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miguelencanarias
08-07-2011, 09:04 PM
In the limited bibliography available in my country about Little Bighorn I cannot find details of the exact nature of the mutilations made to the bodies of the fallen, only mentions of how 'savage' they were. Could somebody versed in this episode of American history tell me what kind of mutilations those were, and if there was any ritualistic meaning to them? I heard some gruesome reference to an arrow in Custer's *****, but I am not sure that is a fact.

Difficult as it is to believe, this question is not born out of ghoulish interest, but as a connection with the mutilations made in a different part of the world at around the same time, which had indeed a meaning behind. I am talking of the disembowelment of the dead bodies of the soldiers of the 24th Warwickshire at Isandlwana, made to 'release the spirit of the dead'.

I was wondering if there was some meaning behind in the case of the Indians or if it was just cruelty.

Hisroyalhighness
08-07-2011, 09:06 PM
Here is one:
http://www.bluegraymagazine.com/lbh/lbh2.html
Pretty Gruesome, no one should ever have their bodies mutilated.


It was believed that mutilating the corpse would handicap the victim in the afterworld. Women actively participated in mutilations.

gaijinsamurai
08-07-2011, 09:11 PM
Yes, Custer had an arrow shoved up his shlong. His brother Tom was so disfigured that they had to identify the body by a tattoo.

I have read that the North American Plains Indians mutilated their victims so their spirits would not be able to extract revenge in the afterlife.

However, there was definitely an element of cruelty and disrespect involved. In the Fetterman Massacre, the only victim who was not disfigured was the detachment's bugler, who was said to have fought bravely, killing several Indians with his bugle before falling. They wrapped his body in a buffalo hide.

There's a good reason it was advised to "leave the last bullet for yourself".

LineDoggie
08-07-2011, 09:15 PM
http://books.google.com/books?id=W7ctVjCny94C&pg=PA315&lpg=PA315&dq=little+big+horn+autopsies&source=bl&ots=LIrWWnBUBR&sig=0bBGwmkBpVjR6Nh7BbnOv6APFkc&hl=en&ei=wCk_TpOjBc2DtgertYmNAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CC4Q6AEwAw#v=onepage&q&f=false

http://www.nps.gov/mwac/libi/bibliography.html

miguelencanarias
08-07-2011, 09:16 PM
Did you say he killed people with a musical instrument?

Hisroyalhighness
08-07-2011, 09:17 PM
Yes, Custer had an arrow shoved up his shlong. His brother Tom was so disfigured that they had to identify the body by a tattoo.

Wasn't Custer wearing a frontier's buckskins instead of the typical blue uniform of the 7th Calvary? Didn't the participating Indians clean his body instead of mutilating it? Didn't the Indians think he was just a innocent that got caught in the crossfire?

Ngati Tumatauenga
08-07-2011, 09:26 PM
Did you say he killed people with a musical instrument?

His bugle was found bent and battered next to his body so it was assumed he'd used it to defend himself with. Whether or not he killed any Indians is a matter of conjecture as there were no witnesses to the final battle.

One of the two civilian scouts, both armed with Henry repeating rifles and said to have been very effective with them during the battle, was reported to have been pierced by more than 200 arrows.

SpeedyHedgehog
08-07-2011, 09:37 PM
It is my understanding that many of the mutilations were perpetrated by Indian women after the fighting. There are pictures showing parts of the bodies, especially thighs, cut open and arrows in various parts of the bodies, but it's of course hard to tell when that occurred.

It's long been agreed that George Custer's body was virtually untouched, besides the two bullet wounds, either of which could have killed him. This has often been attributed to the Indians' respect for him, although it's also questionable whether they would have recognized him. His long blond hair had been cut short before he left Ft. Abraham Lincoln and he was wearing a buckskin jacket, not a miltary tunic. I have also read that his eardrums were pierced by some sort of long pins, which supposedly symbolized the fact that he didn't listen and would now "hear better" in the afterlife. It's only been in more recent books that George Custer's *******s have been mentioned.

On the other hand his brother, Tom Custer, was horribly mutilated, so much so that he could only be identified by some sort of tattoo on his body.

There was a black interpreter, Isaiah Dorman, who was killed in Reno's retreat. He was mutilated, including his *******s being cut off, although it's not known if there was a specific reason he was mutilated. IIRC it may have been because he had an Indian wife, which was known to the Indians at the Little Bighorn.

Tropical_ulcer
08-07-2011, 09:46 PM
pardon my ignorance but the mutilatiosn where made while alive or after death?

