Information

Jerrol F. Custer


Jerrol Francis Custer was born in 1941. He joined the United States Navy and eventually became a radiology technician at the Bethesda Naval Hospital. When John F. Kennedy was assassinated on 22nd November, 1963, his body was taken to Bethesda and Custer was asked to take X-rays of Kennedy's body.

Custer was a good friend of Dennis D. David. Both men saw the 16-mm film, slides and black and white photos of the Kennedy autopsy that had been produced by William Pitzer, head of the Audio/Visual Department at the Bethesda Naval Hospital.

According to Dr. Joseph Humes, Pitzer was not present at the autopsy. However, he admitted that the Bethesda Naval Hospital was equipped with closed-circuit television. This was the responsibility of Pitzer and over the years had used these facilities to make instructional movies. It is therefore possible that Pitzer had secretly made a 16-mm movie film of the autopsy on President Kennedy’s body, without being present in the autopsy room when it was carried out.

William Pitzer decided to retire in 1966. He told friends he had been offered a good job working for a network television station. It is believed that he intended to make a programme about the Kennedy assassination. On 29th October 1966, Lieutenant Commander William B. Pitzer was found dead at the Naval Medical School, Bethesda. Investigations by the Naval Investigative Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation later concluded that a gunshot wound to the head had been self-inflicted.

Custer was deeply shocked by the death of Pitzer. He told the researcher, William Matson Law: "I realized that the government can do what they want, when they want, and as often as they want. I kept my quiet for 35 years... Truthfully, the only thing I think that actually saved me was they felt that I was too low on the totem pole to worry about... Later on down the line, I thought, "Well, it's about time the truth should come out."

Custer had been forced to sign a "gagging order" after the autopsy. This was not rescinded until the House Select Committee on Assassinations began investigating the case in 1977.

In 1980 Jerrol Custer was interviewed by Vincent Palamara and David Lifton for Best Evidence: The Research Video (1990). He also appeared in the television documentary, JFK: An Unsolved Murder.

On 28th October, 1997, Jerrol Custer provided a deposition to the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB). He claimed he was certain he took x-rays of the C3/C4 region of the neck and that those x-rays showed numerous fragments. Custer added that he suspected the reason those x-rays disappeared was that they showed a large number of bullet fragments. According to researcher, Michael T. Griffith: "Custer is almost certainly correct. Why else would those x-rays have been suppressed? The missile fragments described by Custer are another fatal blow to the lone-gunman theory, which in turn means there must have been more than one shooter."

He was interviewed by William Matson Law for his book, In the Eye of History: Disclosures in the JFK Assassination Medical Evidence. Custer told Law that Kennedy's neck wound was man-made: "There were no suture marks. It was a big gaping hole." Custer also claimed that a bullet fragment fell out of Kennedy's back: "It wasn't complete because there was some fragmentation. Some area of destruction on the bullet." This bullet was taken away by FBI agents, Francis X. O'Neill and James W. Sibert.

Custer lost his job as a supervisory X-ray technician. He then worked as an armed security guard in Pittsburgh. Jerrol Francis Custer died of a massive heart attack in 2000.

Law: How did you feel as the radiology technician-what you saw, taking the X-rays, putting your hands on the body of President of the United States, and the evidence telling you one thing, but yet the report (of the Warren Commission) says something different.

Custer: This is my country. I served in the United States Navy because I knew that they wanted me to serve and they needed me. Butt it was quite disillusioning in that I knew the truth of the matter. I knew why. I won't lie to you-during that time l did what I was told. And I kind of looked at it and thought, "Well, wait a minute. This isn't right. This can't be." But as I've gotten older, I've looked at it more with experienced eyes, looked at the evidence a lot closer with experienced eyes. I've gotten a lot smarter and I've realized that the government can do what they want, when they want, and as often as they want. I kept my quiet for 35 years. One day my wife and I went to a movie and they brought the J FK assassination up and said it was a coincidence that so many witnesses had died for unknown reasons, or heart attacks, cerebral vascular accidents-and I just sat there and thought to myself, "My God! This could happen to me." Truthfully, the only thing I think that actually saved my tush, was they felt that I was too low on the totem pole to worry about. But it literally made me mad. Later on down the line, I thought, "Well, it's about time the truth should come out."

Law: Let's go step by step now through the photographs. What can you tell me about this particular one, the "stare of death" picture (photo 1). What sticks in your mind most about this photograph.

Custer: Basically, the wound on the neck, a tracheotomy wound. When we took pictures of the neck, we took two views of the neck. A straight-on view and aside view. Now, in the straight-on view, in that area, you actually saw bullet fragment, also bone fractures where the bullet had gone through. Same thing on the lateral, but it showed you the different perspective. Like I stated before, a good way to tell the depth of a specific fragment is by taking two planes of interest, and then measuring the distance.

When I first saw the body, the neck was exactly like this (photo 1); there were no suture marks. It was a big gaping hole.

Law: And in your opinion was that man-made?

Custer: Absolutely. You could see where this was man-made. Where they had taken a scalpel and went across and down you can see the down marking cut right here (pointing to the bottom portion of the wound).

Law: So, in effect you think that's a scalpel mark?

Custer: Right.

Law: You don't think that's a part of a bullet entry wound?

Custer: No.

Law: Many researchers have said that-what you see down here-this little part right here is part of a bullet-entrance wound.

Custer: You could see the skin where the skin was separated. If a bullet fragment came through there - a bullet went through there - it would be separated, irregular. This was nice and neat like the skin was separated, like somebody took a ruler and just separated thee skin. There were no serrations on it at all. It was perfect. This is one thing for the books. Two films are missing: the AP and cervical spine. They are not in the archives. Basically, because that's a part of the evidence. One reason why Pitzer was killed is because lie was taking movies of the body and the gallery. At that time, people had a fit: "What is your status? What is your clearance? Why are you here? Stop that now! Evict that man."'

Law: Who was William Pitzer?

Custer: At that time he was the chief in charge of the photographic department of the National Naval Medical Center. He and Dennis David were buddies, long term friends. Dennis wasn't on duty that night, but Chief Pitzer' was. I remember seeing him that evening and he was all around. I mean everywhere you went, you saw Chief Pitzer. He was there. And it's funny to the fact that the man-he never noticed what was around him. He kind of turned the commotion off and he was doing his job. That's what he was paid to do.

Law: What was he doing exactly?

Custer: Taking movies.

Law: He was taking movie film of the autopsy?

Custer: Absolutely.

Law: And you saw this?

Custer: I saw this. Later on it was brought out that Commander Pitzer - well of course he made commander farther down the line - had committed suicide by blowing his brains out by putting a gun in his right hand and shooting himself.

Law: What's so unusual about that if you're going to commit suicide?

Custer: Well, it's kind of funny. How can you commit suicide when you have a deformed right hand? That couldn't hold a gun? This was clue to a birth defect. And Dennis David' knew it. Everybody that knew the chief knew it and it was evident that night. When he was taking the movies, you could see the hand was deformed. But suicide was the reason for the death on his death certificate, which, I felt, was part of the cover-up. See, you have to be there. You have to see what's going on. Everything is plain and simple. It's there! It's right in front of you! The government feels the experts, so-called experts, are going to look at everything but the nose on their faces. And if you just stop and look at what's right in front of you and not try and surmise, "Well this is why, this is why that happened." My God-Kennedy's skull was pushed backward! Basic physics! You had to have a force from the front! If you had a force from the back, everything would have been pushed forward. Common sense! Doesn't take a genius to figure that one out.

Law: Returning to photo 1. What does it show? What's its importance?

Custer: Well, like I had said before, it shows the tracheotomy wound, the opening, which was a bullet hole. The defect you can see around the eye - I have to bring this out right now. I cannot authenticate these pictures because I had really nothing to do with them. All I can say is what I happened to see. The eye was more protruded at the time, but there's nothing to say that the eye wasn't pushed back in. Because at that time also there was a mortician there doing his work, his job was fixing, making the body more presentable.

Let me go to the other pictures here to show the massive destruction of the skull. These are going to be kind of off-center here. If you'll notice a king-size opening. What's that? You ever wonder?

Law: I wonder about all of them.

Custer: Look at that opening right here.

Law: What does that tell you?

Custer: That's a hole. This will be brought out in due course. See, I can only go so far with this. There's a lot more information that has to be brought out legally first. Then t will delve in a lot more. But that's a hole. And that can be proven by computer enhancement. Definitely: no ifs, ands, or buts about that. They can complain and say, "No, that's not what this is."

Law: And the next one?

Custer: You see Kennedy on his back. The condition of the scalp-how serrated it is, shredded. Due to fragmentation of the bullet, due to fragmentation of the bone. During the autopsy, the complete skull was held together by the skin alone. But you could take the scalp and pull it forward, backward, any way, shape or form you wanted to do. It wasn't totally attached.

Law: His face was mushy and movable at that point?

Custer: Mushy and moveable.

Law: Yes, but you couldn't perhaps pull it back enough to cover the defect in the back of the head?

Custer: You could drape it across the defect. Law: You could?

Custer: Yes. There was enough of it there. But it was bloody. There were brain cells, brain fragments, all kinds of stuff. Nasty stuff. Now here's one thing that kind of gives a lot of the researchers nightmares. This little nap (above the right ear): a lot of people feel that was man-made. Truthfully, at that time, I did not see that flap.

Law: This flap was not there.

Custer: Not there. I cannot testify to what was done after I left. The mortician was there, things were being done, more parts of the skull were being received that night. Bullet fragments were received after I had left.

