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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

Twenty-sixth day,   pp. 542-553 PDF (7.9 MB)

Page 545

First - The orders under which he was acting, and his obedience to those
Second- His responsibility in any manner for the defeat of the 7th Cavalry
          that battle and the massacre of Gen. Custer and his troops.
Third   Whether he manifested cowardice, timidity, or misbehavior in the
          of the enemy in that battle, or any portion of it.
"Fourth  Whether he knowingly or through negligence, abandoned Gen.
          to his fate?
Fifth - Had he any means of informing himself as to the danger in which Gen
          Custer's command was placed, and did he take all measures and make
          proper efforts to obtain information and act upon it?
Sixth    Were his relations or feelings toward Gen. Custer, his commanding
          officer, such as would lead him to obey the orders he received
          that officer in a hearty spirit of vigorous and unhesitating
          support, or - were they those of distru%3't and suspicion, leading
          him to criticise and evade those orders, or neglect his duty; 
Lastly- Was Major Reno's conduct during those two days in any other respect
          unofficer-like and contrary to what should be expected or required
          of an officer occupying such a responsible position and at such
    To settle these points a large mass of testimony has been taken, consist-
ing to a very considerable extent of opinions pro and con to which the Court
will of course give only the weight which properly belongs to the facts upon
which such opinions are basedo I therefore think it unnecessary to occupy
the time of the Court in recounting these opinions at length, but will proceed
to state mainly the facts themselves as brought out by the testimonry
    Where the facts are uncontradicted they will be stated first, and in
proper order as nearly as possible, and followed by such other facts, or
matter as may be subject to conflicting testimony. First0  The question as
to the orders under which Maj. Reno was acting is settled by the concurrent
testimony of a number of witnesses all of whom swear to having heard the
These witnesses mainly agree as to the terms of the order, though there is
some variance as to the exact phraseology. These witnesses are Lieut.
Wallace, Dr. Porter, Interpreter Girard, Herendeen, the scout, and M'faj,
himself confirming them as to the main facts, while his orderly, Davern,
swears to substantially the same thing but with an additional statement0
    Lieuto Wallace, Dr, Porter, Maj. Reno, and his orderly, agree that this
order came from Adjutant Cook. Girard and Herendeen, who perhaps were not
so near as the others, give their impression that the order came from Gen.
Custer in person. Two facts may account for this discrepancy. Girard and
Herendeen may have heard Gen. Custer himself give the order in the first
instance to Adjutant Cook, or the similarity in the dress of Gen. Custer
his Adjutant (to which I believe Lieut. DeRudio testified) may have caused
them to mistake the identity of the person giving the order,
    The terms of this order as heard by Lieut. Wallace and repeated from
memory are as follows: "The Indians are two miles and a half ahead;
forward as fast as you can and charge as soon as you find them and we will
support", Davern, the orderly who at the time had nothing to say and
thing to hear, gives nearly the same words with the prefix: "Mr. Girard
comes back and reports #the Indians' etc.; and the addition, "Col. Benteen
is on your left and will have similar instructions"0 Dr. Porter thinks
that the words about supporting were in answer to Maj. Renols question,
"WXfill the General support me?" and 14aj. Reno says that he heard
that he
was to be supported "with the whole outfit"t

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