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1876 The Battle of the Little Big Horn

Chronology

24 June "we passed a great many camping places, all appearing to be of nearly the same strength. One would naturally suppose these were the successive camping-places of the same village, when in fact they were the continuous camps of several bands. The fact that they appeared to be of nearly the same age, that is, having been made at the same time, did not impress us then. We passed through one much larger than any of the others. The grass for a considerable distance around it had been cropped close, indicating that large herds had been grazed there." Lt Colonel Edward S Godfrey



Custer's Last Stand by Edgar S Paxson, 1899


Custer's Last Stand by Edgar S Paxson, 1899


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1876 The Battle of the Little Big Horn



1876 The Battle of the Little Big Horn

Chronology


.spring 1876 the whole of the troops of the Seventh Cavalry regiment in the South assembled at Fort A. Lincoln with Custer commanding, for duty with Terry's column

3 April Colonel Gibbon left Fort Ellis

17 May The column left Fort A. Lincoln

29 May General Crook moved north from Fort Fetterman with 1,000 men, including a detachment of Crow scouts. (An earlier expedition leaving on 16 March had resulted in a skirmish between Col Joseph Reynolds’s 300 strong 3rd Cavalry troops and Lakota and Northern Cheyenne warriors led by Crazy Horse. Initially successful in a surprise attack Reynolds withdrew after destroying the contents of a village of about 100 lodges, following a counter attack led by Crazy Horse. A furious Crook brought Reynolds to Court Martial.)

7 June Terry dispatched Major Reno and six companies to scout the valleys of Powder River and the Tongue River

about 15 June the trail of a large body of ‘Indians’, was discovered on the Rosebud River, by Reno’s troops

17 June independent of and having no contact with Reno’s force, General Crook engaged Lakota and Northern Cheyenne at the Battle in which a sister saved her brother: on the Rosebud River.

21 June The steamer the Far West was moored on Yellowstone River near to where it is joined by the Rosebud. Terry met with Custer and Reno and issued his orders. Gibbon, who had been summoned to join them, was accompanied by Terry to block the area near the mouth of the Little Big Horn River

22 June Custer with the entire regiment, was detached to follow this trail. In the next three days he marched his men seventy miles.

24 June we passed a great many camping places, all appearing to be of nearly the same strength. One would naturally suppose these were the successive camping-places of the same village, when in fact they were the continuous camps of several bands. The fact that they appeared to be of nearly the same age, that is, having been made at the same time, did not impress us then. We passed through one much larger than any of the others. The grass for a considerable distance around it had been cropped close, indicating that large herds had been grazed there. Lt Colonel Edward S Godfrey

24 June night forced overnight march.
the Arikara ( often referred to as Ree from a shortening of the pronunciation arikaree) scouts held a council and with solemn rites prepared for death.

It seems that Custer intended to remain concealed until nightfall, and then attack the village at dawn but he received a report that his presence was known to the Lakota and Northern Cheyenne.
25 June Battle of the little Big Horn

26 June From dawn warriors sporadically fire upon the entrenched positions of those under Reno and Benteen all day while their families move toward the Big Horn mountains. In the evening hostilities ceased as the warriors also withdrew.

27 June General Terry, with Gibbon's column, arrived on the battle-field and discovered Custer's fate.

The wounded were sent by steamboat to Fort A. Lincoln, and from that point, on the 7 July, 1876, news of the disaster flashed across the wires to the East.





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© Chris Smallbone July 2007