Law: Let's talk about the X-ray films for a minute - I read somewhere, that you took extra sets of X-rays.

Custer: Well, not extra sets. I double-loaded.

Law: What does "double-loaded" mean?

Custer: You put two films in-you've got to remember an X-ray cassette has two screens and they are activated screens. When the X-ray goes through them, they lighten up and you get an image on the film. So if one film is a little bit too dark, one film is just right.

Law: Okay. So what did you do with them?

Custer: I ran [i.e., processed] one film and put the other film in the light-proof box. The processor was an old Pako unit. It was like a table where you ran your film in and underneath there was a light-proof box. You take one, put it in, and put the other in the box. I went through each film that I took and after everything was over and done that evening. I came back and ran the films in the light-proof box, those were all good too. I put them in one of the mailing folders. Tied them up and kept them there for the longest time.

Law: How long do you think they were there undiscovered?

Custer: Couple of months.

Law: And what happened to these films?

Custer: I destroyed them.

Law: Why did you do that?

Custer: Because of the gag order that I had signed. I didn't destroy them right away. After I'd thought on it and pondered on it a little bit, and thought, "Well, if these films happened to surface along the line somewhere, they're going to trace them back to me. And guess whose body is going to wind up in jail." I never thought that later on down the road that they could have been worth millions. Or they could have solved the whole problem.

Palamara: Because of the missing X-rays, missing materials, you could have resolved it.

Custer: But I also could be dead.

Law: Given that there have been several deaths over the years-some unexplainable things have happened to people who had a lot to do with this case thirty-four years later, going on thirty-five, do you have any fear?

Custer: If I were to say no, I'd be lying. I still have a little bit. There still are people around that don't want to be implicated. Who came up with the one-bullet theory? Need I say more? One bullet? Come on. That bullet had to do a fantastic dance.

Palamara: Do you think the body was tampered with in any fashion?

Law: I know this is opinion, but you are a medical person.

Custer: Let's put it this way. With as much stuff, as much cover up, as much influence, pressure was on that night, and I wouldn't put it past them. They had an inexperienced radiologist. They told him to look for bullets that went in and didn't come out. And a forensic pathologist would look at the person and say, "You're crazy. We're looking for tracking, entrance, exits, degree of inclination." They had two administrative pathologists that hadn't done autopsies in umpteen years-all they did was process paper work, and had never done a forensic autopsy. They had an influencing force in the gallery that literally guided the autopsy throughout the evening. They had two FBI agents that created their own little pandemonium by questioning people that night.

Law: Let's back up a little. When you say there was an influence in the gallery are you talking about Burkley? Or are you talking about someone else? Let's clarify that.

Custer: Well, let's put it this way. I'm talking about JFK's personal physician. And he let it be known that night, "I am JFK's personal physician. You will listen to what I say. You will do what I say"

Law: Continue with what you were going to say about the Secret Service agents did you say-FBI?

Custer: Now there were Secret Service agents there also.

Palamara: Kellerman and Greer - were you familiar with them? Did you really - Custer: No. They didn't quite get involved with us. They stayed pretty much with the joint Chiefs and that.

Law: Were they there in the gallery?

Custer: I seem to remember seeing the other two gentlemen there, also. But l know for a fact that Sibert and O'Neill were there10 because they were attached to my hip. They were literally-how can I say it? Delegated to stay with me.

Law: What was their demeanor? They filed a report where they wrote: "Surgery of the head area." And there's been speculation that they wrote that because they heard it from a doctor there at the autopsy.

Custer: Right. Now here's the thing you have to remember: these two gentlemen were laymen. When an autopsy is performed, surgery of the wounds is performed so it is possible they could have heard it from Boswell or Humes, or Finck at that time, because he arrived later on and he was more aggressive.

Law: We're talking about Finck, now?

Custer: Right. He was more aggressive in his mannerisms and procedure than Boswell and Humes. Boswell and Humes were like puppets.

Law: Did he seem to be frustrated by being told, "No, you can't do this" or "You shouldn't do that" or "Only take this so far"?

Custer: That's kind of difficult to remember. Because he did what he was told, and if he was frustrated he kind of hid it.

Law: So he just basically went along.

Custer: He went along.

Law: He didn't put up a fuss? I want to get to how all of you must have been under extreme pressure.

Custer: Oh, we were being watched constantly. Everybody watched us. Ah, there were times when I literally had to scream at people to move. In that close area, you're taking X-rays with a machine producing ionizing radiation, and you had to be at a distance of six feet to be safe.

Palamara: Were you aware of the allegations of - I don't know if it was Admiral or Captain David Osborne - about the bullet falling out of the body? During the autopsy? Did you see a whole bullet or a fragment fall out of President Kennedy?

Custer: Well, I wouldn't call it a fragment, I'd say it was a pretty good sized bullet. Because it created such a fuss. They ran over with a set of forceps-and they grabbed it, picked it up and put it in a little basin of water.

Law: Now is this the bullet-when you were doing the X-rays, and you had him on the table and moving him around, didn't you tell me at some point in an earlier conversation that a bullet fragment fell out of the president?

Custer: This was the time that they found that.

Law: Okay. And what happened? What was their demeanor? What happened when that bullet fragment fell out?

Custer: I called one of the pathologists over and said, "Hey, we have a bullet here." Soon as they heard that, they came down off the raised platform and they ran over and they picked it up. Then Sibert and O'Neill also came over and said, "Well, we want that, that."

Palamara: Yes, they wrote out a receipt for a missile so people think it's semantics-was it a fragment? So you're saying it wasn't a whole bullet? It was a sizable fragment of a bullet?

Custer: It was about-see, you're getting in semantics here about the size. It was distinguishable enough to know it was a bullet. It wasn't complete because there was some fragmentation. Some area of destruction on the bullet.

came out the right side of his chest, broke his right wrist, and went into his left leg. So, if you're telling us that the bullet fragment fell out of the back, that blows the single bullet theory to hell right there.

Custer: Right.

Palamara: And also it was too low on the back to exit the neck.

Law: And you're absolutely certain that a bullet fragment fell out of the back?

Custer: Absolutely.

Law: The back wound itself. No doubt about it.

Custer: Absolutely. Right. We lifted him up and boom. That's when it came out.

Palamara: That's corroboration for David Osborne too.

Law: That would explain, "missile received" from Sibert and O'Neill.

Custer: Right.

Law: That's something that I've wanted to clear up.

Custer: They documented everything that happened that evening. If somebody got up and left, they documented it.

Law: Now to my understanding, the logbook, there was a logbook that is normally kept of people that go in and out of the area.

Custer: Right.

Law: Is this correct? Custer: Right.

Law: Now, as I understand it, that's missing. Custer: It's gone.

Law: And has been missing since that night.

Custer: Correct.

What follows is a brief summary of some of the historic new evidence contained in recently released autopsy witness interviews conducted by the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) from 1976-1979 and in interviews of key witnesses conducted over the last three years by the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB).

What do the abovementioned documents reveal? As we'll see in a moment, they contain, among other things, evidence that a bullet struck Kennedy in the right temple, that there was a large wound in the back of the skull (which of course indicates the bullet came from the front and exited the rear of the head), that several important autopsy photos are missing, that there was NOT a straight path from the Oswald window to the back wound to the throat wound (because the back wound was lower than the throat wound and because Kennedy was not leaning off the seat when the back missile struck), that even Secret Service agents believed there had been a conspiracy, and that autopsy photos were altered (obviously in order to give a false impression of the direction of the gunfire that struck the president).

Here are some of the important new disclosures:

* John Stringer reported that the throat wound was probed. This is key because it's further evidence the autopsy doctors were lying when they testified they were not aware of the throat wound until after the autopsy when Dr. Humes called Dallas and spoke with Dr. Perry.

* White House photographer Robert Knudsen told the HSCA that the probe went downward from the throat wound, which means that if the throat wound was the exit point for the back wound, then the back wound was lower than the throat wound. Knudsen assisted with the handling of the autopsy photos, and may have been present at the autopsy. The fact that the back wound was lower than the throat wound destroys the single-bullet theory.

* Dr. Pierre Finck, the only forensic pathologist at the autopsy, confirmed to the ARRB that there was a fragment trail that went from a point near the external occipital protuberance (EOP) upward to the area of the right orbit (behind the right eye). This is further evidence that the rear head entrance wound was not in the cowlick but rather four inches lower, very close to the EOP and just a couple inches above the hairline. Why is this so important? Because no bullet fired from the Oswald sniper's nest could have made that wound, unless Kennedy's head was tilted nearly 60 degrees forward, which the Zapruder film and the Muchmore film clearly show it was not.

* Saundra Kay Spencer, as established by chain of evidence documentation, processed the autopsy photos that Secret Service Agent James Fox brought from the autopsy. However, she did not process any black and white photos, only negatives and color positives, and she told the ARRB she did not process any of the autopsy photos now in evidence. She said the extant autopsy photos were not the ones she processed. This suggests the black and white autopsy photos were processed elsewhere, and that there were two sets of autopsy photos.

* Joe O'Donnell, a White House photographer who worked with Robert Knudsen, told the ARRB that Knudsen showed him autopsy photos that showed a grapefruit-sized hole in the back of the head. This is yet another witness who saw a sizable wound in the rear of the skull. The evidence of a large wound in the back of Kennedy's head is important because the current autopsy photos show no such wound. In the autopsy photos the back of the head is virtually undamaged. Critics contend those photos have either been altered or the skull was cosmetically repaired before the pictures were taken, so as to conceal the large wound in the back of the head. A large wound in the back of the head, of course, would be characteristic of a shot from the front, not from behind.

