Reno Court of Inquiry

battle of the little bighorn



In 1879, a military court of inquiry was convened to determine the issue of cowardice on the part of Major Reno. And a fascinating group of witnesses they were. Here is the testimony of the gentlemanly, sardonic Captain Frederick Benteen, international man of intrigue Charles DeRudio, heroic young Dr. Henry Porter, future-General Edward Godfrey, the trumpeter John Martin, interpreter Fred Gerard and 17 others, including Reno himself.


In graphic detail, the survivors recount their disastrous rout in the Valley fight at the hands of hundreds of Sioux warriors and their disorganized retreat to the bluffs. They tell of their bewilderment at their abandonment by General George Armstrong Custer. They spent two days under a hailstorm of gunfire from thousands of Sioux and Cheyenne, led by Crazy Horse, Gall, Sitting Bull, and others.

When they found out two days later that Custer and over 200 of his men were dead, they could not believe it. Before leaving the battlefield, they had to bury their comrades and attempt to identify mutilated officers.

This is NOT the Graham Abstract but the full transcript based on the original documents from the U.S. National Archives. Included is additional material about the battle, the battle timeline, and the history of the Reno transcript, which was almost lost to history.

Even with a casual interest in Custer, the Indian Wars, or court proceedings you will find something to fascinate you in this massive and important record.

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