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The Next Generation In The Study Of Custer's Last Stand
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By John Doerner
Webmaster's Note: This detailed timeline of historic events starting in 1400 and ending in 2003 was graciously provided by Chief Historian of Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, John Doerner. We provide this timeline as a reference for students and research. We do not have time to debate the contents of the timeline, therefore we will not answer any correspondence regarding it.
Ancestral tribe of the Apsaalooke (Crow) and Hidatsa are living in “The Land of Forests and Many Lakes” (upper Great Lakes and Canada).
Crow leaders No Intestines and Red Scout fast and receive vision at Spirit Lake (Devils Lake, ND). Two leaders separate, with their followers. No Intestines searches for sacred tobacco and finally settles in southeastern Montana and becomes known as Ashala/Many Lodges (Mountain Crow). Red Scout and his people settle on Missouri River and become sedentary agrarian farmers known as Hidatsa.
Crow firmly established in their homeland of south-central/southeastern Montana, and northern Wyoming, displacing the Shoshones and allying themselves with Kiowa’s.
1640 FRENCH JESUITS DOCUMENT TETON SIOUX (LAKOTA) IN WISCONSIN AND MINNESOTA. CHIPPEWA NADOWE-IS-IW “ADDER” OR “SNAKE” NAME CORRUPTED TO NADOWESSIOUX BY FRENCH. ENGLISH TRADERS ABBREVIATE NAME TO “SIOUX”.
SIOUX CALL THEMSELVES “Otchenti Chakowin” or Seven Council Fires.
Lakota Sioux Traditional Oral History places origin of Lakota in the Black Hills. Lakota came out of Wind Cave in the breath of the Buffalo.
JESUITS DOCUMENT TETON SIOUX (LAKOTA) IN GREEN BAY WISCONSIN AREA AND FORESTS OF SOUTHERN MINNESOTA.
French Franciscan Louis Hennepin describes “Nation du Chien” Ch.haiena (Cheyenne) living among Dakota Sioux in area between Mississippi River and Lake Issati in present day Minnesota.
Cheyenne visit Sieur de La Salles Fort on Illinois River. Then begin their transition from sedentary farmers and earth lodge dwellers, to nomadic buffalo hunters on the high plains.
SPANISH FUR TRADER LeSUR MAKES CONTACT WITH SAHNISH (ARIKARA) IN VICINITY OF FT. PIERRE. ARIKARA LOCATED SOUTH OF HEART RIVER IN PRESENT DAY NORTH DAKOTA.
Crow acquire their first horses from a Shoshone camp near the Great Salt Lake.
Cheyenne arrive in present day North Dakota.
TETON SIOUX (LAKOTA) FOLLOW CHEYENNE MIGRATION ONTO PLAINS AND OBTAIN HORSES, FIREARMS, AND METAL TRADE GOODS.
ARIKARA OBTAIN AND TRADE HORSES. FRENCH FUR TRADER Sieur de laVERDRYE first ENCOUNTERS the Mandan on the Missouri River and ARIKARA NEAR the MOUTH OF CANNONBALL RIVER, sixty six years before the Corps of Discovery of Lewis and Clark.
1742 - 1743
LaVerendrye expedition brothers Chevalier Francois, and Louis Joseph ENCOUNTER APSAALOOKE (CHILDREN OF THE LARGE-BEAKED BIRD) AT CONFLUENCE OF BIGHORN AND LITTLE BIGHORN RIVERS. LA VERENDYRE BROTHERS CALL APSAALOOKE beaux hommes (handsome men). CROW NAME GIVEN TO APSAALOOKE. CROWS CALL WHITE MEN baashchiile, “person with white eyes.”
On January 1st, the French explorers Verendryes are the first white men to see what is believed to be the snow-covered peaks of the Rocky Mountains to the west “Shining Mountains”) in what is now Montana.
April 9th: Verendrye brothers first meet the Teton Sioux (Lakota) approximately 50 miles south of present day Pierre, SD.
HORSE CHANGES PLAINS INDIAN LIFE AS TRIBES FOLLOW MIGRATING BUFFALO HERDS, AND DEVELOP A SURPLUS ECONOMY ON THE NORTHERN PLAINS.
ARIKARA IN THE BLACK HILLS. CHIEF LITTLE CHERRY’S BAND IS THOUGHT TO BE ABSORBED INTO KIOWA. LITTLE CHERRY SACRED BUNDLE MISSING.
Lakota Sioux reach Missouri River and make first contact with horses owned by Arikara.
Cheyenne and Dakota Sioux camp together on the Minnesota River in present day south east Minnesota.
