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Battle of Little Bighorn


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Jun 25, 1876:

Battle of Little Bighorn

On this day in 1876, Native American forces led by Chiefs Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull defeat the U.S. Army troops of Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer in a bloody battle near southern Montana's Little Bighorn River.

 

Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, leaders of the Sioux tribe on the Great Plains, strongly resisted the mid-19th-century efforts of the U.S. government to confine their people to reservations. In 1875, after gold was discovered in South Dakota's Black Hills, the U.S. Army ignored previous treaty agreements and invaded the region. This betrayal led many Sioux and Cheyenne tribesmen to leave their reservations and join Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse in Montana. By the late spring of 1876, more than 10,000 Native Americans had gathered in a camp along the Little Bighorn River--which they called the Greasy Grass--in defiance of a U.S. War Department order to return to their reservations or risk being attacked.

In mid-June, three columns of U.S. soldiers lined up against the camp and prepared to march. A force of 1,200 Native Americans turned back the first column on June 17 Scissors-32x32.png

http://www.history.com/topics/battle-of-the-little-bighorn

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How the Battle of Little Bighorn Was Won

 

Accounts of the 1876 battle have focused on Custer's ill-fated cavalry. But a new book offers a take from the Indian's point of view

 

· By Thomas Powers

· Photographs by Aaron Huey

· Smithsonian magazine, November 2010,

 

Little-Bighorn-flats-631.jpg

On the day of the battle, 6,000 to 7,000 Indians were camped on the flats beside the Little Bighorn River. (Aaron Huey)
Photo Gallery (1/12) Little-Bighorn-pictograph-Amos-Bad-Heart Explore more photos from the story
Related Books
Custer’s Last Campaign: Mitch Boyer and the Little Bighorn Reconstructed

by John S. Gray
University of Nebraska Press, 1991

The Custer Myth

by W.A. Graham
Stackpole Books, 1953

Indian Views of the Custer Fight: A Source Book

by Richard G. Hardoff (editor)
Arthur H. Clark (Spokane, Washington), 2004

Lakota Recollections of the Custer Fight: New Memories of Indian Military History

by Richard G. Hardorff (editor)
University of Nebraska Press, 1997

The Sixth Grandfather: Black Elk’s Teachings Given to John G. Neihardt

by Raymond J. DeMallie (editor)
University of Nebraska Press, 1984

More from Smithsonian.com

Editor’s note: In 1874, an Army expedition led by Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer found gold in the Black Hills, in present-day South Dakota. At the time, the United States recognized the hills as property of the Sioux Nation, under a treaty the two parties had signed six years before. The Grant administration tried to buy the hills, but the Sioux, considering them sacred ground, refused to sell; in 1876, federal troops were dispatched to force the Sioux onto reservations and pacify the Great Plains. That June, Custer attacked an encampment of Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho on the Little Bighorn River, in what is now Montana.

 

The Battle of the Little Bighorn is one of the most studied actions in U.S. military history, and the immense literature on the subject is devoted primarily to answering questions about Custer’s generalship during the fighting. But neither he nor the 209 men in his immediate command survived the day, and an Indian counterattack would pin down seven companies of their fellow 7th Cavalrymen on a hilltop over four miles away. (Of about 400 soldiers on the hilltop, 53 were killed and 60 were wounded before the Indians ended their siege the next day.) The experience of Custer and his men can be reconstructed only by inference.

 

This is not true of the Indian version of the battle. Long-neglected accounts given by more than 50 Indian participants or witnesses provide a means of tracking the fight from the first warning to the killing of the last of Custer’s troopers—a period of about two hours and 15 minutes.Scissors-32x32.png

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/How-the-Battle-of-Little-Bighorn-Was-Won.html

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