Marcus Reno in the Valley of the Little Big Horn

Limited Means, Excessive Aims


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About the Book

Major Marcus Reno’s actions at the Battle of Little Big Horn have been both criticized and lauded, often without in-depth analysis. This book takes a fresh look the battle and events leading up to it, offering answers to unanswered questions. The author examines the meanings of “orders” given in Custer’s command and how they were treated, the tactics and fighting in the valley, Reno’s alcoholism, and his last stand on the hilltop named for him.

About the Author(s)

The late Frederic C. Wagner III served as an officer both in the U.S. Army and the New York Army National Guard. He was a decorated Vietnam veteran and worked for 22 years on Wall Street, mostly as a commodities broker. He lived in Pleasantville, New York.

Bibliographic Details

Frederic C. Wagner III

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 286
Bibliographic Info: 24 photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8213-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4132-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Preface and Author’s Notes 1

Part I—Prelude to Battle 3
Prologue: Ball’s Scout and Tullock’s Creek 4
1. June 7 to June 9 Preliminaries 7
2. June 10 to June 12: Reno’s Scout 13
3. June 13 to June 15: A Time of Decision 18
4. June 16 to June 19: The Rosebud 22
5. June 20 and June 21: Preparations 30
6. June 22 and June 23: The Beginning of Failure 36
7. June 24: Prelude to Taps 46
8. June 25, Midnight to Noon: The Final Act 69
9. 12:12 p.m.–1:16 p.m.: Advancing to the Little Big Horn 91

Part II—Prelude to Taps 107
10. 1:16 p.m.–1:35 p.m.: Into the Valley—“Left into line, gallop … forward, guide center!” 108
11. 1:35 p.m.–2:07 p.m.: The Fight on the Prairie—The Skirmish Line 123
12. Bushmills 140
13. 2:07 p.m.–2:23 p.m.: Withdrawal and Defense—The Timber 151
14. 2:23 p.m.–3:07 p.m.: “Follow me!” 168
15. Crossing the Acheron 183
16. 3:07 p.m.–5:45 p.m.: Siege 193
17. The Debriefing—Lessons Learned: An ­After-Action Report 204

Appendix 209
Chapter Notes 237
Bibliography 264
Index 269

Book Reviews & Awards

“Excellent…a necessity…recommended…outstanding—a prime source for the serious reader”— Alan R Beattie, Americana Books (UK)