LAKOTA SIOUX CHIEF STANDING BEAR DESCRIBES BLACK HILLS IN WINTER COUNT.
SMALL POX EPIDEMIC DEVASTATES NORTHERN TRIBES ALONG MISSOURI RIVER.
Chippewa Chief Sheshepaskut describes Chippewa raid that destroys Cheyenne farming village at Biesterfeldt, along Cheyenne River in present day eastern North Dakota.
Lakota force Crow from Northern Black Hills.
2ND SMALL POX EPIDEMIC WIPES OUT ALL BUT THREE OF 32 ARIKARA VILLAGES.
Jean Baptiste Trudeau visit Cheyennes in present day North Dakota. Cheyennes soon move into Black Hills region of present day South Dakota.
U.S. PURCHASES LOUISIANA TERRITORY FROM FRANCE.
LEWIS AND CLARK CORPS OF DISCOVERY OF: LOUISIANA PURCHASE EXPLORES AND MAPS THE UPPER MISSOURI RIVER, YELLOWSTONE RIVER, AND PACIFIC NORTHWEST.
Crow warriors take horses meant for Capt. William Clark near present day Huntley, Montana.
MANUEL LISA ERECTS FIRST FORT-FUR TRADING POST AT JUNCTURE OF YELLOWSTONE/BIGHORN RIVERS.
EASTERN MONTANA’S NAME CHANGED FROM LOUISIANA TERRITORY TO MISSOURI TERRITORY.
Cheyenne capture Crow village on Pryor Creek. Crow annihilate a Cheyenne war party on Prairie Dog Creek. Only one Cheyenne warrior escapes alive.
Cheyenne tribe splits. Southern Cheyenne arrive on Arkansas River.
August 9th: BATTLE OF 1823 – Col. LEAVENWORTH ATTACKS ARIKARA VILLAGE . Lakota Sioux help Leavenworth’s forces in the successful attack.
TREATY OF FRIENDSHIP SIGNED BETWEEN U.S. GOVERNMENT AND CROW NATION. Chief Long Hair gives Major Fallon representing the U.S. the RIGHT TO REGULATE TRADE AND OTHER CONTRACTS BETWEEN APSAALOOKE AND NON-INDIANS. U.S. AGREED TO PROTECT CROW FROM UNAUTHORIZED INTRUSIONS.
ATKINSON-O’FALLON PEACE AND INTERCOURSE TREATY SIGNED WITH ARIKARA.
Cheyenne Chief High Backed Wolf and other chiefs sign Friendship Treaty with U.S. at mouth of Teton River.
Lakota become familiar with Platte River valley. They hunt buffalo during the summer and engage in raids against the Pawnee.
SITTING BULL BORN ON GRAND RIVER IN PRESENT DAY SOUTH DAKOTA..
FT. WILLIAM (FORT LARAMIE) ESTABLISHED ON NORTH PLATTE RIVER. BECOMES FIRST PERMANENT TRADING POST IN WYOMING.
3RD SMALL POX EPIDEMIC ON UPPER MISSOURI RIVER. ARIKARA JOIN MANDAN AT FT. CLARK, ND.
Small Pox epidemic sweeps through the Cheyenne.
LAKOTA SIOUX PUSH WEST AND ROUTE KIOWA FROM BLACK HILLS, AND CROW FROM POWDER RIVER BASIN.
Battle of Wolf Creek- Cheyennes and Arapaho defeat Comanches and Kiowas.
GEORGE ARMSTRONG CUSTER BORN IN NEW RUMLEY OHIO.
CRAZY HORSE BORN ON RAPID CREEK.
Cheyenne occupy Black Hills.
Crow Nation afflicted with first of three small pox epidemics that is devastating to the tribes population, estimated at 10,000.
BUFFALO HERD IN WESTERN U.S. ESTIMATED AT 40 MILLION.
Cheyenne and Arapaho meet at Bent’s Old Fort and make peace with Comanche and Kiowa. Cheyenne now range into region south of the Arkansas River.
Crow war party arrives on North Platte River to engage in battle with the Lakota.
FIRST EMIGRANTS TRAVEL OREGON TRAIL BOUND FOR OREGON.
Oglala Lakota Chief watches seemingly endless flow of settlers. Pointing back to the east, he asks a settler “Are their any white remaining there?”
June 27th: Iron Shell, Lakota warrior kills 11 Pawnee in Loup River Battle.
IRISH POTATO FAMINE FORCES IRISH IMMIGRANTS TO U.S. IN LARGE NUMBERS.
GOLD DISCOVERED AT SUTTER’S MILL , CALIFORNIA.
