Thursday, February 3, 2011

Headstone of Civil and Indian War Veteran Brevet Brigadier General Marcus A. Reno, Custer National Cemetery.

The headstone of Marcus Albert Reno, Custer National Cemetery, Little Bighorn Battlefield, Montana. When Reno died March 30, 1889 of cancer he was buried in an unmarked grave at Glenwood Cemetery in Washington D.C. In 1967 his body was exhumed and reburied at the Custer National Cemetery on September 9 with full military honors. The grave, # 1469, is located in Section C near the flagpole.
Marcus Albert Reno was born November 11, 1834 in Carrollton, Illinois.   Reno attended the U S Military Academy at West Point (1851-1857), graduating 20th in a class of 38. He was brevetted second lieutenant, 1st Dragoons (1st U. S. Cavalry), on July 1, 1857, and assigned to duty in Oregon prior to the Civil War.
Reno served in the Union Army in the Civil War.   As a captain in the 1st U. S. Cavalry he saw limited action in command of four companies at the Battles of South Mountain and Antietam. Reno was wounded at Kelly's Ford in Virginia on March 17, 1863, and was given the brevet rank of major for gallant and meritorious conduct. Four months later, he served during the Gettysburg Campaign.  Reno participated in the 1864 battles of Cold Harbor, Trevilian Station, and Cedar Creek. After serving in a variety of staff positions, he was brevetted lieutenant colonel in October 1864. In December 1864, Reno became brevet colonel of the 12th Pennsylvania Cavalry, later commanding a brigade against John S Mosby's partisan rangers. On March 13, 1865, he was brevetted brigadier general for "meritorious services during the war."
Following the Civil War Reno remained in the army and in 1866 was assigned to duty at Fort Vancouver in Washington Territory.  In 1868 Major Reno was transferred to the 7th U. S. Cavalry.  He participated in the Battle of the Little Bighorn in eastern Montana on June 25-26, 1876.  Controversy surrounded Reno's performance in this battle which resulted in the death of Lt. Colonel George A. Custer and over 250 solders under his command.  A Court of Inquiry in 1879 cleared Reno of any wrong doing at the Battle of The Little Big Horn however he still could not  escape the controversy and cloud on his name and actions.  He began drinking as his military career soured which lead to court martial proceedings and ultimately a dishonorable discharge from the army in 1880.  Many years after his death Reno was cleared of all charges initially brought up in the court martial and posthumously granted an honorable discharge. 
Brevet  Brigadier General Marcus Reno is the highest ranking officer  and also  the only officer of the 7th U. S. Cavalry  buried at Custer National Cemetery.  

Monument on Reno- Benteen Hill, Little Big Horn Battlefield.  The Reno- Benteen Battlefield, where this monument is located, is approximately 5 miles south of Last Stand Hill.  Reno and his troops retreated here on the afternoon of June 25, 1876 following their unsuccessful attack on the Indian village in the valley west of and across the Little Big Horn River from this site.  Reno was later joined by Captain Frederick Benteen and his command.    The combined commands established defensive works here that were attacked by the Indians late on June 25 and early on June 26, 1876. The Indians left the battlefield in the evening on June 26.   On June 27, 1876 troops under the command of  General Alfred Terry and Colonel John Gibbon arrived at the Little Big Horn Battlefield to the great relief of Reno and his command.   

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