Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, Montana

After showing Marge the natural wonders of Garden of the Gods, Rocky Mountain NP, and Yellowstone NP; I decided to show her some of the areas history. The Little Bighorn Battle Field is where Lt. Col. George Custer and his 7th Cavalry battalion of 210 men met their demise. The Lakota, Arapaho, and Cheyenne Indians met Custer head on and won an easy battle.

The first thing we do when we arrive at a National Park is attend informative talks at the Visitor Center. I compared the talk we listened to this time with what I remembered from the talk in 2002 when I last stopped here. I feel that the present talk is more accurate. The ranger did a very good job defining Custerís mission which congress sent him on. Congress and the President gave the indians a reservation where they did not have any buffalo to hunt. So the Lakota, Arapaho, and Cheyenne decided they would not go on the reservation but head to where the bufflao were. The little Bighorn area of Montana had large herds of Buffalo.

Custer was part of a three prong movement to locate and round up the Indians and get them to the reservation. Custer approached the area with 12 companies of cavalry from the Dakotas, Col Gibbon approached with 4 cavalry and 6 infantry from the north. General Crook approached from Wyoming with 15 cavalry and 5 infantry.

Custer was the first to locate the Indians and was worried that if he waited for the rest of the army, that the Indians would move. He did not know that the Lakota, Arapaho, and Cheyenne joined forces and that they were an extremely large group. (Estimates are that the village contained 10,000 indians) He also did not think that they would fight and would be easily moved back onto the reservation.

Custer split is group in to two battalions. Custer would take his battalion and circle around the village. Maj. Reno would take his battalion and wait for Custer to go around the village and then he would charge the village head on. But the Indians came out fighting when they saw Custer trying to circle the village. Reno started to advance and then retreated when he saw they were well out numbered. His force hid in the woods and watched Custer get overrun. Reno lost 52 men.

The other columns showed up the next day. The Indians already left and took their casualties with them. So there is no record of how many Indians died; only a rough estimate.

The ranger giving us a very good history lesson.
"last Stand Hill" is in the background. That is where Custer fell

They have grave markers where to mark where the men died. The fenced in area is whre the final group fell.
There are markers scattered all around the hillside and down in valley.

The trees at the top left are where Reno hid. On the top right is the visitor center and a National Cemetery behind it.
Custerís headstone has a brown shield and is in the middle foreground.

One of the many markers along the paths and road in the monument.

This is a monument put up by the indians. It was not here in 2002.

There grave stones for the indians who fell. These were also not here in 2002.

The National Cemetery. It is now closed to new interments.
Like all National Cemeteries, it contains men and women who served our country in war and peacetime.

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