* O'Donnell further told the ARRB that one of the autopsy photos Knudsen showed him showed what appeared to be an entry wound in the right temple. This is key because there were several reports out of Dallas of a small wound in one of the temples. O'Donnell's account strongly tends to confirm those reports. Also, a defect consistent with a wound of entry can be seen in the right temple area on the autopsy x-rays, according to three doctors who have examined them (one of whom is an expert in neuroanatomy and another of whom is a board-certified radiologist).

* Tom Robinson, the mortician, confirmed what he had already told the HSCA on the issue of a small wound in the temple, namely, that he saw a small hole in the area of the right temple, and that he filled it with wax. Although Robinson speculated the small hole was made by an exiting fragment, the hole is strong evidence of a shot from the front in light of the reports of a large wound of exit in the back of the head and in light of the other accounts of an entry-like wound in one of the temples. Indeed, White House press man Malcolm Kilduff told reporters at Parkland Hospital that afternoon that Dr. Burkley told him a bullet entered the right temple, and Kilduff pointed to his own right temple to illustrate the trajectory. This was all captured on film. One of the reporters who attended that press conference wrote in his notes "bullet entered right temple" (or "entered right temple").

* O'Donnell said that Knudsen showed him other autopsy photos that showed the back of the head intact. This corresponds with the other evidence that there were two sets of autopsy photos, one genuine and the other altered.

* Knudsen's wife, Gloria Knudsen, and both his children, told ARRB interviewers that four autopsy photos were missing and that another photo had been "badly altered" (and "severely altered"). They also reported that he told them that four or five of the autopsy photos he was shown by the HSCA did not represent what he saw during the autopsy.

* Mrs. Knudsen reported that Knudsen told her that the background in the autopsy photos he was shown was wrong. This agrees with the reports of other witnesses at the autopsy that the photos in evidence show things in the background that were not in the autopsy room at Bethesda Naval Hospital.

* Knudsen's son Bob recalled that his father mentioned seeing probes inserted into three wounds. The WC said there were only two wounds of entrance, one in the back and the other low on the back of the head. Three entrance wounds means there must have been more than one gunman.

* Knudsen himself told the HSCA that he firmly recalled at least two probes inserted into wounds and that he believed he recalled one picture in which three probes were inserted into wounds. Again, three wounds of entrance equals conspiracy, period. In fact, in this instance two probes might mean conspiracy since it's unlikely the pathologists would have probed the head wound.

* Knudsen volunteered in his HSCA interview that there was "something shady" about the third piece of film that he handled. Incredibly, the HSCA interviewer did not ask him to explain his comment.

* Knudsen confirmed that Saundra Spencer processed color autopsy photographic material at the naval lab, and that he was personally aware that the black and white photos were done elsewhere.

* The special agent in charge of the Miami Secret Service office told the HSCA he believed some elements of the Secret Service might have been involved in a conspiracy in the assassination.

* Secret Service Special Agent Elmer Moore "badgered" Dr. Malcolm Perry into changing his story that the throat wound was an entrance wound. This is revealing. Researchers have always suspected that Dr. Perry was pressured into changing his initial (and very firm) diagnosis that the throat wound was an entrance wound.

* Robert Bouck, who was the chief of the Protective Research Division of the Secret Service in 1963, told the HSCA he believed Kennedy was killed by a conspiracy.

* Special Agent Fox made black and white autopsy photo prints at the Secret Service lab.

* Dr. Robert Karnei, who viewed and assisted with the autopsy, told the ARRB he clearly remembered that a photo was taken showing a probe inserted into the body. No such photo is to be found in the autopsy photos in evidence.

* Another new witness discovered by the ARRB is John Van Hoesen. Van Hoesen was a mortician who was present when Robinson reconstructed the skull. He told the ARRB he saw an "orange-sized" hole in the back of the head. Incidentally, Robinson himself told the HSCA he very clearly recalled seeing a large wound in the back of the skull, and he even diagrammed the wound for the HSCA interviewer. Robinson, of course, not only saw this wound for a prolonged period of time, but he also HANDLED it. Is anyone going to seriously suggest that Robinson "confused" this wound for a wound that was "really" above the right ear?! (The current lone-gunman theory posits, and the extant autopsy photos show, a large wound above the right ear.

* Yet another new witness is Earl McDonald, who was a medical photographer at Bethesda Naval Hospital. McDonald trained under Stringer, in fact. McDonald told the ARRB that at Bethesda he never saw anyone use a metal brace like the one seen holding the head in the autopsy photos. Other medical technicians at the autopsy have made similar observations, i.e., that the background in the autopsy photos doesn't show the autopsy room at Bethesda.

* X-ray technician Jerrol Custer, who was present at the autopsy and assisted with the autopsy x-rays, testified to the ARRB that he was certain he took x-rays of the C3/C4 region of the neck and that those x-rays showed numerous fragments. Custer has a point. Why else would those x-rays have been suppressed?

* Custer told the ARRB that he saw a large bullet fragment fall from the back when the body was lifted for the taking of x-rays.

* Custer further told the ARRB that he wanted to put his personal marker on the x-rays during the autopsy, so as to be able to identify them, but that he was unable to mark all of them because a senior military officer ordered him to stop marking them.


The Untold Truth Of General Custer

General George Armstrong Custer remains a household name as the man who died at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876. The legendary massacre, in which Custer and over 200 other soldiers died along the Little Bighorn River in Montana, remains one of the most controversial engagements in history. Some historians assert that Custer foolishly led his men to certain death even after he'd been warned that he was outnumbered, according to Our Great American Heritage. Others revere him as one of the best leaders of his time. Either way, Custer's Last Stand remains on the books as the "worst American military disaster ever," as stated by Eyewitness to History.

But there's more to the controversial Custer than meets the eye. He was, states We Are the Mighty, a dedicated Civil War soldier who was deemed a national hero after the Battle of Gettysburg. He has been called brave, brash, and a dedicated husband — but also a devout narcissist who made rash decisions and whose men couldn't stand him. In all, it took only 15 years after Custer graduated from West Point to get himself killed at Little Bighorn. In between, the seemingly charmed man led a life that remains worthy of note, if only because he was about the craziest commander of the early West. Read on for some little-known facts about the historic figure America loves to hate.


Contents

Custer's paternal ancestors, Paulus and Gertrude Küster, came to the North American English colonies around 1693 from the Rhineland in Germany, probably among thousands of Palatines whose passage was arranged by the English government to gain settlers in New York and Pennsylvania. [7] [8]

According to family letters, Custer was named after George Armstrong, a minister, in his devout mother's hope that her son might join the clergy. [9]

Custer was born in New Rumley, Ohio, to Emanuel Henry Custer (1806–1892), a farmer and blacksmith, and his second wife, Marie Ward Kirkpatrick (1807–1882), who was of English and Scots-Irish descent. [10] He had two younger brothers, Thomas and Boston. His other full siblings were the family's youngest child, Margaret Custer, and Nevin Custer, who suffered from asthma and rheumatism. Custer also had three older half-siblings. [11] Custer and his brothers acquired a life-long love of practical jokes, which they played out among the close family members.

Emanuel Custer was an outspoken Jacksonian Democrat, who taught his children politics and toughness at an early age. [12]

In a February 3, 1887, letter to his son's widow, Libby, he related an incident from when George Custer (known as Autie) was about four years old:

"He had to have a tooth drawn, and he was very much afraid of blood. When I took him to the doctor to have the tooth pulled, it was in the night and I told him if it bled well it would get well right away, and he must be a good soldier. When he got to the doctor he took his seat, and the pulling began. The forceps slipped off and he had to make a second trial. He pulled it out, and Autie never even scrunched. Going home, I led him by the arm. He jumped and skipped, and said 'Father you and me can whip all the Whigs in Michigan.' I thought that was saying a good deal but I did not contradict him." [13]

In order to attend school, Custer lived with an older half-sister and her husband in Monroe, Michigan. Before entering the United States Military Academy, Custer attended the McNeely Normal School, later known as Hopedale Normal College, in Hopedale, Ohio. It was to train teachers for elementary schools. While attending Hopedale, Custer and classmate William Enos Emery were known to have carried coal to help pay for their room and board. After graduating from McNeely Normal School in 1856, Custer taught school in Cadiz, Ohio. [14] His first sweetheart was Mary Jane Holland. [15]

Custer entered West Point as a cadet on July 1, 1857, as a member of the class of 1862. His class numbered seventy-nine cadets embarking on a five-year course of study. With the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861, the course was shortened to four years, and Custer and his class graduated on June 24, 1861. He was 34th in a class of 34 graduates: 23 classmates had dropped out for academic reasons while 22 classmates had already resigned to join the Confederacy. [16]

Throughout his life, Custer tested boundaries and rules. In his four years at West Point, he amassed a record total of 726 demerits, one of the worst conduct records in the history of the academy. The local minister remembered Custer as "“the instigator of devilish plots both during the service and in Sunday school. On the surface he appeared attentive and respectful, but underneath the mind boiled with disruptive ideas. [17] ”A fellow cadet recalled Custer as declaring there were only two places in a class, the head and the foot, and since he had no desire to be the head, he aspired to be the foot. A roommate noted, "It was alright with George Custer, whether he knew his lesson or not he simply did not allow it to trouble him." [18] Under ordinary conditions, Custer's low class rank would result in an obscure posting, the first step in a dead-end career, but Custer had the fortune to graduate as the Civil War broke out, and as a result the Union Army had a sudden need for many junior officers.

