Reno crossed the Little Bighorn and charged the upper end of the Indian
camp, but was thrown back across the river. On Reno Hill he united with
Captain Benteen and later the pack train. Custer, meanwhile, had
After scanning the valley from the bluff just north of Reno Hill, Custer
led his battalion down a deep ravine to Medicine Tail Coulee, across to
Deep Coulee, and up to the battle ridge. Here his command was wiped out
by warriors pouring across the river from the village. Captain Weir tried
to come to his aid, but was forced to turn back by Indians who met him
at Weir Point.
Custer's last message is now preserved in the library of the U.S. Military
Academy at West Point, N.Y. At the top is Benteen's "translation" of
Adjutant Cooke's hastily scrawled summons.
Lt. William W. Cooke, a Canadian soldier of fortune, was the 7th Cavalry's
able adjutant. He scribbled the message on a page torn from his memorandum
book, and died an hour later on Custer Hill.
Sgt. John Martin at the time of his retirement in 1904. As Giovanni Martini,
he was detailed as Custer's orderly on June 25, 1876, and carried the last
message through Sioux warriors to Benteen.