Sunday, January 29, 2023

Source Needed

I have read that Custer's men were armed with single-shot rifles compared the repeating rifles of their attackers because the Army believed repeating rifles would encourage wasteful shooting practices.  (This is a rather logical assumption; panic may cause you to replace accurate shots with many poorly aimed shots.)  Does anyone have a source for that?


  1. There's this historynet article, but it isn't footnoted unfortunately. It says that perhaps 1/4 of the native-American side had repeating rifles, based upon archeology of cartridge casings and other findings on the battlefield.

  2. From here:

    >You’ll find the most detailed answers to this question in three fine books: "Archaeological Perspectives on the Battle of the Little Bighorn" and "Archeological Insights into the Custer Battle" base their conclusions on the analysis of battlefield artifacts. "They Died with Custer: Soldiers’ Bones from the Battle of the Little Bighorn" —examining skeletal remains to determine how individual soldiers died — is a fascinating blend of history, archeology and forensic anthropology.

    >Archaeological Perspectives on the Battle of the Little Bighorn (p. 105) identifies forty-two firearm types used in the battle. Based on cartridge cases and bullets found at both battle sites, this book lists (table 8, p. 112) an astonishing number of different revolvers like the .32 Forehand and Wadsworth, .36 Colt, .38 Colt, .42 Forehand and Wadsworth, .44 Smith and Wesson, .44 Colt 1860, .44 Colt 1871, .44 Colt 1872, .44 Remington 1858 and the .45 Colt 1873.

    >Rifles and carbines used included the .40 Sharps, .44 Evans, .44 Henry, .44 Ballard, .45 Springfield 1873, .45 Sharps sporting rifle, .45 Sharps, .50 Maynard, .50 Sharps, .50 Springfield, .50 Smith, .54 Starr, .56/56 Spencer, 56/50 Spencer and .577 Enfield. There was also at least one shotgun used in the fight.

    >No one knows how many thousands of cartridge cases, spent bullets and arrowheads souvenir hunters spirited away before archaeologists started work on the battlefield in 1984. I’ve read a number of accounts of visitors wandering around both sites picking up souvenirs in the first fifty years after the battle.