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Diane Merkel

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Custer Engages the Hostiles

Charles F. Bates; Charles F. Roe; Edward J. McClernand; George D. Wallace; Charles King, et al
The Old Army Press, Fort Collins, Colorado, n.d. [no bibliography, few notes]

Review by G.C. Harper

Not exactly rare, but worth the effort to find a copy [used about $30], this neat little compendium from Mike Koury includes: Custer's Indian Battles by Bates; Custer's Last Battle by Roe; March of the Montana Column by McClernand; Wallace's Report; Comanche Still Lives from the Recruiting News, 1926; The Fight on Custer Hill from the Cavalry Journal, 1927; and a few other articles or excerpts. Several of these items appear on Tal Luther's Custer High Spots.

Bates' narrative dates from 1936, is pro-Custer and aside from errors in clock times gives a basic "standard version" of the Little Bighorn Fight, as well as covering Custer's early years on the plains, including Washita and its aftermath. Roe, who led the Terry/Gibbon advance up the valley on the 26th of June, gives an unbiased account of what he saw and heard, and it is very illuminating. This story first appeared in 1904, and was published in 1910.

McClernand was the official itinerist with Gibbon's command, and his report is essential to an understanding of what Gibbon did and didn't do [and when] on the campaign. His account of the fight on Custer Hill, taken from the Cavalry Journal, is based on what he saw there. Wallace's report of Custer's march is, of course, another essential.

With primary [and important] sources, many excellent maps, both period and later [including Maguire's original], and several seldom-seen photographs [including some 1886 Barry], this volume is a worthy addition to any Little Bighorn/Custer library, and is highly recommended.


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