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PROCEEDINGS OF A COURT OF INQUIRY IN THE CASE OF MAJOR MARCUS A. RENO

CONCERNING HIS CONDUCT AT THE BATTLE OF THE LITTLE BIG HORN RIVER

JUNE 25-26, 1876

Q.Q. 979

ELEVENTH DAY

Chicago, Illinois Friday, January, 24, 1879 11 o’clock A.M.

The court met pursuant to adjournment.

Present

All members of the Court, the Recorder, and Major Reno and his Counsel.

The proceedings of the last session were read and approved.

The examination of DR. PORTER was continued by the Recorder, as follows:

Q. Describe as near as you can the timber from which Major Reno’s command retreated with respect to the river, the plain and the location of the hostile village.
A. I did not notice it particularly, Where I went into the woods there was a kind of bend, with this cut bluff, and below there a pretty heavy undergrowth and some heavy cottonwood trees, At the right of them was a little opening, between there and the village where I first saw the village. That bottom came down almost level with a few wash-outs on the side between the river and the woods.
Q. Do you mean where the trees were growing was on a level with the bottom?
A. No, they are lower; there was a cut bank 3 or 4 feet high to the level.
Q. How far was it to the river across there?
A. The nearest point I think was several hundred yards, I did not see the river; I saw the bluffs beyond.
Q. I mean the nearest point of the river from the right of the skirmish line.
A. I think it was 500 yards; may be not over 200 or 300, did not notice much.
Q. From what you saw then or afterwards, give a description of that particular body of timber. That is whether it was a separate bunch of timber, or was a continuous stretch of timber, or whether the timber dropped in and out at the bends, going from one side of the river to the other.
A. I guess it dropped in and out; it was not continuous. There were some trees along the banks of the river above and below, and there were some places in the bends full of trees.
Q. How was it where Major Reno’s command was? Was it in a bend?
A. It was a bend.
Q. Was it full of trees, or sparse?
A. In some places sparse; in some places full.
Q. State if you can, how near Major Reno’s command was at, any time while in that timber, to this hostile village. I don’t mean to the nearest teepee, but to the main village.
A. I would say about a mile from the main village. It might be more, but that is my impression from the glance I got of it in the woods.
Q. State whether there were any trumpet or bugle calls in Major Reno’s command from the time it left General Duster’s column till it reached these woods.
A. I heard none.
Q. Were there any sounded there or upon leaving there?
A. I heard none.
Q. If there had been the usual bugle or trumpet calls sounded would you have heard them?
A. Yes sir, I think I should.
Q. State how you knew the command was leaving the woods.
A. I heard Major Reno say “we have got to get out of here - we have got to charge them”, and I saw him getting out of the timber in the direction we came in. The men were looking for their horses and mounting and I followed them out.
Q. Was it immediately after you heard him say “we have to get out”, or were there some time intervening?
A. It was right at that time almost.
Q. Up to that time how many men had been hit to your knowledge?
A. Only one man that I know of.
Q. Describe his wound; whether mortal or whether you had time to examine.
A. I had just unbuttoned his blouse and saw that he was wounded in the left breast lie was able to talk.
Q. Did you see him after that?
A. No sir.
Q. State as particularly as you can when you left the woods, what you saw in regard to the Indians and the troops. I want to get all the details that you took in at that glance as you came out of the woods.
A. I led my horse out at the same place I went down, saw Indians running by and saw the command running. I had pretty hard work to mount my horse, but finally got on him. There were some Indians between the command and myself, and quite a good many to the right, running and firing into the troops. I let my horse out and passed some Indians and quite a number of the men; got to the river, jumped in and crossed with the rest. When I got to the river I found that there were a dozen cavalrymen in the river and some Indians on the right bank, mounted, firing at those crossing.
Q. When you came out and saw that condition of affairs, did you see any officer there attempting to do anything to cover the retreat, or check the Indians from riding down the column? If so describe that effort.
A. I saw nothing of the kind. I could not see the head of the column. I don’t remember seeing an officer till I got across the river.
Q. In what order was the rear of the column where you were?
A. In no order at all. Every man seemed to be running on his own hook.
Q. From the time the command halted and deployed as skirmishers in the woods, how long was it till it left the woods as you have described?
A. I judge it was 15 or 20 minutes.
Q. Might it have been longer or less?
A. It might have been a little longer.
Q. Within what limit would you put it with certainty?
A. I could not fix any time. I am pretty positive it was not over 20 minutes. It did not seem to me to be over 5 or 10 minutes, but I put the limit at 20 minutes and yet I might be mistaken in that, as it might be longer.
Q. How far was it from that woods to the crossing on that retreat?
A. I should say between half a mile and a mile.
Q. Do you know how long it took the command to reach that point after leaving the woods?
A. I don’t know how long the command was; I don’t think it was over 4 or 5 minutes.
Q. Give a description of that crossing as far as you observed it at the time or saw it after, as to the height of the banks on either side and the depth of the water, and describe how the command got over.
A. The stream where I crossed was 40 or 50 feet wide. The water was almost up to a horse’s back - it came to the saddle pockets. The bank on the side we ran from, was 4 or 5 feet high, a straight cut bank, and on the other side about the same. After some of the horses had gone down the bank and caved it in, it made a pretty good crossing. I crossed a little to the left, where it was a straight cut bank.
Q. Describe what you saw of how the command got over: if any halt was made at the river.
A. When I got there everybody was rushing in, trying to get across as fast as they could: the Indians were firing into them. Every man seemed to be looking out for himself, trying to get across as soon as possible
Q. State if you know how long it was from the time Major Reno’s command left the command of General Custer on the right bank of the stream where the order was given, till Major Reno’s and Cant. Benteen’s forces were united on the
A. I would say about an hour.
Q. How long after their forces were united till the pack-train came in?
A. It might have been a half hour or an hour. I don’t remember.
Q. State your opinion, if you have any, in respect to the conduct of Major Reno at that timber: whether it was that of an officer manifesting courage, coolness, and efficiency, such as would tend to inspire his men with confidence and fearlessness, or the reverse- State your opinion fully, and the facts upon which it is based.

MAJOR RENO OBJECTED TO THIS QUESTION because this witness has not been shown to be competent to give an opinion on such a matter. THE RECORDER REPLIED: His answer will be only a matter of opinion and will be entitled to such weight as the court gives it. THEN, WITHOUT CLEARING THE COURT THE OBJECTION OF MAJOR RENO WAS OVERRULED.

