Crazy Horse, Black Shield: Prelude to Custer's Last Stand 1966

1000 warriors

Crazy Horse, Black Shield, White Cloud covers the first disaster that befell upon the U.S. Cavalry when attempting to coerce the Indian tribes along the Bozeman Trail.  While accounts vary to some degree, the bottom line was that the US forces located at Ft.Kearney were lured out of their secure positions. To do this, the Indians under Red Cloud, first attacked the wood train that had been sent out to gather firewood (it was December, snow and freezing temperatures) which came under attack.  A relief force under Lt. Col. Fetterman, consisting of 80 men, was sent out to rescue. Almost immediately after their departure from the fort, a small group of Indians appeared, took a few shots, and fled across the hills. Fetterman, an avid Indian hater, took the bait. His cavalry gave chase and attempted to cut off the fleeing redskins. His infantry men woefully lagged behind. Fetterman continued to pursue the faster Indians and crossed the Trail Lodge Ridge, a forbidden zone that General Carrington had repeatedly ordered not to cross. Meanwhile, Fetterman’s infantry began to arrive into this valley.  Fetterman and the cavalry continued across the Peno Creek and onto Massacre Hill. By now, it was Noon. It was now that 1000 warriors appeared from seemingly nowhere (they had hid in the wooded areas in the valley and slopes). The cavalry armed with Spencer repeaters, blasted at astonishing rates of fire from as far as 400 yards. Within 15-20 minutes, the 2800 rounds of ammo Fetterman had taken was expended.  The infantry armed with Springfield single shots, fired from as far as 600 yards, but like the Spencer’s, soon consumed their ammo. Fetterman was overwhelmed and consumed.  The Indians left the 80 men in various forms of mutilation.

As the fight was going on, Carrington had sent Ten Eych and another 80 men and 3000 rounds of ammo to save Fetterman. Oddly, Ten Eych arrived too late and could do little. The Lakota Indians spotted this force and approached from the valley floor but Ten Eych was not attacked!

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