Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Battle of the Little Bighorn

The date 25 June 1876 marks the anniversary of the Battle of the Little Bighorn, the anniversary of the day George Armstrong Custer led approximately 268 men to their deaths in Montana wilderness.

The battle was the dramatic beginning of the end for the Indian Wars of the plains and the final closing of the reservations.

The battle epitomizes the clash of cultures – the Native American and the Euro-American. On the morning of the 25th, Custer and his 7th Cavalry read the divide between Rosebud and the Little Bighorn rivers. From a spot known as the Crow’s Nest, they observed a large Indian camp.
The Lakota and Cheyenne warriors, although surprised by the army’s attack, quickly rallied and put all elements of the Seventh Cavalry’s attack on the defensive. The Indians fought in small, loosely affiliated groups.

In the battle the 7th Cavalry suffered 268 men dead, which was nearly 40 percent of the regiment’s prebattle strength. The Battle of the Little Bighorn shocked the army and the entire nation. Washington immediately sent out reinforcements to the Northern Plains, and by the spring of 1877 virtually all the renegade Sioux, including Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, had been hunted down and removed to reservations.

The victors could hardly have predicted what followed: Crazy Horse’s assassination, the Wild West Show stardom of Sitting Bull, the allotment of the India lands under the Dawes Act and the final killing of Minneconjou Sioux over the Ghost Dance resistance.
Battle of the Little Bighorn
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