One of the firm’s founders, Lyman D. Gilbert, defended U.S. Army Major Marcus Reno in a Court of Inquiry concerning Major Reno’s conduct at the Battle of Little Big Horn, also widely known as “Custer’s Last Stand,” June 25-26, 1876.
Reno served as a Brigadier General in the United States Army during the Civil War, but returned to the rank of Major when that war ended. Major Reno took part in an attack on the Sioux and Cheyenne Native Americans in Montana, June 25-27,1876. During this attack, Lt. Colonel George A. Custer and almost 60 percent of the 7th Cavalry were massacred. Although Reno was the senior surviving officer and credited with saving the remainder of the Cavalry in the battle, he was accused of dereliction of duty and cowardice. Harrisburg lawyer Lyman Gilbert represented Reno at the inquiry held in Chicago in 1879. Although Reno was cleared of the charges, he was later tried on an unrelated charge of behavior unbecoming an officer and was court-martialed. In 1967, however, the case was reopened and his name cleared.