The Last Days of George Armstrong Custer: The True Story of the Battle of the Little Bighorn
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In this thrilling narrative history of George Armstrong Custer's death at the Little Bighorn, award-winning historian Thom Hatch puts to rest the questions and conspiracies that have made Custer's last stand one of the most misunderstood events in American history. While numerous historians have investigated the battle, what happened on those plains hundreds of miles from even a whisper of civilization has been obscured by intrigue and deception starting with the very first shots fired.
Custer's death and the defeat of the 7th Calvary by the Sioux was a shock to a nation that had come to believe that its westward expansion was a matter of destiny. While the first reports defended Custer, many have come to judge him by this single event, leveling claims of racism, disobedience, and incompetence. These false claims unjustly color Custer's otherwise extraordinarily life and fall far short of encompassing his service to his country.
By reexamining the facts and putting Custer within the context of his time and his career as a soldier, Hatch's The Last Days of George Armstrong Custer reveals the untold and controversial truth of what really happened in the valley of the Little Bighorn, making it the definitive history of Custer's last stand. This history of charging cavalry, desperate defenses, and malicious intrigue finally sets the record straight for one of history's most dynamic and misunderstood figures.
not resist. The column was victimized by a mass desertion. According to regimental records, over 120 cavalrymen since April 19 had already deserted. Then, on the morning of July 7, 34 more men disappeared. Theodore Davis noted, “This out of a force of less than three hundred was a serious misfortune.” The readiness of the command in the event of an Indian attack had been severely compromised. Shortly after noon on that same day thirteen troopers—seven on horseback—brazenly deserted in full view
and food stores, tobacco, and clothing—was either confiscated or burned to ashes. At about noon, swarms of warriors from the villages downstream began massing to fire from the surrounding bluffs, which placed Custer in a precarious position. Fortunately, Lieutenant Bell bravely fought his way through the Indians with a critical resupply of ammunition. Custer formed his men into a defensive perimeter while the burning of the village was completed. Additional warriors continued to arrive—perhaps
participation of the Seventh Cavalry in the Winter Campaign quietly concluded on March 28, 1869. At that point in time, however, not all Cheyenne had submitted to the reservation. On July 11, the Fifth Cavalry under Major Eugene Carr—about 250 troopers and 50 Pawnee scouts—swept down on an unsuspecting encampment at Summit Springs. The surprised Cheyenne dashed from their lodges, many running to reach the cover of nearby ravines, while others were cut down in the initial charge. When the smoke
His unusual name was said to have been given him by his mother when he ate the gallbladder of an animal. He was orphaned as a child and, after proving his worthiness as a warrior, was adopted by Sitting Bull as a younger brother. His earliest recorded relations with the white man occurred when he was visiting friends near Fort Berthold during the winter of 1865–66. Some unknown crime had been committed, and authorities presumed that Gall was responsible—which probably was not the case.
idea of identifying the remains, I caused one of the boots to be cut off and the stockings and drawers examined for a name.” No name was found, but the boots were later identified as belonging to Kellogg. Myles Keogh was killed along with his troops on the eastern slope of Battle Ridge within half a mile of Custer Hill, which was where his remains were found. The body of West Pointer First Lieutenant James E. Porter, second-in-command of Keogh’s Company I, either was too mutilated to be