The Little Bighorn Battleground

Travel Journal – July 7, 2016
Hazy Morning Starting to Break

Hazy Morning Starting to Break

Our day started off with a hazy morning, something unusual lately for Jagger and I.  We left the Coach for our morning walk around the park. When returning I prepared to leave for a visit to the Little Bighorn Battlefield. Again I will be leaving Jagger in the air conditioned Coach, as he isn’t welcome at the battlefield and it will be much too hot to leave him in the Workhorse.

Around 9 am I say goodbye to Jagger. As I’m leaving I take note of the morning routine here at the RV Park where we are camped. It’s emptying out, most of our neighbors are getting back on the road, continuing their travels to parts unknown. When I return to camp later today there will be very few RV’s left until late afternoon when it will begin to fill once again and we will have a whole new set of neighbors. The Hosts who serve here really have to work hard considering the sheer volume of the turnover each day.

Visiting the Battlefield

Charles Marion Russell - The Custer Fight (1903)

Charles Marion Russell – The Custer Fight (1903)

I pull away and wonder of my adventure today to the Little Bighorn Battlefield. Also it’s called The Battle of the Greasy Grass by the Lakota Native Americans. Was it always named that? All I remember from school is the heroized story of “Custer’s Last Stand”. A rather sad one it turns out. Little did I know how sad until my visit. My feelings are touched by both sides as my ancestors include participants of both sides of the battle.

I arrived on the battlegrounds early in the day, yet the parking was filling up already. I parked the Workhorse almost immediately at the first large place available that had enough room to back out later. My normal routine when

Veteran's Cemetary

Veteran’s Cemetery

parking this beast. Where I parked happened to be right in front of the cemetery. I walked around for awhile noting the headstones were almost all more recent dates. I later found out that our government had made this a National Military Cemetery and up until recently when it became full, veterans were being buried here.

The graves of those who fought in the Little Bighorn Battle in June 25 and 26, 1876, were buried where they fell for the most part. It was such bloody battle with very gross things done to those that were wounded, dying or dead. After the battle the

US Soilders Headstones

US Soldiers Headstones

dead were just buried where they fell. Later some had to be reburied as a number of shallow graves were either dug up by animals or indians returning. Such a sad loss on both sides. I wondered why Custer chose to attack at that time, after visiting I learned more, several of his advisers said it wasn’t the time. They turned out to be right as history looks back on the battle decisions unfavorably for Custer. The U.S. 7th Cavalry lost 268 and 55 severely wounded out of Custer’s 700 men, including Custer and several of his brothers.

If you have an opportunity to go here, it’s well worth the visit. Such a hallowed ground, a similar feeling as Gettysburg for me, but of course a much smaller battle and much smaller loss of life. Still the feeling when walking the battlefield and memorials is sobering.

The ranger giving the presentation at the Visitor Center, was a retired teacher. His method of presentation kept the audience on the edge of their seats. When visiting here I hope you are lucky enough to hear him. You will know if he carries an indian arrow, using it for emphasis during the presentation.

After my visit to each of the memorials and listening to the wonderful presentation of the battle by a park ranger, I went back to the Workhorse. All the parking was packed and they were holding cars and RV’s at the entry gate. There wasn’t any more room. I would advise to go early in the day!

Safe Travels … Gary

 More Photo’s: Little Bighorn Battlefield

3 replies

  1. I had those same feelings when I visited the site in Pennsylvania of Flight 93. I was on a MLB tour and our bus went out of the way to show us the site in 2003. The feelings I had looking at the site of the crash were so overwhelming that I had to return to the bus. I hope one day to visit this site of Custer’s Last Stand.

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    • There’s only a few things to see in the surrounding area, but definitely worth the visit. There is nothing like standing in history to understand it with more perspective. I would recommend Pompey’s Pillar also, less than an hours drive North-Northeast. The only remaining physical proof that Lewis and Clark made their expedition. Clark carved his name in the pillar and named the formation Pompey’s Pillar. It’s documented in their journals. The signature is still there, protected by a brass frame and bullet proof glass.
      Hope all is well with you and the pups.

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