McClellan and Pleasanton Edit

Like the other graduates, Custer was commissioned as a second lieutenant he was assigned to the 2nd U.S. Cavalry Regiment and tasked with drilling volunteers in Washington, D.C. On July 21, 1861, he was with his regiment at the First Battle of Bull Run during the Manassas Campaign, where Army commander Winfield Scott detailed him to carry messages to Major General Irvin McDowell. After the battle, Custer continued participating in the defenses of Washington D.C. until October, when he became ill. He was absent from his unit until February 1862. In March, he participated with the 2nd Cavalry in the Peninsula Campaign (March to August) in Virginia until April 4.

On April 5, Custer served in the 5th Cavalry Regiment and participated in the Siege of Yorktown, from April 5 to May 4 and was aide to Major General George B. McClellan McClellan was in command of the Army of the Potomac during the Peninsula Campaign. On May 24, 1862, during the pursuit of Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston up the Peninsula, when General McClellan and his staff were reconnoitering a potential crossing point on the Chickahominy River, they stopped, and Custer overheard General John G. Barnard mutter, "I wish I knew how deep it is." Custer dashed forward on his horse out to the middle of the river, turned to the astonished officers, and shouted triumphantly, "McClellan, that’s how deep it is, General!" [19]

Custer was allowed to lead an attack with four companies of the 4th Michigan Infantry across the Chickahominy River above New Bridge. The attack was successful, resulting in the capture of 50 Confederate soldiers and the seizing of the first Confederate battle flag of the war. McClellan termed it a "very gallant affair" and congratulated Custer personally. In his role as aide-de-camp to McClellan, Custer began his life-long pursuit of publicity. [19] Custer was promoted to the rank of captain on June 5, 1862. On July 17, he was reverted to the rank of first lieutenant. He participated in the Maryland Campaign in September to October, the Battle of South Mountain on September 14, the Battle of Antietam on September 17, and the March to Warrenton, Virginia, in October.

On June 9, 1863, Custer became aide to Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Alfred Pleasonton, who was commanding the Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac. Recalling his service under Pleasonton, Custer was quoted as saying that "I do not believe a father could love his son more than General Pleasonton loves me." [20] Pleasonton's first assignment was to locate the army of Robert E. Lee, moving north through the Shenandoah Valley in the beginning of what was to become the Gettysburg Campaign.

Brigade command Edit

Pleasonton was promoted on June 22, 1863, to major general of U.S. Volunteers. On June 29, after consulting with the new commander of the Army of the Potomac, George Meade, Pleasanton began replacing political generals with "commanders who were prepared to fight, to personally lead mounted attacks". [21] He found just the kind of aggressive fighters he wanted in three of his aides: Wesley Merritt, Elon J. Farnsworth (both of whom had command experience) and Custer. All received immediate promotions, Custer to brigadier general of volunteers, [22] commanding the Michigan Cavalry Brigade ("Wolverines"), part of the division of Brigadier General Judson Kilpatrick. [23] Despite having no direct command experience, Custer became one of the youngest generals in the Union Army at age 23. Custer immediately shaped his brigade to reflect his aggressive character.

Now a general officer, Custer had great latitude in choosing his uniform. Though often criticized as gaudy, it was more than personal vanity. Historian Tom Carhart observed that "A showy uniform for Custer was one of command presence on the battlefield: he wanted to be readily distinguishable at first glance from all other soldiers. He intended to lead from the front, and to him it was a crucial issue of unit morale that his men be able to look up in the middle of a charge, or at any other time on the battlefield, and instantly see him leading the way into danger." [24]

Some [ who? ] have claimed Custer's leadership in battle as reckless or foolhardy. English-born American author Marguerite Merington disagreed, stating that, he "meticulously scouted every battlefield, gauged the enemies [sic] weak points and strengths, ascertained the best line of attack and only after he was satisfied was the 'Custer Dash' with a Michigan yell focused with complete surprise on the enemy in routing them every time." [25]

Hanover and Abbottstown Edit

On June 30, 1863, Custer and the First and Seventh Michigan Cavalry had just passed through Hanover, Pennsylvania, while the Fifth and Sixth Michigan Cavalry followed about seven miles behind. Hearing gunfire, he turned and started to the sound of the guns. A courier reported that Farnsworth's Brigade had been attacked by rebel cavalry from side streets in the town. Reassembling his command, he received orders from Kilpatrick to engage the enemy northeast of town near the railway station. Custer deployed his troops and began to advance. After a brief firefight, the rebels withdrew to the northeast. This seemed odd, since it was supposed that Lee and his army were somewhere to the west. Though seemingly of little consequence, this skirmish further delayed Stuart from joining Lee. Further, as Captain James H. Kidd, commander of F troop, Sixth Michigan Cavalry, later wrote: "Under [Custer's] skillful hand the four regiments were soon welded into a cohesive unit. " [26]

Next morning, July 1, they passed through Abbottstown, Pennsylvania, still searching for Stuart's cavalry. Late in the morning they heard sounds of gunfire from the direction of Gettysburg. At Heidlersburg, Pennsylvania, that night they learned that General John Buford's cavalry had found Lee's army at Gettysburg. The next morning, July 2, orders came to hurry north to disrupt General Richard S. Ewell's communications and relieve the pressure on the union forces. By mid afternoon, as they approached Hunterstown, Pennsylvania, they encountered Stuart's cavalry. [27] Custer rode alone ahead to investigate and found that the rebels were unaware of the arrival of his troops. Returning to his men, he carefully positioned them along both sides of the road where they would be hidden from the rebels. Further along the road, behind a low rise, he positioned the First and Fifth Michigan Cavalry and his artillery, under the command of Lieutenant Alexander Cummings McWhorter Pennington, Jr. To bait his trap, he gathered A Troop, Sixth Michigan Cavalry, called out, "Come on boys, I'll lead you this time!" and galloped directly at the unsuspecting rebels. As he had expected, the rebels, "more than two hundred horsemen, came racing down the country road" after Custer and his men. He lost half of his men in the deadly rebel fire and his horse went down, leaving him on foot. [28] He was rescued by Private Norvell Francis Churchill of the 1st Michigan Cavalry, who galloped up, shot Custer's nearest assailant, and pulled Custer up behind him. [29] Custer and his remaining men reached safety, while the pursuing rebels were cut down by slashing rifle fire, then canister from six cannons. The rebels broke off their attack, and both sides withdrew.

After spending most of the night in the saddle, Custer's brigade arrived at Two Taverns, Pennsylvania, roughly five miles southeast of Gettysburg around 3 a.m. July 3. There he was joined by Farnsworth's brigade. By daybreak they received orders to protect Meade's flanks. He was about to experience perhaps his finest hours during the war.

Gettysburg Edit

Lee's battle plan, shared with less than a handful of subordinates, was to defeat Meade through a combined assault by all of his resources. General James Longstreet would attack Cemetery Hill from the west, Stuart would attack Culp's Hill from the southeast and Ewell would attack Culp's Hill from the north. Once the Union forces holding Culp's Hill had collapsed, the rebels would "roll up" the remaining Union defenses on Cemetery Ridge. To accomplish this, he sent Stuart with six thousand cavalrymen and mounted infantry on a long, flanking maneuver. [30]

By mid-morning, Custer had arrived at the intersection of Old Dutch road and Hanover Road. He was later joined by Brigadier General David McMurtrie Gregg, who had him deploy his men at the northeast corner. Custer then sent out scouts to investigate nearby wooded areas. Gregg, meanwhile, placed Colonel John Baillie McIntosh's brigade near the intersection and sent the rest of his command to picket duty along two miles to the southwest. After making additional deployments, that left 2,400 cavalry under McIntosh and 1,200 under Custer, together with Colonel Alexander Cummings McWhorter Pennington, Jr.'s and Captain Alanson Merwin Randol's artillery, a total of ten three-inch guns.

About noon Custer's men heard cannon fire, Stuart's signal to Lee that he was in position and had not been detected. About the same time Gregg received a message warning that a large body of rebel cavalry had moved out the York Pike and might be trying to get around the Union right. A second message, from Pleasonton, ordered Gregg to send Custer to cover the Union far left. Since Gregg had already sent most of his force off to other duties, it was clear to both Gregg and Custer that Custer must remain. They had about 2700 men facing 6000 Confederates.

Soon afterward fighting broke out between the skirmish lines. Stuart ordered an attack by his mounted infantry under General Albert G. Jenkins, but the Union line – men from the First Michigan cavalry, the First New Jersey Cavalry and the Third Pennsylvania Cavalry held. Stuart ordered Jackson's four gun battery into action. Custer ordered Pennington to answer. After a brief exchange in which two of Jackson's guns were destroyed, there was a lull.

About one o'clock, the massive Confederate artillery barrage in support of the upcoming assault on Cemetery Ridge began. Jenkins' men renewed the attack, but soon ran out of ammunition and fell back. Resupplied, they again pressed the attack. Outnumbered, the Union cavalry fell back, firing as they went. Custer sent most of his Fifth Michigan cavalry ahead on foot, forcing Jenkins' men to fall back. Jenkins' men were reinforced by about 150 sharpshooters from General Fitzhugh Lee's brigade and, shortly after, Stuart ordered a mounted charge by the Ninth Virginia Cavalry and the Thirteenth Virginia Cavalry. Now it was Custer's men who were running out of ammunition. The Fifth Michigan was forced back and the battle was reduced to vicious, hand-to-hand combat.