A. I saw nothing in his conduct particularly heroic or particularly’ the reverse. I think he was some little embarrassed and flurried. The bullets were coming in pretty fast, and I think he did not know whether it was best to stay there or leave, ‘That was my impression at the time.
  • ’’’QUESTIONS BY MAJOR RENO’’’
Q. Where were you when General Custer gave the order to Major Reno to cross the river?
A. When the order that I mentioned was received, I was at Major Reno’s side
Q. Where was Major Reno?
A. He was right in the vicinity of the teepee that had the dead Indians in it.
Q. Was he mounted or dismounted?
A. Mounted.
Q. Who was with him?
A. I don’t remember.
Q. Was any person with him?
A. He was at the head of his command, and there were officers in his vicinity, I think Lieutenant Hodgson was with him: I don’t know.
Q. Was Lieutenant Wallace there?
A. I don’t know.
Q. Would you have seen him if he had been there?
A. I don’t knew
Q. What did Major Reno say to the Adjutant after the order was delivered?
A. He asked if General Custer was coming on - if he would support him.
Q. How close were you to Major Reno when he made that remark to the Adjutant?
A. Within hearing distance.
Q. How close was the Adjutant to Major Reno at that time?
A. Close enough to speak to him.
Q. How close were the officers that were with Major Reno to him?
A. I don’t remember.
Q. Were they within hearing distance?
A. I don’t remember any officers that were there, Lieutenant Hodgson might have been there: I don’t know: I don’t remember.
Q. You don’t remember that Lieutenant Wallace was there?
A. No sir.

Q. What reply did the Adjutant make?

A. That the General would support him.
Q. Then what did the Adjutant do?
A. He rode back.
Q. What did Major Reno do?
A. Rode on to the crossing with his command.

At what part of the column?

A. At the head of the column.
Q. Who was with him?
A. I was with him and Lieutenant Hodgson was with him.
Q. Anyone else?
A. I don’t remember any one else.
Q. You were with him and did not see Lieutenant Wallace?
A. No sir.
Q. What distance did you ride from Major Reno at the head of the column?
A. Right along within speaking distance of him.
Q. If Lieutenant Wallace had been with him during that mile ride would you have seen him?
A. I might or I might note He might have been there and I saw him and not remember it.
Q. Where was Lieutenant Hodgson?
A. Within speaking distance.
Q. On which side of Major Reno?
A. I don’t know.
Q. Major Reno carried what kind of a gun?
A. I think it was a carbine, I am not sure.
Q. The same as the cavalrymen carried?
A. I don’t know.
Q. Did it not resemble very much these that the cavalrymen carried?
A. I don’t remember the gun particularly.
Q. Had he been carrying a gun on any other day than the 25th of June?
A. I don’t Know.
Q. Had you seen him before?
A. Yes sir, every day.
Q. You did not notice whether he had carried a gun before?
A. I don’t remember whether he had carried a gun or not.
Q. Had he been carrying a gun, do you suppose he wanted to get rid of it just when it was going to be of some use?
A. I know he offered it to me.
Q. Where was that?
A. Between the river and the woods.
Q. After you crossed over?
A. Yes sir.
Q. Where do you fix it?
A. About half way down the line to the woods.
Q. Did you halt on either bank of the stream before you crossed it on going down to the timber?
A. I halted on the opposite bank a few minutes.
Q. Did you halt on the bank on the right side of the stream?
A. I don’t remember whether I did or not. We might have halted a second or two and then crossed over.
Q. Where were you with respect to Major Reno when you swept around that knoll on the right bank of the stream?
A. I was close to him.
Q. How close?
A. Within speaking distance.
Q. What conversation did you hear between Major Reno and anyone else in that vicinity?
A. I did not hear any.
Q. If there had been any would you have heard it?
A. I might have heard it and would not know what was going on.
Q. Did you notice any one speaking to him?
A. I don’t remember.
Q. Mr. Girard says he spoke to Major Reno on that bank. Is that a fact?
A. I don’t know. He might have been right with him and I might not notice him. At any rate I don’t remember it now
Q. Did you cross the stream with Major Reno?
A. At the same time.
Q. You halted on the other side in the timber?
A. Yes sir.
Q. What did Major Reno do if anything at that point?
A. Stopped and formed the command into line, charged on up through the valley. That is all I know of.
Q. How close were you to Major Reno during that time?
A. Within speaking distance of him.
Q. Was his horse standing still?
A. I don’t. Reno standing still or moving about?
Q. Was Major Reno standing still or moving about?
A. Sometimes standing still and sometimes moving about.
Q. When he moved did you follow him?
A. I was with him up the valley - in his vicinity all the time.
Q. Did you see him send any man back in the direction he came from?
A. I don’t remember that. He might have sent some man back and I not know it.
Q. When he started in what position was he in respect to the column?
A. At the head.
Q. I am speaking of the period of time between the stream and the timber.
A. At the head of the column at that time
Q. Where were you?
A. With him.
Q. How close?
A. Within speaking distance.
Q. How long did you continue with him in that position?
A. Till we got near the woods.
Q. Where did you leave him?
A. About as they were dismounting.
Q. there did they dismount?
A. Near the edge of the woods.
Q. Near the point “C” on the map?
A. Yes sir.
Q. At that point did you leave him?
A. About the time they were dismounting.
Q. Where?
A. A little ways from the woods.
Q. At the point Girard fixed?
A. Yes sir, about there, I was with the command till they dismounted. There were a few shots fired, and I was looking for my orderly. The horses had been taken into the woods, and I rode out and met Girard and the others; was there a minute or two and rode back into the woods and was there all the time.
Q. On which side of the line did you ride as you went from the ford to the timber?
A. I think it was to the left of Major Reno.
Q. Where was he?
A. He was leading the column - about in the center.
Q. How far were you from him?
A. Within speaking distance.
Q. Who was with him?
A. Lieutenant Hodgson.
Q. Who else?
A. I don’t remember any one else.
Q. How rapidly did you ride up to the point you halted?
A. Sometimes loping, sometimes trotting - going fast.
Q. Where did you first catch sight of the village?
A. After I went down in the woods.
Q. Where did you catch sight of the Indian ponies?
A. After I crossed the river.
Q. At what point?
A. About half way down, I think we saw some of them. We saw a dust, but were soon satisfied that it was Indians driving their ponies.
