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Posted: 6/7/2001 3:17:58 PM EDT
June 25th is the 125th anniversary of the battle. According to the websites there are going to be camps, re-enactments, ceremonies lectures, etc. Anybody here going to be involved with it? I really lucked out on this one. I am going TDY with my Air Guard unit to Ellsworth AFB, SD during the last half of June. We will hopefully have a couple days off over the weekend so I plan to drive over to Montana to see some of it. It is about 3-4 hours drive, but shorter than driving from Michigan.[:)] Has anybody read "Archaeology, History and Custer's Last Battle"? I am taking a college class and arranged to do my term project on this book in conjunction with the trip.
Link Posted: 6/25/2001 5:53:24 PM EDT
Maybe this is Monday morning quarterbacking, but Custer sure looked foolish considering the odds facing him. One of the few times the Indians allied themselves against the white man. It was just too little, too late.
Link Posted: 7/3/2001 2:53:00 PM EDT
Just got back from my TDY. It was a great couple of weeks and the time at the battlefield was definitely the trip of a lifetime. I am not necessarily a fan of Custer, but I recognize his importance in history. I learned some interesting things there. Prior to the Dakota campaign, Custer his fellow commanders had been told to expect no more than 800 hostile warriors total, and spread out over several territories. Well, in the Little Bighorn Valley there were about 2000 warriors, plus non-combatants. Oops. [:O] Not the first time or the last that military intelligence has fallen a little short. So, contrary to popular belief, he didn't really think that he could beat 2000 Indians. He just got more than he bargained for.
Link Posted: 7/5/2001 10:33:13 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/5/2001 10:46:06 AM EDT by ArmdLbrl]
It is interesting, however, to compare what happened to Custer and the 7th Cav, to what happened a few months later on the Powder River. Crazy Horse decided to round on his pursurers, and thought he found a good target, the Sixth US Infantry which was operating alone way out in front of the rest of the pursuing troops. They ambushed them on the march, and unlike Custer the Infantry were NOT aware that Indians were anywhere near them. But the tactics that had worked so well against the Cavalry failed against the Infantry. The infantry companies stayed close togeather instead of seperating, and the massed volleys from their Trapdoors drove Indian attackers to the ground. At one point the Indians got desperate enough to try a mounted charge, which was repulsed with great loss when the Sixth formed square- the only time that ever happened in the history of the Indian Wars. The Indians then retreated behind rocks and trees again to wear out the infantry with a barrage of rifle fire. Accompaning the Sixth was a Lieutenant and 42 men from the 4th US Artillery with two Civil War vintage fieldpieces, a 3in Rifle and a 12pdr Howitzer. With these they began to silence one Indian fire position after another. In the mid afternoon a series of bayonet charges swept up the remaining Indian skirmishers and drove them off the ridges overlooking the river. This action pointed out several things to do when fighting Indians that had been well known in Colonial times but had been forgotten in the Little Bighorn Campaign. Attack in winter, when the pony herds are weak. Use Infantry, in the winter snows and especially in wooded and broken country like the Yellowstone Country, Cavalry arent much faster than infantry and are faced with either the burden of carrying large quantities of heavy horse fodder, or just riding their horses into the ground and becoming infantry themselves befor the campaign was out. Bring bigger guns, have artillery, machine guns were still to fragile to be relied upon. The combined strength of the Sixth Infantry and its attachments did not exceed 600 and was probably closer to 550. The Sixth itself had just 501 men present and fit in its ten companies. This makes it no larger than Custers column. Yet it survived a ambush, and successfully counterattacked and inflicted great loss on the enemy.
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