Posted on November 10, 2013 / 723

Battle of Little Bighorn Memorial

Have you heard about the battle of Little Bighorn Memorial? It is an historic area and memorial devoted to the infamous battle in Montana. Aside from the war itself, the location of the battlefield became popular because of its historic background. The Battle of the Little Bighorn is also known as the Battle of the Greasy Grass and/or Custer’s Last Stand. It was an armed battle between the combined military force of Arapaho tribes and Lakota, Northern Cheyenne tribes against the military force of the US Army’s Seventh Cavalry Regiment. The historical battle happened on June 25-26, 1876. The battle took place near the area of Little Bighorn River located in the Eastern part of Montana Territory.

The battle is considered to be one of the most discussed military actions of the Great Sioux War in 1876. In the battle, the combined force of Arapaho, Lakota and Northern Cheyenne American Indian tribes were victorious against the US Army. The forces of Arapaho, Lakota and Northern Cheyenne were headed by war leaders Chief Gall and Crazy Horse, while the USA Seventh Cavalry force was lead by General George Armstrong Custer.

The USA Seventh Cavalry force was 700 men strong and suffered a bloody defeat. Almost five full regiments of the USA Seventh Cavalry force were killed. General Custer himself was killed, along with Custer’s brother-in-law, nephew and two brothers. In total, the military force of the US Army suffered 268 deaths and 55 injuries. Casualty numbers on the Native American side vary widely from source-to-source, ranging anywhere from 36 up to 300.

Background of the Battle of Little Bighorn Memorial

The battle of Little Bighorn Memorial is a tribute to the lives lost in this historic battle and a reminder of our nation’s turbulent past. The battle was a result of tension between encroaching settlers and Native American inhabitants located in the Great Plains. The battle was a culmination of what was known as the Sioux Wars, resulting from tension placed upon the Native American inhabitants by the encroachment of oncoming US settlers.

The American force headed by Custer planned to attack native inhabitants in the day light. Custer divided his troops into three forces to attack from different entry points. However, he did not realize that his opponent’s force was up to three times larger than his own and they were quickly trapped and surrounded on the tactical battle approach of the Arapaho, Lakota and Northern Cheyenne tribes.

In less than one hour from the beginning of the attack, the majority of Custer’s men, including General Custer himself, were dead. After victory was attained, the Native American forces mutilated the bodies of the dead American soldiers, with the exception of General Custer. They did so because it was their belief that mutilating the body of a person will prevent that person from ascending to heaven as well as force the dead person to keep on walking the Earth for eternity. They stripped the body of General Custer but did not mutilate him. It has been speculated that they did not mutilate his body because they thought he was a civilian due to his long hair or out of respect for him as a leader. The true reason he was not mutilated is not known.

Battle of Little Bighorn: Pinnacle of Indian’s Power and Victory

There are many people who believe that the Battle of Little Bighorn was the greatest achievement of Native American strength and power. They attained victory in the battle, however, their union fell apart shortly after the battle.

Strategic Errors by Custer

It is widely speculated that General Custer made several strategic errors from the start of campaign. He refused to use Gatling guns and turned down an offer from General Terry for more battalion to fight in the battle. Custer believed that the use of Gatling guns would prohibit maximum mobility and movement of his troops. Custer also believed that his men could handle the force of the Native Americans, no matter their numbers. There were also reports saying that Custer ignored warnings from Charley Reynolds and Crow Scouts. He divided his troops too thin and widely scattered them in a manner that prevented them from supporting one another readily.

Admiration for Custer’s Bravery and Effort

Despite of criticisms of actions taken by Custer, there were still many people who admired his effort and bravery. General Nelson A. Miles conducted an investigation into the circumstances of the battle and concluded that the more he studied, the more he admired Custer. Elizabeth Bacon Custer, widow of General Custer, tried her best to protect the reputation of her husband in the years to follow. Captain Frederick Whittaker also admired Custer’s bravery. He said despite of criticisms to Custer because of his strategic errors, he believed that Custer showed great heroism.


Battle of the Little Bighorn Memorial, Little Bighorn Battlefield, Montana 59031, USA

Latitude = 45.565
Longitude = -107.4288889



Tribute Type : Monuments / Memorials
Sources : Wikipedia, Durwood Brandon, Vacarme, TFCforever, Mfo316, Jasperado, Flickr Commons

Tribute Author : Brian Douglas

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