Q. Were there many or few ponies?
A. A good many.
Q. Did you see many Indians at that time?
A. Not very many.
Q. Was there much dust?
A. Some.
Q. Much or little?
A. Quite a good deal.
Q. Was it not thick?
A. Well, yes; so thick at first we could hardly tell what was moving.
Q. Where were you able to tell for the first time that the dust was occasioned by driving ponies?
A. Shortly after we crossed the river; a minute or two, or two or three minutes.
Q. How far into that cloud of dust could you see?
A. We could see the dust rising and see the ponies on the ground. I don’t know how far we could see into it.
Q. Then what Girard thought were indications of the Indians coming to meet Major Reno was only the movement of ponies being driven by Indians?
A. I don’t know. What I have reference to was the ponies I saw.
Q. Girard says, before he crossed the ford he saw Indians coming out to meet Major Reno, and he thought it necessary to send word back to General Custer of that fact. You were impressed not by the Indians coming up, but by the motion of the ponies, Is that the way?
A. The first I saw was a few Indians herding the ponies - gathering them upon.
Q. That was all?
A. Yes sir.
Q. You did not see the signs Girard speaks of, of advancing Indians?
A. I saw none coming up: I thought they were running away.
Q. Still that was when half way to “C”?
A. Yes sir.
Q. That number of ponies do you think was in motion?
A. I should say 1000. That is a mere guess.
Q. How long after you saw the ponies did you catch sight of the village?
A. Not till I went into the woods.
Q. How long was it in point of time?
A. It was a few minutes - I would say 10 or 15 minutes.
Q. You saw the village and estimated it about 1000 lodges?
A. Yes sir.
Q. That was after the ponies had been driven back and forth?
A. They had not been driven back and forth that I know of. They had been driving them down the valley.
Q. Lieutenant Wallace testified that they appeared to be driving them back and forth, purposely raising a cloud of dust. Would not that be Indian tactics?
A. I don’t know.
Q. You knew the Indian custom?
A. I had been in a few Indian fights.
Q. Lieutenant Wallace was wrong when he said they were trying to raise a dust?
A. I don’t know.
Q. After you reached that point Girard has fixed, how long till you went into the timber?
A. A few minutes.
Q. Where was Major Reno at that time?
A. I did not see him. I suppose he was up commanding the skirmish line. They had opened fire then.
Q. How long after that did you see him?
A. I saw him in the woods just before he said we had to get out of there.
Q. How long before you left the timber was that period of time you saw him last?
A. We went right out in a few minutes. He was on his way then, I think.
Q. Do you know what Lieutenant Reno had been doing in the meantime?
A. No sir.
Q. Do you know about his being over towards the river with a part of Co. “G” to dislodge some Indians?
A. No sir, I did not see him, and did not know where he was.
Q. All you saw of Major Reno after deploying the skirmish line was what you saw a few minutes before going out?
A. That was all.
Q. That is all on which you base your opinion of his conduct?
A. Yes sir.
Q. How long did you see him at the time you speak of?
A. Just a minute or two: just as he was getting ready to go out.
Q. Was he mounted?
A. He was.
Q. What did he do after making that remark?
A. He was riding back and forth once or twice; I heard him make the remark: “we have got to get out of here - we have got to charge them,” and then he rode off towards the bluffs, in the direction we came in.
Q. In which direction?
A. Upstream - out on the prairie.
Q. Where did you next see him?
A. Across the river.
Q. Not before?
A. No sir.
Q. Did he not halt on the edge of the timber with Captain Moylan? Did you see that?
A. No sir.
Q. Did you come out at the spot where Captain Moylan and Major Reno were halted at the edge of the timber, just as the column moved out?
A. No sir.
Q. Did you not come out and see Major Reno and Captain Moylan together before the head of the column moved out?
A. Not that I remember.
Q. Are you accurate in your recollection?
A. I am testifying to the best of my belief and memory.
Q. How long after the command started from the timber did you start?
A. A few minutes.
Q. Where did you overtake it?
A. I passed some of them, I rode to the river and went through with some of them across the river, and went up on the hill with some of them.
Q. Did you reach the ford by the time the head of the column reached it?
A. No sir; after.
Q. How much after?
A. A few minutes. I reached the ford just as the last were going in.
Q. Where was Major Reno when you spoke to him next?
A. On the other side, on the hill.
Q. On the top?
A. Yes sir.
Q. With whom was he?
A. There were officers around. I don’t remember who.
Q. Can you name one?
A. Lieutenant Varnum was there within speaking distance, and there might have been others; I don’t know.
Q. You spoke of a remark Lieutenant Varnum made in regard to leaving the wounded men. When was it he made that and where?
A. Up on the hill, after we crossed.
Q. How long after?
A. I don’t think all the men had crossed yet. Some were coming up the hill yet.
Q. Was it on top of the hill?
A. Not right on top - between the river and the top.
Q. You had not reached the summit?
A. I think not: it was right in that vicinity.
Q. To which wounded men did Lieutenant Varnum refer?
A. I don’t know. He referred to all the wounded.
Q. Don’t you know he did not refer to the wounded men in the timber?
A. No, I don’t know that. I supposed he referred to all the wounded of the battalion.
Q. Was that remark of Lieutenant Varnum’s made before the column under Captain Benteen came up?
A. Yes sir.
Q. Before it was visible to the command?
A. I don’t think we had seen it yet.
Q. In point of fact, was not the remark of Lieutenant Varnum made after the column under Captain Benteen was in sight; and made to prevent the men from moving in the direction of that column?
A. No sir. I don’t think Captain Benteen’s column was in sight. The tendency of the men after they crossed was to keep on running; and Lieutenant Varnum tried to halt them.
Q. Did not Lieutenant Varnum’s remark apply to the wounded men on the hill, and not to the men in the timber?
A. I don’t know, I thought it applied to all. He said “For God’s sake men, don’t run; we have got to go back and get our wounded men and officers.”
Q. He said nothing about over the river?
A. I think not. He said “Go back”.
Q. You think the remark would not apply to the men on the hill-top, but to those across the river?
A. I supposed it applied to the men left back.
Q. After you got on the hill-top there were several wounded men to claim your care?
A. Yes sir.

