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Old April 10, 2021, 08:17 PM   #51
Moonglum
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Originally Posted by Carl the Floor Walker View Post
Regardless of Custer's actions at the Last Stand, History is so interesting. I am fascinated by Gettyburg and Civil war. Also have spent a lot of study of Doc Holliday. I remember visiting Tombstone when just a kid. Still have a book my Dad bought from a Old Geezer who was about 85 or 90 at the time, and had him autograph the book. I live in Virginia and it is so chock full of American history, battlefields etc. I would love to have my own time machine. To go back into history, not forward. Forward is too frighting.
Three of the best books I have ever read on the subject were “The Custer Reader” (Edited by Paul A. Hutton), "A Terrible Glory” (James Donovan) and "Custer & Crazyhorse"(Stephen Ambrose).

In “The Custer Reader” the author examines the writings of Custer’s contemporaries as well as how the popular view of Custer has changed over the years and examines the theory that Benteen deliberately abandoned Custer to his fate and includes the immediate account of the battle and the account given at the court of inquiry and points out how the number of Indians grew between the two tellings and speculates that it’s possible Benteen was trying to cover up his deliberate abandonment of Custer.

TCR also examines the idea that Custer was trying for one big victory to set up a Presidential run. The author contends that Custer was quite content to be a soldier but found himself stuck in a peace time Army with very little chance for advancement (Example Charles Varnum was a Second Lieutenant at the Battle of Little Bighorn and had only been promoted to Captain by Wounded Knee.) . The Book Speculates that it’s far more likely that Custer was trying to distinguish himself in an effort to gain promotion to Brigadier General.

"A Terrible Glory" points out that prior to LBH the Indians had never stood and fought and that they had routinely been beaten by numerically inferior U.S. forces with superior firepower. It also points out that Custer did not disobey orders but that his orders were very general and left him plenty of room to react to the changing situation.

Donavan also points out that while Custer’s battalion commanders might have been good fighters , they were crappy officers who were trying to advance their careers in the same slow moving peace time Army. It also draws the conclusion that the survivors placed all the blame on Custer who wasn’t around to defend himself in an effort to save their careers.

"Custer and Crazyhorse" examines all of Custer's life. Not just a brief look at his military career and The Little Bighorn. It fills lot of the blank spaces in other biographies that only look at his military career.

According to Stephen Ambrose'1975 book "Crazy Horse and Custer", Custer made four critical mistakes: (paraphrasing a bit):
1. He refused to accept Terry's offer of four troops of the 2nd Cav. If Reno had had two more troops with him, he might have had sufficient momentum to make a successful chafrge when he first came upon the Sioux camp. Had Custer had two more troops with him, he might have made it up the hill.
2. Custer badly underestimated his enemy, not so much in terms of numbers as in terms of fighting capability, where he was disastrously wrong.
3. He assumed that his men could do what he could do; to put it another way, he attacked too soon. He should have spent June 25 resting, then attacked the next day, when Gibbon could have, on urgent request, reinforced him. All Indian accounts agree that Custer's men and horses, like Reno's, were so exhausted that their legs trembled. It was a hot day, which further cut the trooper's efficiency. He committed his command when he did not know his enemie's position, strength, or location. He also lost the element of surprise. His enemies knew more about his force than he knew about them.
4. When he lost the initiative, he failed to gain the high ground and dig in, although here one should perhaps blame Custer less and praise Crazy Horse more

What I find really interesting is according to Ambrose Custer was repeatedly offered chances to go into politics and he turned them all down. This really makes me question the popular theory that he was trying to win the Battle of the Little Bighorn so set himself up for a presidential run.

He apparently was also offered several civilian jobs that would have paid much better than the army and turned them all down too. I find that especially surprising given that Custer was NOT a wealthy man.