Seeing this, Custer mounted a counter-attack, riding ahead of the fewer than 400 new troopers of the Seventh Michigan Cavalry, shouting, "Come on, you Wolverines!" As he swept forward, he formed a line of squadrons five ranks deep – five rows of eighty horsemen side by side – chasing the retreating rebels until their charge was stopped by a wood rail fence. The horses and men became jammed into a solid mass and were soon attacked on their left flank by the dismounted Ninth and Thirteenth Virginia Cavalry and on the right flank by the mounted First Virginia cavalry. Custer extricated his men and raced south to the protection of Pennington's artillery near Hanover Road. The pursuing Confederates were cut down by canister, then driven back by the remounted Fifth Michigan Cavalry. Both forces withdrew to a safe distance to regroup.

It was then about three o'clock. The artillery barrage to the west had suddenly stopped. Union soldiers were surprised to see Stuart's entire force about a half mile away, coming toward them, not in line of battle, but "formed in close column of squadrons. A grander spectacle than their advance has rarely been beheld". [31] Stuart recognized he now had little time to reach and attack the Union rear along Cemetery Ridge. He must make one, last effort to break through the Union cavalry.

Stuart passed by McIntosh's cavalry- the First New Jersey, Third Pennsylvania and Company A of Purnell's Legion- posted about half way down the field, with relative ease. As he approached, they were ordered back into the woods, without slowing down Stuart's column, "advancing as if in review, with sabers drawn and glistening like silver in the bright sunlight. " [32]

Stuart's last obstacle was Custer, with four hundred veteran troopers of the First Michigan Cavalry, directly in his path. Outnumbered but undaunted, Custer rode to the head of the regiment, "drew his saber, threw off his hat so they could see his long yellow hair" and shouted. "Come on, you Wolverines!" [33] Custer formed his men in line of battle and charged. "So sudden was the collision that many of the horses were turned end over end and crushed their riders beneath them. " [34] As the Confederate advance stopped, their right flank was struck by troopers of the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Michigan. McIntosh was able to gather some of his men from the First New Jersey and Third Pennsylvania and charged the rebel left flank. "Seeing that the situation was becoming critical, I [Captain Miller] turned to [Lieutenant Brooke-Rawle] and said: "I have been ordered to hold this position, but, if you will back me up in case I am court-martialed for disobedience, I will order a charge." [35] The rebel column disintegrated into individual saber and pistol fights.

Within twenty minutes the combatants heard the sound of the Union artillery opening up on Pickett's men. Stuart knew that whatever chance he had of joining the Confederate assault was gone. He withdrew his men to Cress Ridge. [36]

Custer's brigade lost 257 men at Gettysburg, the highest loss of any Union cavalry brigade. [37] "I challenge the annals of warfare to produce a more brilliant or successful charge of cavalry", Custer wrote in his report. [38] "For Gallant And Meritorious Services", he was awarded a regular army brevet promotion to Major.

Shenandoah Valley and Appomattox Edit

General Custer participated in Sheridan's campaign in the Shenandoah Valley. The civilian population was specifically targeted in what is known as the Burning. [39] [40] [41]

In 1864, with the Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Potomac reorganized under the command of Major General Philip Sheridan, Custer (now commanding the 3rd Division) led his "Wolverines" to the Shenandoah Valley where by the year's end they defeated the army of Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early in the Valley Campaigns of 1864. During May and June, Sheridan and Custer (Captain, 5th Cavalry, May 8 and Brevet Lieutenant Colonel, May 11) took part in cavalry actions supporting the Overland Campaign, including the Battle of the Wilderness (after which Custer ascended to division command), and the Battle of Yellow Tavern (where J.E.B. Stuart was mortally wounded). In the largest all-cavalry engagement of the war, the Battle of Trevilian Station, in which Sheridan sought to destroy the Virginia Central Railroad and the Confederates' western resupply route, Custer captured Hampton's divisional train, but was then cut off and suffered heavy losses (including having his division's trains overrun and his personal baggage captured by the enemy) before being relieved. When Lieutenant General Early was then ordered to move down the Shenandoah Valley and threaten Washington, D.C., Custer's division was again dispatched under Sheridan. In the Valley Campaigns of 1864, they pursued the Confederates at the Third Battle of Winchester and effectively destroyed Early's army during Sheridan's counterattack at Cedar Creek.

Sheridan and Custer, having defeated Early, returned to the main Union Army lines at the Siege of Petersburg, where they spent the winter. In April 1865 the Confederate lines finally broke, and Robert E. Lee began his retreat to Appomattox Court House, pursued by the Union cavalry. Custer distinguished himself by his actions at Waynesboro, Dinwiddie Court House, and Five Forks. His division blocked Lee's retreat on its final day and received the first flag of truce from the Confederate force. After a truce was arranged Custer was escorted through the lines to meet Longstreet, who described Custer as having flaxen locks flowing over his shoulders, and Custer said “in the name of General Sheridan I demand the unconditional surrender of this army.” Longstreet replied that he was not in command of the army, but if he was he would not deal with messages from Sheridan. Custer responded it would be a pity to have more blood upon the field, to which Longstreet suggested the truce be respected, and then added “General Lee has gone to meet General Grant, and it is for them to determine the future of the armies.” [42] Custer was present at the surrender at Appomattox Court House and the table upon which the surrender was signed was presented to him as a gift for his wife by Sheridan, who included a note to her praising Custer's gallantry. She treasured the gift of the historical table, which is now in the Smithsonian Institution. [43]

On April 25, after the war officially ended, Custer had his men search for, then illegally seize a large, prize racehorse named "Don Juan" near Clarksville, Virginia, worth then an estimated $10,000 (several hundred thousand today), along with his written pedigree. Custer rode Don Juan in the grand review victory parade in Washington, D.C., on May 23, creating a sensation when the scared thoroughbred bolted. The owner, Richard Gaines, wrote to General Grant, who then ordered Custer to return the horse to Gaines, but he did not, instead hiding the horse and winning a race with it the next year, before the horse died suddenly. [44]

Promotions and ranks Edit

Custer's promotions and ranks including his six brevet [honorary] promotions which were all for gallant and meritorious services at five different battles and one campaign: [45]

Second lieutenant, 2nd Cavalry: June 24, 1861
First lieutenant, 5th Cavalry: July 17, 1862
Captain staff, additional aide-de-camp: June 5, 1862
Brigadier general, U.S. Volunteers: June 29, 1863
Brevet major, July 3, 1863 (Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania)

Captain, 5th Cavalry: May 8, 1864
Brevet lieutenant colonel: May 11, 1864 (Battle of Yellow Tavern – Combat at Meadow)

Brevet colonel: September 19, 1864 (Battle of Winchester, Virginia)
Brevet major general, U.S. Volunteers: October 19, 1864 (Battle of Winchester and Fisher's Hill, Virginia)
Brevet brigadier general, U.S. Army, March 13, 1865 (Battle of Five Forks, Virginia)
Brevet major general, U.S. Army: March 13, 1865 (The campaign ending in the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia)

Major general, U.S. Volunteers: April 15, 1865
Mustered out of Volunteer Service: February 1, 1866

Lieutenant colonel, 7th Cavalry: July 28, 1866 (killed at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, June 25, 1876)

On June 3, 1865, at Sheridan's behest, Major General Custer accepted command of the 2nd Division of Cavalry, Military Division of the Southwest, to march from Alexandria, Louisiana, to Hempstead, Texas, as part of the Union occupation forces. Custer arrived at Alexandria on June 27 and began assembling his units, which took more than a month to gather and remount. On July 17, he assumed command of the Cavalry Division of the Military Division of the Gulf (on August 5, officially named the 2nd Division of Cavalry of the Military Division of the Gulf), and accompanied by his wife, he led the division (five regiments of veteran Western Theater cavalrymen) to Texas on an arduous 18-day march in August. On October 27, the division departed to Austin. On October 29, Custer moved the division from Hempstead to Austin, arriving on November 4. Major General Custer became Chief of Cavalry of the Department of Texas, from November 13 to February 1, 1866, succeeding Major General Wesley Merritt.

During his entire period of command of the division, Custer encountered considerable friction and near mutiny from the volunteer cavalry regiments who had campaigned along the Gulf coast. They desired to be mustered out of Federal service rather than continue campaigning, resented imposition of discipline (particularly from an Eastern Theater general), and considered Custer nothing more than a vain dandy. [46] [47]


Army May Have Made a Grave Error When It Buried Custer : History: Remains at West Point may not be the infamous soldier killed at Little Bighorn, historians and anthropologists say.

It’s no riddle that Gen. Ulysses S. Grant is the man buried in Grant’s Tomb. But there is a mystery behind who is buried in the grave of the man Grant sent to fight the Indians.

It may not be Gen. George Armstrong Custer, who died in 1876 along with his 267 soldiers at the hands of Sioux and Cheyenne Indians at the Little Bighorn in Montana. Instead, Custer’s grave at the U.S. Military Academy might be the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, historians and anthropologists say.

It’s possible that in West Point’s cemetery, under the noses of America’s top military instructors, an enlisted man is impersonating an officer.

“It would be ironic if some buck private were buried up there at West Point,” said forensic anthropologist Clyde Snow, who examined newly found bones at Little Bighorn in 1985. Especially ironic, since Custer’s wife, Elizabeth, was buried alongside in 1933.

“I’ve often thought in my own warped way that Libby was sure surprised if there was some corporal lying beside her,” said Doug McChristian, chief historian at Custer Battlefield National Monument in Montana.

While at Little Bighorn, Snow looked into the records of Custer’s burial and his exhumation a year later, when his supposed bones were moved to West Point. Custer graduated from West Point in 1861 at the bottom of his class.