Q. How long were you in taking care of them’:

A. I don’t know - a very short time. Seven or 8 fell off their horses; some were wounded badly, and some not so serious, I bandaged them up pretty quick.
Q. Did you have time to observe the movements and behavior of Major Reno .during that time?
A. While attending to the wounded I did not notice him.
Q. Might he not then have been giving directions without your knowing it?
A. He might.
Q. Did you see or hear him send Lieutenant Hare back to hurry up the pack train?
A. No sir.
Q. Did you see him send Lieutenant Hare with an order to Captain Weir to move down the river?
A. No sir.
Q. You speak of not seeing him on the night of the 25th except on one occasion, Where were you?
A. I was attending the wounded men in a hospital W had
Q. How often did you see him, if at all, on the night of the 25th?
A. I think I saw him that evening once.
Q. No more than once?
A. That is all I remember: I might have seen him more.
Q. You were attending to the wounded in hospital.
A. Yes sir.
Q. Do you remember seeing Major Reno several times at the hospital?
A. I don’t remember his coming at all.
Q. Are you sure he did not?
A. No sir.
Q. Where were you when Captain Weir moved in the direction of “B”?
A. I was right there in the vicinity; I don’t know where. I went into a ravine to see Dr. DeWolf, and get his pocket-book and some things he had on his person. He was killed there. I was there a few minutes. I think Captain Weir was moving out then or coming back; I don’t remember such about it.
Q. Did you see the point which the company of Captain Weir reached?
A. I don’t know whether I saw him at the farthest point or not. My opinion is he went out half a mile or a mile.
Q. Are you sure he did not go farther?
A. No. He might have gone 2 or 3 miles.
Q. Were you always so cool during that engagement that you could observe matters that were being done on all sides?
A. I don’t suppose I could take in everything.
Q. Were you cool, during the entire fight in the timber?
A. I was moderately cool, I expect I was a little excited - most all were
Q. Were you not so excited that you could not see and properly estimate many things that were being done?
A. I don’t think my judgment was very much out of the way. I was not so flurried as that.
Q. Did you ever say you were so frightened or badly scared, that you did not see a great many things?
A. I have said when I was on the run I was frightened, When I found I was alone I let my horse go, and I was frightened.
Q. Did you ever say you were frightened during any other part of that two day’s battle?
A. I think I have; I know I was.
Q. Have you not said you were so badly frightened you were unable to see many things?
A. I don’t know that I have.
Q. Have you not used words that bear about the same meaning?
A. I don’t know that I have. I have always said I was frightened.
Q. Have you made a remark to Lieutenant Maguire in substance like the question I have asked you; about being so badly scared or frightened that you did not attend very much to whet was going on around you?
A. I perhaps said I was pretty badly frightened going out of the woods to the river.
Q. Do you know whether you did or not?
A. I do not. I know I said so to many persons in talking about it
Q. Was that the only point at which you confessed to being frightened?
A. No sir, I was probably some frightened on the hill.
Q. Were you, not being a military man, so badly frightened at points during those different engagements, that you did not fully observe what was being done by Major Reno and many other officers?
A. No sir: I observed everything that was going on that came under my observation.

Q. You do not think your judgment was obscured by your fears, in respect to those matters?

A. No sir, I don’t think it was.
Q. Where was Captain Moylan when the command moved back from the timber to the river?
A. I don’t know: I don’t remember having seen him.
Q. Where was the wounded man you gave attention to?
A. In the woods, a little ways from the edge.
Q. In what direction?
A. Towards the village - downstream a little
Q. Who was he?
A. I don’t know.
Q. How long were you with him?
A. A few minutes.
Q. Did you find him, or was your attention called to him?
A. My attention was called to him.
Q. Where were you with respect to the wounded man when you heard Major Reno say he was going to get out of the timber?
A. I was right near him. My attention was called to him at the time; he was in that vicinity.
Q. How long was it after you entered the timber?
A. A few minutes.
Q. Were you in the rear of the column when you started across the river?
A. Yes sir. They were all leaving the woods, and I thought I was about the last one; but there may have been more that I did not see.
Q. How much of the column had crossed the river when you reached it?
A. I don’t know: part had much or little?
A. I don’t know: some were across and some were behind. Some came across after I did.
Q. Was the greater part across before you got to the river?
A. I don’t know whether it was or note
Q. If you had to select a crossing for that command, having in view all the circumstances under which they were placed, could you have found a better place than that at which the command did cross?
A. It was a good crossing.
Q. Was it not the very best that could be found under the circumstances?
A. I guess it was the best in that vicinity.
Q. What number of Indians, if any, do you place between “A” where the column crossed going to the timber, and the column itself on its way back to the river?
A. They were mixed up with the troops to the right and rear so that I can’t tell– I think there were two or three hundred.
Q. Are you accurate in your estimate of the number of Indians in front of the skirmish line at the time it was deployed?
A. No sir, it is an opinion: it seemed about that many.
Q. Do you accurately fix the number of Indians in front of the command at the time it went in the timber?
A. I don’t accurately fix them at any time
Q. What is your best judgment of the number of Indians in front of the command about the time it prepared to leave the timber?
A. I don’t know; I did not see them.
Q. Have you any judgment to give about that?
A. No sire. I suppose the Indians fighting them came out around them when they came out. I should say there were 200 or 300 fighting them when I came out
Q. Do you remember the length of time the horses had been in motion from the time they started on that expedition: say from the 22nd of June, till you crossed that ford?
A. I know pretty near how many miles were made each day.
Q. Have you heard the statements of other witnesses on that subject?
A. I expect I have
Q. Does your recollection agree with theirs?
A. Yes sir, about the same.
Q. About what is the total?
A. I should say about 100 miles.
Q. Was the character of the country even or rough?
A. Up the Rosebud it was in the valley a good deal of the way: we went over some rough ground.
Q. Was the grazing good or bad?
A. Pretty fair.
Q. For the entire command, or just your own horse?
A. I was looking out for my own horse, I would take him out some distance to get good grazing.
Q. You had better opportunities to graze your horse than the horses of the column?
A. Yes sir. I looked out for him myself, and others did not, perhaps.
Q. Do you know whether immediately before the command started on that expedition, Major Reno had six companies of the 7th Cavalry on a scout up the Rosebud?
A. Yes sir; I was with him on that trip.
Q. How long did it last?
A. I don’t remember - several days.
Q. How long after he returned till the command started on this expedition?
A. I don’t remember that.
Q. Was it more than a day?
A. My impression is it was a day or two: I can’t tell. We came in and lay in camp a short time
Q. Those horses you think were fresh?
A. I think they were in good condition for cavalry horses. I have seen times when horses would play out in a day or two. These were in pretty good order.

‘‘‘QUESTIONS BY THE RECORDER’’’

