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Little Bighorn Battlefield


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I just returned from two weeks’ worth of driving across this great country spending time visiting several historical sites along the way. One of the sites I have always wanted to see was the Little Bighorn battlefield. Custer has always been a figure from history that perplexed me. Being of Cherokee descent (1/4), I had an interest from the “enemy” point of view that clashed with my military perspective.

 

Making our way toward Indiana (from the Seattle area) we left in the morning from Billings, Montana, making the short trek eastward to the battlefield. The temperature started that morning from the low 80s and crept up to the upper 90s by late morning.

 

As you pull off the interstate toward the road leading to the park entrance, you can see the lay of the battlefield and capture glimpses of the principal monument and the visitor’s center. You arrive at the gate and pay your entrance fee (I don’t know what it is as I have a life-time National Parks pass). You don’t pay anything if you are visiting the adjacent National Cemetery (I don’t know how they regulate this as you can simply state you’re visiting the cemetery and instead, go to the battlefield).

 

Inside the visitors center is a museum filled with artifacts from Custer and some of the Indians – some of which are the result of archeological digs on the site. There is a ranger-led presentation that coincides with a walk along the battlefield trails. The rangers will provide balanced details (both sides of the story) from the years, months, weeks leading up to the battle, the battle itself and the aftermath. They will point out all the locations and what took place along with the roles/role-players.

 

Walking the field for me was surreal and solemn. To see the markers of the fallen and to read the names of those buried in the mass grave at the top of the hill is overwhelming. Understanding the cultural clash that lead to that moment is difficult in today’s context s we lack the ability to perceive the mindset of either side without judgment-clouding from hindsight. I could have spent hours contemplating; trying to visualize what the 7th Cavalry soldiers saw as they peered out over the field. I would have liked to tuck down into the grass below the hill to gain perspective of what the Sioux and Cheyenne saw as they crept closer to Custer’s men.

 

I highly recommend you make the journey to this site as it is literally located directly off of Interstate 90. If you’re traveling east or west through Montana, make the time to visit. You’ll be glad you did.

 

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Lt. Col. Custer's uniforms were spectacular to see!

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Sitting Bull's bow and arrows:

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Three medals of honor were awarded to the Little Bighorn Battle participants:

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You can view a slideshow of all the photos I have uploaded to Flickr here.

I do not profess to be a militaria expert, but I conduct as much research as I am capable of and then write about my findings.
Check out my blogs, The Veteran's Collection (general militaria) and Chevrons and Diamonds (military baseball)

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Fascinating! As a matter of interest, did Custer's uniforms appear to be small? I'm always amazed, when I visit museums, at how small men apparently were all those years ago compared with men today. Their uniforms often look as though they were made for boys!

 

Ian :think:

"We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!"

 

Winston Churchill

" Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

John Winston Lennon

 

 

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Excellent Pictures taken there, and thank you for sharing this very important information with us :thumbsup:

Im sure it is very moving being on those Battlefields like that where The Real Early American History took place.

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IN MEMORY OF IRISH/AMERICANS FROM MY COUNTY.
Cpl: Patrick Gallagher, 3rd U.S.M.C Div K.I.A 30/03/1967 Navy Cross
Sgt: Patrick Nevin, B.Co. 1st Bn, 12th Cav, 1st CAVALRY Div K.I.A 23/02/1966

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Fascinating! As a matter of interest, did Custer's uniforms appear to be small? I'm always amazed, when I visit museums, at how small men apparently were all those years ago compared with men today. Their uniforms often look as though they were made for boys!

 

Ian :think:

 

Ian,

 

I am in agreement with your observations. However, Custer seemed to be a larger man in stature (not on par with current sizes) so the uniforms didn't have that tiny appearance. They were all donated to the battlefield museum along with his other artifacts by his wife, Libbie. The buckskin and dress uniforms were tailor-made for Custer to fit his more flamboyant style that he acquired during his Civil War service.