FT. LARAMIE ESTABLISHED ON SITE OF OLD FT. WILLIAM ON THE NORTH PLATTE RIVER.
CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH.
FT. LARAMIE TREATY ESTABLISHES TRIBAL BOUNDARIES TO END INTER-TRIBAL WARFARE AND PROTECT EURO-AMERICAN SETTLERS.
CROW NATION BOUNDARY ESTABLISHED AT 38,531,147 ACRES.
AUGUST 17TH: GRATTAN FIGHT - ERUPTS AFTER a cow from a MORMON WAGON TRAIN IS KILLED BY HIGH FORE- HEAD, MINNECONJOU LAKOTA SIOUX, NEAR FT. LARAMIE, WYOMING. LT. GRATTAN AND 29 SOLDIERS are KILLED IN ATTEMPT TO ARREST the CULPRIT, BY BRULE LAKOTA.
SEPTEMBER 3: BVT. BRIG. GENERAL WILLIAM S. HARNEY ATTACKS BRULE SIOUX UNDER LITTLE THUNDER AT ASH HOLLOW ON BLUE WATER CREEK IN RETALIATION FOR Grattan MASSACRE. 86 SIOUX KILLED AND 70 WOMEN AND CHILDREN CAPTURED.
Cheyenne Fox Military Society leads raid on Shoshone in Wind River Range, in present day north western Wyoming. Capture enemy pony herd.
Cheyennes capture Crow village on the Powder River.
5TH SMALL POX EPIDEMIC AGAIN DEVASTATES TRIBES.
Theft of Army Horses – Cheyennes steal over 100 army horses during midwinter on the Arkansas River.
July: Col. Edwin V. Sumner attacks Cheyenne under White Antelope on Solomon River, in retaliation for Cheyenne raids on settlers along the Platte River.
First clash occurred between Cheyenne and U.S. troops along Oregon Trail.
April 3rd: PONY EXPRESS Begins mail special 10 day/ 1,900 service from St. Joseph, MO to San Francisco, CA using relays of mounted riders.
April 6th: Pony Express arrives at Fort Laramie; first Overland Stage runs between St. Joseph, MO and San Francisco, California.
Crow and Mandan clash on Otter Creek.
September14th: Brule Lakota attack Pawnee in NE Nebraska and burn 60 earth lodges.
Cheyennes continue raids against Shoshone in Wind River valley. Shoshone retaliate with raid on Cheyenne village on the Powder River.
TELEGRAPH SERVICE is INTRODUCED, and makes the PONY EXPRESS OBSOLETE.
6TH SMALL POX EPIDEMIC AGAIN DEVASTATES TRIBES.
GOLD DISCOVERED IN WESTERN MONTANA. July 28: Montana’s first major gold strike occurs at Bannack on Grasshopper Creek.
August 17-23: Minnesota Santee Sioux Uprising.
MAY 26TH: territory of Montana established.
BOZEMAN TRAIL ESTABLISHED BY JOHN BOZEMAN AS SHORTCUT THROUGH LAKOTA HUNTING LANDS TO WESTERN MONTANA GOLD FIELDS.
Crow’s successfully defend their homeland from attack by Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapaho on East Pryor Creek north of present day Pryor, MT.
Southern Cheyenne Peace Chief Black Kettle, White Antelope, and Bull Bear visit Denver, Colorado and meet in peace council with John Evans, Colorado Territorial Governor.
November 29th: SAND CREEK MASSACRE: COLORADO MILITIA VOLUNTEERS under Col. John M. Chivington ATTACK SOUTHERN CHEYENNE CHIEF BLACK KETTLES VILLAGE. Yellow Wolf and White Antelope are killed. Chief White Antelope ironically states earlier that “Ever since I went to Washington and received this medal, I have called all white men as my brothers, but other Indians have since been to Washington and got medals, and now the soldiers do not shake hands, but seek to kill me.”
JULY 28: SIOUX DEFEATED BY GEN. SULLY AT BATTLE OF KILLDEER MOUNTAIN, DAKOTA TERRITORY.
February: Cheyennes attack wagon train at Fort Sedgwick, Colorado.
June 14th: Spotted Tail, Brule Lakota leads uprising against U.S. Troops.
July 26: Platte Bridge Fight, Casper, Wyoming. Lt. Caspar Collins killed. Casper, Wyoming named after him.
AUGUST 14TH: FORT RENO IS ESTABLISHED NORTH OF PRESENT DAY DOUGLAS, WYOMING TO PROTECT TRAVELERS ON THE BOZEMAN TRAIL.