LongShot
08-07-2011, 10:26 PM
You can also search for "The battle of Greasy Grass" which is what the natives called it...




http://i72.photobucket.com/albums/i192/longshotink/474584719_mdotjpg

gaijinsamurai
08-07-2011, 11:11 PM
Wasn't Custer wearing a frontier's buckskins instead of the typical blue uniform of the 7th Calvary? Didn't the participating Indians clean his body instead of mutilating it? Didn't the Indians think he was just a innocent that got caught in the crossfire?

Yes, he was supposed to have been wearing buckskins instead of the issued blue army uniform. I don't think Indians made a distinction between "combatants" and civilians. It was a racial war, with all Whites, as well as Indian guides and interpreters from different tribes, considered enemy and fair game for death and mutilation.


It is my understanding that many of the mutilations were perpetrated by Indian women after the fighting. There are pictures showing parts of the bodies, especially thighs, cut open and arrows in various parts of the bodies, but it's of course hard to tell when that occurred.

It's long been agreed that George Custer's body was virtually untouched, besides the two bullet wounds, either of which could have killed him. This has often been attributed to the Indians' respect for him, although it's also questionable whether they would have recognized him. His long blond hair had been cut short before he left Ft. Abraham Lincoln and he was wearing a buckskin jacket, not a miltary tunic. I have also read that his eardrums were pierced by some sort of long pins, which supposedly symbolized the fact that he didn't listen and would now "hear better" in the afterlife. It's only been in more recent books that George Custer's *******s have been mentioned.

On the other hand his brother, Tom Custer, was horribly mutilated, so much so that he could only be identified by some sort of tattoo on his body.

There was a black interpreter, Isaiah Dorman, who was killed in Reno's retreat. He was mutilated, including his *******s being cut off, although it's not known if there was a specific reason he was mutilated. IIRC it may have been because he had an Indian wife, which was known to the Indians at the Little Bighorn.

Agreed about Dorman. However, Multiple accounts I have read say Custer was horribly mutilated.

gaijinsamurai
08-07-2011, 11:12 PM
pardon my ignorance but the mutilatiosn where made while alive or after death?

Both. If you died in battle, your remains were cut up and innards & organs, especially eyes and *******ia, were separated from the body. If you fell captive, you died a horrible, painful death. Often at the hands of the women, as stated in previous posts.

miguelencanarias
08-07-2011, 11:21 PM
Tom Custer's mutilations are mentioned. What were they, exactly? And what were those horrible mutilations that some accounts make about Gen. Custer's body?

LongShot
08-07-2011, 11:28 PM
There has been some debate of late on the subject, it being contended that Custer may have borne some mutilation with an arrow, which, due to its delicate nature, was not disclosed out of concern for the feelings of Mrs. Custer. The speculation is based on an alleged comment by Edward Godfrey to Custer historian Charles F. Bates. Godfrey's official description, however, was that Custer had been shot in the left temple and left breast. "There were no powder marks or signs of mutilation." In an 1892 article in Century Magazine, "Custer's Last Battle," Godfrey repeats his assertion that Custer was not mutilated, "All the bodies, except a few, were *****ped of their clothing. According to my recollection nearly all were scalped or mutilated, but there was one notable exception, that of General Custer, whose face and expression were natural; he had been shot in the temple and in the left side."

Mrs. Custer was not completely innocent of the horrors that might be visited upon one captured by Indians. In her Boots and Saddles she described a gruesome discovery while she and her husband were on a stroll:



The body of a white man was staked out on the ground and disembowelled. There yet remained the embers of the smouldering fire that consumed him. If the Indians are hurried for time, and cannot stay to witness the prolonged torture of their victim, it is their custom to pinion the captive and place hot coals on his vitals. The horror and fright this gave us women lasted for a time, and rendered unnecessary the continued warnings of our husbands about walking outside the line of the pickets.


The contemporaneous newspaper reports did not spare the families of those killed the gory details of the revenge exacted on the bodies. The Bismark Tribune reported that some of the more obscene mutilations were visited upon the soldiers while still living. Nor was Mrs. Custer spared the details of what happened to other members of her family. Yet all of the newspaper accounts including those written by those there, indicate that Custer was not mutilated. Thus, the conclusion must be that the early reports were accurate and later reports may be regarded as unverified.




ten charcters.

SpeedyHedgehog
08-07-2011, 11:29 PM
Agreed about Dorman. However, Multiple accounts I have read say Custer was horribly mutilated.
Are you talking about George Custer, or his brother Tom? Tom was terribly mutilated, to the extent that, along with some others, it was very difficult to ID the body. George Custer's bullet wounds were easily identified (implying that his body was relatively intact) and his ear drums were pierced by an awl. I've only read in relatively recent books about his *******s. I guess it may depend on how you define "horribly mutilated". There's some feeling that initial reports left out some of the more gruesome aspects, out of respect for Elizabeth Custer, George's wife.