Q. You have stated in your examination by Major Reno something about a charge downstream - describe what that was
A. We were riding down there to meet the Indians: he was not charging anybody in particular more than we were riding towards the Indians, expecting to charge them.
Q. Do you mean a charge, or that the men were riding fast?
A. They were riding down to meet the Indians.
Q. At the time the command was halted, was it opposed at that instant by any force of Indians?
A. No sir: a few shots were fired just then.
Q. Did you see any Indians in the timber where Major Reno’s command was placed?
A. No sir.
Q. Was there any firing in the timber? What I mean is, was there any firing as if from someone in the timber?
A. No; it seemed to come from outside of the timber.
Q. State if Major Reno saw that wounded man there in the timber?
A. I don’t know whether he did or not.
Q. Were you attending to the wounded man or not, when Major Reno spoke to you?
A. I was just preparing to. He did not speak to me. I heard him make the remark.
Q. State whether or not any men were left in the woods. State from any subsequent facts that came to your knowledge, I mean live men - scouts or others.
A. I did not know it at the time, I did not suppose there were any.
Q. You have stated that you were under a certain amount of excitement there and in the woods. State what occasioned that excitement.
A. I was not particularly excited till I came out of the woods and saw that I was in a pretty bad fix. I did not want to go back, and there are Indians between me and the command, and seemed to be driving the troops and I did not know where they were going. Things looked scary, and I was frightened; and I put spurs to my horse and let him go, and made pretty good time.
Q. Did you see the Indian village move away on the 26th? Was your attention attracted to it, if so by whom?
A. Yes sir, about 4 o’clock in the afternoon of the 26th the firing ceased altogether. Before that it had got loss and less. A short, time after it ceased, I could see the Indians moving away.
Q. Describe that movement - the length and width of the moving Indians, the length of time it was passing, and state from any facts, your estimate of the number of Indians in the moving column.
A. There was a large body of Indians and ponies. It seemed to be a mile or two long. I judge there were two or three thousand, may be four or five thousand Indians, men, women and children.
Q. Did the whole camp move out at that time?
A. Yes sir, I believe it did.
Q. Now wide did that moving mass seem to be?
A. They stretched out from 4 or 5 wide, to probably a sixteenth or a quarter of a mile or wider
Q. How far was it away when you saw it?
A. Two or three miles, I judge.
  • QUESTIONS BY MAJOR RENO
Q. Are you accustomed to estimating the number of men in a body?
A. No sir. That estimate is my opinion - guess work.
Q. What were the figures you gave as representing the number of persons moving out?
A. I said several thousand - 5 or 6, or there might have been 7 or 8 thousand.
Q. If there were several thousand, what number of fighting men would there have been?
A. I don’t know: I understand a buck represents about 5 persons.
Q. Then several thousand would represent about 500 bucks - that would not be a very formidable array.
A. They proved pretty formidable to us.
Q. How far were they away when moving out?
A. 2 or 3 miles.
Q. Did you report to Major Reno the wounded man left in the woods?
A. I don’t think I did.
Q. Was it not your duty to do so?
A. I don’t know that it was. I think he knew it as well as I did. If it was my duty, I neglected it.
Q. Are you sure he saw that man?
A. No sir, But everybody knew there were officers and men killed during that stampede, He knew it as well as I did.

THE WITNESS THEN RETIRED

Captain M. Moyland, 7TH CAV, A WITNESS CALLED BY THE RECORDER, and being first duly sworn to testify the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, testified as follows:

  • QUESTIONS BY THE RECORDER
Q State your name, rank, regiment and where serving?
A. My name is M. Moylan. I am captain in the 7th cavalry, and am stationed at Fort Ac Lincoln, Department of Dakota.
Q. What duty were you on, on the 25th and 26th of June, 1876; where and with what command?

A. I was in command of company A 7th cavalry, which constituted a portion of the command under General Custer on the 25th and 26th of June, 1876. I was serving in the Department of Dakota, in the vicinity of the Yellowstone and the Little Big Horn rivers.

