Column about Reno full of errors
It would seem that 138 years after the battle of the Little Big Horn and in the era of the Internet that Curt Eriksmoen (Forum column, June 8) could do a little better research before he writes about things as fact. The article, mostly about Maj. Marcus Reno, was full of errors, so much so that I don’t know how much actually was factual. It was based on history but written to promote I don’t know what.
Saying Gen. George A. Custer had a domineering personality might be an understatement, but when you have subordinates like Reno and inexperienced troops, many of whom could barely speak English, you have to be domineering. Custer was definitely not popular, but no one trusted Reno, and others had to redo much of what Reno did.
If you read the interviews of the Indians in the village, you will find that most of them said that if Reno would have attacked in Custer fashion, he could have ridden through the village with minimal loss of lives and would have routed the Indians, many of whom were sleeping after celebrating the victory over the element from Wyoming that was headed for the Little Big Horn.
There were three elements in this campaign with Gen. Alfred H. Terry splitting his force in two and Custer splitting his half into three. There was also the element from Wyoming and one from western Montana.
Reno met with unexpected resistance? Hardly. Resistance was light and gradually grew over a period of time. Yes, he led the retreat up to Reno hill and was foaming at the mouth as he ran, not really leading anything. Read the Indian interviews.
Because he was called a coward by many, he did request a Board of Inquiry to clear his name. That board came back “inconclusive” as Custer was dead and Reno was still alive and there was little need to destroy his career.
Getting dismissed from the Army at Abercrombie is a joke. The president intervened and he was sent to Fort Meade in Sturgis, S.D. While there, he got into a fight in a bar/pool hall with another officer and the owner. He then went chasing another woman, the post commander’s daughter, and went window peeking into the sitting room where the family was. He was court-martialed for the second time and then dismissed from the Army.
Let’s try to do better.