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Miles, Nelson Appleton, 1839-1925 / Personal recollections and observations of General Nelson A. Miles embracing a brief view of the Civil War, or, From New England to the Golden Gate: and the story of his Indian campaigns, with comments on the exploration, development and progress of our great western empire
(1896)

Chapter XXII. A visit to Custer's last battlefield,   pp. 283-293 PDF (4.3 MB)


Page 283


G'ENEAAL NELSON A. MILES.
                           CHAPTER XXII.
                A  VISIT TO CUSTER'S LAST BATTLEFIELD.
A SEASON OF QUIET - TIE (CitOW INDt)IAN C AiP - AN INDIAAN FIELD ID)  - COLORS
AND DISGUISES
   OF THE IN1)1\D A.  X WARRIOR AND 1- [NTER -  N INI)IAN S11 AM_ BATTLE
-JOURNEY TO THE
        (CIS-rER B ATTLEGROT ND -INI)I AN EXPLANATION OF THE FIGHT-NATURE
OF
           THE GROTUND lAND TIEI - DISPOSITION A.-NI) D   VEMENTS OF CUSTER'S
                   COMMAND-WIA1     TILE BRAPTLE MAS  LOST.
     -  S the Sioux Indians had now, during the spring of 1878, been
        cleared out of that vast country in which they had so long
        l)eeli accustomed to roam, I took advantage of the period of
        peace and quiet and organized a small expedition to move up
        the Yellowstone from  the cantonment, or Fort Keogh (as it
        will hereafter be called)? to the mouth of the Big Horn. I had
        with me several officers and one troop of cavalry as an escort.
           At the junction of the Big Horn and Yellowstone we found
a very large camp of Crow Indians. In fact the whole Crow tribe
had gathered there. some seven hundred lodges, numbering thirty-five
hundred people. The Crows were very rich in horses; it was estimated that
at that time they had somie fifteen thousand. They had been from time
immemorial bitter enmemies of the Dakota Indians. These ancient antag-
onists had constantly raided each other's territory, had stolen horses, and
had committed depredations upon each other whenever possible. The
Dakotas, however, had always had the greater advantage in superior num-
bers and fighting qualities, and in the course of years they had driven the
Crows back into the recesses of the Rocky mountains as their only safe re-
treat. Haviiig heard of the successes of our troops during the winter and
spring campaigns, the Crows were overjoyed that their hereditary enemy
had been driven out of the country or forced to surrender to the U.nited
States authorities. They looked upon any one who could conquer the
Sioux with a feeling of awve and profound reverence, and learning that wve
were about to pass near their camp, they desired to celebrate with bar-
baric splendor our victory over the Sioux and our presence with them.
Having solicited our permission for the display, they informed me that it
would be necessary that at least three days should be given to preparing
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