Classic EssaysRevilo P. Oliver

Hero à la Mode

 custerby Revilo P. Oliver

ON 25 July 1876 a regiment of cavalry, sent by General Terry in advance of his troops for reconnaissance, and under the command of Colonel George Armstrong Custer (pictured), (1) entered the valley of the Little Big Horn in what is now southeastern Montana. Custer, probably deceived by his scouts and eager to win a brilliant victory before his commander arrived, rashly divided his regiment, which was far below full strength, into three detachments, retaining some 250 men under his immediate command, and sending the other two detachments to what he thought was the rear of the Indian horde to prevent its escape.

(footnote 1. His rank was Lieutenant Colonel, although he held a command normally given to a full Colonel. Custer was an experienced solder, having fought with distinction throughout the invasion of the South in 1861-1865, and attaining a certain fame because of his youth. He became a brigadier general when he was twenty-four, and a major general by brevet when he was twenty-six. When the Northern Army was greatly reduced in numbers after the conquest of the South, all ranks were necessarily reduced to a peace-time footing. I shall not enter into the endless controversy about Custer’s character. His complete and efficient defeat of the Cheyenne at Washita in 1868 was a brilliant victory; whether he unnecessarily abandoned a small party of his own men is a question that could be answered only by someone who has the divine power to know precisely what was the situation and the commander’s understanding of that situation at every moment during the battle. As for the “Liberal” pests who yelp about Custer’s “massacre” of the savages, they are beneath contempt.)

Some four thousand well-mounted Indians, led by a chief named Crazy Horse, surrounded Custer and the small body of men he had kept with him (including his younger brother) and, after hard fighting, killed all of them. The two other detachments of the ill-fated regiment succeeded in defending themselves until General Terry arrived with the main body of his troops. (2)

(footnote 2. Far be it from me to enter into the wrangling about the conduct of Major Reno, who not only saved the detachment under his command but probably also ensured the survival of the detachment under Captain Benteen. Even if the unverified allegations made against him were true, they did not justify the persecution to which he was subjected.)

The result of a battle with such disparity of numbers was never in doubt, but you are seldom told that the firearms in the hands of the Indians were much superior to those used by American cavalry. Greedy traitors had sold to the savages the latest and much improved rifles and carbines, while the total corruption of the Republican administration in Washington extended to the War Department, which left our troops equipped with obsolete weapons.

A monument, surrounded by graves, and erected when the United States was still a nation, now marks the site of “Custer’s Last Stand.”

The newspaper called USA Today, in a feature article on 19 July 1990, reports that a mountain near the town of Custer in South Dakota is being carved into a huge figure of the great hero, Crazy Horse, riding with “dignity” on his stallion. The carving on the mountain will make a monument taller than the Washington Monument in the District of Corruption. It will be the largest sculptured monument in the world. We are glowingly told that a ten-storey building could stand between the savage’s outstretched arm and the mane of his horse, and that a five-room house could be placed in the horse’s flared nostril. The design and engineering of the monument was the work of an immigrant, the late Korczak Ziolkowski (who may or may not have been Polish), and the huge task is now under the direction of his widow. No date has been set for completion of the monument, placed derisively near the town that was named for ill-fated Colonel Custer. The project is enthusiastically endorsed by the Governor of South Dakota, a politician named Mickelson, and is being financed by contributions, most of which, no doubt, come from stupid Americans. (3)

(footnote 3. The term ‘American’ properly applies only to Aryans in the United States, members of the race that took the country from the savages. The term could etymologically apply to every bit of land and every inhabitant of the Western Hemisphere, from the North Pole to Cape Horn, but it is ours by prescriptive right: we took if for ourselves, having no distinctive name (such as ‘Canada’ or ‘Brazil’) for our country. Applying our name to other persons and peoples can only cause confusion.)

So Crazy Horse is a great hero? With four thousand savages, equipped with superior weapons, he destroyed a party of about 250 White men. How heroic! you will exclaim satirically, but you miss the point. He slew White men, Americans, and, in the estimate of our degenerate contemporaries, that godly work is enough to make him a great hero.

Crazy Horse? Crazy Americans.

* * *

Source: Liberty Bell magazine, November 1990

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