Q. Of what troops did General Custer’s command consist on the morning of June 25?
A. The twelve companies of the 7th cavalry.
Q. In what capacity was Major Reno serving at that time with the command?
A. He was major of the 7th cavalry, and he was serving in that capacity with the regiment on that expedition.
Q. State what battalion organizations were made on the morning of the 25th of June, at what time, and by whose order?
A. No particular designations. The orders which I received notifying me that I had been assigned to Major Reno’s battalion were simply memorandum orders, which would show that three companies had been assigned to him as his battalion, The companies were A, G and M.
Q. State if you knew at the time, or as it appeared to you afterward, what officers were placed in command of these different battalions, and how many there were?
A. I know nothing personally of it myself. I afterward ascertained that Major Reno had a battalion, Captain Benteen had one, Captain Keogh had one, and Captain Yates had one Each of these battalions I have named consisted of three companies, except Captain Yates’, which was two companies. Captain McDougall, being absent with the pack train, accounted for the other company.
Q. How many companies were there in Major Reno’s battalion?
A. Three.
Q. Previous to his battalion designation, state whether the command halted and made coffee at the early dawn of that morning. If so, how long did it halt, and what orders were given, if any, and by whom at that time?
A. On the night of the 24th the command made a night march, leaving camp about 11 o’clock on the Rosebud river, or creek, and marched about two and a half hours; and they were bivouacked there without unsaddling, and orders were given for the men to lie down and sleep if possible, and guards posted, I suppose; and if possible to have coffee made for the men in the morning if water could be found. It was supposed we were on the dry fork. It was one of the streams tributary to the Rosebud.
Q. Whose order was this?
A. It was brought to me by one of General Custer’s staff officers.
Q. How long did the command remain there before leaving, and by whose order did it move?
A. It remained there until somewhere about 8 o’clock, and then it moved forward. By whose order I don’t know.
Q. Now describe the character of the country marched over on the line of march up to the next halt, and state what distance?
A. The country was rolling. The country marched through was the valley of this dry fork that we had bivouacked on; and on either side, at a distance of half a mile in some places, to a mile and a half in others, were high, broken hills.
Q. Did the command halt in moving up that stream afterward, before reaching the summit or divide?
A. It halted, I should say, about half-past 10. It may have been 11 o’clock. I don’t remember the time. I don’t know that I know the time. I don’t give that time as definite.
Q. About that time, what indications were there of proximity to hostile Indians as far as brought to your knowledge?
A. There was a very fresh trail visible: a trail that had evidently been made but a day or two previous; and while at this second halt at the foot of the divide, between the Little Big Horn and the Rosebud, a sergeant of one of the companies returned on the trail some miles - I don’t know exactly how far - for the purpose of recovering, if possible, some clothing of his that had been lost from a pack-mule the night before. He had gone back several miles I presume, and ongoing over one of those knolls, over which the command had marched, he saw two or three Indians some four or five hundred yards in front of him, one of them sitting on a box of hard bread examining the contents of a bag, the contents of which I don’t know, He thought that his duty was to return at once to the command and report it, and he did so. After he returned, he reported the matter to Captain Yates, the captain of his company, and Captain Yates talked the matter over with Captain Keogh, and Captain Keogh hunted up Colonel Cook for the purpose of notifying him, in order that General Custer might be informed. General Custer at that time, I was informed, was some distance ahead at a point of the divide from which these Indian ponies were visible.
Q. At what point of the march was it that any separation was made of any part of the men from the other part?
A. The separation was made with the organization of the battalions. That was probably a mile or a mile and a half the other side of this divide which separated the Little Big horn and the Rosebud. That must have been half-past 12. I don’t know definitely as to the time.
Q. That part of the command first started or pulled off from there?
A. Captain Benteen’s battalion.
Q. What was the direction of the line of march of Captain Benteen, as compared with the line of march of General Custer and Major Reno, so far as you knew at the time?
A. I very soon lost sight of him. At times he would appear again – the country is very much broken - and he appeared and disappeared from time to time.
Q. State at what angle the divergence from the column General Custer was.
A. He went off at almost a right angle. I think our course was almost due north; and his would probably vary a little north of west.
Q. State when. It was that the command pulled ahead of the pack-train, if at all
A. I think it was at that time. The pack-train was left behind at that time, I think near the divide. That is my opinion. I don’t know anything about it
Q. Where was Major Reno’s separation, so that it seemingly mane a distinct organization?
A. About that same time that Captain Benteen’s battalion pulled out of the column.
Q. Now begin at the point of Major Reno’s separation from the column of General Custer, and go on and describe in detail the movements of the columns so far as you know, with reference to each other, up to the time that Major Reno’s column finally separated from that of General Custer, giving the nature of the ground, etc.
A. Within a few minutes probably, after the organization of the battalions, Captain Benteen’s column pulled out to the left; Major Reno’s head of column diverged a very little to the left, and General Custer’s a very little probably to the right; but the heads of General Custer’s column and Major Reno’s column were nearly on a line; and they traveled in that manner several miles, sometimes being one hundred and fifty or two hundred yards apart; at other times four or five hundred yards apart. The country was rolling and broken there, so that no regular interval could be preserved. They continued in that manner until they reached the point where a couple of abandoned Indian lodges were discovered. Upon reaching these, as I afterward understood, Major Reno was sent for by General Custer, and received orders to move forward with his battalion, as the Indians were supposed to be a few miles ahead and retreating.
Q. State if you know what orders were given to Major Reno by Geri. Custer or his Adjutant at that time - whether any further orders were given to Major Reno by General Custer or his Adjutant.
A. I know nothing about it, excepting by hearsay.
Q. Now go on, and state what transpired with reference to Major Reno and his command from this place of final separation where the tepees were, State what orders, if any, were given by Major keno to his command; what streams were crossed; the engagements that ensued; in short, everything relating to the movements of that command, the orders and instructions given by him, and his conduct, or that of his men, so far as these matters came within your personal knowledge on that day and the day following.
A. After Major Reno’s battalion had moved forward or separated from General Custer’s column, the command “Trot:” was given. his battalion took the trot and moved forward in column of fours down the valley of this tributary to the Little Big Horn, for some three or three and a half miles, reaching the Little Big Horn and crossing it. A slight pause was there made to allow the companies to close up after crossing the stream. When all were closed up, they moved forward again at a trot, the head of the column moving at a very fast trot, so that the two rear companies were galloping. They moved probably a third of a mile, when the companies were formed in line, before the crossing (sic) (probably “advance” was meant M.A.G.) was made, on a little high ground on that side of the river. An immense cloud of dust was seen down the valley, and a little opening in it occasionally, where we could see figures moving through it. After the line was formed, the command moved again in line, and the dust seemed to recede before the command until it passed over probably a mile further, when it stopped. Then we could see Indians coming out of this dust mounted. They were so numerous that I suppose Major Reno thought it was more force than he could probably attack mounted; consequently he dismounted his command, At that time his command had reached this point of timber, and the command was given to halt and dismount to fight on foot The companies were dismounted and the horse-holders ordered to take the horses into the timber for their better protection, and the dismounted portion of the companies deployed as skirmishers, company G on the right, my company to the center and M company on the left. In about ten minutes after, I understood that Major Reno got information that the Indians were turning his right - that is, coming up the left bank of the river, and threatening his horses. The greater portion of G Company was withdrawn from the line and taken into the woods, so that it left an open space between the right of my company and the timber, I extended in on the right in order to cover that. We remained there thirty minutes or longer - probably twenty-five or thirty minutes; and during this time there had been very heavy firing going on; in fact, the firing had commenced on the part of the Indians before we dismounted. We fired from our side, however, some; but after the skirmish line had been deployed, the firing was quite heavy on both sides; in fact, very heavy. The Indians seemed to be withdrawing slightly from our front, and passing around the left flank of the line, some passing between the foot hills and some beyond the foot hills. Major Reno at that time was in the bottom superintending the movement of G Company that he had taken down there. Fearing that these Indians were turning the left of his line and would close in from the left so as to necessarily cause a change of front on a portion of the front of the line, at least, I went to the edge of the hill and called to him to come up there and look at the situation of affairs himself, so that he might see how the thing was going. He came in there and took in the situation, and ordered the line to be withdrawn. That movement was executed on the part of my company by a flank movement to the right, and the same movement on the part of M company. About half of M company had to face to the left again in order to change front in the direction of the hills, as this attack