“I have a suspicion they got the wrong body,” said Snow, of Norman, Okla. “The only way to put those suspicions to bed would be to look at the bones interred at West Point and see how they gibe with information we have on Gen. Custer.”

As a professional challenge, Snow would like to dig Custer up and try to identify the remains. But as a man who loves myths, he also likes the idea of maintaining the mystery over the occupant of Custer’s grave.

“The thought that it might not be Custer is too delicious to put to rest,” Snow said. If someone other than Custer was buried there, “they’d probably put the poor guy out somewhere.”

The myth will likely remain because the Custer family will not permit an exhumation.

“Absolutely not,” George A. Custer III of Pebble Beach, a retired Army colonel and great-grandnephew of Custer, said before he died last month.

Custer’s grave is one of the most popular among West Point visitors. A stone shaped like Washington’s Monument stands over the grave, with bronze plaques depicting the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Even today, Custer buffs occasionally leave flowers on the grave.

“It’s a tribute to Custer whether his bones are there or not,” said Maj. Ed Evans, West Point spokesman.

Most of the soldiers killed at Little Bighorn were not properly identified and were buried hastily in shallow graves. Over the years, animals and the elements scattered many of the bones, while tourists carted off others.

Custer got the most decent burial. He was laid in a fairly deep grave--18 inches. The body of Custer’s brother, Tom, was laid alongside. The bodies were covered with blankets and a canvas tarp. After it was filled in, the grave was covered with an Indian stretcher, which was weighted down with rocks.

Those efforts should have protected the bodies, leaving two full skeletons for a cavalry detachment that returned a year later to dig up Custer, Snow said.

The exhumation team did not find the stretcher, the rocks, the blankets or the canvas. The grave they believed was Custer’s contained only one skeleton. After exhuming it, the diggers discovered that the rotting uniform containing the skeleton bore a corporal’s name. They dug up a nearby grave which contained only a skull, rib cage and leg bone. The exhumation team decided those bones were Custer’s and shipped them to West Point for burial.

“It sounds like they just moved over to the next grave and said, ‘This is Custer,’ ” Snow said.

McChristian agrees that the exhumation team concluded they “got the right bones the second time but failed to say how they identified the remains any more thoroughly than the first ones.”

Evan Connell, author of the Custer biography “Son of the Morning Star,” agrees that the exhumation was an unprofessional job, but he thinks the second body dug up was Custer’s.

“My impression is they probably got it right the second time,” Connell said. A lock of auburn hair found with those remains was sent to Elizabeth Custer, who said it matched her husband’s, Connell said.

If the job of digging up Custer was bungled, the exhumation team shouldn’t be blamed, said Richard Hardorff of DeKalb, Ill., who published a book on the burials and exhumations at the Little Bighorn.

“Put yourself in their place,” Hardorff said. “You see the bones, you see skeletons, but you’re used to seeing a living person with a certain face, a certain manner of moving around, but all that’s gone. They did the best they could” to identify Custer’s bones.

Bruce Liddic of Syracuse, N.Y., who published a book about Custer’s burial, said there’s a slim chance “that out of pure dumb luck they got the right body, but I doubt it.”

If not at West Point, his bones probably are mingled with enlisted men’s in a mass grave at Little Bighorn where exhumed remains were reburied in 1881, McChristian said.

“I think that as a soldier, Custer probably would not mind” being buried among his men, McChristian said.

Even if the exhumation team did find Custer’s grave, they sent only a partial skeleton to West Point. That means some of Custer’s bones probably wound up in the mass grave and some are “probably still out there on Last Stand Hill,” said National Parks Service archeologist Doug Scott.

The careless exhumation was typical of the times, said Scott, who headed digs at the Custer site in 1984 and 1985. A century ago, a tomb or monument to honor the dead was more important than preserving the human remains, he said.

“In the cultural context of the day, the attitude about dying was to memorialize the death rather than worry about the corpus itself,” Scott said. “Their attitude was to go for a skull, maybe some ribs, an arm or a leg, and that was enough.”

The men under Capt. Michael Sheridan, who led the exhumation team, had doubts that the remains being packed for shipment to West Point were Custer’s. Sheridan ordered them to “nail the box up it is all right as long as the people think so.”

Members of the Custer cult agree.

“I don’t think it makes a bit of difference” if the wrong remains were buried in Custer’s grave, said W. Donald Horn of Short Hills, N.J., who belongs to the group Little Big Horn Associates. “I think most of Custer’s bones remain out in Montana, anyway.”

The monument over Custer’s grave “may be more important than who’s buried there,” Scott said.


What Really Happened at the Battle of the Little Bighorn?

Under skies darkened by smoke, gunfire and flying arrows, 210 men of the U.S. Army’s 7th Cavalry Unit led by Lt. Colonel George Custer confronted thousands of Lakota Sioux and Northern Cheyenne warriors on June 25, 1876, near the Little Big Horn River in present-day Montana. The engagement was one in a series of battles and negotiations between Plains Indians and U.S. forces over control of Western territory, collectively known as the Sioux Wars. 

In less than an hour, the Sioux and Cheyenne had won the Battle of the Little Bighorn, killing Custer and every one of his men. The battle has been ennobled as 𠇌uster’s Last Stand”𠅋ut in truth, Custer and his men never stood a fighting chance.

Custer’s early life was less than auspicious.

George Armstrong Custer, born in Ohio in 1839, earned a certificate for teaching grammar school in 1856 but had much grander goals. The following year, he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he was a less-than-stellar cadet: Custer graduated dead last in his class of 1861.

When the Civil War broke out in April 1861, Custer joined the Union Army’s Cavalry and soon proved himself a competent, reliable soldier in battles such as the First Battle of Bull Run and the Battle of Gettysburg. He was promoted several times and by the time the war ended, he was a Major General in charge of a Cavalry division.

A portrait of George Armstrong Custer, 1839-1876. (Photo by Buyenlarge/Getty Images)

Throughout the war, Custer showed resilience time and again. He supposedly had 11 horses shot out from under him yet was only wounded once. His dogged pursuit of the Army of Northern Virginia is often partially credited for helping to end the Civil War.

Custer was never afraid of getting his hands dirty. Unlike many other generals, he led his men from the front instead of from behind and was often the first to plunge into battle.

In February 1864, Custer married Elizabeth (Libbie) Bacon. In 1866, he was promoted to Lt. Colonel in charge of the 7th U.S. Cavalry Unit and went with Libbie to Kansas to fight in the Plains Indian Wars.

Three young Native American men, probably Sioux, 1899. (Photo by Heyn/Buyenlarge/Getty Images)

The Plains Indians showed tremendous fortitude.

The Great Plains were the last Native American holdout in America. As settlers colonized the far west before the Civil War, few had put down roots in the Plains due to its dry weather and large Indigenous populations.

But after the Civil War, far-west land became scarcer and the U.S. government granted 10 percent of Plains land to settlers and railroads. A confrontation between the Plains Indians against the settlers and government forces was inevitable.

By the late 1860s, most Native Americans had been forced onto so-called Indian reservations or killed outright. Vowing to avoid the same fate, the Plains Indians settled in for a long and fierce holdout.

In the hopes of squashing the livelihood of the Native American people on the Plains, the government allowed the railroads to kill scores of buffalo herds to lay railroad tracks. They also urged hunters to kill as many buffalo as possible without oversight and encouraged trains to stop so passengers could massacre buffalo for sport.

The more the white colonizers needlessly slaughtered buffalo, the angrier Indigenous people grew. Some staged brutal attacks on settlers and railroad workers without regard to age or gender.

To the tribes, the railroad represented an end to their livelihood, since for millennia they𠆝 relied on free-roaming buffalo to survive. By the time Custer arrived on the scene in 1866, the war between the army and the Plains Indians was in full force.

Portrait of General Winfield Scott Hancock (1824-1886), a Federal officer during the American Civil War, with members of his staff. Left to right are Generals Francis C. Barlow, David B. Birney, Winfield S. Hancock (seated), and John Gibbon. Each of these officers was wounded during the Battle of Gettysburg. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

Custer went AWOL and was court-martialed by the U.S. Army.

Custer’s first assignment was helping Major General Winfield S. Hancock carry out a shock-and-awe campaign to overwhelm the tribal nations. At the end of the campaign, Custer deserted and joined his wife at Fort Riley. He was court-martialed in 1867 and suspended without rank and pay for one year.

The fact that Custer𠅊 highly-decorated and well-respected commander�serted perplexed many of his men and his superiors. It also demonstrated his inclination to make rash decisions, a trait that some say would have deadly consequences later.

Despite Custer’s now-tarnished reputation, the army still needed him to fight Native Americans. In September 1868, he returned to duty before his court-martial sentence was up and resumed command of the 7th Cavalry. On November 28, he led a campaign against a village of Cheyenne led by Chief Black Kettle, killing all Native American warriors present and earning himself a reputation as a ruthless fighter.

Over the next several years, Custer discovered that fighting Indigenous people was much different than fighting Confederate soldiers.

The Indigenous warriors were spread out. They rode fast ponies and knew the terrain better than Custer ever could. 

1887: Native American hunters pursue a herd of bison across the plains. Original Artwork: Painting by Charles Marion Russell. (Photo by MPI/Getty Images)

Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse were battle-hardened warriors.

In 1873, Custer faced a group of attacking Lakota at the Northern Pacific Railroad Survey at Yellowstone. It was his first encounter with Lakota leaders Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, but it wouldn’t be his last. Little did Custer know at the time the two Indigenous leaders would play a role in his death a few years later.

In 1868, the U.S. government had signed a treaty recognizing South Dakota’s Black Hills as part of the Great Sioux Reservation. However, after gold was discovered in the Black Hills in 1874, the government had a change of heart and decided to break the treaty and take over the land.