I do not profess to be a militaria expert, but I conduct as much research as I am capable of and then write about my findings.
Check out my blogs, The Veteran's Collection (general militaria) and Chevrons and Diamonds (military baseball)

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Excellent Pictures taken there, and thank you for sharing this very important information with us :thumbsup:

Im sure it is very moving being on those Battlefields like that where The Real Early American History took place.

 

One thing the Rangers noted that the overwhelming majority of Custer's 7th Cavalry troops were Irish...many being fairly recent immigrants to the U.S.

I do not profess to be a militaria expert, but I conduct as much research as I am capable of and then write about my findings.
Check out my blogs, The Veteran's Collection (general militaria) and Chevrons and Diamonds (military baseball)

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One thing the Rangers noted that the overwhelming majority of Custer's 7th Cavalry troops were Irish...many being fairly recent immigrants to the U.S.

 

That's why, in the movie with Errol Flynn, the song of the 7th Cavalry is based on that old Irish tune....GarryOwen.

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2CZ3f5s1Rg

 

Ian

"We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!"

 

Winston Churchill

" Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

John Winston Lennon

 

 

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Yes 67Rally you are correct Sir,

 

You sure are 100% Correct and thanks for remembering these Brave Irish Men Who Fought to the End along with Gen'l George Custer

They were called the Wild Geese The Irish Soldiers who Fought and Died in Many the U.S Wars and lost there lives down through the

years including Gettesburg the Mighty Fighting 69th Irish Brigade Éireánné Brágh also that flag was presented by J.F.K in 1963 to us.

 

Here i have attached a link that might be of intrest to you i hope so you like,, It is a Special Tribute to many of the Irish Men

who Fought in the U.S 7th Cavalry who died along side Gen'l George Custer at the little Big Horn back in 1876.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFPymoqJTbM

 

Best Regards

Tomás :thumbsup:

Éiréánne Gó Brágh.

http://www.Paratrooper1944.Com/

https://www.facebook.com/paratrooper1944

IN MEMORY OF IRISH/AMERICANS FROM MY COUNTY.
Cpl: Patrick Gallagher, 3rd U.S.M.C Div K.I.A 30/03/1967 Navy Cross
Sgt: Patrick Nevin, B.Co. 1st Bn, 12th Cav, 1st CAVALRY Div K.I.A 23/02/1966

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Rode to the battlefield on motorcycles in 2003.Great trip.

 

One Custers swords on display is mentioned in the book Son of the Morning Star.If I recall it was a spanish made sword he had gotten during the Civil War from a Condereate officer.

In Memoriam:
Lieutenant J.Kostelec 1-3 First Special Service Force MIA/PD 4 March 1944 Italy
I HAVE SEEN THE ENEMY AND IT IS DAYLIGHT
Forget about the tips..We'll get hell to pay (AC/DC)
"If you cant get out and run with the big dogs then sit on the porch and bark at the cars going by.."

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Rode to the battlefield on motorcycles in 2003.Great trip.

 

One Custers swords on display is mentioned in the book Son of the Morning Star.If I recall it was a spanish made sword he had gotten during the Civil War from a Condereate officer.

 

That is correct, Doyler:

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I do not profess to be a militaria expert, but I conduct as much research as I am capable of and then write about my findings.
Check out my blogs, The Veteran's Collection (general militaria) and Chevrons and Diamonds (military baseball)

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My mother was born in Billings, Mt. and the first time I went to the battlefield was when I was 9 in 1962. My great grandfather and his brother took us there and we walked the entire battlefield and listened to the stories these guys I'm sure embellished. Back in the old days you could walk anywhere on the battlefield. They were both born in the early 1870's and as a 9 year old I was fascinated. I've been back now 15 times. I never get tired of the battlefield and in fact will be going back next year.

 

Many people don't know about the Custer Battlefield Historical and Museum Association but it is a worthwhile group and they put out a magazine once a year called Greasy Grass. It's worth the price alone. Check out their website if you are interested in the battle.

HHC 3/39th Inf. Bn., 9th ID 76-79
IAFF L-726 - retired.