There were initial accounts in the Bismark Tribune, claiming that many of the more grotesque mutilations were conducted on soldiers who were still alive, although I have no idea who they used as sources.

SoSo
08-07-2011, 11:38 PM
It's generally agreed that some Plains tribes mutilated the bodies of enemy dead so their spirits would be incapacitated when they entered the afterlife. Often, eyes, lungs, and other organs would be cut out and placed on nearby stones, as if on display.
The best book I've ever read about Custer and the Little Bighorn was "Son of the Morning Star" by Evan S. Connell. It's refreshingly well-written and enjoyable to read, for a history book. Connell deals with this stuff frankly, without the usual hypersensitivity and political correctness.
http://books.google.com/books?id=KcUAHCM47TIC&printsec=frontcover&dq=son+of+the+morning+star&hl=en&ei=Ekk_TqvLDuO0sQK73tE7&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CDgQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

gaijinsamurai
08-08-2011, 12:15 AM
[QUOTE=SpeedyHedgehog;5798123]Are you talking about George Custer, or his brother Tom? Tom was terribly mutilated, to the extent that, along with some others, it was very difficult to ID the body. George Custer's bullet wounds were easily identified (implying that his body was relatively intact) and his ear drums were pierced by an awl. I've only read in relatively recent books about his *******s.QUOTE]

The majority of books I've read in the last year have been more recent works, which have utilized sources from both sides of the battle. According to these, both Custers were mutilated, Tom the worst.

Three of the books I've read:

http://www.amazon.com/Terrible-Glory-Custer-Bighorn-American/dp/0316067474/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1312773402&sr=1-2

http://www.amazon.com/Last-Stand-Custer-Sitting-Bighorn/dp/0143119605/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1312773450&sr=1-3

http://www.amazon.com/Scalp-Dance-Indian-Warfare-1865-1879/dp/0811729079/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1312773541&sr=1-1

Tropical_ulcer
08-08-2011, 06:20 AM
sure this is a bit offtopc but since I dont see a need to make another thread

while in the subject of northamerican native warfare,the tomahawk axe was a invention of the natives or was based in european axes? meaning that if the natives used the design of the tomahawks before the arrival of europeans,as a stone axe or something like that
or it was all a european design modified by them?

cuz I read that during those times native americans used almost full european equipment like the rifles and such,and domesticated horses very quickly so I dont know which weapons are totally native of introduced

killer99
08-09-2011, 04:57 PM
^ the tomahawk was originally a large stone tied to a stick, only after the europeans showed up do you see metal ax blades.

miguelencanarias
08-12-2011, 02:17 PM
Is there any good (non-two-dimensional) map of the area, one than allows to perceive the ravines and heighs along with the path of the different units? I find two-dimensional maps somewhat frustating when I try to identify geographic features.

EDIT: Never mind. I visited the place in Google Earth and there is a ton of material there, including videos in YouTube. If, however, you know of a better place, please let me know.

California Joe
08-12-2011, 02:33 PM
I think the last book I read on the subject was "Son of the Morning Star"...They mention an Irish NCO that had been one of the Swiss Guards at the Vatican at one time I believe named Miles something whose body was treated with respect due to the way he fought in the battle. Anyone remember hearing that?

Corrupt
08-12-2011, 02:36 PM
I think the last book I read on the subject was "Son of the Morning Star"...They mention an Irish NCO that had been one of the Swiss Guards at the Vatican at one time I believe named Miles something whose body was treated with respect due to the way he fought in the battle. Anyone remember hearing that?

That's a hell of a cv!

California Joe
08-12-2011, 02:39 PM
I can't find the book but the description was he was basically a badass.

ferguson
08-12-2011, 02:46 PM
"When you're laying wounded on Afghanistan's plains and the women come out to cut up your remains.
Roll to your rifle and blow out your brains, Go to your Gawd like a soldier." Kipling

Mutilation, ritual and random, has long been a comon practice amongst primitive peoples against their enemies.
Cambodians and others practiced it to an extent in VN.

Lots of reading for those interested in actual research.

California Joe
08-12-2011, 02:49 PM
A very apt quotation ferguson....

JUNKHO
08-12-2011, 02:59 PM
I can't find the book but the description was he was basically a badass.

Myles keough?

Cambodes could be especially vicious at times

California Joe
08-12-2011, 03:07 PM
I think thats it my friend. Half of my books are still in boxes. I only moved 6 years ago...

Richie B
08-12-2011, 03:39 PM
Is this him ?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myles_Keogh

California Joe
08-12-2011, 03:46 PM
Yeah. That's him. My bad about the NCO, apparently he was Officer material..;) It's been a long time since I read the book....