Custer’s Last Stand



Custer's Last Stand

Custer’s Last Stand refers to a battle that occurred in the Montana Territory on June 25th, 1876. Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer commanding approximately 10 companies of infantry and cavalry faced off against a combined Indian force of about 1800 Lakota and Cheyenne braves.

          In December, 2010 a flag with Custer at the Little Big Horn sold for $1.9 MILLION.  The flag was described by Sotheby’s as a “silk guidon with a field of thirteen red and white stripes and a canton of blue with 35 applied gold stars, with a swallow-tail design at free edge; some fraying, splits, and tears; some running of color; staining, including, evidently, blood stains; with losses from both battle and souvenir-takers.”  The guidon was found by Sgt. Fred Culbertson beneath the body of Cpl. John Foley on June 28, 1876, three days after the battle. It measures “27 ½ inches at the hoist by 33 inches at the fly.”

      The battle lasted less than 30 minutes from start to finish. Custer had split his forces prior to the confrontation and was commanding only 208 cavalry and a few Indian scouts. Not realizing he was facing almost 10:1 odds Custer directed his Cavalry into the Medicine Tail Coulee which put his mounted troops at an extreme disadvantage to the massed Indian braves surrounding the valley. The majority of Custer’s men were brought down with bow and arrows fired by the Indians. Surviving soldiers were then bludgeoned to death by the Indian braves wielding war clubs.  Casualty reports varied widely after the battle. Most historians believe Indian losses to have numbered between 50-150 while the U.S. Army force suffered losses of 268.  

     Today, the site of the Battle of Little Bighorn has been designated as a national cemetery. A large marble obelisk was erected on the site in 1881. Several red granite markers have been added in recent years to honor the fallen Native American warriors.

 Tomorrow, the Rough Riders   Rita Bay

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