GDG- Reno & Benteen Anecdotes
CWMHTours at aol.com
CWMHTours at aol.com
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
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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