Custer’s Last Stand enters the annals of military history with a bang. Major Marcus Reno who commanded one of the 3 wings to support Custer has been vilified as a coward or praised as a shrewd military commander just as long and with as much gusto. Rod Serling of the Twilight Zone even weighed in on the matter in “The 7th Is Made Up of Phantoms,” and had his characters support the 7th in a heroic last effort.

The late Evan Connell, in his majestic analysis on Custer and the battle titled, “Son of the Morning Star,” weighs the evidence, the military tribunal and Reno’s own Civil War record & decides to be impartial; we will let the chart decide.

Charting Reno

Maj. Reno has 4 of 5 oppositions in his chart — almost a perfect Humanist star. He is a Splash Temperament Type. Despite all these oppositions, his Dynamic Aptitude is characterized by a Sun (5th house) to Neptune (7th) Square an aspect that subtly weakens the native’s characters and makes him easily swayed by either his vanity or morose sympathy. C.E.O. Carter writes that “this shows a craving for something great and out of the ordinary but without the ability to rise to such stature or the wisdom to see it.”

Major Marcus Albert Reno was born on November 15, 1834 in Carrollton, Illinois. His ambition from the time he was a little boy, was to go to West Point (Mars partile his ascendant 21 Cancer 08 for the HS “Poet writing secret thoughts” keyword Sensible) and at 15 he petitioned his Congressman to that effect using his family history of being the great-grandnephew of Phillippe Francois Renault (Reno) who came to this country with the Marquis de La Fayette. They rewarded Renault for services to the United States Government with large tracts of lands, but he seemed never to come to them for vague reasons.**

On September 1st, 1851, he entered the Academy.

There are some harbingers in Reno’s chart upon entering the Academy, notable that the South Node 08 Sagittarius 04 Rx is conjunct his Midheaven at 05 Sagittarius 42.

While the Dragon’s Tail is not always a bad sign in the 10th, it denotes more of a practical mind tailored to business (his father was a merchant) than a soldier, and may bring at some
future period serious worries and trouble because the person is ill suited for the studies/career.

His South Node in the Academy chart is square Mars 00 Virgo 19 (HS “An antebellum plantation mansion” keyword, Preservation with the admonition from Southerner Gavin McClung, the urge to save all from destruction) is in the 6th house of work and service. This is a bit of conundrum, as Reno under military rules reports to a superior and follows orders, no different from one does in the workplace, as it suggests he does not take orders from incompetents well and relies more on his own cognizance. (In his trial after repeated questioning he admitted “he had no confidence in Custer as a soldier.” The cross-examination ends at that point and Reno never states why.)

It took him almost six years to graduate, because he gained several demerits for being tardy and upon graduation in June 1857. Reno ranked 20th in a class of 38 or the bottom half of the class.

Again Reno’s water trine appears in the chart marking his first day at the Academy. Here, including Pluto, he has a preponderance in Taurus all Retrograde. Again, his Dynamic Aptitude is Sun square Neptune. His ascendant is partile his Saturn that is inconjunct in the 7th house. If we use Neptune with Saturn and make a yod to that Ascendant we get 6.30 Pisces as his Apex in the 6th house which on the morning of the LBH Battle is 1.30 degrees away from his Saturn that is on his 9th House cusp showing on Battle Day he was using what he learnt at the Academy but as that was opposite the Moon at 28 Leo 43 through the lens of his relationship with other older men and/or authority. To us, this validates the rectification.

Fast Forward to Bighorn

The Battle of Little Bighorn began on June 25 1876. It was a boiling, 95+ degree day. The chart below shows Reno’s natal chart and transits to the Battle. His transiting Ascendant is right on the 4th house cusp, the house of fathers (superiors) and end of life, at 20 Libra 15 (HS Wolves entering a new territory, keyword Circumspection.

June 26 1876 at Little Big Horn, or near Bozeman, Montana the great battle begun. The history channel has a decent essay on the Battle of Little Big Horn. We will not be recounting it here except for Reno’s chart with it. The chart above is Reno’s chart transiting it, which is interesting in that TMars is conjunct NMars and his TPoF is conjunct his TJupiter in the 5th house conjunct NSun. These few things show how much Reno wanted to be an important player in the battle, he saw this as a way to make his name.

Venus in Capricorn (not well suited here as Mars is exalted in Capricorn) is in the 6th house at the 7th house cups. Transitting there is nothing in the 7th house but Venus is opposing the Sun in Cancer (not well suited here as the Moon rules this house and the two luminaries do not do well in its each other’s abode). Thus with Venus opposing a weak Sun, his will was not up to his ambitions. The Sun is also conjunct his TMC hinting that the will was weak but the ambition was there.

His own NMC (HS Esoteric symbols on the blackboard, keyword Communication Breakdown) is opposite the TAsc in the 4th at 02 Libra 46 (HS Pepper shaker in silver, salt shaker in gold “disparate things in respect to one another” the keyword is Respectively). From the symbols alone, we see that a lot of messages were being sent but not understood. Things should have added up (the TAsc for one) did not, probably because Reno was under more stress than he was accustomed. It seems here, that his idea was to engage Custer in a game of one-upmanship and show that the better degree of valour was to save lives, not to engage in battle.

Connell points that Reno probably came to that opinion based on General John Singleton Mosby of the CSA (aka the Grey Ghost) bushwhacking him in the Civil War. History being the perverse creature it is, when Big Horn happened, Mosby was President Ulysses S. Grant’s head of the Department of the Interior (that ruled Indian affairs which Little Big Horn fell under) and as assistant Attorney General. It is doubtful that Reno could ignore that bit of irony.


  • 1* Connell Evan, The Son of the Morning Star, North Point Press, San Francisco, California, c. 1984 pg. 15
  • 2*  April 1912 edition of The National Americana Society of New York, pages 357 to 368.
  • President Clinton’s AG Janet Reno is not related to Major Reno. They changed their name from Rasmussen to Reno and were of Danish and not French descent.