Saturday, June 25, 2016
Simply a fascination .... nothing more
In 1914, German-born artist Richard Lorenz captured in oil on canvas the scene as he envisioned it had been when sunset neared on June 25, 1876, on the bluffs overlooking the Little Bighorn River in Montana. Mounted Sioux warriors departed from the battlefield where the body George Armstrong Custer and a few hundred troopers from elements of the United States Seventh Calvary lay dead in the aftermath of what became known as "Custer's Last Stand" -- which Lorenz titled his work. The painting is among the Bridgeman Art Library collection.
Welcome to "Custer Day" -- 2016 version
Some years, I mention here in a post that June 25 is the anniversary -- one-hundred fortieth anniversary this year -- since George Armstrong Custer and a few hundred troopers of the United States Seventh Cavalry literally bit the dust on a hot, humid, Sunday afternoon by the Little Bighorn River in Montana.
"Custer's Last Stand" is the usual title given to the event in which mostly Sioux, along with a few Cheyenne and Native Americans from assorted other tribes outnumbered, outweaponed, outflanked and outfought the "boy general" and the men of his command. I have written in some detail some years about this encounter, but this time I simply wish to point out that I dwell on this battle as strongly now as I have since I was a boy. The "Plains Indian Wars" -- which, from my perspective, lasted from the 1850s until Wounded Knee in 1890 -- hold me captive in the sense of absolute fascination. There is no escape from them for me.
I also have written in past posts about my "battlefield tour," during which, in pursuit of a sense of those times, I spent about six months traveling to fort to battlefield to cemetery to any historic site I could discover from Montana to Texas, while swinging widely (and, maybe, wildly) eastward and westward. At those places, I always walked and frequently ate and sometimes even slept on the grounds where the "warriors" of two worlds collided and often died.
I also have written in past posts about an ancestor who fought in the American Civil War, who came back to his homeland to chase the Sioux from Minnesota to North Dakota as a volunteer "ranger" during the 1862 uprising and who, a few years later as a cavalry officer, was killed by Cheyenne in Kansas.
So it goes .... I have written about these things and, no doubt, will again and again and again. Yes, it is a fascination and, I suppose, always will be for me. At least, it is not an obsession .... I am saving that for .... for .... hmmmm ....
Addendum #1: If you are reading this brief note, it means I am not home. I scheduled this post last weekend to run on "Custer Day," and I have been away from home most of the week. I left home uncertain if I would be back by Saturday or not. Not, as the presence of this note confirms, turned out to be the case. Sunday, now, probably. I undoubtedly am late/behind with comments and communications, and will strive to catch up in a day or two -- theoretically.
Addendum #2: If you never have looked to the right side of this page and noticed the segment entitled, "Important stuff .... really," it may (or may not) interest you to look now and even to look further within it. I seldom do anything simply for the sake of doing it, and there is reason for these entries. I have been including them because, as is said, blood is thicker than water, and one of those individuals mentioned in all of these pieces qualifies as direct descent blood. I assume, as I frequently say, you catch my drift.