Custer was tasked with relocating all Native Americans in the area to reservations by January 31, 1876. Any person who didn’t comply would be considered hostile.

The Native Americans, however, didn’t take the deception lying down. Those that could, left their reservations and traveled to Montana to join forces with Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse at their fast-growing camp. Thousands strong, the group eventually settled on banks of the Little Bighorn River.

Background to the Battle of the Little Bighorn River

The U.S. Army dispatched three columns of soldiers, including Custer and his 7th Cavalry, to round up Indigenous people and return them to their reservations.

The plan was for Custer’s cavalry and Brigadier General Alfred Terry’s infantry to rendezvous with troops under the command of Colonel John Gibbon and Brigadier General George Crook. They𠆝 then find the Native Americans, surround them and force their surrender.

Crook was delayed but Terry, Custer and Gibbon met-up in mid-June and after a scouting party found a trail headed toward Little Big Horn Valley, they decided Custer should move in, surround the Indians and await reinforcements.

Custer forged ahead but things didn’t go as planned. Around midday on June 25, his scouts located Sitting Bull’s camp. Instead of waiting for reinforcements, however, Custer planned a surprise attack for the next day. He moved it up when he thought the Native American forces had discovered his position.

Custer divided his more than 600 men into four groups. He ordered one small battalion to stay with the supply train and the other two, led by Captain Frederick Benteen and Major Marcus Reno, to attack from the south and prevent the Indians from escaping. Custer would lead the final group� men strong𠅊nd planned to attack from the north.

Reno’s group attacked first but swiftly embarked on a disorganized retreat after realizing they were completely outnumbered. By the time they𠆝 regrouped, at least 30 troops were dead.

Benteen’s troops came to Reno’s aid and the combined battalions joined forces on what is now known as Reno Hill. They remained there despite Custer’s order: �nteen. Come on, Big Village, Be quick, Bring packs. P.S. Bring packs.”

At the 10-year memorial of the Battle of Little Bighorn, unidentified Lakota Sioux dance in commemoration of their victory over the United States 7th Cavalry Regiment (under General George Custer), Montana, 1886. The photograph was taken by S.T. Fansler, at the battlefield’s dedication ceremony as a national monument. (Photo by Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images)

Custer’s ‘Last Stand’ became a slaughter.

The exact events of Custer’s Last Stand are unclear. What is known is that neither Benteen or Reno helped Custer despite admitting later they𠆝 heard heavy gunfire coming from Custer’s position. Custer and his men were left to face scores of Native American warriors alone. Some historians believe many of Custer’s men panicked, dismounted from their horses and were shot dead as they fled.

No one knows when Custer realized he was in trouble since no eyewitness from his troops lived to tell the tale. The Sioux and Cheyenne warriors led by Crazy Horse attacked with Winchester, Henry and Spencer repeating rifles as well as bows and arrows.

Most of Custer’s men were armed with Springfield single-shot carbine rifles and Colt .45 revolvers they were easily outgunned. Custer’s line and command structure quickly collapsed, and soon it was every man for himself.

Custer died by two bullet wounds

In the end, Custer found himself on the defensive with nowhere to hide and nowhere to run and was killed along with every man in his battalion. His body was found near Custer Hill, also known as Last Stand Hill, alongside the bodies of 40 of his men, including his brother and nephew, and dozens of dead horses.

Custer had suffered two bullet wounds, one near his heart and one in the head. It’s unclear which wound killed him or if the head wound happened before or after he died. In the heat of battle, it’s unlikely the warrior who shot Custer knew he𠆝 just killed a U.S. Army icon. Even so, once word spread that Custer was dead, many Native Americans claimed to be his executioner.

After the battle, Native American warriors stripped, scalped and dismembered their enemy’s corpses on the battlefield, possibly because they believed the souls of disfigured bodies were doomed to walk the earth forever.

The American reaction to Little Big Horn spelled doom for the Plains Indians.

The Battle of the Little Big Horn didn’t end with the massacre of Custer and his men. The Native Americans quickly regrouped and pursued Reno’s and Benteen’s battalions. The troops fought until General Terry’s reinforcements finally arrived.

Now it was the Native Americans who were outnumbered so they packed up camp and fled, bringing the largest defeat of the U.S. Army during the Plains Indian Wars to an end.

The Sioux and਌heyenne reveled in their victory for a time, but their celebration was short-lived, as was their freedom. When word of Custer’s death reached Americans celebrating their nation’s centennial on July 4, they demanded retribution.

The U.S. Army intensified their efforts to hunt down all resisting Native Americans and either wipe them out or force them back onto reservations. Within a year, most had been rounded up or killed.

In May 1877, Crazy Horse surrendered at Fort Robinson, Nebraska, where he was later bayoneted and killed after an altercation with an army officer. After fleeing to Canada, Sitting Bull eventually surrendered in 1881 and lived on Standing Rock Reservation until he was killed by Native American agent policemen during a conflict at his house in 1890.

25th June 1876: General Custer with his men from the 7th Cavalry at the Battle of Bighorn being defeated by the combined forces of the Sioux-Cheyenne Indians. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

𠆌uster’s Last Stand’ was a manufactured legacy.

The Battle of the Little Bighorn𠅊ka Custer’s Last Stand—is steeped in controversy. To this day, many people question his actions that fateful day. He’s often accused of arrogance for not following the original battle plan and leading his men to certain death. Yet it’s possible Custer believed reinforcements were on the way and wanted to strike before the Sioux and Cheyenne dispersed it’s unlikely he expected such a well-armed attack.

It’s also argued that Reno and Benteen were simply cowards who ignored Custer’s orders when the fighting unexpectedly got tough, leaving Custer and his men to fight a losing battle. In their defense, though, they may have believed that following Custer’s orders was a suicide mission.

The dead at the Battle of the Little Big Horn were given a quick burial where they fell by the first soldiers who arrived at the scene. Custer was later disinterred and reburied at West Point. Other troops were also disinterred for private burials.

In 1881, a memorial was erected in honor of those who lost their lives. A trench was dug below the memorial to re-inter the remaining battlefield remains and a marker was erected where each soldier had fallen in battle.

While Custer never had the chance to defend his actions at the Battle of Little Big Horn, he needn’t have worried about his legacy because his widow Libbie had it safely in hand: She wanted her husband to go down in honor and boldly promoted him as a brave hero cut down in the prime of his life while defending his country.


In the Eye of History

Subjects
People
Places
Times

Work Description

William Matson Law set out on a personal quest to to better understand the circumstances underpinning the assassination of John F. Kennedy. His investigation began with a key component of the events of November 22, 1963, and the days that followed: the autopsy of the president's body at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland. He contacted those who were involved at Bethesda in various aspects of the aftermath of the assassination In the Eye of History: Disclosures in the JFK Assassination Medical Evidence comprises "conversations" with eight individuals who agreed to talk: Dennis David, Paul O'Connor, James Jenkins, Jerrol Custer, Ex-FBI Special Agents James Sibert and Frances O'Neill, Harold Rydberg, and Saundra Spencer.

For the first time, these eyewitnesses relate their stories comprehensively in their own words. Law allows them to tell it as they remember it without attempting to fit any pro- or anti-conspiracy agenda. The reader is the judge of these eyewitness accounts and their implications.

Dennis David describes observing the arrival at Bethesda Naval Hospital of the navy ambulance carrying Jackie Kennedy with the official casket purportedly carrying the president's body -- some time after he had supervised the unloading of a shipping casket that he'd been told contained the body of the president. Autopsy technician Paul O'Connor helped remove the president's body -- he recalls that it was in a body bag -- from a shipping casket this contrasts with the placement of the president's body in an ornate casket in Dallas, after wrapping only in sheets and towels. O'Connor's associate, James Jenkins, emerged from the autopsy convinced that the president had been shot from two directions. X-ray technician Jerrol Custer recalls seeing Mrs. Kennedy enter the Naval Hospital, having just arrived with her husband's body -- yet Custer was on his way to the darkroom to develop X-ray plates already taken of the president's corpse. Ex-FBI Special Agents James Sibert and Frances O'Neill pour scorn on the single-bullet theory -- the sine qua non of the Warren Report -- yet are reluctant to conclude that more than one sniper was involved. Harold Rydberg describes how he illustrated the president's wounds solely from verbal descriptions and provides first-hand impressions of the personalities of the autopsy doctors. Saundra Spencer compares and contrasts the extant photographs from the Kennedy autopsy with those that she developed the differences are startling. And there is discussion of the 1966 death of William Pitzer in whose possession Dennis David claims to have seen a secret movie of the Kennedy autopsy.


Battle of the Little Bighorn: Mounting Tensions

Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse (c.1840-77), leaders of the Sioux on the Great Plains, strongly resisted the mid-19th-century efforts of the U.S. government to confine their people to Indian reservations. In 1875, after gold was discovered in South Dakota’s Black Hills, the U.S. Army ignored previous treaty agreements and invaded the region. This betrayal led many Sioux and Cheyenne tribesmen to leave their reservations and join Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse in Montana. By the late spring of 1876, more than 10,000 Native Americans had gathered in a camp along the Little Bighorn River–which they called the Greasy Grass–in defiance of a U.S. War Department order to return to their reservations or risk being attacked.

Did you know? Several members of George Armstrong Custer&aposs family were also killed at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, including two of his brothers, his brother-in-law and a nephew.

