Blogroll Me! How This Old Brit Sees It ...: 25th June 2006 -- 130th Anniversary Of Custer's Last Stand At The Battle Of The Little Bighorn ...

25 June 2006

25th June 2006 -- 130th Anniversary Of Custer's Last Stand At The Battle Of The Little Bighorn ...

In America, one hundred and thirty years ago today, 25th June 1876, began the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

But before the next day had ended, so too had the blood bath of a battle.

Likewise the life of General George Armstrong Custer, along with the lives of 225 of his 7th Cavalry men riding with him; massacred to the very last man, in Montana, by Chief Sitting Bull's army of Indian braves.

Since that day on, the famous fighting general with the flowing locks has been seen by almost all & sundry as some sort of 19th century super-hero.

However, as so often can be the case, it appears things may not be quite all they have seemed to be -- or at least made out to be.


For 130 years he has been feted as a hero of the West.

Now his Last Stand at the Battle of the Little Bighorn is exposed ...

By Murray Davies - Daily Mirror

For more than a century General George Armstrong Custer has been lauded as an American hero.

With his golden locks blowing in the wind, bravely wielding a sabre and pistol to the last, for many he symbolises the indomitable spirit of the Old West.

But this weekend, the 130th anniversary of his celebrated Last Stand at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, his heroic status is seriously in doubt.

Historians now believe it was the general's vanity and arrogance that cost his life and those of the 225 officers riding with him that day, massacred by Sitting Bull's army of Indian braves in Montana.

Sounds like some singularly strong stuff, wouldn't you say?

And there are still similar surprises in store.

Such was his desperation to take the credit, he left behind his forces' rapid-firing Gatling guns knowing their transportation would hold up his attack. They also moved out without their sabres.

His troopers, many of them immigrants who spoke little English, had to rely on unreliable Springfield 1873 single shot carbines and Colt revolvers.

Custer pushed his men to the limit until they neared the Little Bighorn river.

On one side stood steep hills while on the other the Indian camp stretched for more than two miles, the largest gathering in 30 years.

It didn't matter to Custer ...

Okay, one last quick clip.

An Arapaho warrior called Waterman claimed he witnessed Custer's last moments.

"He was on his hands and knees. He had been shot through the side and there was blood coming from his mouth. Four soldiers were sitting up around him," he said.

Benteen, who inspected Custer's body, thought he had been killed by the bullet to his side. A second bullet hole in his temple had been fired after he was dead.

His body, naked apart from his socks, was found lying across three dead soldiers while unpublished letters speak of Custer's thighs being slashed to the bone, his ears slit and his groin shot full of arrows.

Out of respect for his widow Libby, the public were never told he had been mutilated.

Here's the Mirror's full featured article.



Anonymous kat said...

Another {early genocidal} occupying army. Brits, Yanks, the goodies? That's a laugh.

11:27 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awrh, gee!

Now all those poor kid's movies will be spoiled. It's like telling them there's no santa.

If Errol Flyn were still around - boy, would he be pissed. :-)

Seriously - you know what they say about it's always the victors that write the history. Well, it's still the case.

Interesting post all the same Brit. Thanks.

2:53 pm  
Blogger St!ff M!ttens said...

In honor of this anniversary I recommend viewing the film "Little Big Man" starring Dustin Hoffman. Richard Mulligan plays Custer in the film. His portrayal of the general is very satirical and probably pretty close to the truth. ;-}

6:21 pm  
Anonymous Rosemary said...

Thanks for this article, Richard. I have no doubt that the report from the Indian and the letters are all true.

Actually, white American attitudes about Native Americans have changed a lot in the last 40 or so years. There is still a long ways to go, but people are starting to grasp at least some of the enormity of the genocide. When I was in grammar school, Custer was still a hero.

1:27 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pesky injuns. Damn insurgents. Traiterous Democrats. Lazy poor. Stinking immigrants. Scrounging elderly. Cowardly sick.

Any similar snarky US historical contributions anyone?

5:40 pm  
Blogger Gert said...

Truth is: most modern Nation States are based on genocide, mass expulsions, deportations, land grabs etc, but you need to go back to before last Tuesday to see it.

The old anachist saying "property is theft" is very true in the case of most Nation States' history. The US is far from unique in this.

8:47 pm  
Anonymous Tazmanian said...

Fuck their Custers and the horses they rode in on.

9:52 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

Yep, even now in the much fanfared 21st century, the veneer of our so called civilistation is tissue paper thin.

12:11 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm. When I was in American public school, we were taught that Custer was a buffoon graduated bottom of his class at West Point. Maybe it's because I'm younger (31)or just had a good teacher.


1:15 pm  
Blogger Richard said...


I'd think it was a [coverted by many] combination of both.

2:23 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And he didn't die a General. He'd previously been demoted to Colonel.

9:56 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

I'd be interested to know where that info re: demotion to Colonel comes from, anon. Do you have an authoritive source you can cite/link to? disputes this.

10:09 pm  
Anonymous Bob Reece said...

To read a complete report covering the two day events for the 130th anniversary of the Battle of the Little Bighorn, please visit the Friends of the Little Bighorn Battlefield website. -- --

Friends is the official cooperating association of the National Park Service who maintains the battle site. The purpose of The Friends is to support NPS projects at Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.

Warmest Regards,
Bob Reece

8:58 pm  

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