Posted by Rich on June 19, 1999 at 08:28:39:
In Reply to: On The Trail Of ... Little Bighorn ... This Date In History posted by Rich on May 17, 1999 at 12:05:27:
Wow! This thread has been pushed WAY down! With all the Gathering goings-on, I missed a VERY important date ... June 17, 1876! For anyone following this ...
It was one month after the Fort Abraham Lincoln departure. Reno's 7th Cavalry scouting detachment was only miles away! General Crook's column, argueably the strongest Army contingent in the campaign, was approaching from the south ... United Indian camp scouts spotted them. In a HIGHLY uncharacteristic move, and contrary to ALL Army expectations, Crazy Horse, with approx. 800 warriors, left their camp behind to do open battle with a more numerous foe. Such was the confidence of these Sioux & Cheyenne!
Early in the morning, while Crook's men were paused enjoying their coffee, Crazy Horse swooped upon them. The battle, a wide open, hit & run affair, raged for 6 hours. Crook's Shoshone & Crow allies saved the day for him, offering the stiffest resistance. Crazy Horse was ALMOST successful in leading a part of the Army force into a deadly ambush that would have made this a clear & decisive victory. Huge expenditure of ammunition resulted in remarkably low casualities on both sides. The Indians, hungry, left the field.
Crook, having "driven" the foe from the battlefield, immediately claimed victory. Badly mauled, and now low on ammunition, he returned south to his Wyoming base camp to rest & re-supply. History, though, would see it as an Indian victory!
This was NOT, however, the victory Sitting Bull foresaw. No soldiers were "falling into camp." Fully confident - buoyed by victory - the united Indian force waited for the attack they knew still was to come. Suprisingly, Crook sent NO intelligence to the other 2 Army columns in the field. They would not be made aware of the temper of these Indians.
Perhaps due to this lack of communication, more than any other single factor, Custer's fate was sealed!
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