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Thomas F. O'Neill's Story of the Battle
THE STORY OF PRIVATE THOMAS F. O'NEILL
[AFTER SENDING Reno's troops charging into the huge Indian village], O'Neill says Custer came within 300 or 400 yards of river before he turned up to the right. He remembers the ford where Reno crossed as at a high bank. The trail split and went around a little rise of ground on which some of the Rees were sitting holding a council and discussing the numbers of the Sioux. One of these was picking up handfuls of grass and dropping it and pointing to the Sioux, who could be seen down and across the river, indicating that the Sioux were as thick as the grass. He [O'Neill] went to left of this knoll and down to the river through a dry ravine. On other side of river there were timber and fallen logs and took some time to get through. When about half way down to where skirmish line was formed he saw Custer and his whole command on the bluffs across the river, over to the east, at a point which he would think was about where Reno afterward fortified, or perhaps a little south of this. Custer's command were then going at a trot.
He says that on the skirmish line there was no very hard fighting and thinks that but few effective shots could have been fired. The skirmish line could not have stood to exceed 20 min. The men were in good spirits, talking and laughing and not apprehensive of being defeated, and the Sioux, toward the village, were riding around kicking up a big dust but keeping pretty well out of range.
Presently they saw the Sioux going around the left flank, which extended to a point about half way to the hills to the west. The men then ran to their horses and from behind the little rise of ground between timber and open plain they lay and fired at Indians for some time, Lieut. Hare occasionally borrowing a gun from Lieut. Wallace to try his marksmanship on the Indians as they would circle around...
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