I picked up the following today at a used bookstore:
Keep the Last Bullet for Yourself by Thomas B. Marquis.
I just finished Stewart's Custer's Luck book and I had noticed Marquis' books listed in the bibliography. So.....have I made a good acquisition regarding the LBH battle? The preface says Mr. Marquis could not find a publisher (during the 1930s) because his findings where unpopular i.e. that the troopers with Custer panicked and some of them commited suicide. The book has a copyright of 1976 by Reference Publications.
Dr. Marquis lived and worked on the Crow and Cheyenne Reservations and drove an old Model T. He forged fast friends with many of the scouts and warriors as well as, the families of those involved in the fight. He hung out with another former scout named Thomas H. Leforge, and published a book in 1929 called "Memoirs of a White Crow Scout". Trivia for the day Marquis was a vegetarian, who often entertained his NA friends with homemade breads and other special meals. He was a trusted physician, by both tribes. There is much more about him out there. He also published Wooden Leg, A Warrior Who Fought Custer, Keep the last Bullet for Yourself, and The True Story of Custer's Last Stand.
Last Edit: Jan 29, 2014 19:36:41 GMT -5 by tubman13
Post by keithpatton on May 17, 2019 13:20:59 GMT -5
I've read his collected works called Custer on the Little Bighorn. He was ahead of his time in his description of the fight. He took the Native Americans at their word unlike most of the Whites at that point in time. The white version of events is how the myth got started. Marquis didn't have any agenda. He was one of the few people the Indian participants trusted. So much in fact that they brought out their old Little Big Horn momentos like the Springfield carbines the took from the soldiers. He bought four of them. He also collected cartridge belts and other items made from the leather of some of the soldier's boots. Reading his description of the battle it sounds very close to the version now accepted based on archaeological findings. He also reported the low Indian casualty figures versus those suffered by the cavalry. All things pointed to the cavalry routing and suffering disproportionately large losses.
The Marquis works are quite good and like Keith said, jibe quite well with the archaeology. The Wooden Leg accounts are probably the best Indian records we have and in my opinion the most accurate. I wish some of the white claims were as good.
It's a very good read full of interesting and useful snippets which considerably formed one vein of antitheses toward the battle. There is all sorts of interesting comment and observation and an honest naivety which pervades all historical research of the battle. It is a very good book and a 'should read'.
The evidence of Custer's death could be, or could have been construed into one of Marquis's significant themes of mercy killing, suicides and coup de grace; which certainly would have drawn Mrs. Custer's ire and her comment to friends. It would have been unfashionable and not the done thing in circles of influence as the author discovered. Of course Marquis had by degree left behind civilised association in following career and obsession.
It's isn't obviously clear that Marquis 'chose' to delay publication until the battles centenary but that is how it came to press by the hands of his family and that in itself is fantastic and rivals Freeman's Journal coming to publication that same year.
It is a should read book which is light going and very seriously trivial unless you accept that 200 cavalrymen blew their own brains out. Stepping outside Marquis's footprint and that of his sources it should not be overlooked that many hostile fighters blamed mutilations and theft upon the women of the tribes after the men left and Kate Bighead simply moved this argument to the next nascent with Marquis snagged hook, line and sinker. It was fantastic that a military unit of such revere could be undone as it was and arguments of apology continue to this day and ever more it seems. There were too many Indians.
It is provocative. Marquis was naive. He was a significant and dedicated researcher. He knew John Stands in Timber and this therefore throws the later Wolftooth and Bigfoot battle stories into disrepute. The Cheyenne did not shield themselves in discussing the battle with Marquis. Stands in Timber knew them all and knew Marquis who photographed Timber and his family on several occaisions.
Those with an interest in the author might start here. A preface by Viola and introduction by Medicine Crow, lead 14 chapters of lovingly crafted enquiry and rationaliastions based upon the other side of the story - well one and many of them. Interestingly a quick diddle diddle there's a hole in the middle, shows cause of demise at March 22, 1935; as 'lead poisoning'.
Last Edit: Jun 2, 2019 11:48:12 GMT -5 by herosrest