Thomas Benton Weir
|Born||September 28, 1838|
|Died||December 9, 1876|
New York City
|Place of burial|
|Allegiance|| United States of America |
|Service/|| United States Army |
|Years of service||1861–76|
|Commands held||Company D, 7th U.S. Cavalry|
|Battles/wars|| American Civil War |
American Indian Wars
|Alma mater||University of Michigan|
Captain Thomas Benton Weir (b. September 28, 1838 -– d. December 9, 1876) was an officer in the 7th Cavalry Regiment (United States), notable for his participation in the Battle of the Little Bighorn, also known as Custer's Last Stand. Weir served under General George Armstrong Custer during the American Civil War, and after the war continued serving under his command up to the famous battle in 1876. During the Little Bighorn battle, Weir disobeyed orders to remain in a defensive position at Reno Hill and led a cavalry group that attempted to come to Custer's aid.
Weir and the group retreated back to Reno Hill in the face of overwhelming numbers of Native American warriors. A hill on the battlefield, Weir Point, is named in his honor and marks the farthest point of Weir's advance.
Reportedly deeply depressed by his experience in the historic battle, Weir's health declined, and he died only a few months afterwards, aged 38.
Weir was born in Nashville, Ohio. He graduated from the University of Michigan in June 1861. On August 27, 1861, he enlisted in Company B of the 3rd Michigan Cavalry and earned quick promotion to first sergeant. By October 1861, he earned promotion to second lieutenant. In June 1862 Weir was promoted to first lieutenant.
Shortly afterwards, he was taken prisoner by the Confederate States Army and was promoted again to captain during the seven months he was held captive. After his release, Weir was assigned as Assistant Inspector General on the staff of Major General George Armstrong Custer.
In July 1868, Weir received brevet promotions to major, lieutenant colonel, and colonel to recognize his superior performance of duty during the war.
During the Indian Wars on the Great Plains, Weir commanded Company D of the 7th Cavalry under Custer, as part of a two-pronged attack on a large Native American encampment on the Little Bighorn River in Montana on June 25, 1876. Custer had led a detachment north to attack the camp from that direction. Three companies, with Major Marcus Reno in overall command, attacked the south end of the village, but Reno's forces retreated from their initial attack on the south end of the village to a hilltop nearby, now known as Reno Hill, where they were joined by another three companies, including Weir's Company D, led by Captain Frederick Benteen as well as a pack train carrying supplies.
Weir's company, without orders, (and eventually followed by other soldiers including Benteen) moved north from the defensive position on Reno Hill, heading in the direction of the sound of firing from the direction where they believed Custer and his troops were fighting. However, Weir and the would-be relief were forced to retreat back to Reno Hill under fire where they were under further attack until relieved by General Alfred Terry two days later, when the Native American warriors withdrew.
Also known as Weir Ridge, Weir Point is about three miles south from where Custer and the soldiers with him were killed and about one and a half miles north of Reno Hill. Weir Point is the location where Captain Weir and those with him eventually realized after two hoursthat Custer was beyond their aid, and that hostile warriors were advancing towards the relief force in substantial numbers. From Weir Point the surviving members of the 7th Cavalry withdrew back to the already-established defensive positions on Reno Hill.
In the present era, Weir Point is a modest pull-off on the paved lane that ends at Reno Hill, also known as the Reno-Benteen Battlefield. Weir Point is marked with an illustrated roadside sign naming the hill and showing an artist's rendition of what the artist believed Weir and those with him saw: clouds of dust rising from the bluffs to the north where Custer and his men were wiped out.
Deeply shaken by his experience after the famous battle and showing symptoms of post-traumatic stress, Weir's mental health declined rapidly. Weir wrote letters to Custer's widow, Elizabeth Bacon Custer, hinting at untold matters regarding her husband's death.Formally posted back to New York City on recruiting duty, in the final months of his life he refused to go outside, began to drink heavily and in his last days was said to be extremely nervous, to the point of being unable to swallow.
He died in New York City less than six months after Custer's death, reportedly in a state of extreme depression.He was buried at the Fort Columbus post cemetery on Governors Island in New York City. In the 1880s his remains were reinterred at Cypress Hills National Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.
The role of Captain Weir is played by noted author and actor Robert Schenkkan in the 1991 television movie Son of the Morning Star.
The Battle of the Little Bighorn, known to the Lakota and other Plains Indians as the Battle of the Greasy Grass and also commonly referred to as Custer's Last Stand, was an armed engagement between combined forces of the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes and the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army. The battle, which resulted in the defeat of U.S. forces, was the most significant action of the Great Sioux War of 1876. It took place on June 25–26, 1876, along the Little Bighorn River in the Crow Indian Reservation in southeastern Montana Territory.
George Armstrong Custer was a United States Army officer and cavalry commander in the American Civil War and the American Indian Wars.
The 7th Cavalry Regiment is a United States Army cavalry regiment formed in 1866. Its official nickname is "Garryowen", after the Irish air "Garryowen" that was adopted as its march tune.
Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument preserves the site of the June 25 and 26, 1876, Battle of the Little Bighorn, near Crow Agency, Montana, in the United States. It also serves as a memorial to those who fought in the battle: George Armstrong Custer's 7th Cavalry and a combined Lakota-Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho force. Custer National Cemetery, on the battlefield, is part of the national monument. The site of a related military action led by Marcus Reno and Frederick Benteen is also part of the national monument, but is about 3 miles (5 km) southeast of the Little Bighorn battlefield.
Marcus Albert Reno was a United States career military officer who served in the American Civil War and under George Armstrong Custer in the Great Sioux War against the Lakota (Sioux) and Northern Cheyenne. Reno is most noted for his prominent role in the Battle of the Little Bighorn. This has since been a subject of controversy regarding his command decisions in the course of one of the most infamous defeats in the history of the United States military.
Frederick William Benteen was a military officer who first fought during the American Civil War. He was appointed to commanding ranks during the Indian Campaigns and Great Sioux War against the Lakota and Northern Cheyenne. Benteen is best known for being in command of a battalion of the 7th U. S. Cavalry at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in late June, 1876.
Gall, Lakota Phizí, was a battle leader of the Hunkpapa Lakota in the long war against the United States. He was also one of the commanders in the Battle of Little Bighorn.
James Calhoun was a soldier in the United States Army during the American Civil War and the Black Hills War. He was the brother-in-law of George Armstrong Custer and was killed along with Custer in the Battle of the Little Bighorn. His brother-in-law Myles Moylan survived the battle as part of the forces with Major Marcus Reno and Captain Frederick Benteen.
William Winer Cooke was a military officer in the United States Army during the American Civil War and the Black Hills War. He was the adjutant for George Armstrong Custer and was killed during the Battle of the Little Bighorn.
Henry Moore Harrington was a military officer in the 7th United States Cavalry Regiment who went Missing in action during the Battle of Little Big Horn in Montana Territory.
Charles Albert Varnum was a career United States Army officer. He was most noted as the commander of the scouts for George Armstrong Custer in the Little Bighorn Campaign during the Great Sioux War, as well as receiving the Medal of Honor for his actions in a conflict at Drexel Mission following the Wounded Knee Massacre.
Charles Camillo DeRudio was an Italian aristocrat, would-be assassin of Napoleon III, and later a career U.S. Army officer who fought in the 7th U.S. Cavalry at the Battle of the Little Bighorn.
Fredrick Frances Gerard was a frontiersman, army scout, and civilian interpreter for George Armstrong Custer's 7th U.S. Cavalry during the Little Bighorn Campaign.
Henry Rinaldo Porter was a Surgeon in the 7th U.S. Cavalry at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
Luther Rector Hare was an officer in the 7th U.S. Cavalry, best known for participating in the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
Frank Tolan was an American private in the U.S. Army who served with the 7th U.S. Cavalry during the Great Sioux War of 1876–77. He was one of twenty-two soldiers received the Medal of Honor for gallantry, volunteering to carry water to wounded soldiers on Reno Hill, at the Battle of the Little Bighorn on June 25, 1876.
Thomas Mower McDougall was an officer in the United States Army, who took part in the Battle of the Little Bighorn but survived because he was with Major Reno and Captain Benteen.
White Swan (c.1850—1904), or Mee-nah-tsee-us in the Crow language, was one of six Crow Scouts for George Armstrong Custer's 7th Cavalry Regiment during the 1876 campaign against the Sioux and Northern Cheyenne. At the Battle of the Little Bighorn in the Crow Indian Reservation, White Swan went with Major Reno's detachment, and fought alongside the soldiers at the south end of the village. Of the six Crow scouts at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, White Swan stands out because he aggressively sought combat with multiple Sioux and Cheyenne warriors, and he was the only Crow Scout to be wounded in action, suffering severe wounds to his hand/wrist and leg/foot. After being disabled by his wounds, he was taken to Reno's hill entrenchments by Half Yellow Face, the pipe-bearer (leader) of the Crow scouts, which no doubt saved his life.
Half Yellow Face was the leader of the six Crow Scouts for George Armstrong Custer's 7th Cavalry during the 1876 campaign against the Sioux and Northern Cheyenne. Half Yellow Face led the six Crow scouts as Custer advanced up the Rosebud valley and crossed the divide to the Little Bighorn valley, and then as Custer made the fateful decision to attack the large Sioux-Cheyenne camp which precipitated the Battle of the Little Bighorn on June 25, 1876. At this time, the other Crow Scouts witnessed a conversation between Custer and Half Yellow Face. Half Yellow Face made a statement to Custer that was poetically prophetic, at least for Custer: "You and I are going home today by a road we do not know".
Winfield Scott Edgerly was an officer in the United States Army in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Born in New Hampshire in 1846, he attended the United States Military Academy, graduating in 1870. He served on the frontier through the Indian Wars, including the Battle of the Little Big Horn and the Wounded Knee Massacre; in the Spanish–American War; in the Philippine Insurrection; and (briefly) in World War I. He served in several command positions. He was an observer of the Kaiser Maneuvers in Germany in 1907. He was retired as a brigadier general for disability in 1909, was recalled briefly in 1917 and died in 1927. Edgerly is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.