lwhite wrote:I believe that Custers Last Stand, was the most heroic last stand ever! I don't place too much faith in the archaeological evidence -pointing to a complete fear crazed rout. The evidence collected was after souvenir hunters had 100 years to pick the field clean. As an example go to Gettysburg Battlefield -and just try and find evidence of major action taking place on Little Round Top.Thus on Last Stand Hill who knows what was removed over the years.
The best book I have read on the subject of Custer's Last Stand was "Sixty-six Years In Custer's Shadow," by Henry Weibert; Billings, Mont.; Bannock Pub.Co.; c1985. 174 pages, with maps and photos.
I was lucky enough to stumble upon a copy of this apparently self-published book in my local library (!) (signed by the author, no less) just a few months ago. Written by a man who spent most of his adult life ranching on Reno Creek, literally just off the actual battlefield.
A longtime serious scholar of the battle, Weibert spent countless hours puzzling out the routes of the Gibbon, Reno, and Custer columns as probably only a man on horseback could do. In addition, he was a patient and dedicated geiger counter operator, one of the first in the area. And a logical thinker, able to extrapolate field positions and actions from the hundreds of recovered shells, as well as spurs, bits of leather, and, if I recall correctly, the last undiscovered skeleton found, down in a ravine. Plus over the decades he kept a lively discourse with local (Crow) Indians on the subject as well as a stream of notable scholars in the field.
One of his conclusions was that Custer was attacked before he attacked the Indian village, and that basically he and his troops lost their lives very quickly in a strung out running (fighting, but largely panicked) retreat.
A fascinating read all the way through, quite technical and minute in detail, of the entire actions of the day in all three columns. Out of print, just 1000 copies extant (I believe), but second hand copies available from a number of fine sources. Google it!