Yesterday I shared a post showing the home of General George Armstrong Custer which sits on the grounds of what used to be Fort Abraham Lincoln just outside Bismarck, ND. Today’s photo was taken from atop a bluff overlooking the site of the fort. Custer’s house is visible toward the left of the picture. The long buildings running off toward the right of the picture were part of the enlisted barracks and commissary. If you look closely, extending away from Custer’s house toward the clump of brush in the middle of the picture, you can see what appear to be small piles of rocks. Those were rocks – and they formed part of the foundation for the officer’s barracks.
When Custer and his ill-fated troops left this fort area for their rendezvous with destiny at Little Big Horn, they probably went up the draw that is at the foot of this bluff (where the driveway is that goes out of sight toward the lower left of the photo. The Missouri River is just out of the picture to the left.
It seems that Custer and his troops often got bored while stationed here and they would take off on excursions every so often. When it was rumored that gold had been found to the south (about 300 miles away), Custer gathered up most of the 7th Cavalry and when to check out the story. Finding it to be true (and finding that it was in the area of the Indian reservation that had been promised to the Indians in perpetuity) they began to harass the Indians and began killing some when they were found. This led, understandably, to outrage on the part of the Indians and helps to explain why so many of the Indians had gathered together at the Little Big Horn to fight against Custer and his cavalry.
Custer’s reputation as a daredevil soldier was earned during the Civil War. He was present at Gettysburg and played a key role, particularly on the first day of the battle, as they helped prevent the Confederates from overrunning Gettysburg. Later, at the end of the war (the last real battle), Custer and his troops bottled up the last of Lee’s troops and helped bring the war to a close. He was present when Lee and Grant sat down to sign the agreement bringing the hostilities to a close.
No one ever accused him of being a coward. He was brave, and reckless. It finally led to his demise.
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1964, Roy Orbison’s single, Pretty Woman, became a gold record and stayed on the charts for 15 consecutive weeks.
TRIVIA FOR TODAY: in 1986, Discover magazine claimed that 43 million tons of dust settle onto the United States every year.