dog
Date: 12 Aug 21 - 03:08 PM

But then again the source is only another opinion.

BBC radio 4.
Orignally broadcast May 2011

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Battle of the Little Bighorn, also known as Custer's Last Stand.In 1876 a dispute between the American federal government and Native Americans over land rights led to an armed conflict now known as the Great Sioux War. An expeditionary federal force was sent out to coerce the Native Americans into reservations, and away from the gold reserves recently discovered in their traditional homelands.One of the officers in this expeditionary force was a Civil War hero, George Custer. While en route to his arranged rendezvous, Custer unexpectedly encountered a large group of Sioux and Cheyenne warriors. Disobeying orders, he decided to attack. Barely half an hour later, he and all 200 of his men lay dead. Custer's Last Stand has become one of the most famous and closely studied military engagements in American history.With:Kathleen BurkProfessor of Modern and Contemporary History at University College, LondonAdam SmithSenior Lecturer in American History at University College LondonSaul DavidProfessor of War Studies at the University of Buckingham.Producer: Thomas Morris.

In Our Time - Custer's last stand


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Custer's last stand' a myth??
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 12 Aug 21 - 03:19 PM

The sources, well-documented, are more reliable than the opinions of Mudcat members who don't say anything about where they formed their opinions. Source material can be cross-referenced and interrogated.

The numbers I posted (combatants on both sides) came from querying Google and were taken from Wikipedia. Wikipedia isn't the best source generally for in-depth research, but these days, when the subject isn't being fought over by opposing sides (when a site gets locked down so no one can change it) it tends to be a good starting point.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Custer's last stand' a myth??
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 12 Aug 21 - 03:32 PM

The National Park Service manages the battlefield location. Their information says there were 263 US military soldiers (not the 210 I noted above) saying "on June 25 and 26 of 1876, 263 soldiers, including Lt. Col. George A. Custer and attached personnel of the US Army" and "several thousand Lakota and Cheyenne warriors." That said, the NPS is one of the most managed agencies as far as the information they disseminate - what the rangers know from their research is not what they're allowed to tell the public and print on informational signs at the site. The truth is usually much grittier than they're allowed to say. This is what comes from political interference in the interpretation of history.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Custer's last stand' a myth??
From: Rapparee
Date: 12 Aug 21 - 03:42 PM

Well, okay,...

Fox, Richard A.Archaeology, History and Custer's Last Stand. 1997.
Utley, Robert M. Custer and the Great Controversy. 1998.
Donovan, James. A Terrible Glory: Custer and the Little Bighorn. 2009.
Scott, Douglas D. They Died With Custer. 2002.
Taylor, William O. With Custer at the Little Big Horn. 1996.
Hardoff, Richard G. Hokahey! A Good Day To Die. 1999.
Marquis, Thomas B. Keep the Last Bullet for Yourself. 1976.
Michno, Gregory. The Mystery of E Troop. 1994.
Brown, Dee. Showdown at the Little Big Horn. 1988.
Skelnar, Larry. To Hell With Honor. 2000.

Yes, I own them. Yes, I've read them. I do have other books which touch on the subject, but these are most immediately germane.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Custer's last stand' a myth??
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 12 Aug 21 - 06:12 PM

Hooray for Charlie Drake and his great record!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Custer's last stand' a myth??
From: Malcolm Storey
Date: 12 Aug 21 - 06:41 PM

It seems that for once it's the losers who write the history.
It would appear that Custer was a vainglorious idiot. Not unusual in the military of lots of nations.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Custer's last stand' a myth??
From: Rapparee
Date: 12 Aug 21 - 10:50 PM

His Civil War record was pretty good, which is why he was breveted to Brigadier General. His rank was Lieutenant Colonel, and his men called his "Hard Ass." He was not, to say the least, popular with the enlisted men and NCOs. At one point he was court martialed for using an Army ambulance to transport his wife while he was on campaign and received the usual "slap on the wrist."


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Custer's last stand' a myth??
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 13 Aug 21 - 01:42 AM

Then he deserved the biffing he got from the injuns!!!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Custer's last stand' a myth??
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Aug 21 - 09:50 AM

Why is it a myth? Its not like he sat down.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Custer's last stand' a myth??
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 13 Aug 21 - 01:53 PM

What has sitting down got to do with it?


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Custer's last stand' a myth??
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 13 Aug 21 - 03:32 PM

Vine Deloria, Custer Died For Your Sins and
James Welch, Killing Custer. The Indians telling of the story.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Custer's last stand' a myth??
From: Mrrzy
Date: 13 Aug 21 - 03:53 PM

I got it, Big Al


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Custer's last stand' a myth??
From: Donuel
Date: 14 Aug 21 - 09:59 AM

Custer was not a man with gemutlichkiet.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Custer's last stand' a myth??
From: Rapparee
Date: 14 Aug 21 - 09:32 PM

Wikipedia: "In his four years at West Point, he amassed a record total of 726 demerits, one of the worst conduct records in the history of the academy. The local minister remembered Custer as "“the instigator of devilish plots both during the service and in Sunday school. On the surface he appeared attentive and respectful, but underneath the mind boiled with disruptive ideas. ”A fellow cadet recalled Custer as declaring there were only two places in a class, the head and the foot, and since he had no desire to be the head, he aspired to be the foot. A roommate noted, "It was alright with George Custer, whether he knew his lesson or not; he simply did not allow it to trouble him." Under ordinary conditions, Custer's low class rank would result in an obscure posting, the first step in a dead-end career, but Custer had the fortune to graduate as the Civil War broke out, and as a result the Union Army had a sudden need for many junior officers."


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Custer's last stand' a myth??
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 15 Aug 21 - 06:02 AM

I was under the impression Custer had a high ranking influencial mentor ??


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