Publication: Photographed by D F Barry, n d (ca 1885), Superior, Wisconsin
6" x 10." A photograph of General Frederick W. Benteen taken by noted Western photographer D.F. Barry at his studio in Wisconsin. The photograph is of Benteen in his military uniform as an older man. Barry has his name imprinted twice on the front of the photograph and his sticker on the back. General Benteen is best known for the controversial role he played in the Battle of the Little Bighorn. As commander of a battalion (Companies D, H, and K) of the 7th United States Cavalry at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, he was searching on the left flank of Custer's army for an escape route when he received word that Custer was planning to attack the village at the Little Bighorn and requested Benteen and his men. Instead, on the way to Custer, he assisted Major Marcus Reno, whose men had been attacked on the other side of the village, in establishing a defensive position outside the village and stayed with Reno for the rest of the day. Though this action saved Reno and Benteen's men during repeated attacks, it meant that Custer's men were unsupported as they were massacred. Thus, many blame Benteen for the death of Custer and his men, even though Benteen would repeatedly claim that following his orders would not have saved Custer, but instead destroyed his battalion and Reno's too. Benteen served in the United States Cavalry another 12 years, honored by promotion and disgraced with a conviction for drunkenness by a military tribunal that resulted in a year-long suspension. This picture is a reminder of a forgotten central player in a well-remembered historical episode. FREDERICK W. BENTEEN (1834-1898). Benteen was a cavalry officer during the Civil War, before serving 16 years under General George Amstrong Custer during the Indian Wars. He retired from active service in 1888 due to health issues and a year-long suspension for drunk and disorderly conduct. DAVID FRANCIS BARRY (1854-1934). Barry, along with his mentor and business partner Orlando Scott Goff, was one of the most prominent photographers of the American west, Native American leaders, and U.S. military forts. Fine image.
Inventory Number: 51196