I think anyone with a serious interest in LBH would benefit from reading either or all of these books.
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Old April 12, 2021, 08:40 AM   #52
ghbucky
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He apparently was also offered several civilian jobs that would have paid much better than the army and turned them all down too.
A very handsome offer of command of a South American (forget the country) military was made to him for 1 year. He was unable to secure permission from the Army to take a leave of absence to accept it. So, yes, he turned it down, but he would have had to leave the Army entirely to accept it.
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Old April 12, 2021, 09:58 PM   #53
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A very handsome offer of command of a South American (forget the country) military was made to him for 1 year. He was unable to secure permission from the Army to take a leave of absence to accept it. So, yes, he turned it down, but he would have had to leave the Army entirely to accept it.
He was offered the position of Adjudant General of the Mexican Army by Benito Juarez but was blocked from accepting the position by the State Department.

As I mentioned in the paragraph you quoted, Custer was offered Civilian jobs. He was offered directorships in a couple of Rail Roads and executive positions in several business ventures and turned them down.
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Old April 13, 2021, 02:58 AM   #54
Carl the Floor Walker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moonglum View Post
Three of the best books I have ever read on the subject were “The Custer Reader” (Edited by Paul A. Hutton), "A Terrible Glory” (James Donovan) and "Custer & Crazyhorse"(Stephen Ambrose).

In “The Custer Reader” the author examines the writings of Custer’s contemporaries as well as how the popular view of Custer has changed over the years and examines the theory that Benteen deliberately abandoned Custer to his fate and includes the immediate account of the battle and the account given at the court of inquiry and points out how the number of Indians grew between the two tellings and speculates that it’s possible Benteen was trying to cover up his deliberate abandonment of Custer.

TCR also examines the idea that Custer was trying for one big victory to set up a Presidential run. The author contends that Custer was quite content to be a soldier but found himself stuck in a peace time Army with very little chance for advancement (Example Charles Varnum was a Second Lieutenant at the Battle of Little Bighorn and had only been promoted to Captain by Wounded Knee.) . The Book Speculates that it’s far more likely that Custer was trying to distinguish himself in an effort to gain promotion to Brigadier General.

"A Terrible Glory" points out that prior to LBH the Indians had never stood and fought and that they had routinely been beaten by numerically inferior U.S. forces with superior firepower. It also points out that Custer did not disobey orders but that his orders were very general and left him plenty of room to react to the changing situation.

Donavan also points out that while Custer’s battalion commanders might have been good fighters , they were crappy officers who were trying to advance their careers in the same slow moving peace time Army. It also draws the conclusion that the survivors placed all the blame on Custer who wasn’t around to defend himself in an effort to save their careers.

"Custer and Crazyhorse" examines all of Custer's life. Not just a brief look at his military career and The Little Bighorn. It fills lot of the blank spaces in other biographies that only look at his military career.

According to Stephen Ambrose'1975 book "Crazy Horse and Custer", Custer made four critical mistakes: (paraphrasing a bit):
1. He refused to accept Terry's offer of four troops of the 2nd Cav. If Reno had had two more troops with him, he might have had sufficient momentum to make a successful chafrge when he first came upon the Sioux camp. Had Custer had two more troops with him, he might have made it up the hill.
2. Custer badly underestimated his enemy, not so much in terms of numbers as in terms of fighting capability, where he was disastrously wrong.
3. He assumed that his men could do what he could do; to put it another way, he attacked too soon. He should have spent June 25 resting, then attacked the next day, when Gibbon could have, on urgent request, reinforced him. All Indian accounts agree that Custer's men and horses, like Reno's, were so exhausted that their legs trembled. It was a hot day, which further cut the trooper's efficiency. He committed his command when he did not know his enemie's position, strength, or location. He also lost the element of surprise. His enemies knew more about his force than he knew about them.
4. When he lost the initiative, he failed to gain the high ground and dig in, although here one should perhaps blame Custer less and praise Crazy Horse more

What I find really interesting is according to Ambrose Custer was repeatedly offered chances to go into politics and he turned them all down. This really makes me question the popular theory that he was trying to win the Battle of the Little Bighorn so set himself up for a presidential run.

