University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

Whittaker, Frederick, 1838-1889 / A complete life of Gen. George A. Custer: Major-General of Volunteers; Brevet Major-General, U.S. Army; and Lieutenant-Colonel, Seventh U.S. Calvery

[Chapter V. The last battle],   pp. [572]-608

Page [573]

                   THE LAST BATTLE.
B EFORE entering on the consideration of Custer's last march
      and battle, it is necessary to correct a mistaken impression
set afloat by those same insincere friends and real enemies who
had already done their best to embroil and embitter the close
of his life. This impression is, that Custer, during the whole
of the last campaign, was suffering from depression of spirits,
that he felt his disgrace keenly, that he was slighted by General
Terry, and that these stings induced him to act rashly. The
facts are exactly the reverse.
   General Terry, from the very commencement of the expe-
dition, trusted Custer implicitly, and the very best feeling existed
between them. No one was more modest than Terry, nor more
willing to defer to the experience of Custer; and inasmuch as
the route followed by the Terry column was the very same as
that followed three years before by the Stanley expedition, Gen-
eral Terry was only too glad to avail himself of Custer's help to
pilot the column, just as Stanley had in his time. It became
Custer's regular duty to ride ahead of the main body with a
battalion of the Seventh Cavalry, and to mark out the day's
march for the wagons by leaving a broad trail. An officer-
present during the whole compaign, whose name we at present
withhold, says:
   As he seemed to me first, so he was to the last, the incarnation
of energy. How often I watched him in our march to the Powder
River, like the thoroughbred he rode, champing the bit and chaf-
ing to be off, longing for action. Our last day's march before

Go up to Top of Page