Last, but certainly not least, the stalwart Benteen had this to say about Moylan:
"On 25th. June, 1876, when my battalion got to the crest of the hill where Reno took refuge from his "charge" from bottom, the first thing which attracted my attention was the gallantly-mustaged Captain of "A" blubbering like a whipped urchin, tears coursing down his cheeks."
Last Edit: Jan 13, 2007 20:55:12 GMT -5 by Realbird
Probably I overstated the quantity of Benteen's blabs. Poetic license, I guess.
In addition to Godfrey in 1881, he told Moylan in 1883 , Goldin in one or more of his letters [and Goldin published it in his army magazine article] and General Jefferson Kean [in about 1887]. He may have told others who left no record of his having done so, or a record that is not widely known. As an example, Kean mentioned it at a meeting of the Order Of Indian Wars, otherwise we wouldn't know that Benteen had told him.
Melani, Benteen had a rather awkward propensity for sprouting off and "blabbing" about this or that He seemed to possess an animosity about most of the people he came in contact with. for example he wrote:
"Well, French's command, by some means or another, flunked after my leaving there."
"Mathey paid no attention to his pack-train on the hill until I gave him a square hill-and-toe cussing out in broad Saxon."
"Now, personally, Reno I know respected me but I believe had no great regard for me, from the fact that I once slapped his face."
"However, I was well enough, too, to tell Col. Weir before a dozen or so officers that he was a d-----d liar."
Yes, Benteen "blabbed" to several individuals regarding Reno's aborted attempt to abandon the wounded.
Post by walkingstar on Aug 10, 2008 20:35:21 GMT -5
Benteen and his wife, Kate, lost four children to Spinal Meningitis, a disease they inherited from their father. All four children died before their first birthday. To carry such a monumental burden upon his shoulders must have been horrible. It is so much more than I could bear. Is it any wonder that his cantankerous and negative disposition eventually came to the forefront?
"Better To Be Without Logic Than Without Feeling."
According to Wikipedia, spinal meningitis had been identified for centuries, but I can't imagine that Benteen knew he was a carrier--I think Pasteur did his work in 1878, and prior to that, if I'm not mistaken, most doctors thought colleagues who actually washed their hands were eccentric. So people probably didn't have the same understanding of contagion that we do now. And by the way, how do we know that Benteen was the carrier? I assume that there is some info in his medical records that would indicate it.
Post by Diane Merkel on Aug 12, 2008 13:18:23 GMT -5
A friend's son died of meningitis about 20 years ago. I don't recall if it was called the spinal type, but it was absolutely horrible. He was a gorgeous 19 year old who had come home from college in Arizona. He went to Ocean City, Maryland, for a weekend of fun with some friends. They went out partying but he stayed behind because he wasn't feeling well. By the time his friends returned, he was burning up with fever, so they took him to the hospital. By the time his mother got there (three hours away) he was so bloated he was unrecognizable. I think he died within 24 hours.
If I remember correctly, we all have the bacteria in our nasal passages, and it becomes unleashed and destructive for some people. At the time, some speculated that perhaps Andy had snorted cocaine, thereby releasing the bacteria into his system. Whatever the reason, no explanation would have consoled his mother as she screamed at his graveside, "Don't put him in there! Don't put him in there!" She was never the same.
Do we know when and where this story first surfaced? It's obediently repeated as fact in most modern Custer books, but I can't help wondering if it's not yet another example of the Xerox School of History at work. It'd be nice to pin down the first mention, and see whether its originator was merely speculating, or offered facts to base it on.
Whatever Benteen's own ailments, and they were many (the medical report he submitted when asking for retirement is horrific for a man only in his fifties), I wouldn't have thought the truth of this could be got at without seeing the death certificates or doctors' reports for the dead children. They may not all necessarily have died of the same thing.
Anybody else ever have the experience of "losing" a book you know perfectly well you've got? Maddening, isn't it. I'm currently suffering that with my copy of Karol Asay's Gray Head and Long Hair, which has gone to ground somewhere. If I find it, I'll post the Benteen medical report; anyone with medical knowledge might then be able to pick out the relevant condition. But meanwhile, Nichols in Men With Custer states that Benteen's own cause of death was given as "paralysis, organic disease of the heart of rheumatic origin and spinal lesion" -- if that helps at all?