U.S.S. Iowa, 1951, with Alcatraz in the distance. [LIFE magazine archives]
Wednesday, September 05, 2018
"On a hot June Sunday in 1876, hordes of painted Indian warriors—perhaps as many as 4,000—swarmed over a treeless Montana ridge rising from the Little Bighorn River Valley. Five companies of U.S. Cavalry, about 215 blue-shirted troopers, contended briefly and hopelessly against overwhelming odds. When the guns fell silent and the smoke and dust of battle lifted, every soldier lay dead.
This was "Custer's Last Stand" the most spectacular triumph of the American Indian in his four-century struggle against the relentlessly advancing European civilization that finally crushed him. It forms a chapter of American history that has inspired intense study and provoked intense controversy, that has been chronicled endlessly in prose and verse and enacted time and again on motion picture and television screens, and that has earned a lasting place in the Nation's historical annals and popular folklore. In total defeat and death, Custer and his men achieved an immortality that even the most dramatic victory could not have won them."
— Robert M. Utley, NPS Handbook, Little Bighorn National Monument.
We'll be heading out to the battlefields with Neil Mangum in mid-October. If you are interested, and can get away for a few days, follow the link below, or go to whtours.org for registration information, and details on other upcoming tours.
After hiking part of the Rosebud battlefield on the first day, the next morning we'll follow Gibbon's route down the Yellowstone and ascend the Rosebud. We'll pause at Custer and Indian campsites (and other sites), visit Deer Medicine Rocks, and devote a day each to the Reno and Custer fighting. For good measure, we'll also take in the Baker Battlefield (August 1872), and Canyon Creek (Flight of the Nez Perce).