The battle of Little Bighorn took place in the summer of 1876. What was the Battle of Little Bighorn and why did it take place? In the later part of 1875, upset about the intrusion of the white people, the Sioux and Cheyenne Native Americans left the reservations they were given by the American government and relocated to their sacred Black Hills. The American government was upset about the movement and decided to force the Sioux and Cheyenne back to the reservation.
The American government sent out the American Army to move the Sioux and Cheyenne back to their reservation. The Army was told to do this in a clean and coordinated fashion. Lt. Colonel George Custer and the Seventh Cavalry spotted the Sioux village fifteen miles away on the Rosebud River and also a camp of 40 warriors on June 25. Lt. Colonel George Custer decided to attack the main party of Sioux that were along the Rosebud River and split his cavalry into three different groups. Captain Frederick Benteen was sent to the upper valley of the Little Bighorn to prevent the Sioux from escape and Major Marcus Reno was sent to follow the group of Sioux, cross the Rosebud River and charge into the Sioux village. With the Sioux village surround, Lt. Colonel George Custer assumed the Sioux would be easy to contain and move with ease. Lt. Colonel George Custer did not realize the Sioux had three times the amount of warriors and the terrain had steep bluffs and ravines that would need to be maneuvered around.
Major Marcus Reno and his troop of 175 soldiers attacked the Sioux village from the southern end of the valley as instructed and quickly realized the other troops were not there to help relieve the war that had begun. Major Marcus Reno and his troop fought for 10 minutes and retreated into the brush that was along the Rosebud River. As the Indian army followed, the men moved along the steep bluffs and ravines.
Lt. Colonel George Custer had his troop advance into the village from the northern end. The Indian Army that was attacking Major Marcus Reno’s troop refocused onto the new group of men that had started to attack. Crazy Horse was a leader for the Oglala Sioux; he had his Indian army move downstream along the Rosebud River and double backed in and arc and contain Lt. Colonel George Custer and his troop. In less than an hour, the Oglala Sioux had killed Lt. Colonel George Custer and his men. One more day of fighting took place; Major Marcus Reno and Captain Frederick Benteen were able to escape from the Indian army.
When the Battle of Little Bighorn ended the Indians returned to strip and mutilate the American Soldiers that were killed and left behind. The Indians believed that a mutilated body would have to walk the earth for all eternity and would not be able to reach heaven. The only body untouched was Lt. Colonel George Custer. Many believe he was not mutilated because he was not wearing an American Army uniform, but instead buckskins that an Indian would wear. Others believe that the Indians left Lt. Colonel George Custer’s body alone out of respect because of his fighting abilities; but today, no one knows the real reason his body was left alone.
The Battle of Little Bighorn was the greatest victory that the Indian Army won, yet the worst American military disaster ever recorded. The “white” people were outraged that the Indian Army had killed a popular Civil War hero. To punish the Indian community, the lines within the Black Hills were redrawn and the Sioux had to leave their beloved home.