GDG- Custer: G'burg, LBH & Philbrick
CWMHTours at aol.com
CWMHTours at aol.com
Fri Jan 20 09:05:46 CST 2012
2. If you ever can, go visit LBH. When I went there and actually walked
the hills and all the decades of wondering what happened disappeared.
Suddenly all the pieces came together. And when you keep in mind that this was
insurgent guerilla war and the Indians would hit and run and the heavier
more clumsy cavalry couldn't catch them Custer's motives and actions can be
explained. The Northern Plains horsemen, the dog soldiers, have been
called the finest light cavalry in the world.
The Indians rode with only a blanker and a rifle or spear in their hand.
The cavaly first had a saddle. Water. Food. Usually a peg and rope to
tether the horse. A carbine. Ammo. Maybe even a saber.
Now who is gonna win the race?
If you wanted to arm chair general it on a Monday morning yes, Custer
should have done a real reconnaisance. He might even have wanted to consider
that maybe just this once, just this once, the Indians miught not run away
like they did every single other time. Had he known that days in advance
instead of trying to catch the Indians that they would for the first time try
to catch him he might have taken the Gatlings and kept his forces together
and set up the defensive camp on Reno hill instead of riding up and down
Instead all he knew was a big camp and the Indians always ran away. The
purpose of Terry's campaign was to finally catch the Souix. He found them.
And before they could run away he wanted to attack and trap them. The
purpose of Benteen's column in fact was to guard Reno's left flank and prevent
the Indians from escaping that way.
You can understand and explain Custer's actions. Maybe you can't excuse
3. Sins? Custer had sins? ;-)
4. I think PTSD among ACW vets was pretty common. I guess it was one of
the conccrns of the Grand Army of the Republic that many vets were mentally
incapacitated by something mentally and had trouble taking care of
themselves. But drinking and "odd" behavior on the part of officers was common
before the war. Ulyses Grant out west comes quickly to mind. It may have
increased after the war but it preexisted.
"Just the facts, ma'am."
Your Most Obediant Servant
In a message dated 1/20/2012 9:03:21 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,
madpd2001 at yahoo.com writes:
Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
Please allow me to share some thoughts on this recent discussion:
1. Great stuff. As usual learned alot.
2. Although I may have missed it (I'm a 'digest' person and the lack of
'snipping' makes reading everything tedious) I did not see a reference to
Nathaniel Philbrick's recent book on Custer & LBH. He was a 'talking head' on
the AE/PBS show. Thought it was great, comprehensive, and broke new ground.
Perhaps I am prejudiced....he's a favorite author of mine. Would like to
hear other's thoughts on the book. BTW his most recent book on why we should
all read/re-read Moby Dick has several references to the ACW and
Melville's anticipation of it in MD.
3. Seems to me Custer's greatest among many sins was to underestimate his
opponent, something a thoughtful, competent competitior would never do,
both in sports and 'real' life.
4. I seem to recall reading somewhere about the # of ACW vets who suffered
from PTSD. Just slightly better than speculation but makes perfect sense
when thinking about the conduct of several of Custer's officers (Reno?)
drinking, depression, etc.
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