7th Cavalry - Benteen's Battalion
14 August 2018
Benteens ad hoc battalion comprised of three companies of the 7th US cavalry. The companies assigned to Benteen were companies H, D & K.
Benteen and Custer had a difficult relationship after a letter had been published criticising Custer. Benteen admitted to authoring the letter. However, Custer still assigned Benteen command of a battalion.
Benteen was ordered to search Custer’s left flank and secure any avenues of escape he might find. After two hours of searching over the rough ground, Benteen returned to follow the main column.
Coming upon water, he ordered a stop to allow the horses a drink. Some of Benteen's officers complained about the delay. As they were leaving, the command heard gunfire in the distance. Captain Weir, who was already heading the column, pointed and said, “They ought to be over there," (meaning Custer’s Battalion) and led his company off towards the gunfire. Benteen ordered the rest of the battalion to advance.
Benteen received a messenger from Custer, another followed soon after. Both messages said that they had found a big village and urged Benteen to come up immediately bringing packs.
The pack train had only just reached the water and were drinking. Benteen waited for the pack train and then ordered the battalion to move on without the packs.
It was at this point that Reno ordered Benteen to halt and help him. “I have lost half of my men” Reno shouted. Captain Weir had his company move forward to Weir point and when joined by Benteen they both saw Indian warriors “as thick as grasshoppers” coming towards them.
Benteen decided to move back to, what is now Reno Hill, and set-up a defensive perimeter where they stayed for two days.
Benteen lost roughly 16% of those of his battalion who took up the defense of Renos hill.
With Reno’s Incompetence and then Benteen's indifference towards his Commander, Custer was left to fight alone.
The Project for Benteen's Battalion so far
Benteen's Battalion is now based as both Mounted and Dismounted. We are showing them this way as these were distinct tactics in the Cavalry regulations at the time.
Dismounting gives troopers a distinct advantage in skirmishing and firing.
So here is Benteen's Battalion mounted with him in command.
And below is Benteen's command dismounted. We decided that we were going to leave the Command stands mounted so they could be seen better in the game.
Once again, they need to be painted, bases prepared and varnished. No need to rush. . .