Clipped From The Hays Daily News

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Custer about inverted for the in the of the by that the for the will I Richard office best succeed office. excellence has years." "Rich strong him to' chary class sponsored by the Hays Recreation Com mission. Mike, the winner of a local archery tour and Mrs. Virgil Quint, 216 North ridge Dr. ' 'i Custer Battle Puzzling By SCOTT SEIRER Of The News Staff Gen. George Armstrong Custer led a colorful life, part of it at Ft. Hays, but Rev. Blaine Burkey of Hays, to his dismay, says everyone is far more interested in his famous death. It was 100 years ago today (Friday) that Gen. Custer and the 225 men of his famed Seventh Cavalry died at the hands of Sioux and Cheyenne Indians at the Little Big Horn in Montana. The battle was one of the bloodiest in Western history. And it's one of the most puzzling. "You could spend a lifetime andpever sort it out," says Rev. Burkey, librarian at Thomas More Prep and historian of the Ellis County Historical Society. Rev. Burkey thinks the puzzle will never be fully pieced together. There were no surviving soldiers, of course, and accounts recorded by Indians are contradictory. Hundreds 'of books have been written about the battle, he says, and they portray Gen. Custer as anything from a national hero who was massacred by Indians to a blundering leader who underestimated underestimated his enemy and was taken to task for it by well-organized Indians. Rev. Burkey is included among the historians who have written about Gen. Custer. But, unlike the others that line library shelves, his book merely mentions the death. It centers around Custer's life on the High Plains of Kansas between 1867 and 1870. Custer and his Seventh Cavalry were sent here by the Army to keep the Indians at bay so settlers could settle. He was successful and highly regarded by the area's first citizens. Some of his men, however, despised him. "He had a lot of deserters," says Rev. Burkey. "The State of Kansas liked him. I don't think they knew how he treated his troops, nor did they care." The famous career soldier was court-martialed and thrown out of the Army after he scattered his weary troops throughout Northwest Kansas and used government property on private business — namely, going to see his wife at Ft. Filey. One of his officers even brought charges against him for being overly severe. A year later, Gen. Philip Sheridan managed to get his friend Custer back into uniform. Rev. Burkey says Custer was sane but "rather impetuous." impetuous." "He didn't consider the consequences" of his actions. "He was willing to jump into things." His deeds are regarded as either courageous or foolhardy, depending on the historian. Some historians say that habit of being hasty contributed contributed to his downfall at the Little Big Horn. "I don't know whether he was one of our great national heroes or not," says Rev. Burkey, who dislikes the way the general treated the Indians. Custer, of course, was not responsible for the.policies set by the government so, for that reason, he can't be solely blamed. "The ugly thing is what our government did to the Indians." Rev. Burkey offers this theory: "A lot of people stood to make profit from the war" and, with the help of somewhat corrupt politicians, "they kept it going. They're more responsible" for the mistreatment of Indians. Drug Overdose

Clipped from
  1. The Hays Daily News,
  2. 25 Jun 1976, Fri,
  3. Page 1

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