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Battle Of Little Big Horn Articles

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Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Aug 09, AnneKristine Norris rated it really liked it. Custer dies. This author developed the characters of some of the other players rather than focusing on Custer, Sitting Bull, and Crazy Horse.

Battle of the Little Bighorn

He enlisted in the Army at age eighteen and was soon its fourth youngest officer. He saw combat as a paratrooper, an artillery officer, and Army aviator, was the first Army pilot to wear the famed Green Beret, and was decorated several times. He lives in El Paso, Texas. The 7th Cavalry returned to Fort Abraham Lincoln to reconstitute. Sturgis , returned from his detached duty in St. Louis, Missouri. Sturgis led the 7th Cavalry in the campaign against the Nez Perce in Congress authorized appropriations to expand the Army by 2, men to meet the emergency after the defeat of the 7th Cavalry.

For a session, the Democratic Party-controlled House of Representatives abandoned its campaign to reduce the size of the Army. Word of Custer's fate reached the 44th United States Congress as a conference committee was attempting to reconcile opposing appropriations bills approved by the House and the Republican Senate. They approved a measure to increase the size of cavalry companies to enlisted men on July The committee temporarily lifted the ceiling on the size of the Army by 2, on August The Battle of the Little Bighorn was the subject of an U. Army Court of Inquiry in Chicago, held at Reno's request, during which his conduct was scrutinized.

The court found Reno's conduct to be without fault. After the battle, Thomas Rosser, James O'Kelly, and others continued to question the conduct of Reno due to his hastily ordered retreat. Contemporary accounts also point to the fact that Reno's scout, Bloody Knife, was shot in the head, spraying him with blood, possibly increasing his own panic and distress.

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General Terry and others claimed that Custer made strategic errors from the start of the campaign. For instance, he refused to use a battery of Gatling guns, and turned down General Terry's offer of an additional battalion of the 2nd Cavalry. Custer believed that the Gatling guns would impede his march up the Rosebud and hamper his mobility.

Custer planned "to live and travel like Indians; in this manner the command will be able to go wherever the Indians can", he wrote in his Herald dispatch. By contrast, each Gatling gun had to be hauled by four horses, and soldiers often had to drag the heavy guns by hand over obstacles. Each of the heavy, hand-cranked weapons could fire up to rounds a minute, an impressive rate, but they were known to jam frequently.

During the Black Hills Expedition two years earlier, a Gatling gun had turned over, rolled down a mountain, and shattered to pieces.


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Lieutenant William Low, commander of the artillery detachment, was said to have almost wept when he learned he had been excluded from the strike force. Custer believed that the 7th Cavalry could handle any Indian force and that the addition of the four companies of the 2nd would not alter the outcome. When offered the 2nd Cavalry, he reportedly replied that the 7th "could handle anything.

By dividing his forces, Custer could have caused the defeat of the entire column, had it not been for Benteen's and Reno's linking up to make a desperate yet successful stand on the bluff above the southern end of the camp. The historian James Donovan believed that Custer's dividing his force into four smaller detachments including the pack train can be attributed to his inadequate reconnaissance; he also ignored the warnings of his Crow scouts and Charley Reynolds.


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  • His men were widely scattered and unable to support each other. Criticism of Custer was not universal. While investigating the battlefield, Lieutenant General Nelson A. Army wanted to avoid bad press and found ways to exculpate Custer. They blamed the defeat on the Indians' alleged possession of numerous repeating rifles and the overwhelming numerical superiority of the warriors. The widowed Elizabeth Bacon Custer, who never remarried, wrote three popular books in which she fiercely protected her husband's reputation. It was not until over half a century later that historians took another look at the battle and Custer's decisions that led to his death and loss of half his command and found much to criticize.

    General Alfred Terry's Dakota column included a single battery of artillery, comprising two Rodman guns 3-inch Ordnance rifle and two Gatling guns.

    Connell, the precise number of Gatlings has not been established, ranging from two to three. Custer's decision to reject Terry's offer of the rapid-fire Gatlings has raised questions among historians as to why he refused them and what advantage their availability might have conferred on his forces at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Historians have acknowledged the firepower inherent in the Gatling gun: they were capable of firing Jamming caused by black powder residue could lower that rate, [] [] raising questions as to their reliability under combat conditions.

    The Gatlings, mounted high on carriages, required the battery crew to stand upright during its operation, making them easy targets for Lakota and Cheyenne sharpshooters. Historian Robert M.

    Hunt , expert in the tactical use of artillery in Civil War, stated that Gatlings "would probably have saved the command", whereas General Nelson A. The Lakota and Cheyenne warriors that opposed Custer's forces possessed a wide array of weaponry, from war clubs and lances to the most advanced firearms of the day. Sitting Bull's forces had no assured means to supply themselves with firearms and ammunition. Of the guns owned by Lakota and Cheyenne fighters at the Little Bighorn, approximately were repeating rifles [] corresponding to about 1 of 10 of the encampment's two thousand able-bodied fighters who participated in the battle [].

    The troops under Custer's command carried two regulation firearms authorized and issued by the U. Army in early the breech-loading, single-shot Springfield Model carbine, and the Colt single-action revolver. With the exception of a number of officers and scouts who opted for personally owned and more expensive rifles and handguns, the 7th Cavalry was uniformly armed. Ammunition allotments provided carbine rounds per trooper, carried on a cartridge belt and in saddlebags on their mounts.

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    An additional 50 carbine rounds per man were reserved on the pack train that accompanied the regiment to the battlefield. Each trooper had 24 rounds for his Colt handgun. The opposing forces, though not equally matched in the number and type of arms, were comparably outfitted, and neither side held a overwhelming advantage in weaponry.

    Two hundred or more Lakota and Cheyenne combatants are known to have been armed with Henry, Winchester, or similar lever-action repeating rifles at the battle. Historians have asked whether the repeating rifles conferred a distinct advantage on Sitting Bull's villagers that contributed to their victory over Custer's carbine-armed soldiers. Historian Michael L.

    Lawson offers a scenario based on archaeological collections at the "Henryville" site, which yielded plentiful Henry rifle cartridge casings from approximately 20 individual guns.