Report From The Planting Moon Gathering - Saturday, 21 May 2005

The Planting Moon Gathering took place at the Chestnut Tree, (opposite the East Birmingham Campus), Sheldon, Birmingham, on Saturday, 21 May 2005 - twenty-two members and guests were present.   

The Fifth Anniversary of the Custer Association of Great Britain was celebrated at the Planting Moon Gathering, which was held on Saturday, 21 May 2005 at the Chestnut Tree, Sheldon Heath Road, Birmingham. Twenty-two members and guests were in attendance.

After the usual preliminaries Chairman Lawrence Sherrington outlined a revised programme for the day, which was due to one of the main speakers, Sandy Barnard, being unable to be in England as originally planned. However, Sandy is hoping to attend the next meeting that is scheduled for the 12th of November.

The first item on the agenda, a review of the proposed constitution, was led by Kevin Galvin who had completed the majority of the preparatory work. Some amendments were deemed necessary and it was agreed that the final wording would be presented for adoption at the AGM, which will coincide with the November meeting referred to above.

Kevin Galvin also filled the vacant slot created by Sandy Barnard’s absence and presented a paper entitled, Custer v Stuart, a four-part study of their Civil War encounters and the subsequent significance of them. This introductory topic, which covered the actions at Brandy Station, Hunterstown and East Cavalry Field, near Gettysburg, provoked the expected discussion, debate and disagreement, all in the cause of advancing our knowledge and understanding. In addition to his own illustrations, Kevin used a video taken by Ken Doran during a field trip to Brandy Station.

Virtually the whole of the afternoon session was given over to our President, Francis Taunton, who started by expounding his views on Robert J. Kershaw’s new book on the Little Big Horn battle, entitled Red Sabbath. Francis was generally positive about this work, which was rather unusual in the sense that it was written by a serving officer in the British Army who had covered the terrain on a Staff Ride in 2001. He was a little less enthusiastic about some of the detail and use of source material.

Francis supplemented his second presentation, The Conference on the Far West, with some excellent handouts including a map of the area, which clearly showed that the troops were entering literally uncharted territory. He began by setting the scene with some useful background information before proceeding to examine the contradictory accounts of the plans for the days immediately following 20 June, 1876. It appears that ambiguity abounds both in the detail regarding the orders given to Custer and their interpretation. A contributory factor to the lack of clarity, both then and now, was the absence of established ‘doctrine’ in the U.S. Army - a view that was supported by members of the ‘military wing’ of the Association who were present.

Ken Doran brought the day’s programme to a conclusion by presenting a report on behalf of the Scottish members, which covered their recent meeting in Glasgow and other news from north of the border. There was wide support from those present for a Gathering to be held in Scotland, as well as in other parts of the country, to give as many members as possible the opportunity to attend  future meetings.

Thanks were given to Mike Christian, the Event Co-ordinator, for arranging yet another enjoyable and successful day.

Report From The Deer Rutting Moon Gathering - Saturday, 12 November 2005

The Deer Rutting Moon Gathering took place at the Chestnut Tree, (opposite the East Birmingham Campus), Sheldon, Birmingham, on Saturday, 12 November 2005 - twenty-three members and guests were present.

Twenty-three members and guests of the Custer Association of Great Britain attended the Deer Rutting Moon Gathering, which was held on Saturday 12 November 2005 at the Chestnut Tree, Sheldon Heath Road, Birmingham.

Chairman Lawrence Sherrington opened the day’s proceedings by extending an especially warm welcome to two of our Americans members, Darrell Dorgan from North Dakota and Sandy Barnard from North Carolina, who was accompanied by his wife, Betty.

The first item on the agenda was a short Annual General Meeting that was specifically held to approve the Association’s Constitution and elect a new Committee. With the exception of two minor amendments, the Constitution was unanimously adopted and the following members were duly elected to serve on the Committee for the next 12 months: Lawrence Sherrington, Chairman; Mike Christian, Vice Chairman; Peter Russell, Secretary; Kevin Galvin, Membership Secretary and Webmaster; Hugh Taylor, Treasurer [TBC] and Vince Hawkins, Event Co-ordinator.

Peter Russell gave a brief and highly encouraging report of the Association’s activities since its formation in June 2000, during which time we had not only attracted more than 200 new members, almost equally divided between Europe and North America, but had also been featured on British television and in numerous newspapers, periodicals and journals on both sides of the Atlantic.

With the AGM out of the way the time had come for the Chairman to formally introduce Sandy Barnard, whose excellent and well-illustrated presentation was based on the newly-published book, entitled Where Custer Fell, which he co-authored with Jim Brust and the late Brian Pohanka. Sandy told his audience of the fascinating experience of photographing the Battlefield in the same way as the original photographs, which often proved to be a surprisingly difficult task. The oldest known photograph of this bloody field (“The Place where Custer fell”) was taken by John H Fouch just one year after the battle and was acquired by Jim Brust as recently as 1990. While some of the images clearly showed changes over time, by both human and natural means, others remained remarkably similar. Sandy concluded his presentation by offering members signed copies of the book, which were quickly sold out.

Associate Member Darrell Dorgan, then took centre stage to bring us news from Fort Abraham Lincoln and to deliver a personal invitation from the Governor of North Dakota for members of the CAGB to attend the Lewis and Clark Signature Event at New Town in August 2006. This was followed by a short promotional DVD that Darrell had produced for the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame, a venture in which he has personally played such a major part. He then auctioned a number of items that had been generously donated by several organisations in his home state and raised over £85 for the Association’s funds.

After lunch Kevin Galvin continued his Custer versus Stuart series of talks with his customary degree of detail and military expertise. He covered the Confederate’s retreat following their defeat at Gettysburg through to Yellow Tavern, where James (JEB) Stuart was mortally wounded.

The penultimate item of the day was an amusing and highly innovative quiz devised by Vice President Derek Batten. The 40-plus images displayed, including several of the fairer sex, all had a ‘Western’ connection and newly-elected Vice Chairman, Mike Christian was the worthy winner. His prize, a book entitled Digging into Custer’s Last Stand, was most appropriate as it was donated by our Michigan-based Vice President Joan Croy, was written by Sandy Barnard and actually contained a photograph of Derek Batten taken during one of the archaeological digs at the Battlefield.

The final session of the day, My Vision for the CAGB over the next Five Years, was run by Peter Russell who gave a personal view of direction he would like to see the Association going during this period. It included a further expansion of membership, regional meetings, even greater coverage of the Custer Story in the media in this country and the publication of a scholarly, well-researched work that would contain biographies of all the British-born members of the 7th Cavalry in June 1876, to celebrate our 10th Anniversary in 2010.

Chairman Lawrence brought another successful and enjoyable gathering to close.


Custer Association of Great Britain

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