He apparently was also offered several civilian jobs that would have paid much better than the army and turned them all down too. I find that especially surprising given that Custer was NOT a wealthy man.

I think anyone with a serious interest in LBH would benefit from reading either or all of these books.
I have read the book by Ambrose whom I admire as I own many books of his works. Another great book on Custer was done by T.J. Stiles "Custer's Trials". The author goes deep into the history of the times, the psychology of Custer etc. Custer will always be a
Controversial figure in history. Perhaps he should have never tried to go into politics lol. Regardless, he is part of history and most books will also tell the story of American history along the way. Pre-civil war, the war and westward expansion. All of which shaped our country today.
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Old April 13, 2021, 12:45 PM   #55
4V50 Gary
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Moot court court martial of George Armstrong Custer. Ruth Ginsburg sat as a judge in it.

https://www.c-span.org/video/?111963...general-custer
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Old April 13, 2021, 02:31 PM   #56
Moonglum
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Originally Posted by Carl the Floor Walker View Post
Perhaps he should have never tried to go into politics
Go back and read what I wrote Bernie. Custer didn't try to go into politics. In fact, he actively declined going into politics.
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Old April 16, 2021, 12:26 AM   #57
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Around 1990, shortly before I retired, I was working on a paper for the "Last Word Society" of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, regarding the Army's report on the efficacy of the 1873 Springfield Trapdoor Carbine (essentially a total whitewash). The gist of the report was that the trapdoor was vastly superior to the Indians' repeating rifles because of its much greater range and accuracy out to more than 500 yds. Of course, the Indians, being mere ignorant savages, did not realize that they were supposed to stay 500 yds away, and insisted on riding up to point-blank range and pumping 15 or 16 shots into the dismounted troopers, before wheeling off behind a hill to reload.

One thing I didn't see mentioned in this thread was that numerous Cavalry .45-55 cartridges were found that had split and ruptured cases. They had apparently been taken from dead troopers, and some used by Indians with .50-70 carbines or rifles, causing the cases to split - like firing a .40 S&W in a .45 ACP, or a 9mm in a .40.

I also got to handle some of the firearms used on both sides at Little Big Horn when I visited the Rock Island Arsenal Museum while working on the Army's XM-11 pistol program. It's a little-known fact that all of the firearms surrendered at the end of the Indian Wars were sent to Rock Island Arsenal for storage. As mentioned, they were ballistically tested against cartridge cases and bullets recovered from the battlefield after the fire in 1983, and the weapons documented to have been in the battle are displayed in the museum.
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Old April 16, 2021, 06:53 AM   #58
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Quote:
The gist of the report was that the trapdoor was vastly superior to the Indians' repeating rifles because of its much greater range and accuracy out to more than 500 yds
I find it amazing that US cavalry that sported repeaters during the civil war then went to single shot rifles afterwards. Those repeaters are credited as one of the reasons for Custer's success during the civil war against the Confederate single shots.
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Old April 16, 2021, 12:56 PM   #59
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The Union Army in the Civil War was like the U.S. Army in WWII-it had the backing of the whole nation and what it wanted it got. The Army of the Indian Wars was subject to tight budgets-at one time Congress cut Sherman's salary from $17,000 to $15,000-and strict economy was the order of the day. Hence the Trapdoor Springfield, designed to use all those surplus muzzle loaders. The Spencer repeater was no longer in production and used a different ammunition, the Henrys and Winchesters were not seen as suitable for military use due to their pistol caliber ammunition. There were the problems with the too soft copper cartridge cases-they said a cavalry trooper could swear for 20 minutes straight without repeating himself.
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Old April 17, 2021, 10:18 PM   #60
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Have read about 100 pages of the Scott book. If you are a history buff, it's amazing. I haven't found it to be too dry or too academic at all. It is a great evidence based retelling of the story.
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