While researching Major Marcus Albert Reno, I came across a document on the Library of Congress on the trial of Marcus Albert Reno after the Battle of Little Big horn. The trial was the military vs. Albert Reno from special orders from the headquarters of the Army General’s Office in Washington, DC. The original court date was scheduled for January 13, 1879 for his conduct during the Battle of Little Big Horn. Nineteen people were summoned to testify during the trial. The trial was to take place in Chicago, IL. On the 13th of January, Reno was waiting for his lawyer Lyman D. Gilbert, so the court was suspended until the two days later. On the 15th, Reno’s attorney arrived in Chicago and the court convened. The first matter of business was a letter sent from Reno to man named Whitaker. Reno did not want this letter to be evidence for the trial. His lawyer tried to get it dismissed, but the court ruled it would be evidence. The first person to take the stand was a lieutenant named Edward McGuire. McGuire was an engineer officer that arrived after the battle was over. The court had asked him questions about positioning on maps, location of the dead, condition of the grounds, and proximity of locations. The lieutenant responded to the mapping questions and the map was allocated as exhibit 2. The positions of each battalion (American and Indian) were placed on a map for the court to have a visual illustration. McGuire also explained to the court the morale of the troops upon his arrival. He claimed Reno’s men had mixed emotions, from crying to insanity. The court documents are long and lengthy. I am looking forward to see what is in the letter that Reno wrote to Whitaker and why he did not want the courts to have it in the trial. I made it through the first 40 pages and I have about 600 to go.
Portrait of Marcus Albert Reno, Western History Department, Denver Public Library, format photo on glass plate, contributor Barr D.F., 1874
Marcus Albert Reno studied at West Point military academy. He was quite the trouble maker in his tenure at the school. He was placed on probation and had to sit out for two year-long stints. You would think someone in the military would not be defiant of the rules but Marcus finally graduated in 1857. As an officer in the military he was commended for his bravery and during the Civil War where he was a captain in the Union Army. Among his troops, however, he was found to be a unpleasant person to be around and some called him a heavy drinker. The more I look into this guy the more I realize why people did not like him.