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The Next Generation In The Study Of Custer's Last Stand
George Custer & Tobacco
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Custer's Last Drag: An Examination of Tobacco Use Among the 7th Cavalry During the Nineteenth Century
By Shannon Vihlene
"But nothing could induce me to use tobacco, either in smoking or chewing. I consider it a filthy, if not an unhealthy practice. I can say what few of my age can – I never chewed tobacco in my life."
“Most of the men have been without this ration (tobacco) for three days, and are getting desperate. I have seen men nearly crazy due to their unsatisfied longing for tobacco.”
“A man who smoked too much could still aim his gun and hit the enemy; one who drank to excess might pull the trigger and amputate his toe”
We present a fascinating and relatively
unknown study regarding whether George Custer and the troopers of the 7th
Cavalry used tobacco products and, if so, how much. Shannon Vihlene’s 2008
study was conducted for a master of arts in Forensic Anthropology and
Historic Archaeology from the University of Montana, Missoula.
I asked Ms. Vihlene how she chose tobacco use in the 7th Cavalry for her thesis and her plans for the future:
"My interest in the Battle of the Little
Bighorn began with an interest in the history of Montana and its related
archaeology/osteology as well as my fascination with our nations military
history. My professor, Dr Kelly Dixon, recommended that I read
Archaeological Perspectives on the Battle of
the Little Bighorn by Douglas Scott. Needless to say, I was hooked on
the topic. Dr. Dixon put me in contact with Dr. Scott to see if there were
any topics that had yet to be researched related to the battle, the
result, tobacco consumption.
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Copyright 1999-2013 Bob Reece
Friends Little Bighorn Battlefield, P.O. Box 636, Crow Agency, MT 59022