On June 11, 1877, the
the following article. It was published
on nearly the anniversary of the Bismarck
of the Little Bighorn. The author’s name
wasn’t published with the account but the author was reporting for the Battle Times. Chicago
THE CUSTER FIGHT
An Indian Version of the Massacre as from the Lips of Crazy Horse Himself
THE CUSTER MASSACRE
from Crazy Horse through Horned Horse his spokesman, which is authentic and confirmed by other chiefs. I interviewed these chiefs this afternoon, Lt. Clark arranging for the meeting, and William Hunter acting as interpreter, a man perfectly and thoroughly conversant with the Indian language. This is the Indian version and the first published. The attack was made on the village by a strong force at 11 o’clock in the morning, at the upper end of the village. This was the force commanded by Maj. Reno, and very shortly afterward the lower end of the village was attacked by another strong force, that commanded by Custer.
THE VILLAGE WAS DIVIDED
into seven different bands of Indians, each commanded by a separated chief, and extended in nearly a straight line. The bands were in the order mentioned below, commencing from the lower end, where Custer made his attack. First the Uncapapas, under Sitting Bull; 2d, the Ogallalas, under Crazy Horse; third, the Minneconjous, under Fast Bull; 4th, the Sansarcs [Itazipco], under Red Bear; fifth, The Cheyennes, under Ice Bear; sixth, the Santees and Yanktonai, under Red Point of the
seventh, the Blackfeet [Sihasapa], under Scabby Head. The village consisted of eighteen hundred
lodges, and at least four hundred wickayups, a lodge made of small poles and
willows for a temporary shelter. Each of
the wikayups contained four young bucks, and the estimate made by Crazy Horse is
that each lodge had from three to four warriors. The estimate of the three made
A FIGHTING FORCE
of seven thousand Indians. This is the lowest estimate that can be made, for there were a good many Indians without shelter, hangers-on, who fought when called upon, and the usual number was much above seven thousand. The attack was a surprise and totally unlooked for. When Custer made the charge the women, papooses, children, and in fact all that were not fighters, made a stampede in a northerly direction. Custer seeing so numerous a body, mistook them for the main body of Indians retreating and abandoning their villages, and, immediately gave pursuit. The warriors in the village, seeing this, divided their forces into two parts, one intercepting Custer between their non-combat and him, and the other getting his rear. Outnumbering as they did, they had him at their mercy, and
THE DREADFUL MASSACRE ENSUED.
Horned Horse says the smoke and dust was so great that foe could not be distinguished from friend. The horses were wild with fright uncontrollable. The Indians were knocking each other from their steeds, and it is an absolute fact that young bucks in their excitement and fury killed each other, several dead Indians being found killed by arrows. Horned Horse represented this hell of fire and smoke and death by interuning his fingers and saying: “Just like this, Indians and white men.” These chiefs say that they suffered a loss of fifty-eight killed and over sixty wounded. From their way of expressing it, I should judge that about sixty percent of their wounded died.
WHILE THIS BUTCHERING WAS GOING ON
THE TIMELY ARRIVAL OF GEN. TERRY
they would have got
. They would have surrounded and stormed him
out or would have besieged and eventually captured him. From what I know of Crazy Horse I should say
that he no doubt is capable of conducting such a siege. In both the Rosebud fight and the Custer
massacre the Indians claim he rode unarmed in the thickest of the fight,
invoking the blessing of the Great Spirit on him – that if he was right he
might be victorious, and if wrong that he be killed. Some details were also learned in regard to Reno
THE ROSEBUD FIGHT
The Indians say in the later fight 86 Indians were killed and 63 wounded. Crazy Horse says from Gen. Crook left
forty miles from the Rosebud battle field, he was continually watched by
spies. The first attack on the troops
was made by the Goose Creek ,
Ogallalas, Mnneconjous and Sansarcs [Itazipco], whose combined force was about
fifteen hundred. Above the point where
the attack was made, about eight miles, Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, with
about five thousand Indians were camped.
The attack was made with the idea that when the Indians retreated the
troops would then fall into their strong-hold.
It shows as much generalship to avoid Cheyennes
A DEFEAT AND MASSACRE
as to win a battle, and in this case just such generalship was shown by Gen. Crook. In an interview this afternoon, these chiefs also said that they knew the time Lieut. Sibley left the main column with Frank Gruard for a guide, on the famous scout where Sibley saved his detachment by leaving his horse in camp and returning on foot, and but for the jealousy between the Indians the party would surely have been captured. But the
insisted on having the lion’s share
of horses and plunder and delayed their attack until Sibley Cheyennes
with the loss of only his stock and supplies. The above undoubtedly is a truthful version of the engagement mentioned. No one was present at the interview with your correspondent but the chiefs and the interpreter. Hesitation was at first manifested, but after some questioning and talking on minor topics, Horned Horse told his story readily, which met with approval of Crazy Horse and Red Dog, a friendly Indian who was present.