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Responsibility For The Little Horn Massacre

Responsibility For The Little Horn Massacre image
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Gen. Terry, in his official report of the battle tliat resulted so disastrously to Gen. Custer and his brave comrades, attributes the blanie for the disaster to Ouster's rash gallantry, and his failure to carry out his part of the plan of operations. (jen. 'lerry says m nis report : Whilo at the rnoutn of the Bosebud 1 submitted my plan to Oen. Gibbon and to Gen. Custer. They approved it heartily. It was that Cuater with his whole regiment sliould move up tho Kosebud till he ahould meet a ,raü which Eeno had discovered a few days be'ore, but that he should not follow it directly ;o the Little Big Horn, bnt that he should eend scouts over it and keep his main force further to tho south so as to prevent the Indiana from slipping in between himself and the raountaius. lié was aleo to examino the head water of Tnllocka creek as he passed it and send me word of what he found there. A scout was fiimiahed him for the puipose of crossing the country to me. We calculated it would tak Oibbon's column untU the 26th to reach the mouth of the Little Big Horn, and that the wide swoop which I had propoaed Custer ehould make would require so mueh time that Gibbon would be able to co-operate with him in altacking any Indians that might bo found on the stream. I aaked Clister how long his marches would be. He said they would be at first about thirty miles a day. Mearorements were made and calculations based on that rate of progresa. I talked with him about bif streugth and at one time suggested that porliaps it would be better for me to take Gibbon'c. cavalry aud go with him. To this enggestion he repliod that he would prefer hia own regiment alone as as' nuich could be done witli it as with two combinod. He oxpresied the utmost confldence that ho had ail the forco that he could need and I ahared hia conñdence. The plan adopted was tho only one which promised to bring the infantry into aetion, and I desired to make sure of tilinga by getting up every available man. I offered Custer the battery of Gattling guns, but he declined it. sayiug that it might embarrass him and that he was atrong enongh without it. The movementa proposed by Gen. Gibbon's column were carried out to the letter, and had the attack been deferred until it came up I oannot doubt that we should have boen Huccemful. The Indiana had evidontly nerved themaelvos for a stand. I learned from Capt. Bentor that on the 22d the cavalry marehed twolve milea ; on the iSá, D5 milos, 'from 5 a. m. to 8 p. m. ; on the 24th, forty-üve miles, ten mile further; then, after resting, but without unsaddling, twontythree miles to the battle-fleld. Tho proponed roiito was not taken, but as soon as the traü was strook it wa followed. I cannotlearn that my exanünation of Tulloca creek waa mado. I do not teil you this to cant my roÜection upon Custer, for whatevcr errors he muy have committed ho has paid the penalty, and you cannot regrot this loss more than 3 do, but I feel that our plan must have been succossful had it been carried out, and I desire you to Ur.uw tlio f acts. In the action itfielf, a fur as I can make out, Custer acted under misap prehensión. He thought, I am conti dent, that the Indians wero running, and f( foar they might get ivway he attacked Uien, ivithout gettiug all his men up and he dividec his eommaiid O that they 'wove Iwaten in de tul.


Old News
Michigan Argus