Saturday, January 9, 2010

Battle of the Little Bighorn

The Battle of the Little Bighorn —also known as Custer's Last Stand and, by the Native Americans involved, the Battle of Greasy Grass Creek—was an armed engagement between a LakotaNorthern Cheyenne combined force and the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army. It occurred on June 25 and June 26, 1876, near the Little Bighorn River in eastern Montana Territory, near what is now Crow Agency, Montana.

The battle was the most famous action of the Great Sioux War of 1876-77 (also known as the Black Hills War) and was an overwhelming victory for the Lakota and Northern Cheyenne, led by Sitting Bull (Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake). The U.S. Seventh Cavalry, including a column of 700 men led by George Armstrong Custer, suffered a severe defeat. Five of the Seventh's companies were annihilated; Custer was killed, as were two of his brothers, a nephew, and a brother-in-law. Total US deaths were 268, including scouts, and 55 were wounded.

This was not the highest number of casualties in a battle by Native Americans against U.S. forces, however. That happened in 1791 at the Battle of the Wabash when the U.S army command suffered more than 600 fatalities. Americans were deeply shocked at Custer's defeat by the Sioux and Cheyenne. Public responses to the Great Sioux War changed. The battle, and Custer's actions in particular, have since been studied extensively by historians.

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