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Reno, Marcus A., 1835-1889, (Marcus Albert) / The official record of a court of inquiry convened at Chicago, Illinois, January 13, 1879, by the President of the United States upon the request of Major Marcus A. Reno, 7th U.S. Cavalry, to investigate his conduct at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, June 25-26, 1876
(1951)

Twenty-fifth day,   pp. 530-542 PDF (9.3 MB)


Page 531


packer, can insist on this storyn in a Court of Inquiry  iet it once be
understood that name and character and fame lie in the keeping of these
followers of an army, and the sense of subordination is gone   and the desire
to conciliate becomes stronger than the desire to commnd. The character
of an officer will then depend on the favor of the camp followers and they
will profit by that knowledge.
    The charges against Major Reno rest largely on the testimony of two mule
packers, a doctor, an Indian Scout, a sergeant, and an Indian Interpreter,
hlien we remember that about throe hundred men saw his behavior at the times
when these witnesses have objected to it, we are appalled by this number0
    The Indian Interpreter, like the mule-packer, exhibits a forgiving dis-
position under injuries beneath which most men would rankle., which is rare
in more civilized surroundings than his own. He represents a class familiar
to the Army, but a word about the figure he presents in this case may illus-
trate the value of his testimony.
    He informs General Custer that the Indians are running like devils, and
then counsels Major Reno that they are not running away but advancing upon
him, He is surprised at Major Reno stopping in his advance at the timber,
and
yet censures as an excess of bravery the attempt to leave it. He observes
-
this searcher of Indian trails   nobody but Major Reno, and is unable to
re-
member who rode by his side. He -who has told this story so often     makes
a
mistake of an hour, not only in one but in a number of places, and corrects
them when the cross examination is about to begin0 He does not see the column
leave the woods, and fails to find or to join the soldiers who left the timber
with lierendeen. He fixed no time for many things connected with the firing,
its beinning and end, notwithstanding his accurate watch, which he told
Sergto Culbertson he lost in the water on the afternoon of the first day,
His place he said at the beginning of the testimony was with the Indian Scouts,
but when left in the timber he bewails to Lieut. DeRudio that he is a non-
combatant, and that he regretted he was not with the pack-train where he
belonged0  This character he sustains with fidelity when he leaves DeRudio
in the plain, when surrounded by Indians, and tells Culbertson that he had
thrown away his rifle on the afternoon of 25th June0 He was a non-combatant,
as he shows when on the 27th day of June he scalps the dead Indians he did
not shoot, and his place was really with the Scout., those at least who fled
to Powder River0 But his testimony is valuable in some points when it corres-
ponds with his fears0
    Herendeen - a Scout, who was "as one", as John Randolph would
say - "as
the center seed of a cucumber" tries to draw an opinion unfavorable
to Renogs
courage without seeing his countenance, after having him in view for but
a
moment. It was a noble ambition to try to draw character from that fleeting
glimpse0  Even the photographer at Central Park, who tried to photograph
an
elephant complained that the animal was expressionless when he turned his
back to the instruments He states that Reno darted from the glade, when
Bloody Knife was killed at his side, and without hesitating at the timber's
edge, galloped at once to the river, In this he is flatly contradicted by
Capt. fMoylan, who testified to Reno stopping at the edge and assisting in
getting the column in order.
    There is an old saying "tWhat will extinguish the fire, when the
extin-
guisher itself takes firet"? Possibly Herendeen might have been excited,
and
unable to judge Reno with coolness0
    Dr. Porter, within the limits of his duty I greatly respect0  But if
he
has the gift of courage,, he did not have it with him at all times on the
25th
day of June0 He lingers by the side of the wounded man, when Capt, Mbylan
says he was in his company, and sees no halt made to organize the column,
when Moylan distinctly remembers that he was near him0O The men whom
Falstaff saw in Kentish Green never multiplied themselves so rapidly to his
vision as did the Indian lodges to the Doctoras eyes when he saw 1000 lodges
from the timber,


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