The Battle of the Little Bighorn

"Cap'n Custer! Cap'n Custer! The scouts have returned!"

George Armstrong Custer's head snapped up from the maps he had been studying. He rose from his chair, strode quickly towards the front flap of his tent, and exited into the cool Montana air.

The Second Sioux War had begun several months previous. When gold had been discovered in the Black Hills of Montana, thousands of prospectors had flocked to the site. Unfortunately, the Sioux considered this land sacred. Outraged, they had declared war.

Custer scoffed to himself as the made his way through the military encampment. It was ridiculous, of course; the redskins had zero chance of winning. The Indians were outgunned and outmatched. Though the red men often had superior numbers in battle, weapons such as the six-shooter and the Howitzer canon typically allowed Americans to win near-every battle, even ones in which they were outnumber two-to-one.

After a minute or so, Custer had reached the edge of the encampment. There he found three scouts putting their horses up. Custer had sent them out about forty-eight hours previous.

"Report!" he barked to the three young men. The scouts quickly turned around and snapped to attention.

"Sir," began the oldest-looking scout, "we have discovered a small river ten miles to the west. On the far side of the river is an Indian village."

Custer nodded appreciatively. "Population?"

"About 1,000 Indian warriors."

"Anything else I should know?"

There was a brief pause. Then, "Crazy Horse is there, sir."

Custer raised his eyebrows in surprise but didn't say anything beyond a curt, "Alright, dismissed."

As he slowly made his way back to his personal tent, Custer stroked his chin in thought. Crazy Horse, beyond being an utterly fearless and deadly warrior, was a brilliant general - or 'Warrior Chief', as the injuns knew him. With 1,000 warriors at his disposal, Crazy Horse would be a formidable opponent.

Custer chuckled quietly to himself. Killing Crazy Horse and 1,000 Indian warriors would earn him national fame.

***

Custer immediately mobilized his troops. The 650 men under his command were divided into three sections: One would be commanded by Captain Fredrick Benteen, one by Major Marcus Reno, and one by Custer himself. Benteen would attack from the south, Reno would cross the river and attack from the east, and Custer would attack from the north.

Reno approached Custer just before the troops were about to move out.

"Sir," Reno began, "are you sure it is a good idea to attack so soon?"

Custer, who had been fiddling with his waistcoat, looked up at Reno, a look of surprise on his face. "Why's that?"

Reno fidgeted in place. "Well, sir, I think that it would be wise to wait for General Terry."

The 650 men under Custer's direct command were part of a much larger army. This army was commanded by a man named Terry. Currently, Custer and his men were about two days away from the rest of the army.

"If we wait a day or two, General Terry and reinforcements will arrive-"

"If we wait a few days," Custer cut in, "Crazy Horse may end up leaving before we attack." He sighed. "Look, Marc, you know I have a lot of respect for your judgment." His voice trailed off. Suddenly, a hardened look came onto his face. "Soldier, I need you to shut up and soldier!"

***

Unbeknownst to Custer, he never had a chance to win. The Indian village in fact contained well over 2,000 warriors, including not only Crazy Horse, but Sitting Bull and Gall as well. It was, in fact, the greatest gathering of Indian warriors in Western history.

On June 25th, the attack began. Major Reno had attacked first. After a relatively short and bloody battle, Reno, badly beaten, had retreated across the river and rejoined Benteen's troops. In the meantime, Custer's personal force of 265 men had attacked the Indians from the north.

The fighting went on for only one hour; Custer and every single one of his men were killed.

The Indians then turned their attention to the remaining forces of Benteen and Reno. They battled them until dusk of June 26th, and then disbanded and left the area. Reinforcements from General Terry arrived on June 27th.