LITTLE BIG HORN
“The easiest way to start an argument is to bring up religion, politics, or Custer’s Last Stand,” writes longtime Custerania student Thomas E. O’Neil in his introduction to a book that, if it doesn’t start arguments, will surely cause readers to rethink the “facts” of the battle. Robert Nightengale says that George Armstrong Custer was let down by his subordinates, particularly Marcus A. Reno and Frederick W. Benteen, and that there was a well-orchestrated coverup to fix the blame on Custer. Nightengale contends that Custer crossed the river and attacked the large Indian village but was not supported by Reno or Benteen (also see his article on P. 46 of this issue). Most students of the battle don’t think Custer attacked the village; certainly, they’ll need more proof. Nightengale says that further investigating and scientific testing by him and others will provide just that. Perhaps. But don’t look for the mystery of the battle to be solved–or the controversy to end–anytime soon.