was being made from that direction by Indians closing at the time the line was being withdrawn. The order was then given to mount up the companies. The companies were mounted up, and, being unable to form in any order in the timber, I gave my men orders to mount up as rapidly as possible individually, and move up out of the timber in order that they might be formed out there. When about one-half of my company was mounted up, I went up out of the timber and formed the men in column of fours as they came up. M company came up very soon after and formed on my left at an interval of fifteen or twenty yards. G company, as I understood, did not mount quite so soon or did not get up quite so soon as the other two companies; but they were in the column before it reached the river, During the time the companies were being formed, Major Reno was there on his horse overlooking the formation of the companies. He asked me as to my opinion as to the point we had better retreat to, as it became evident to him that our movement would be entirely on the defensive. It must necessarily be, owing to the force of Indians then in sight and coming down. I have almost forgotten what reply I made, but at any rate, he designated a point across the river at some high hills where we would go to and establish ourselves there, if possible, and await further developments. I don’t know what his intentions were, In a few moments he gave the order to move forward, and the command moved forward at a trot and then at a gallop, After the command was in motion at the gallop, the heads of the companies were almost on a line; the Indians closed in very close on the outer flank, and on the inner flank toward the timber - very close also, as there were a number of Indians in the timber; in fact, I know there were a great many Indians in there. While the men were mounting up, one of my men was wounded just after mounting his horse, by a shot fired by an Indian who was between us and the river, in the woods. About half the distance from where we started for the river, to the river, I dropped from the head of my company down to a point about the middle of the company, and I found the rear of my company was very much broken up, as the shooting into it was very severe© A good many men had been wounded, and some killed, while the company was in motion I rode in that position until the head of the company reached the river. When I reached the river myself, I found the river full of horses and men. There was no regular ford there, where they attempted to cross. They simply moved on the trail and into the river, and got onto the other side. After reaching the other side, under cover of a bank that projected in toward the river there, we passed around it to the other side. I stopped at the head of my people, and tried to get them together, and found there were a good many missing. There were some nine or ten men that had been hit, and some four had been killed or were missing. I think I had five or six wounded men there. After we gathered them together, we rode up to the top of the hill and dismounted there; and I turned my attention to getting my wounded men together and caring for them. After reaching the top of the hill, and the command was dismounted, I got my wounded men together - five - and had Dr. Porter come there and attend to them, and all that; and after doing this. I heard voices saying there was a column of cavalry approaching. I didn’t pay much attention to it, supposing it must have been Benteen’s command, as I afterward ascertained. Of course I supposed that from the direction in which the column was coming-coming down the right bank of the stream. In a few moments he came up with his three companies. In a half or three quarters of an hour afterward the pack-train came up. I saw Captain Weir’s company move out and move down the stream; that is, down the bluffs in the direction in which the stream was running. I don’t know by whose orders or the intention of it. Soon after the pack-train came up, the order was given for the men to be supplied with ammunition-those who needed it - and to prepare themselves at once to move forward. In order to get my company ready to go on with the command, I stripped some of the horses of their blankets for the purpose of carrying my wounded men, it taking nearly all the men I had left to carry those wounded men. There were five of them, and it took four men to each blanket. The other men were leading the horses. After everything was in readiness, the command moved forward. I attempted to follow with those wounded men of mine, but I progressed so slowly that I sent forward a messenger to Major Reno to tell him I was falling very much behind, and I thought it necessary that some men of the rear guard, or one of the other companies, be sent back to my assistance, to assist me in carrying the wounded men forward. Soon after the men started, I myself mounted my horse and rode forward. I reached first, Captain McDougal’s command. I spoke to him, and he detached one half of his company, and ordered them to remain with my company as long as I needed them. Seeing that done, I rode forward to inform Major Reno what had taken place. I found him. He was with the head of the column, and he informed me it would hardly be necessary for me to move any further in that direction, ‘as he thought the whole command would have to go back, as from appearances he was under the impression that the whole force of Indians was in front of Captain Weir’s company, which was then dismounted and firing at them. With that I returned, and halted my company until the other portion of the command had returned to us. A point was selected near the place where we came to the top of the hill the first time. There the companies were assigned different positions. The animals were all put immediately in front, and where the animals were put, my company was placed in position. The wounded men were taken into a corral or barricade that was made behind the position of my company and among the animals. We had been there but a very short time when the action commenced on the part of the Indians, very heavily all along our line, I saw but very little of the fighting that was being done by Captain Weir’s company, or any other company engaged in it, during the movement to the front down the stream. The Indians continued the action until after dark. In the morning, somewhere in the vicinity of 3 o’clock, the thing opened again and continued until about the middle of the afternoon.
Q. Is 3 o’clock about daylight in that latitude at that time of the year?
A. Well, between 2 and 3 o’clock was about daylight.
Q. Describe the events of the 26th - the firing, the nature or severity of the attack, and the casualties as far as you knew, and so forth.
A. The attack was very heavy on the right of the line held by Captain Benteen. My company was next, and I think Captain Weir’s company next to me on my left. I was separated some little distance from him by a knoll that projected out there. In fact, my company was in a valley that was formed by two knolls, one of which was occupied by Captain Benteen’s company and the other one on my left by Captain Weir’s company, so that I had no opportunity during the 26th to see anything but Captain Benteen’s. The attack on that flank was very heavy; in fact, so heavy that some men had to be withdrawn from my front to assist him - to strengthen his line. The firing was very heavy. Any movement on the part of anybody there was attended by great danger; that is, any movement that would expose his person at all, or any portion of it. There was a great deal of shooting done immediately over my line, for the reason that the animals were all exposed there, and I suppose it was the object of the Indians, if they could not kill the men, to kill the animals, which they succeeded in doing to a very great extent. During the night of the 25th, however, after the firing had ceased, by direction of Major Reno the companies commenced to fortify themselves in this position. He gave orders that the dead animals, where they could be used, should be pulled out from among the herd and put in position and covered over with earth and so on, in order to establish the line. The most of that was done in front of my company, by my company. We took the dead animals and pulled them out and put them on the line, and put packs on them and covered them over with earth as well as we could with the implements we had. We had only two or three spades in the command. With my company, we were occupied all night in throwing up these works; so that during the 26th the casualties were very light. I had two men wounded in my company. In Captain Benteen’s company, I understood the loss was very heavy - some twenty odd men wounded and two men killed. The loss in the other companies I know very little about. I suppose I heard the number of killed and wounded, but I have forgotten.
Q. From the fire of the Indians after you had gotten into position on the 25th, state about how many Indians you would judge fired into the command and kept up that fire?
A. From that position on the hill, the attacking force was not at all times visible. They had so much cover; but from the nature of the firing, in my opinion, there were not less than nine hundred to a thousand Indians in the attack there at all times; and in fact, during the day of the 26th the Indians were visible from some portions of the line, especially that portion occupied by Captain Benteen’s company. Indians were visible coming out from the village, and relieving those on the lines on one or two occasions during the day, so we supposed they had regular reliefs. I don’t think there could have been less than nine hundred or about a thousand Indians there from the length of the line which they had. Looking at it from behind our works, the country looked as though there was nothing there; but if a man showed his head, he would very soon find that there was something there.
Q. From the firing you should judge the command was surrounded by a thousand Indians?
A. I have no doubt there were at least a thousand Indians on that line.
Q. You base your opinion in regard to that matter on the nature of the firing, and what else?
A. Yes, sir; on the nature of the firing. I have no other means of estimating it. The Indians were concealed all the time, and the men, if they did shoot, had to shoot in the direction of the puff’ of smoke. There was no object to shoot at; the grass was long at that time, and of course it concealed them. Not only that, but they had thrown up works themselves, and several of those works could be seen.
Q. Describe the position of these Indians with reference to Major Reno’s command; whether they were in a position to give it, not only a front fire, but a converging fire.
A. Their line extended from opposite to the front of Captain Benteen’s company. The Indians at that portion of the line could not enfilade any other portion of the line, because his portion of the line was higher than any of the others; but at the left of his company and the right of mine, the

