Preparing the 7th Cavalry for action

02 August 2018

Custer’s ad hoc battalion comprised of five companies of the 7th US cavalry. The companies were C, E, F, I & L.

The troopers of these companies carried the Springfield Carbine Model 1873 and the Colt Single Action Army Revolver Model 1873, carrying double the amount of ammo for each weapon.

Their Sabers were stored at the Powder River depot on Custer’s orders due to the element of surprise. He did not want the clanking of the Model 1860 Light Cavalry Sabers and Scabbards to alert the enemy.

Almost all the 7th Cavalry were veterans of varying expertise, about 12% were raw troopers. However they were all under-trained in fire discipline. Practice firing was not something they did often at the time and it showed at the battle. Some references say that up to 840 shots were fired for every one enemy casualty.

At the time Custer’s cavalry were subject to the standard uniform requirement but these were very rarely enforced as most dressed for comfort. In fact, Custer’s Seventh Cavalry at the Little Big Horn were in all of their non-regulation outfits, some of them were overly colorful while some imitated their buckskin clad commander.

Some dressed like civilians or poor farmers, but most troopers were sporting a comfortable cross of service style and a rugged economy look, after a long summer campaign the bearded bedraggled look was more likely. Hats were a mixture - all were wide brimmed, some were black slouch, some light grey felt hats or even straw hats.

Every soldier from the companies that served with Custer’s ad hoc Battalion was killed. A few Crow scouts survived along with some troopers sent out as the battle was starting. 

The Project for Custer’s Battalion so far 

We have bought the figures and we have started mounting them on their bases. We decided for the 7th Cavalry that they would be represented as both Mounted and Dismounted, we are showing them this way a these were distinct tactics in the Cavalry regulations at the time. Dismounting gives troopers a distinct advantage in skirmishing and firing.

So here is Custer’s Battalion mounted with him in command. 

And below is Custer’s command dismounted. We decided that we were going to leave Custer's Command stand mounted so he could be seen better in the game. 

Now they just have to be painted, bases prepared and varnished. So, no rush then?