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The Next Generation In The Study Of Custer's Last Stand

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Custer's Last Stand 2

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What Happened To George Custer?

All photos Bob Reece unless otherwise noted


11.    12.   12a.

Picture 11 looks south--As Reno charged down the valley Custer moved north along these bluffs overlooking the LBH. While Reno was on his skirmish line his men observed the Custer battalion moving along the bluffs and Custer waving his hat at them. Custer was encouraging them on.

Picture 12 looks east--Custer turned his battalion to the east moving down Cedar Coulee which empties into Medicine Tail Coulee.

NOTE: Custer formed two battalions with his five companies. The right wing comprised Companies I, C, and L under the command of Captain Myles Keogh and the left wing companies F, and E under Captain George Yates. Custer retained command of both battalions.

Custer sent two couriers with messages to other battalions during his move along the ridges and inside coulees. The last known message was sent to Benteen. Custer's adjutant, William Cooke wrote that message which read, "Benteen, Come on. Big Village, be quick, bring packs. P.S. Bring pacs [sic]." Cooke handed the message to Trumpeter John Martini who rode off looking for Benteen. As Martini rode away from his friends he suddenly found himself being fired upon by Indians with one bullet hitting his horse in the rear. Martini kicked his horse and looked back to see a few warriors shooting at Custer's soldiers. As Martini looked back he became the last soldier of Custer's command to live another day.

Picture 12a. Pate's "Last Message"


Reconnaissance of Medicine Tail Ford


13. 14. 14a. 14b.    

Picture 13 looks north--From the mouth of Cedar Coulee Custer proceeded west down Medicine Tail Coulee which empties into the Little Bighorn River. Sporadic gunfire from the warriors met the Custer troops while moving west. It was near here that Custer sent his last message to Benteen. 

Custer needed to reconnoiter the village so he sent the left wing further down the coulee to test the village. Most historians believe that Custer intended to strike the village from Medicine Tail Ford creating a pincer attack with him at the north end of the village and Reno the south. While the left wing commanded by Yates  moved toward the village, Custer moved his troops up today's Nye-Cartwright (Blummer's) Ridge forming a mounted skirmish line facing the village. From this spot Custer would have a great view of the village and the land around him north and south.

Picture 14 looks west--Companies F and E reached Medicine Tail Ford under fire from the Indians across the river.

Picture 14a looks NE -- The Medicine Tail Coulee wayside exhibit today.

Picture 14b. -- Pate's "Medicine Tail Ford"


Custer Under Attack


15.  15a. 16. 16a. 16b.

Picture 15 looks N.E.--The fire forced the left wing to turn northeast, from the river, over rough ground toward today's Calhoun Hill. Witnessing this fire fight, Custer's troops fired several volleys into the village and then turned north where the two wings reunited at Calhoun Hill.

Picture 15a.--Pate's "Retreat From Medicine Tail Ford."

Picture 16 Calhoun Hill Wayside Exhibit--Indians began to move up Deep Coulee from Medicine Tail Ford and fire into the soldiers along Calhoun Hill. Custer positioned Company L  commanded by his brother-in-law, 1st Lt. James Calhoun to hold Calhoun Hill.

Picture 16a. --Pate's "Henryville": One of the primary positions for the warriors to fire upon Calhoun Hill is known today as Henryville. Pate's painting depicts that action from the warrior perspective.

Picture 16b.--Pate's "Calhoun Ridge."

17.   18.

Picture 17 looks north--Company C commanded, this day, by 2nd Lt. Henry Harrington was placed along the ridge just west of Calhoun Hill.

Picture 18 looks south--This photo shows the location of Companies C and L.

Custer placed Co I commanded by Captain Myles Keogh in reserve behind Co L. Custer and Companies E and F moved north along today's Battle Ridge. Company E was placed north in today's National Cemetery while Company F was probably on Last Stand Hill.

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Custer's Last Stand Page 3