ground occupied by us was lower, and, as it extended around to the right of the Indians and our left, there the position occupied by the Indians at several points was higher than that of ours, and so they had an enfilading fire on our line. I know that several men on our line were wounded not men of my company, but men detailed with the pack-train the day before - from the fire coming from almost our extreme left.

Q. What would you estimate the length of that line of Indians extending around - extending from the Indians’ right, opposite your left, around to their left, opposite your right?
A. I think it was from two to two and a half miles around. Of course the shooting was at very long range. My men were shooting at a range of eight hundred yards.
Q. How near did the Indians approach the command in its position on the hill and in what force?
A. The only evidences that I saw myself, were those of the Indians that approached Colonel Benteen’s line. I saw a dead Indian very close to his line. They came up there within fifteen or twenty yards. There were considerable many of them. There was a sufficient number of them to warrant their attempting to turn that end of the line.
Q. You may state, then, did they succeed?
A. Well, they didn’t.
Q. State, if you know, where was Major Reno’s own column when it was first discovered by the Indians, and what, in your mind, were the evidences of the discovery?
A. I have no doubt but that Major Reno’s command was discovered before it crossed the Little Big Horn. The valley was lower than the place where we crossed. It is broken by ravines, but in a manner level. But in coming down to the river it was much higher, and if they didn’t see the command they saw the dust, and knew what it meant.
Q. When they discovered that he had crossed the river with his column, do you think they discovered it as soon as he crossed, or at the time he emerged from the timber near the crossing?
A. I think they discovered his movement before, and knew very well that he crossed there, as that was a regular ford. I think they were perfectly satisfied on that head - that he was crossing. I don’t know whether Custer’s column followed in the rear of Reno’s column. I didn’t look back to find out what was in the rear at all. The only thing I know is by hearsay, and that is that Major Reno was to be supported by General Custer in his attack. That, Major Reno’s Adjutant told me. The distance from where Major Reno pulled out, to the crossing, I think was three to three and a half miles. In going there, there was no particular trail. There was a fresh Indian trail that had been made a few days before, but no old established trail. It took the command to reach the crossing, from the time it pulled ahead, about twenty or twenty-five minutes. It is pretty hard to fix those things
Q. State whether before you crossed the river there at that place, you observed any movement of Indians coming up the river on the left bank, as if to meet Major Reno’s command; if so, in what number?
A. No, sir; I did not
Q. Were you in a position to see anything of that kind if there had been any considerable force coming up?
A. If they had been out in the valley coming up I would have seen them. Of course, they could have come up under cover of the timber without our being able to discover them until we got closer to them.
Q. State where it was that you saw the Indians advancing to meet Lieutenant Reno’s command. I refer to the time before his command was halted. State where it was that that fact became evident, if it did become evident.
A. It was in the vicinity of this point of timber at which Major Reno’s skirmish line was formed, dismounted, How far from there, or how close to it, I don’t know, but it was in the vicinity of that place. Major Reno’s command, at the time the Indians turned back on him, was within five or six hundred yards of this point of timber. The Indians were at the point of timber, and as he continued his forward movement and got near this point of timber, the Indians dropped back.
Q. What was the distance across the bottom from where Reno crossed the river to where the skirmish line was deployed, and state what gait they marched over at’?
A. That distance was about a mile and a half, and we marched over it at a gallop. I suppose it was five minutes. It may have been ten minutes for that matter - ten or fifteen minutes. I don’t know the exact time.
Q. State how near to Major Reno’s command were the hostile Indians when he halted it, and deployed it; I don’t mean one or two Indians, but I mean any bodies of Indians, say in squads from four to ten.
A. I think there was a sufficient number of Indians at the time, - they were within five hundred yards of him, - to warrant him in halting and dismounting- I think the Indians were less than five hundred yards distant. They must have been anywhere from two to three or four hundred yards distant.
Q. All within four hundred yards?
A. No, sir; that is not my answer.
Q. Take the given body of Indians; some would be nearer and some further off. Describe that body, and make your own answer to that question. You may state whether there was a thousand right back of these.
A. I think there were about four hundred Indians within five hundred yards of him at the time. That was to the best of my judgment from watching their movements there. The skirmish line advanced about a hundred yards after they were deployed. The advance was an entirely separate movement from the deployment. The companies were deployed and then moved forward. The engagement began before the deployment was completed. The firing on the part of the Indians had begun some little time before the command was halted - probably a few minutes before.
Q. What were the casualties from this fire of the Indians up to the time the command had been deployed as skirmishers, if any?
A. None that I know of.
Q. What was the severity of the fire from the Indians up to that time?
A. Well the fire from the Indians was scattering, as the fire came from the scattering Indians that were in front of their main body. The men of the command commenced firing in this way: a company would deploy and then they would commence firing. The Indian scouts with the command had commenced firing before that time; in fact I don’t know but they commenced firing as soon as we crossed the river, it was pretty long range. The firing on the part of the majority of our men was very well regulated. With some of the men it was not so regulated, and it was impossible for an officer to regulate it, owing to the men being new in the service, and not under fire before, On the part of those new men it was somewhat wild and at random.
Q. State, if you know, how far it was from where the right of Major Reno’s skirmish line rested when first deployed to the river, and was the ground to the right of the line toward the river timbered or open?
A. The distance from the right of the line to the river was probably two hundred yards, and perhaps not over a hundred and fifty. I have never passed over that ground. From the right of the line toward the river, probably the first thirty yards of it was timbered; the balance of it, there was a tree here and there, with scattering underbrush. In the timber was some heavy undergrowth.
Q. Describe the width of that timber upstream from where the right of his line rested where it was deployed, State whether the timber narrowed or whether it was a continuous stretch.
A. At the point where the horses were put into the timber, it bent down to the river, so that where we made the second crossing there was no timber. Above that it commenced again, and went I don’t know how far. The bottom in which Major Reno placed his command extended to the river and to the extreme right of my line, and not over three hundred yards distant there was quite a number of Indian lodges in sight. With reference to the plateau extending clear into the river, I don’t know, never having been there.
Q. State whether Major Reno or any officer under his command made any examination of that timber in which his command was placed, with the view of determining its adaptability for a place of defense.
A. I don’t know.
Q. State in your opinion as an officer, from what you know as a fact, why the command was placed in that timber at all.
A. I don’t know that the command was placed in there, I have given no evidence that it was placed in there.
Q. Describe the position of the command with reference to that timber at any time during the engagement there.
A. A portion of the time part of the command - that is the biggest part of one company was in the timber, and deployed between where our horses were and the river for the purpose of protecting them from Indians that were on that side, or on the flank; some on the side of the river we were on, and some on the opposite side of the river from us, Other than that, I know of no troops being put into the timber for the purpose of assault or defense, After my company and a portion of M company had been withdrawn, with the remaining part of M company, there was a change of front made in order to face the bluffs on the opposite side of the valley from us, and on the same side of the river, in order to resist an attack by some Indians that were coming in on these men, as they were retiring by the flank. Those men remained there but a short time, I don’t know how long, but there was firing going on from those men and the Indians while they were there. Those men, when ready to move, were withdrawn from this position, and ordered down their horses. The bottom was about thirty feet lower than the timber, and the bank was very precipitous in places. I know that the command as a whole was not put in the timber for the purpose of defense, In my opinion, not less than two hundred Indians had turned the left flank of the line before it was withdrawn, A part of the Indians were engaging us in front, and the others passed through the foot-hills, and came out on our left, Before the command left the woods, the Indians that had passed through these foot-hills and turned our left flank, had closed in within five or six hundred yards from the woods, and were scattered over the bottom From the time the command left the woods, there were no Indians in our immediate front as we faced the river coming out of the woods, but there Were some Indians in the timber down on the river bank; but on our right and rear as we were then, looking toward the river, there were a few Indians here and there - perhaps a good many. Opposite the open space in the timber, along the river on both banks, the Indians had passed down there. After mounting up, and before leaving the woods, I saw thirty or forty Indians down in there, not far from the right of the ford where we retreated across the stream. They opened fire on our men there, and I had one man wounded there.
Q. State whether any attempt was made to dislodge the Indians from that position, and if so, by whom?
A. There may have been some disposition made of G Company that had been in the woods some little time to my knowledge, I don’t know of any.

Then at 2 P. M. the court adjourned to meet at 11 A. M. tomorrow Saturday Jan. 25, 1879.



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