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Re: Custer rifle

Posted by Larry Gibson on Thursday, 13 July 2017, at 7:57 p.m., in response to Re: Custer rifle, posted by steve miller on Thursday, 13 July 2017, at 5:36 p.m.


Understanding the nature of the Indians fighting it would be a "risky assumption" to assume that the only way the Indians could have obtained the rifles was by having "cut off and killed" the soldiers. During the Rosebud Battle for instance there was some back and forth on the battlefield with several Indians successfully "counting coup". From Crooks report to what other Officers and white scouts reported there were 10 - 20 KIA and 11 - 28 WIA give or take. Not all were cavalry.

As to Miles, he used his Infantry (5th and 22nd) often throughout the campaign. The Battle of Wolf Mountain being an example where they were up against an estimated 500 warriors. The 5th mounted an attack at Miles direction in heavy snow that was give and take before the Indians left the battle.

Point is; the soldiers did not have to be "cut off and killed" for the Indians to obtain their rifles. The Infantry soldiers early in the campaign were no better trained nor experienced at fighting Indians than was the 7th Cavalry. We know many of them dropped their weapons and ran, threw down their weapons or attempted to surrender.

It's all moot to Mike's case here anyway. Please don't get me wrong, I'm not attempting to prove the rifle is from the LBH Battlefield. I'm just explaining there are possible explanations from an out right bogus story told by the Indian who sold the rifle to Mike's grandfather to him actually having picked the rifle up on a battlefield or even the LBH battlefield as he stated. Besides, we do know there were M1873 rifles at the LBH, not many but some. Can you, for and with absolute certainty, state that Mike's rifle was not one of them? Yes, odds are the story told by the Indian was bogus but then........I don't know that for certain and neither do you nor anyone else here......probably never will know either.

If in fact, that was a M1873 from the LBH Battlefield I'm sure Dick would love to have it, so would I and I'd bet you would too.......but as said, we'll never know.......Mike has a very interesting family heirloom with a story, true or not attached to it. Has it any value based on the story....certainly not to a knowledgeable collector. Has it any values as a conversation already has proven that worth........

Larry Gibson


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