In mid-June, three columns of U.S. soldiers lined up against the camp and prepared to march. A force of 1,200 Native Americans turned back the first column on June 17. Five days later, General Alfred Terry ordered George Custer’s 7th Cavalry to scout ahead for enemy troops. On the morning of June 25, Custer, a West Point graduate, drew near the camp and decided to press on ahead rather than wait for reinforcements.


Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer

(Front Plaque): "Wolverines"
Three-fourths of a mile south of this site on the Hunterstown Road, newly appointed Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer led the Michigan Cavalry Brigade (1st, 5th, 6th, and 7th Regiments) in his first charge against superior forces of Confederate cavalry under General Wade Hampton and Cobb's Legion on July 2, 1863. During the attack, Custer's horse was shot from under him. Without a horse but uninjured, he found himself prone to the mercy of Confederate blades that bore down on him. This decisive first encounter nearly proved fatal if not for the bravery and quick thinking of Norvell Francis Churchill, Company "L" 1st Michigan Cavalry, who deflected a saber blow and pulled the "boy general" to the back of his steed, extracting him from harms way.

(Back Plaque): Dedicated on the
145th Anniversary
of the
Battle of Hunterstown
July 2, 2008
Sponsors:
Grand Rapids Civil War Round Table
Holland/Zeeland Civil War Round Table

Donors:
Patricia Hedgecoth, Great Granddaughter of
Pvt. Norvell F. Churchill

The family of Harrison David Churchill

In memory of 1st Sgt. George T. Patten, 6th Michigan Cavalry, Co. B.

Ann Arbor Civil War Round Table

Howell Civil War Round Table

Charlene Dunn, Great Granddaughter of Lt. Daniel McNaughton, 7th MI Cav.

"The Historic Tate Farm" Roger and Laurie Harding

Erected 2008 by Grand Rapids and Holland/Zeeland Civil War Round Tables.

Topics. This memorial is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. A significant historical month for this entry is July 1780.

Location. 39° 52.964′ N, 77° 9.778′ W. Marker is in Straban Township, Pennsylvania, in Adams County. Memorial is at the intersection of Hunterstown Road and Shrivers Corner Road (County Route 394), on the right when traveling north on Hunterstown Road. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Gettysburg PA 17325, United States of America. Touch for directions.

Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Pres. George Washington (within shouting distance of this marker) Battle of Hunterstown (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line) Jacob Grass Hotel (about 600 feet away) Army of the Potomac (about 700 feet away) Revolutionary Soldiers in Great Conewago Cemetery (approx. 0.3 miles away) Civil War Soldiers in the Great Conewago Cemetery (approx. 0.3 miles away) Great Conewago Presbyterian Church (approx. 0.3 miles away) Wirt's Tavern (approx. 2.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Straban Township.


June 25: Company C

new

herosrest
Expert: Shirtwearer

Post by herosrest on Jan 5, 2013 14:25:54 GMT -5

Until it went pear shaped with Reno's attack, Custer would have expected to unite his battalions at the village which he attacked. I believe that his battalion commanders understood that and it is time that everyone else did. Benteens quickly route was FordA to the Big Village.

Gentlemen, we are going to attack and capture Pasadena. One battalion will maneuver to Seattle. Another is to make a scout towards Orange County but keep in touch as to their progress. Two battalions will accompany me, one of those will be dispatched to Chicago.

The enemy will be asleep when we march up in broad daylight and allow them time to flee the battle.

wild
Grand Master

Post by wild on Jan 6, 2013 12:15:51 GMT -5

Yan Taylor
Grand Master

Post by Yan Taylor on Jan 7, 2013 5:40:56 GMT -5

Hello HR, I hope your Regiment is at full strength when you attack Pasadena, I hope you don’t have only 140 men to take Seattle with another 120 available to scout around Orange County, and your main force containing two Battalions of 80 and 130 respectively, don’t forget to ask for the Gatling Guns and the extra Companies offered by the 2nd Cavalry because you are certainly going to need them.

Oh yes what about the pack train.

Good morning Richard, I missed the show last night, me and Sue watched Mr Selfridge on ITV 1, it is available on the I Player though, so I will catch it tonight.

Funny enough I watched an episode of the Trench Detectives on Saturday (Man & Horse), it showed how in WW1 a German soldier could stop a tank by reversing a standard 7.92mm round so that the pointed end was in the cartridge leaving the flat end to hit the target, the idea was first used by snipers when there opponents started using armoured shields to protect them from counter fire, the program showed how lethal this type of improvised round could be, it could at short range penetrate the armour of the British Tanks and splinter to maim the crew.

herosrest
Expert: Shirtwearer

Post by herosrest on Jan 10, 2013 16:23:45 GMT -5

The duration of fight by Custer's command is assessed in various ways by applying strict criteria to the time that elapsed between Custer and Reno seperating to attack the village, and the arrival of Capt. Weir to peaks named aftre him.

Various estimations of elapsed time commence Custer's fight after that of Reno's retreat because there is supposexly little evidence showing any other way that the battle evolved.

Linked here www.loc.gov/rr/frd/Military_Law/pdf/Reno_Exhibits.pdf are the exhibit documents of the Reno Court of Inquiry, inckuding at page 5 the actual map onto which those giving testiomony marked varios information.

At 8 Trumpeter Martin marked the route taken with the note handed to him by Lt. Cooke, and he commenced that march at the mouth of MTC near Ford B. There is no confusion about what Martin indicated and it helps considerably to assist in understanding his testimony to the inquiry. He stated the ride covered 5 miles and he met Benteen between a quarter and a half mile beyond where Custer's five companies watered horses.

All evidence indicates Custer's advance to MTC was rapid, this is confirmed in Martins testimony and upon reaching high ground during the ride to Benteen, Maj. Reno's command were seen fighting in the valley and warriors in the village were seen swarming towards Ford B to engage Custer's command. A period of 10 minutes is introduced to the equation by Martin stating it was that period of time before Cooke actually wrote the note.

The journey to a point from which Reno's command could be seen by Martin was about two miles. Looking back during his ride, Martin saw Custer's command heading toward the battlefield, which would be the march told of by Curley to the hills to the north on either flank of Deep Coulee.

Very much analysis of the battle stretches time, but as should be obvious from study of Martin's testimony to the RCoI and the map showing his route, things happened more quickly than people are yet ready or willing to accept. Warriors were moving from the village to attack Custer before Martin reached a position on the bluffsfrom where he saw Reno's command. That does not embarrass Reno or his situation.

Why there should be so much poor analysis of Martin's testimony and the map is a bigger mystery than what happened to Custer's command and prevents any serious study of what Company C and what happened to them. Locations at which they fought are known and observations made by officers indicatevery few Company C horses were found on the battlefield and were therefore run off stampeded or released, and Company C's horses were not held with others of the command. A small number of Company C animals were found dead near Custer forming a barricade.

This might suggest that Company moved from where it's sergeants Finley and Finkle lay dead, towards LSH, but another of its sergeants lay dead with Capt. Keogh's company. That really is what is known. Archaeology has identified a weapon that was near Ford B as having progressed towards Calhoun Hill with various inferences that this is perhaps connected with Company C.

Until it is realised by students of the battle that Custer's fight was underway while Reno battled in the valley, no one is ever going to work out what took place with Custer's command. No one yet in modernity, can define where or how the companies deployed and few seem to have any clue as to how soldiers actuall fought, which speaks volumes about study of events because the majority of early study was conducted by the army and they arrived at several not unmutual theories, none of which provided for a prolonged or stubborn resistance. The companies were overwhelmed in short order. Many people remain unable to accept that, and that is a very large part of the history of the battle.

If your interest is actually that single company, the place to begin study is with who led it into battle and the place to begin is with Sgt. Kanipe. Then question wheter or not Tom Custer led HIS company into battle. Many experts, historians and writers tell that he did not but company C had no place near Company F with which George Custer rode, and Tom Custer rode just ahead of Sgt. Kanipe. This is known because that is what Kanipe said. It seems Reno and Tom Custer did not get on too well, and George Custer kept one from the other. Both men had short fuses and were a little too brave, which is also a criticism of the Lt. Col. Be that as it may, with Reno elsewhere, why exactly wouldn't T.W. Custer decide to earn his pay. Going over the bluffs to Ford B and in the advance to skirmish in the valley, the men and officers were up for it.

The link www.nps.gov/mwac/publications/pdf/tech94b.pdf is to 'Archeological mitigation of the Federal Lands Highway Program plan to rehabilitate tour road, Route 10, Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, Montana' which includes a decent backgrounding to aspects of the battle's various more recent though not immediate theories, besides the cataloguing and work of archaeology. There is a decent grounding in the complications technical study brings to the theory of the battle.

Have fun and enjoy the battle.

The weapon from Ford B area MTC moved to Calhoun Hill, and a weapon at Finley Finkle went towards LSH.

This is the map form Walter M. Camps notes, rather than one he used for formalised interviews.


Custer&aposs Last Stand and Legacy

The Battle of Little Bighorn was a stinging embarrassment to the U.S. government, which redoubled its efforts and quickly and cruelly defeated the Lakota.

For his role in the battle, Custer earned himself his place in American history, though certainly not in the way he would have wished for. During her final years, Custer&aposs wife wrote accounts of her husband&aposs life that cast him in a heroic light, but no story could overcome the debacle that became known as Custer&aposs Last Stand.

In 2018, Heritage Auctions announced that it had sold a lock of Custer&aposs hair for $12,500. The lock came from the collection of artist and American West enthusiast Glen Swanson, who said that it was preserved when Custer saved his hair following a trip to the barber, in case he needed a wig. 


Watch the video: Forensic pathologist examines evidence of JFK assassination (January 2022).