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The Last Days of George Armstrong Custer:…
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The Last Days of George Armstrong Custer: The True Story of the Battle of…

by Thom Hatch

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Hatch might be categorized as an anti-revisionist historian. He strongly contemns those who judge the actions of the past by the standards of today, including the renaming of Custer Battlefield national Monument as Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument and the inclusion of a memorial to Indian dead. His defense of Custer is strongly argued. He reviews Custer's Civil War experience, successful tactics and demonstrated courage in battle combined with care for his soldiers. According to his theory, based on the last known orders given by Custer, the plan of attack on the Lakota village was one that had worked well in previous encounters. Major Reno was ordered to the south end of the village, Custer's units would attack from the north and east. Benteen, who was in charge of the ammo train and additional soldiers was sent an order to come up quickly, but unaccountably dawdled, even after the sound of firing made it obvious that battle had been joined. According to Hatch, Reno panicked and retreated, first to a knoll and then to a bluff where he and his men were pinned down by the Indian warriors. If he had maintained pressure at the south of the village, the warriors would have been forced to fight there while the women rushed to strike camp. Meanwhile Custer's units would have entered the camp with little opposition. If Benteen had hurried to join the main force, the additional ammunition could have saved the day. As it was, the troopers had 50 rifle rounds on their persons, another 50 in saddlebags and 20 rounds for their revolvers. Since some horses had been driven off by the Indians, the troopers were limited in their ammo while the Indians were armed with rifles, bows, clubs, and knives. Obviously, could have beens can fill many books and can prove nothing. However Hatch convincingly dismisses the theory put forth by some that Custer rushed into danger in an effort to secure the presidential nomination from the Democrats. He points out that Custer had insisted on returning to his command rather than accept a lucrative speaking tour that would have been an excellent preparation for a political career. Only 35, Custer was unlikely to be seeking an office that was seen as an old man's job. Interesting reading for any student of the Indian Wars.
  ritaer | May 26, 2015 |
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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.… (more)

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