To crush the Plains Indians and drive them onto reservations, Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer and more than 600 7th Cavalrymen and Indian scouts advanced on an Indian encampment in the Little Bighorn Valley of Montana on June 25, 1876. Custer’s main concern was to keep the Indians from escaping, but on this day, he faced the biggest alliance of hostile Plains Indians–mostly Sioux and Cheyenne–ever gathered in one place. Custer and his entire personal command, about 210 soldiers, were wiped out. Many reasons for the military disaster have been promulgated, including the divided command, the difficult terrain, internal regimental jealousies, the weapons used and the quality of the troops. However, exactly what took place during the Battle of the Little Bighorn, particularly during what has become known as Custer’s Last Stand, may never be known.
Image: Library of Congress