Sunday, July 7, 2013
Custer's Last Stand
We had a chance to visit this memorial/battlefield last year when we returned from San Francisco and the US Open. But someone told us that it was a waste, in that the only there is a marker in the middle of a field. Well, there is a marker in the field (actually on top of a hill) surrounded by fields.
Just west of the memorial marker and down the slope towards the river (Platte I think), are the markers where the soldiers were found in their approximate positions. The area is encompassed by an iron fence, and is considered part of the national cemetery. Down behind the visitor center are the other markers from other wars.
A few paces to the northwest is a memorial dedicated to the Native Americans. A recent addition to the memorial was the iron architecture seen just over the heads of the folks walking down to view it.
As you can read, several tribes had banded together for the battles here in the Little Big Horn area. And, there was more than just the last stand. As in all battles it seems, there were miscommunications, timing of troop movements, and other factors not planned for that spelled defeat for the Calvary.
Throughout the battlefield park there these markers, both Calvary and Native Americans. White designated the Calvary and red the Indians. And the markers were all along the road for about 5 miles. In fact, a day earlier near the end of the road, there a separate battle.
Down the hill to the west approaching the river and near the encamped Native Americans, is the location of this named battle. I always thought that Custer and his men were the only soldiers here, but alas, we again learned more the specifics of some general knowledge of our past history. I guess this was in the history books, but I just don’t remember this aspect of the events surrounding Little Big Horn.
This a view from the end of the road loop looking down to the southwest and the encampment of the Native Americans. We could see why the Native Americans loved this land. And of course during this time frame, there were millions of buffalo making these plains their home as well.
Looking northwest near the end of the road we saw these three Pinto horses. There are many Native Americans who still make this area home as the land has passed down through the generations. And the Pinto is still a favorite of these descendants.
Inside the crowded visitor center, we viewed a little of the history. Nancy got her cancellation stamp & color sticker for her National Park Service Passport book. Every NPS park or monument just about, has this stamp & sticker combination, which signifies a visit to the specific park. Pretty neat, and she’s been doing this now for almost four years on our journeys.
Sitting Bull was an interesting person of character in our country’s history. From Wiki: Sitting Bull (Lakota: Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake in Standard Lakota Orthography, also nicknamed Slon-he or "Slow"; c. 1831 – December 15, 1890) was a Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux holy man who led his people as a tribal chief during years of resistance to United States government policies. He was killed by Indian agency police on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation during an attempt to arrest him at a time when authorities feared that he would join the Ghost Dance movement. And after the Little Big Horn events, he travel the country making appearances, joined a company that had him & other famous Americans of the time, performed at shows far & wide.
Typical warrior of the time in period dress…
…and the typical soldier…
It was a very warm (hot) day and the park was very crowded with visitors. We had to disconnect the Jeep as there was not enough room to maneuver the big rig and the tow. It wasn’t easy parking her. But it happens frequently, and we just have to deal with these little annoyances.
We again, learned more of our wonderful history. It is so gratifying to travel, see the wondrous handiwork of our Lord, and see firsthand the evidences of our rugged yet momentous past. So, if you want to learn a little more than what I’ve briefed here, just Google Custer, Little Big Horn, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse or other related names & events surrounding this, the Last Stand, where 209 brave soldiers & a handful of Native Americans are interred at this memorial. So, till our next blog, Joe & Nancy, the RVing Beach Bums.