Custer's Last Command

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Legend:

1.       1. Lieut. Col. George Custer

2.       2. 1st Lieut. W.W. Cooke

3.       3. "Handsome Jack"

4.       4. 1st Lieut. Algernon Smith

5.       5. Capt. Tom Custer

6.       6. Capt. George Yates

7.      7. Boston Custer

8.       8. Autie Reed

9.       9. Sgt. Major William Sharrow

Soldiers of F company - Black Hats
Soldiers of C company - Gray Hats
Some Officers had straw hats
Headquarters group could have anything

 

"Custer's Last Command"

In the painting I show the point in the battle when the Indians have most likely destroyed Lieut. Calhoun's and Capt. Keogh's positions and are surrounding Custer and his headquarters group. His brother Tom and remnants of Company C along with Company F under Capt. Yates are also shown. Also included are Lieuts. William Cooke and Algernon Smith along with Sgt. Major Sharrow. Custer's youngest brother Boston Custer, and nephew Autie Reed are shown but were later found at the bottom of the hill in a futile attempt at escape. Most of the soldiers shown are from F Company who wore black hats and rode bay horses. However recent findings suggest that most if not all of their horses were run off by the Indians. Company C wore gray hats and rode light sorrel horses and Company E wore gray hats and rode gray horses. I have included these as well as "Vic" Custer's sorrel horse. Most of the dead horses found on the hill were from C and E troops. Many of the officers and soldiers wore frontier style clothing while in the field and some wore shirts similar to those of the Custer clan. It was a blue wool bib front shirt with piping.

 

Some officers had a personal preference in weapons. Lieut. Cooke used a .45/70 infantry rifle instead of a carbine. Capt. Yates preferred a .44 cal. Smith & Wesson over the standard issue Colt. George and Tom used Webley Bulldog revolvers. In the painting I have Boston Custer firing a Sharps hunting rifle belonging to his brother. Autie Reed has picked up a carbine but being so young and inexperienced is not firing. The army issue bullets were copper cased and caused a problem by sometimes splitting and getting stuck in the breech. They then had to be dug out with a knife as one soldier is doing.

 

The gunsmoke and dust were very thick making it difficult to see and breath. The Indians fired bullets and arrows into the dust cloud from every direction until the final rush at the end.

 

Richard Luce

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