The image of the famous "last stand" of the Seventh U.S. Calvary
under General George Armstrong Custer has metamorphosed into myth. We picture the solitary Custer standing upright to the end, his troops formed into groups of wounded and dying men around him. In this book, Larry Sklenar analyzes and interprets the widely accepted facts underlying the accepted portrayal of Custer's defeat. His perspective, however, is fresh, and he offers wholly new conclusions about one of the most enduring mysteries in American history -- the 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn
Sklenar contends that Custer did have a battle plan, one different from any other suggested by scholars thus far. Custer, he argues,
- had reason to believe that his scheme might succeed with minimum bloodshed,
- made decisions consistent with army regulations and his best instincts as an experienced commander,
- had subordinates who could not overcome the limits of their personalities in a desperate situation, and
- made a selfless commitment to save the bulk of his regiment.
Along the way, Sklenar appraises the officers and other men who served in the Seventh, evaluating the survivors' testimony and assessing the intent and motives of each. The movements and decisions of these men, the plans and goals of their regimental leader, and the remembrances and testimony of Indian eyewitnesses form the basis for this narrative history of the Seventh's famous fight.
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The Seventy Cavalry was the principal Army force assigned to fighting Indians after the Civil War. The Battle of the Little Big Horn resulted in the annihilation of all the troops under the command of Col. George Custer by Sioux Indians.