GDG- Reno & Benteen Anecdotes

CWMHTours at CWMHTours at
Thu Jan 19 08:46:22 CST 2012

Like most Americans I have been fascinated with the Big Horn  story ever 
since first seeing the historically accurate movie masterpeice of  genius 
"They Died With Their Boots On" with Custer played by an  Englishman.
As I've mentioned I went to the battlefield in 1984 for a  day.
One legacy of Frederick Benteen is that his conduct and  command at Reno 
Hill was great and courageous.  Apparently the defensive  position was bowl 
shaped giving some protection from bullets.  This would  be different from the 
rest of Last Stand Ridge where there was little  protection.
Legend has it that Reno was pretty shaken up after his route  and began 
drinking, rendering him rather useless.  So Benteen pretty much  took command.
He is buried in Arl Cem in Sect 3 in view of the Memorial  Amphitheater and 
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  Near him is George  Greene.  Tourmobile would 
go past his grave and I was the only narrator who  would point out his 
grave.  Also buried near him are his son and nephew who  both share his name.
At Little Big Horn there is a National Cemetery.  Reno is  buried there.  I 
took a guided tour and the ranger stood us in front of  Reno and proceeded 
to tell us that after the war Reno was a bit of a sex pervert  and child 
predator.  He was transferred from fort to fort after causing one  incident 
after another.
Finally he was at a post commanded by Samuel Sturgis of IX  Corps fame.  
Turns out Strurgis's wife was changing the clothes of their  young daughter 
when she spied Reno's face pressed to the window pane leering at  the 
daughter.  This last incident resulted in the removal of Reno from  service.
[You have to give this to Sturgis.  After 2nd  Manassass Sturgis was 
sitting in the Fairfax RR station drunk when Herman Haupt  came in.    Haupt asked 
why Sturgis wasn't out trying to rescue  John Pope.  Strurgis's response 
was "I don't care about John Pope one pinch  of owl dung!"  Over the years 
I've tried to envision one pinch of owl  dung.]
There was another good anecdote in the Cemetery.  We  stood in front of the 
grave of a sergeant and the ranger told us his home was  pretty popular as 
a social spot at one post.  His wife, a very big boned  woman was a great 
cook and the enlisted men always had a good time  there.  The wife was very 
popular with the men.  Once the sergeant  went off on a long mission from the 
post, during which his wife took ill.   She died.  Upon investigation the 
doctors discovered the wife was a man in  drag.  This naturally caused quite a 
stir at the post.  When the  sergeant returned to find his wife dead and 
himself ridiculed by the other  soldiers so he proceeded to take out his 
pistol and shoot himself in the  head.  That was his grave.
Little Big Horn is worth a visit. 
"Just  the facts, ma'am." 

Your Most Obediant  Servant

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