General custer and sitting bull
The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn by Nathaniel PhilbrickWatch a video Read discussion questions for The Last Stand.
The bestselling author of Mayflower sheds new light on one of the iconic stories of the American West
Little Bighorn and Custer are names synonymous in the American imagination with unmatched bravery and spectacular defeat. Mythologized as Custers Last Stand, the June 1876 battle has been equated with other famous last stands, from the Spartans defeat at Thermopylae to Davy Crockett at the Alamo.
In his tightly structured narrative, Nathaniel Philbrick brilliantly sketches the two larger-than-life antagonists: Sitting Bull, whose charisma and political savvy earned him the position of leader of the Plains Indians, and George Armstrong Custer, one of the Unions greatest cavalry officers and a man with a reputation for fearless and often reckless courage. Philbrick reminds readers that the Battle of the Little Bighorn was also, even in victory, the last stand for the Sioux and Cheyenne Indian nations. Increasingly outraged by the governments Indian policies, the Plains tribes allied themselves and held their ground in southern Montana. Within a few years of Little Bighorn, however, all the major tribal leaders would be confined to Indian reservations.
Throughout, Philbrick beautifully evokes the history and geography of the Great Plains with his characteristic grace and sense of drama. The Last Stand is a mesmerizing account of the archetypal story of the American West, one that continues to haunt our collective imagination.
Chief Sitting Bull's Headdress
The Battle of the Little Bighorn, known to the Lakota and other Plains Indians as the Battle of the Five of the 7th Cavalry's twelve companies were annihilated and Custer was killed, as were two of . During a Sun Dance around June 5, , on Rosebud Creek in Montana, Sitting Bull, the spiritual leader of the Hunkpapa.
Signing up enhances your TCE experience with the ability to save items to your personal reading list, and access the interactive map. As a youth, Sitting Bull was trained as a warrior and medicine man. He lived in a time when traditional ways of life for Indigenous peoples on the Plains were increasingly challenged by the influx of white settlers see Indigenous People: Plains. Sitting Bull eventually rose to prominence as a leader of the resistance against American expansion into Dakota territory in the late s. With the discovery of gold in the Black Hills of what is now South Dakota, American prospectors and settlers flocked to the area, encroaching on traditional Sioux lands and increasing tensions see Indigenous Territory. The lands were legally those of the Sioux, having been guaranteed in an treaty , but the military was unwilling to evict the thousands of settlers who saw the right to mine the gold of the Black Hills as God-given. When the Sioux and the Cheyenne under Sitting Bull began to resist this encroachment with force, both sides prepared for war — a conflict later known as the Great Sioux War or the Black Hills War.
Determined to resist the efforts of the U. Sioux Chiefs Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse had been successfully resisting American efforts to confine their people to reservations for more than a decade. Although both chiefs wanted nothing more than to be left alone to pursue their traditional ways, the growing tide of white settlers invading their lands inevitably led to violent confrontations. Increasingly, the Sioux and Cheyenne who did try to cooperate with the U. In , after the U. Army blatantly ignored treaty provisions and invaded the sacred Black Hills, many formerly cooperative Sioux and Cheyenne abandoned their reservations to join Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse in Montana.
Under skies darkened by smoke, gunfire and flying arrows, men of the U. The engagement was one in a series of battles and negotiations between Plains Indians and U.
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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. Before the Battle of the Little Bighorn , Sitting Bull had a vision in which he saw many soldiers, "as thick as grasshoppers," falling upside down into the Lakota camp, which his people took as a foreshadowing of a major victory in which a large number of soldiers would be killed. George Armstrong Custer on June 25, , annihilating Custer's battalion and seeming to bear out Sitting Bull's prophetic vision. Sitting Bull's leadership inspired his people to a major victory. In response, the US government sent thousands more soldiers to the area, forcing many of the Lakotas to surrender over the next year. He remained there until , at which time he and most of his band returned to US territory and surrendered to U.
Custer graduated from West Point in at the bottom of his class, but as the Civil War was just starting, trained officers were in immediate demand. He worked closely with General McClellan and the future General Pleasonton , both of whom recognized his qualities as a cavalry leader, and he was brevetted brigadier general of volunteers at age Only a few days after his promotion, he fought at Gettysburg , where he commanded the Michigan Cavalry Brigade and despite being outnumbered, defeated J. Stuart 's attack at what is now known as the East Calvary Field. His division blocked the Army of Northern Virginia 's final retreat and received the first flag of truce from the Confederates, and Custer was present at Robert E.
Tensions between the two groups had been rising since the discovery of gold on Native American lands. When a number of tribes missed a federal deadline to move to reservations, the U. Army, including Custer and his 7th Calvary, was dispatched to confront them. Custer was unaware of the number of Indians fighting under the command of Sitting Bull c. Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse c. Army ignored previous treaty agreements and invaded the region. By the late spring of , more than 10, Native Americans had gathered in a camp along the Little Bighorn River—which they called the Greasy Grass—in defiance of a U.