Custer's Last Stand ... Aftermath
Custer didnt deal with military victories and moral failures
for long. In 1876, he and his 264 men died in an attack on Sioux
and Cheyenne warriors during the Battle of the Little Big Horn
in Black Hills, Montana.
The federal government opened Black Hills to gold mining in 1875
but Native Americans refused to leave the area because of its
religious significance. As the U.S. military gathered to forcibly
relocate the warriors, Custers troops disregarded orders
and attacked a village.
George Flanders was a soldier in a group arriving in Black Hills
on June 26, 1876, a day after Custers charge. Flanders buried
his comrades that day and, years later, he heard an account of
Custers battlefield actions. In the Federal Writers
Project essay, George
L. Flanders, he recounted the Cheyenne Indian tale that Custer
had received a wound in the hip and was unable to get up, but
continued shooting until he had used all except one of his cartridges
and with that last bullet shot himself.
Custers death galvanized the military. In subsequent months,
they tracked down Sioux and Cheyenne warriors and forced them
Military pursuit wasnt the only hunt of concern to Native
Americans. Buffalo was a prime resource for its meat and hide.
The millions of animals roaming the plains in the 1860s virtually
disappeared within two decades as hunters from across the United
States and abroad drove the herds to near extinction.
The Federal Writers Projects History
of a Buffalo Hunter" described an 1877 horseback excursion
that continued until they had killed enough buffaloes to
fill fifty carts with the meat.