Historians generally agree that Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer disobeyed General Alfred Terry's orders and split his command of the 7th Regiment of the U. S. Cavalry which numbered over 650 men total into three battalions: A, M, and G were commanded by Major Reno, D, H, and K were under Captain Benteen's command and C, E, F, I and L Cavalry were under Custer's leadership

     Lieutenant Colonel Custer chose to ignore his scouts' reports about the size of the Indian encampment

     Located on the banks of the Little Big Horn River was the largest concentration of Indians from six tribes that history has ever recorded

     Present were the Cheyenne, Sans Arcs, Miniconjoux Sioux, Oglala Sioux, Blackfeet and Hunkpapa Sioux.   It has been estimated that there were anywhere between ten to fifteen thousand Indians with over 2,500 warriors

     Captain Benteen and his Cavalry were sent to the west to scour the southern bluffs for Indians, Major Reno was to cross the river and attack the southern end of the Indian camp and Lieutenant Colonel Custer was originally going to support Major Reno but later decided to attack the middle of the encampment with his Cavalry

     Major Reno never succeeded in attacking the village as he realized an Indian trap was set for him.   Major Reno ordered his Cavalry dismounted and went immediately into a defensive formation  instead of an offensive attack as ordered by Lieutenant Colonel Custer.    Losing a third of his Cavalry in the timber and in a running fighting river crossing struggled for survival.   The Indians waged an outstanding battle  

    Major Reno did not regain control of his resources until reaching a bluff on the other side of the river.   Major Reno's Cavalry were able to regroup and fight a pitched battle.   Survival was being held by together by a thread

     Captain Benteen realizing that he had been sent on a fool's mission returned and found Major Reno's men in  desperate straits.   Regrouping and sharing information  neither Captain Benteen or Major Reno understood why Major Reno had not been supported by Custer's Cavalry as had originally been planned.   Satisfied just to hold the bluff for the next three hours Major Reno and Captain Benteen Cavalry held off the Indians until nightfall

     No one knows for sure the actual events that took place with Lieutenant Colonel Custer and his Cavalry. Four miles upstream from Major Reno, Lieutenant Colonel Custer took his men toward the central ford of the Little Big Horn River

     The Indians swarmed from everywhere, coming across the river and up into the gullies. Lieutenant Colonel Custer never reached the river but was forced to higher ground downstream by the Indians.   Offensive position in the front with a defensive rear guard was assumed in the high open ground

     Sioux chief, Gall attacked and over ran the rear guard, L and I Companies while Crazy Horse attacked the offensive commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Custer himself. In the end all 197 men on the hill were killed that day in less than 20 minutes

     The next day, Captain Benteen and Major Reno Cavalry were hammered again by the Indians.   The time was midday when suddenly all was quiet and the Indians were gone.   On June 27th , General Terry and his Cavalry found Lieutenant Colonel Custer and his Cavalry men on the hill.    Captain Keogh's horse Comanche severely wounded, was the only survivor

     In all the final totals not including civilians and scouts were estimated to be as follows: Lieutenant Colonel Custer's Cavalry battalion of 197 men killed, Major Reno's Cavalry battalion of 134 had 36 men killed and 26 wounded, Captain Benteen's Cavalry battalion of 125 had 11 men killed and 29 wounded

     Numerous reports on the Indians' fatalities are questionable as the Indians removed their dead and wounded before breaking camp

     Although this was the biggest defeat of the U. S. Army by the Plains Indians, it was also the beginning of the end for the Indians

     With the massacre occurring right before the nation's centennial birthday, the mood changed against the Indian in Washington.       Now the effort was to crush the Indians as if to personally seek revenge for the death of the soldiers at the Battle of the Little Big Horn                           

                                  Lieutenant Colonel Custer's Last Stand

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