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Yes 67Rally you are correct Sir,

 

You sure are 100% Correct and thanks for remembering these Brave Irish Men Who Fought to the End along with Gen'l George Custer

They were called the Wild Geese The Irish Soldiers who Fought and Died in Many the U.S Wars and lost there lives down through the

years including Gettesburg the Mighty Fighting 69th Irish Brigade Éireánné Brágh also that flag was presented by J.F.K in 1963 to us.

 

Here i have attached a link that might be of intrest to you i hope so you like,, It is a Special Tribute to many of the Irish Men

who Fought in the U.S 7th Cavalry who died along side Gen'l George Custer at the little Big Horn back in 1876.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFPymoqJTbM

 

Best Regards

Tomás :thumbsup:

Éiréánne Gó Brágh.

 

Thanks for sharing this, Tomas! My paternal grandfather's family hails from County Cork so this has some additional meaning for me as well.

I do not profess to be a militaria expert, but I conduct as much research as I am capable of and then write about my findings.
Check out my blogs, The Veteran's Collection (general militaria) and Chevrons and Diamonds (military baseball)

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Thanks for sharing this, Tomas! My paternal grandfather's family hails from County Cork so this has some additional meaning for me as well.

 

Your very welcome :thumbsup: great to know that your Grand Fathers Family came from County Cork

you still have got a good drop of Irish Blood in you so. ha. ha :) only messing !

 

From my county there has being Two Irish/American Soldiers that recieved the Medal of Honour one of them recieved it twice in the U.S.N

And the other one got K.I.A in the Vietnam War in the U.S.M.C which as i live in a quiet small county

here in Ireland and a lot immagrated to the U.S and Joined the Army and we have a special Monument to all of those Men.

 

Take Care.

http://www.Paratrooper1944.Com/

https://www.facebook.com/paratrooper1944

IN MEMORY OF IRISH/AMERICANS FROM MY COUNTY.
Cpl: Patrick Gallagher, 3rd U.S.M.C Div K.I.A 30/03/1967 Navy Cross
Sgt: Patrick Nevin, B.Co. 1st Bn, 12th Cav, 1st CAVALRY Div K.I.A 23/02/1966

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I apologize if I am a bit off topic but the pants in this pic with the two white stripes really caught my eye...does anyone know anything about them?

 

 

That is a photo of Custer standing. I know that it is in one of my Custer books. As I've read, Custer was notorious for his custom-made uniforms that had added flair that you wouldn't find on standard uniforms of the time. If I recall correctly, this particular photo is from his Civil War service although I can't (at the moment) tell you when.

 

Here is the full-length shot:

 

General-George-Armstrong-Custer.jpg

I do not profess to be a militaria expert, but I conduct as much research as I am capable of and then write about my findings.
Check out my blogs, The Veteran's Collection (general militaria) and Chevrons and Diamonds (military baseball)

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Great photos and thanks for posting them as I never knew what was in the museum. :thumbsup: I still get a little sore when the subject comes up. When I crossed the country alone in the fall of 1998 from Maryland to Washington state, I passed through the area and JUST missed the closing time (somehow, 4:30 sticks in my mind) by a few minutes. I could have stayed in the area and hit a hotel, but it was still really early in the evening so I needed to press on to get on down the road. I did get to see the hill with my own eyes but only from the front gate at a distance and never got to see the museum.

Lee Bishop Formerly known as "Ratchet 5" with the 2nd Infantry Division (yes, in REAL life)

US WW2 War Correspondent collector

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I visited the site in 1985 and I have to say it was quite moving as the ranger outlined the story and pointed to areas near and far. You really could feel something in the air...

 

I agree. It is very heavy as you walk throughout the field. It is so silent and visitors are very contemplative as they view the monuments and read the displays.Even my kids were very calm and low-key.

I do not profess to be a militaria expert, but I conduct as much research as I am capable of and then write about my findings.
Check out my blogs, The Veteran's Collection (general militaria) and Chevrons and Diamonds (military baseball)

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