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Was the Massacre at Little Big Horn a Conspiracy?

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posted on Mar, 16 2005 @ 04:27 PM
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I saw a show many years back that was all about conspiracies and the like. It would give both sides and let you make your own decision (I liked that about the show, they didn't seem to be pushing their own agenda). One of the shows was on Custer and the Battle at Little Big Horn. After reviewing the evidence that was given I am inclined to think it was a conspiracy. First was that Grant was one to hold grudges and Custer had exposed one of Grant's relatives (cousin, brother, don't remember right now) in a plot to get rich off the supplies that the U.S. was supplying the Indians with. Before the Battle at Little Big Horn, Custer had done something to get him stripped of his command and therefore shouldn't have been there at all, but Grant sent word to him to take command of the 7th Cavalry. He was told that he needed to get there as soon as he could so they were to leave their battery of Gatlin Guns behind. When they got there, they were to do a three-pronged attack and the two other generals were given their orders. Both of the other generals ended up at a specific hill (can't remember the name of the hill right now. One of them went directly there and the other retreated to the hill after a brief skirmish with the Indians. When he was asked why he didn't continue to help Custer his response was something along the lines of "I figured he could handle them" even though Custer had half as many men as he did. The Indians were better armed than they were told they would be, not only did they have muzzle loaders and bows and arrows which is what they were expecting, they had Sharps .45-70 rifles (which are still 100 percent accurate at 300 yards), .44-caliber Henry repeaters, Winchesters (which are almost duplicates of the Henrys), and Sharps .50-caliber weapons to name a few. On the battlefield there was evidence of at least 134 Indian firearms versus 81 for the soldiers. They were both outnumbered and outgunned. Custers command of 210 men was completely wiped out which accounts for nearly all of the 250 losses that the army suffered at that battle and the Indians only lost between 40 and 50 men. New recruits didn't hamper Custer's command, as only about 12 percent were considered "raw". When questioned about why they didn't go to Custer's aid the typical soldier stated they were following the orders of their officers even though they could hear the battle going on. The officers on the other hand stated that they could not hear the battle and cited a ridge that was between them and the battle (upon looking at the area in question there is no ridge where the officers stated there was one). The inquiry into the battle concluded that there was no fault on the officers, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Even if that was the case they should have been punished for disobeying direct orders from Custer, but were instead given promotions or other things. Could it be that they were following orders from farther up, such as President Grant? The people who produced this show went to the Library of Congress, which holds every telegraph sent, and logs them. Several telegraphs from that time are missing. It should also be noted that Custer, a West Point graduate, was a major general at 25, wounded several times, and never lost a battle, until his last.

Edit: Fixed Custard to Custer (sorry about that)

[edit on 3/16/2005 by SwitchbladeNGC]




posted on Mar, 16 2005 @ 04:57 PM
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Now this is a topic on which I can speak.

As much of a conspiracy theorist as I may be, and as much as I loathe being the voice of "party-line doctrine," I have to come to the defense of the historical record in the matter of Custer (not Custard) and the battle of the Little Big Horn.

To take the allegations point by point:

1.) Grant was not by nature a vindictive man, but he did have a beef with Custer and disliked being challenged by subordinates. His solution was not to send Custer on a suicide mission, but rather to suspend the man from active duty with the 7th Cavalry in any capacity. It was only due to the efforts of Generals Sheridan and Terry (to whom Custer personally pleaded for the chance to participate in the campaign) that Custer was reinstated at all. Terry felt that the 7th would be better served with Custer in command than Major Reno, whose record was not as distinguished.

2.) Custer himself turned down the offer of Gatling guns and other artillery pieces. It was his experience that Indian battles depended primarily upon speed - speed of march, and speed of deployment once the camp was found. Having the guns would have slowed the column down, and that was something Custer did not want. He also turned down the loan of several companies from the 2nd Cavalry. Why? Because he wanted to win a great victory with the 7th and the 7th alone, thus winning his way out of Grant's doghouse.

3.) Major Reno and Captain Benteen (neither of whom were generals, even during the Civil War) were the commanders of the other two columns. Benteen was ordered to explore to the left of the advance, so that he would be in position to herd the Indians back into Custer if they should scatter (which they ALWAYS had before). Reno was to attack at one end of the camp, while Custer would attack at the other end of the camp, and they would meet in the middle. Reno's attack stalled, mainly because they lost momentum. They came under fire and halted, forming skirmish lines and fighting as dismounted infantry, which is not the way that cavalry is designed to fight in the first place. They got turned back and pinned on what is now called Reno Hill. Benteen, on receiving the order to come up and aid Custer, hit Reno's position first. Perhaps he saw that Reno's men were in trouble and decided to stay, or perhaps he felt that there were too many Indians to warrant going further, but in all events, he stayed on the hill with Reno.

3.) Reno's comment to the effect that he was sure Custer would be able to handle the situation has always sounded like a rationalization to me. The truth was that Reno's confidence was shattered and he was not coming off that hill until he was rescued. In fact, he was hoping that Custer would return to rescue HIM.

4.) Custer's men were outgunned, and largely through the efforts of the Indian Agency Custer himself had challenged before the battle. Conspiracy? Probably not - just criminal stupidity on the part of government, with one bureau providing arms to hostiles that are better than the arms provided to the government's own troops.

5.) Reno and Benteen were not promoted after the Little Big Horn affair. In fact, the careers of both men were forever marred, and Libby Custer publically charged them both with cowardice. The Army found them innocent, but hardly worthy of commendations for their actions.

6.) Custer's original orders were to wait for two other columns of troops to arrive, and the three mini-armies would converge on the camp. Being brave to the point of foolhardiness, Custer outrode the rest of Terry's column, and General Crook's column, coming from the south, was turned back in a minor fracas with the Indians. So Custer was alone because he had outrun his support. When it was discovered that Indians had found a couple of boxes of food the column had dropped while marching all night, Custer decided that the Indians knew they were there, and that he had to attack immediately without waiting for help.

Reno lost his nerve, Benteen decided to shore up Reno's defenses instead of actively looking for Custer, and everybody truly believed that brave, mad Custer was out winning another battle and heaping the glory on himself. Was there incompetence and perhaps some cowardice at work, yes. But I doubt a conspiracy to kill Old Yellow Hair.



posted on Mar, 16 2005 @ 05:22 PM
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About the other "generals" and the like. As I stated, it has been many years since I saw that show (probably at least 3 or 4). I really wish I could figure out what the series was called and see about getting a copy of several of the shows, they were really good. Anyway, as I am not a historian (aerospace engineering student actually) I have to rely on what I hear from those that are, however I doubt most historiand actively seek government cover-ups (I could be wrong on that though). I do appreciate your side of this and welcome anyone to comment on this, no matter their oppinion on the subject.

[edit on 3/16/2005 by SwitchbladeNGC]



posted on Mar, 16 2005 @ 09:30 PM
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Ah Ha! I have found the name of the show. It is Encounters with the Unexplained. The specific one I am refering to is Episode 1-18. Still wish I could get my hands on it.



posted on Mar, 16 2005 @ 10:48 PM
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Try doing a web search on the name of the series, and try EBay. A lot of that stuff goes on the market because people recorded it while it was on.



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