Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Last Stand Hill

Getting close to the end of posts on the LBH battlefield.   In this post, I'll toss some photos of Last Stand Hill - easily the busiest of all locations on the battlefield.  I'd guess that 95% of the visitors think the whole battle happened here....

Monument on Last Stand Hill.   Little buckeroo courtesy of visiting tourists.

No Talk at the summit of Last Stand Hill...just a wee bit sunburnt!

The marker for the man himself, G.A. Custer.

I have NO idea why I can't get this photo oriented correctly.  Grrrr.   Anyway, this is a look at the markers on Last Stand Hill.  The visitor center and cemetary ar off to the right, in the area with trees.  Obviously, this wasn't there at the battle....

Another view in the same general area.   The river is down the slope near the tree heavy area; the village was beyond the river.    The distances involved are staggering - its a very eye opening experience to walk the battlefield after having only studied maps of the area.

Next time - the Reno/Benteen battlefield and random thoughts.


  1. How're the sight ranges?

    Is it the same situation as the other parts of the battlefield you've shown, where there's covered approaches quite close to the skirmish lines?

    Any speculation on how long, if at all, you think the fight went at Last Stand Hill?

  2. I think the actual fighting probably started with distant skirmishing and then a ring of warriors slowly closing. Just my opinion - there are many interpretations of what happened. The most ludicrous is in the late Robert Burke's recent book "With Custer at the Death". He has the last phase of the battle lasting some 3 hours, until 9:30 at night! Not to mention a bizarre account of the warriors riding in a circular attack around the troopers on last stand hill. His account features Troops maneuvering and having the staying power of regimental sized units. All you have to do is think about the size of units - 30 to 50 men doesn't leave a lot of room for sustainable casualties! My guess on time? I don't know - maybe 20 to 30 minutes? All I know is that the hill is very exposed, and even hiding behind a horse carcass will only give you so much cover (and little/none from high arcing arrow fire). My personal opinion is that the warriors were mostly on foot until it was obvious that little if any fire was coming back at them from the hill. I think the warriors started at a fair distance - 200 yards or so, and worked their way closer behind draws and slight folds in the ground. Eventually (not long)they got close enough and the return fire had dropped so much that it would have been a quick matter for a rush up the hill to finish the job. Nothing dramatic, but certainly coldly efficient and decisive.

  3. You mean like the end of Henry Fonda's command in 1948's "Fort Apache"?

    Move directly to the 2:01:00 (2 hour and 1 minute mark) of this you tube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFFROKc8h80

  4. Pretty much like that! Except he described it almost like watching Toby the Jack running laps around the wargame table. It was one of those "huh?" moments.

  5. Bullets killed Custer's troop. Ever read SAVE THE LAST BULLET FOR YOURSELF?