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  • Writer's pictureBrian Childress

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument -Wyoming

Updated: Oct 9, 2021

(Post and photos by David Miller, Rob Gilchrist, Ernie Blackenship, and Mr. Brian Childress)

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument preserves the site of the June 25 and 26, 1876, Battle of the Little Bighorn, near Crow Agency, Montana, in the United States. It also serves as a memorial to those who fought in the battle: George Armstrong Custer's 7th Cavalry and a combined Lakota-Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho force. Custer National Cemetery, on the battlefield, is part of the national monument. The site of a related military action led by Marcus Reno and Frederick Benteen is also part of the national monument, but is about 3 miles southeast of the Little Bighorn battlefield.

The Battle of the Little Bighorn, known to the Lakota and other Plains Indians as the Battle of the Greasy Grass and also commonly referred to as Custer's Last Stand, was an armed engagement between combined forces of the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes and the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army. The battle, which resulted in the defeat of U.S. forces, was the most significant action of the Great Sioux War of 1876. It took place on June 25–26, 1876, along the Little Bighorn River in the Crow Indian Reservation in southeastern Montana Territory.

The fight was an overwhelming victory for the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho, who were led by several major war leaders, including Crazy Horse and Chief Gall, and had been inspired by the visions of Sitting Bull. The U.S. 7th Cavalry, a force of 700 men, suffered a major defeat while commanded by Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer (formerly a brevet major general during the American Civil War). Five of the 7th Cavalry's twelve companies were annihilated and Custer was killed, as were two of his brothers, a nephew, and a brother-in-law. The total U.S. casualty count included 268 dead and 55 severely wounded (six died later from their wounds),  244 including four Crow Indian scouts and at least two Arikara Indian scouts.

The Indian Memorial at Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument in Montana was created to honor and recognize those American Indians who died to preserve their traditional way of life at the 1876 battle, as well as to provide a better understanding of the causes and consequences of what is popularly known as “Custer’s Last Stand.”

Conversations/Things we learned:

We stopped at this location on our trek to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks. This location provides an important and sad understanding of the exploration of the west portion of the United States.

Just like many historical national monuments such as Andersonville Civil War National Monument (also featured on our site), United States Military veterans are eligible for burial at the cemetery.

What caused the Battle of Little Bighorn? 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.

Contact Information:

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument P.O. Box 39 Crow Agency, MT 59022-0039

Phone (406) 638-3216


Indian Memorial

Gallery of photos

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