Posts Tagged ‘Custer’

Only survivor of Custer’s men?

Frank Finkel (1854-1930) claimed that at Custer’s Last Stand, he and his horse were shot. The horse bolted and ran several miles. After he recovered from his wounds, he tried to rejoin the Army, but he could not prove his identity—his fellow soldiers were dead. Frank was able to provide some details about the battle that weren’t available until long after his death. I suspect that after he found out that Custer had been wiped out, he made him himself scarce to avoid desertion issues, but who knows?

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Battle of the Little Bighorn—the Indian’s side:

General Custer had a reputation for massacring women and children. Major Reno’s command attacked the village, killing women and children. The Lakota/Sioux and Cheyenne thought Custer had a full Army. Thinking they were going to die, the warriors sent their families into retreat and attacked. A few teenage boys were told to stay behind to guard the women and children as they fled.

I recall the warriors cry: Today is a good day to die!

The warriors wiped out Custer’s detachment, leaving Major Reno and Captain Benteen dug in. Though the warriors could’ve killed this group too, Sitting Bull decided there had been enough bloodshed and called them off, ending the battle.

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Custer lacked luster

Custer’s Blunders

June 25, 1876, General Custer’s 7th Cavalry of about 700 soldiers were defeated by 1,500 Lakota Sioux and Cheyenne warriors. 274 soldiers died and about 41 Indians. Here is a list of Custer’s mistakes that I am aware of:

–Custer had the advance forces; he had been ordered to wait.

–Custer split his forces into 3.

–Custer planned to attack the village, not the warriors.

–Major Reno attacked first, firing into the tipis, killing women and children.

–Custer didn’t attack until after Reno had retreated and dug in.

–Custer scribbled a note, Capt. Benteen couldn’t read it, the Italian soldier didn’t speak English.

–Warriors left Reno and outflanked Custer, preventing his men from forming a defensive line.

–Reno’s blunder: he assumed Custer had the larger force, so he kept Benteen’s men.

–Benteen’s blunder: He should have paid more attention to the note.

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Custer’s Last Stand

General Custer and the 7th Cavalry were at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, surrounded by warriors. A rider broke through the enemy ranks. As his mount was shot under him, he ran to General Custer with a telegram.


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Joseph White Bull, Lakota Tȟatȟáŋka Ská, –April 1849 to June 21, 1947 was a nephew of Sitting Bull. He participated in the Battle of Little Bighorn and fought directly with General Custer. Some credit him with killing Custer. (Custer had a habit of killing women and children, so he had it coming)


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Custer’s Last Stand

On June 24, 1876, General Custer and the Seventh Cavalry were chasing Lakota, Dakota, and Cheyenne warriors. Custer decided to stop for the night and surprise the warriors on June 26. Afraid the warriors had learned of his approach, Custer attacked the next morning, June 25. The rest is history. Custer split his forces into 4 groups. Only Custer’s detachment, the largest group, were annihilated.


Custer made numerous mistakes: He was supposed to wait for General Crook. He attacked without waiting for further reconnaissance. He ignored his Crow scouts’ warnings that the warriors were too numerous. He split his forces. Major Reno attacked first and withdrew, leaving the warriors to attack Custer. Custer chose to attack a village of women and children—the warriors had no choice but to destroy Custer’s Army to save their families.


Online resources can tell you how many lived and died. Many historians believe that Custer planned on a quick victory. He could travel east and be nominated for president. The wages of war are death. The wages of peace are manifold. While I do not relish these soldiers’ deaths, I do not feel sorry for them. (soldiers buried where they fell, 1886 photo of warriors present)

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On June 25, 1876, Col. Custer’s 7th Cavalry of 700 soldiers attacked an encampment of Lakota, Cheyenne, & Arapaho with 2,500 warriors. Once called Custer’s Massacre, reality has set in. The battle began when Major Reno’s troops fired on the camp, killing 10 women & children. At the end, about 275 troopers & 50 to 75 warriors died. (opinions on all numbers varies)

What I read is that Custer attacked a tipi village, hoping the warriors were off fighting General Crook. Custer hoped for a quick win, a massacre of women & children, so he could take a train east and be nominated to run for President of the USA. And people think politics nowadays are messy!

While I take no pleasure in the deaths of so many soldiers & warriors, I do believe that Custer got his just desserts. (He also made many mistakes: split his forces, didn’t wait for help, orders not clear etc.) During the Battle of Washita, his troops had attacked a Cheyenne village, killing more women & children than warriors. He was hoping to do it again.

(photo: the soldiers were buried where they fell)

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