Western Trivia: Little Bighorn

June 25, 1876. Not quite the “massacre” we learned about in school.

Gall, Leader of Sioux Forces

Gall, Leader of Sioux Forces

So many myths surround this battle, not the least of which is that all of the US Cavalrymen died, George Armstrong Custer among them, and that only Custer’s horse survived. Most of the misconceptions are based on wife Elizabeth Custer’s memoirs, which painted quite a different picture from other contemporary sources.

The battle actually resulted in 268 deaths of US Calvary troops out of 700, and 168 Native American deaths out of an estimated 1,600 to 1,800 warriors. The horse Comanche belonged to another of the officers who died at Little Bighorn, Captain Myles Keough.

Do you ever wonder why, when the white man lost, the battles were labeled massacres, but when the white man won, it was always considered a victory, regardless of the number, age, or sex of the Native Americans who died?

4 thoughts on “Western Trivia: Little Bighorn

    • Hi, Carolyn, and welcome!

      The true facts are a little hard to come by. There are literally hundred of texts & documents on this battle, but most are slanted to one side or the other. The one that, to me, seems to have the most neutral account of the battle itself is this one.

      However, it doesn’t really cover the Native American viewpoint. One of the surprising things I read from Sioux observers is that they weren’t even aware of the Cavalry’s presence until the first shots were fired (or the first bugle was sounded).

      I read many files on both sides of the issue, and included here only the myths which are universally accepted but have proved to be historically inaccurate.

      Thanks for visiting! Hope to see you again.


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