PILGRIMAGE TO CUSTER
by Jackie Jura, 2023
3.LAST WORD ON CUSTER FROM FRONT
...cont'd from 2.CUSTER ALT-HISTORY BIG HORN VICTORY
In the morning, the day after the re-enactment, before going to the battlefield, we walked down main street and into a bookstore with a huge selection of Battle of Little Big Horn and Plains Indian War books. The collection was compiled by the CUSTER BATTLEFIELD HISTORICAL & MUSEUM ASSOCIATION, INC and we spoke to Sandy Barnard, the organization's editor and a published author and journalist. I'd heard of Barnard because I'd read and own one of his books -- I GO WITH CUSTER -- which is the fascinating story of newspaper reporter Mark Kellog, the only accredited journalist covering the 7th Cavalry on that last campaign. Kellogg died near Last Stand Hill not far from Custer who he'd described in his last dispatch to the Bismark Tribune as:
THE MOST PECULIAR GENIUS IN THE ARMY,
a man of strong impulses, of great hearted friendships and bitter enmities,
of quick nervous temperment, undaunted courage, will and determination;
a man possessing electric mental capacity and of iron frame and constitution;
a brave, faithful, gallant soldier, who has warm friends and bitter enemies;
the hardest rider, the greatest pusher, with the most untiring vigilance,
overcoming seeming impossibilities and with an ambition to succeed in all things he undertakes;
a man to do right, as he construes the right in every case;
one respected and beloved by his followers, who would freely follow him into the "jaws of hell".
Of Lieutenant Colonel G.A. Custer I am now writing.
The pen picture is true to the life, and is drawn not only from actual observation,
but from an experience that cannot mislead me.
While I was on the battlefield, at the top of Weir Peak, from where I could see the monument on Last Stand Hill far in the distance, I picked some flowering sage grass and when I got home wrapped it in wax paper to preserve. To make this display I lay it across a brass angel dish on the blessing table and lit a candle for Custer.
While talking to Sandy Barnard, in the Hardin bookstore, he explained that the Custer Battlefield Association published a once-a-year magazine -- GREASY GRASS -- and I bought back-issues from 1997 thru 2009 -- some of which are displayed below.
The artistic portrayals of the battle, on the covers, are the best in the world. And the articles, maps and photos between the covers are a wealth of information providing hours of reading pleasure and reference material. I also bought a book -- THE KID -- by Elizabeth Custer which I hadn't known existed and will be discussing in a future chapter.
After leaving the bookstore we drove to the edge of town to visit the Historical Museum. We chatted with citizen and military impersonators in traditional attire and strolled the exhibits.
Then it was time to "go with Custer" and be with him at Last Stand Hill high above the banks of the Little Big Horn across from the Grassy Grass where we'd been yesterday.
...cont'd at 4.CUSTER MASSACRE AT GATES OF HELL
1.JOURNEY TO CUSTER'S LITTLE BIG HORN
2.CUSTER ALT-HISTORY BIG HORN VICTORY
3.LAST WORD ON CUSTER FROM FRONT
4.CUSTER MASSACRE AT GATES OF HELL
5.HOMAGE TO CUSTER AT LAST STAND
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