What Happened to Custer's Weapons?

August 19, 2023
David Sunnyside

The story of Custer's last stand is one of the most famous in American history. He and his entire Seventh Cavalry were wiped out that fateful summer day in 1876 by a superior force of Native American warriors. We have been trying to find out what happened to his weapons ever since.

It is known that every member of Custer's immediate command carried a Springfield trapdoor carbine and a Colt single action Army revolver that day. The men were not armed with anything better, and it quickly became "every man for himself" as the line collapsed. The Indians, on the other hand, were well-armed with a variety of arms. Some were armed with bows and arrows, while others carried ancient muzzleloaders, breechloaders and even the latest repeating rifles.

There is evidence that a handful of members of the 7th Cavalry, particularly those from K Company, fought back with some success. Whether they fought in the center of the battle or at the fringes is not known for sure. However, it is known that two of them escaped from the battlefield and were never seen again.

Custer was killed along with 210 of his men. The Army lost that day, but the Indians lost only 40 or 50 warriors. One explanation for the discrepancy is that the frontier Army was not armed with anything that could compete with the rifles and revolvers brought by the Indians. Marksmanship training was practically nil at the time, and a rifle that a soldier had in his pocket was generally more reliable than an old Smith & Wesson.

David Sunnyside
Co-founder of Urban Splatter • Digital Marketer • Engineer • Meditator
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