AUGUST 29TH: CONNER FIGHT – GEN. PATRICK CONNER AND 125 CAVALRYMEN AND U.S. INDIAN SCOUTS under orders to drive the Indians from their hunting grounds and along the Bozeman Trail-Big Horn country, ATTACK an ARAPAHO VILLAGE UNDER BLACK BEAR. 7 SOLDIERS WERE WOUNDED AND 35 ARAPAHO’S KILLED.
RED CLOUD’S WAR – OGLALA LAKOTA CHIEF RED CLOUD LEADS ATTACKS AGAINST TRAVELERS USING BOZEMAN TRAIL WHICH CROSSES CENTER OF SIOUX HUNTING GROUNDS. SIOUX AND CHEYENNE ALLIE TOGETHER TO PROTECT THEIR DIMINISHING HUNTING GROUNDS.
JULY 13TH: FT. PHIL KEARNY ESTABLISHED SOUTH OF PRESENT DAY SHERIDAN, WY TO GUARD TRAVELERS ALONG THE BOZEMAN TRAIL.
AUGUST 12TH: FT. C.F. SMITH ESTABLISHED TO PROTECT MINERS AND SETTLERS USING BOZEMAN TRAIL.
Nelson Story brings first Texas cattle trail herd to Montana.
GENERAL ORDER NO. 56, U.S. ARMY, AUTHORIZES 1,000 INDIANS TO BE ENLISTED AS U.S. SCOUTS IN THE TERRITORIES AND INDIAN COUNTRY.
RED CLOUD’S WAR BEGINS.
December 6th: Lakota attack wood cutting detail outside Ft. Phil Kearny.
“Battle of the 100 Slain”: DECEMBER 21ST: CAPT. WILLIAM FETTERMAN AND 81 MEN ARE DECOYED FROM FT. PHIL KEARNEY AND ARE KILLED IN BATTLE BY LAKOTA SIOUX AND CHEYENNE.
April 18: John Bozeman, who found the Bozeman Trail, killed by Indians.
July 20th: Congress by an Act of July 20, 1867, authorizes the President to appoint a Peace Commission “to negotiate treaties with all the plains tribes in order to remove their just causes of complaint, to secure peace and safety for the whites, not only in their settlements but along their trails and railroads, and to institute plans for civilizing the Indians.”
BOZEMAN TRAIL TRAFFIC CEASES EXCEPT FOR OCCASIONAL ARMY SUPPLY TRAINS.
AUGUST 1ST: HAYFIELD FIGHT – NEARLY 1,000 LAKOTA AND CHEYENNE ATTACK SIX CIVILIAN HAY CUTTERS AND 19 SOLDIERS OUTSIDE FT. C.F. SMITH. THE SOLDIERS AND CIVILIANS REPEL THE ATTACKERS WITH NEW MODEL 1865 .50 CALIBER SPRINGFIELD BREECH LOADING RIFLES.
AUGUST 3RD: WAGON BOX FIGHT OUTSIDE FT. PHIL KEARNY. RED CLOUD’S LAKOTA ALLIED WITH CHEYENNES ATTACK SOLDIERS AND WOOD CUTTERS IN FOOTHILLS OF BIGHORN MOUNTAINS. SOLDIERS AND CIVILIANS BARRICADE THEMSELVES BEHIND WAGON BOXES AND REPEL WARRIORS WITH NEW SPRINGFIELD BREECH LOADING RIFLES
August 6th: (Fruit Season) Cheyennes Wreck Train – Spotted Wolf leads Cheyenne raid against Union Pacific Rail Road near Plum Creek Nebraska. Kill UPRR crew and take supplies.
October 28th: MEDICINE LODGE CREEK TREATY SIGNED IN KANSAS ESTABLISHES 2 RESERVATIONS IN INDIAN TERRITORY (WESTERN OKLAHOMA) FOR CHEYENNES AND ARAPAHOS; AND THE KIOWA, COMANCHES, AND KIOWA-APACHES. TREATY SOON BROKEN BY BOTH SIDES.
November 6th: Sitting Bull attacks Fort Berthold.
April 29th: FT. LARAMIE TREATY ENDS RED CLOUD’S WAR AND ESTABLISHES GREAT SIOUX RESERVATION INCLUDING PAHASAPA THE SACRED BLACK HILLS, & UNCEEDED TERRITORY FOR LAKOTA SIOUX. BOZEMAN TRAIL FORTS ABANDONED.
SEPTEMBER 17TH: BATTLE OF BEECHER ISLAND – 50 SOLDIERS AND FRONTIERSMEN FIGHT OFF APPROXIMATELY 500 CHEYENNES UNDER ROMAN NOSE FOR EIGHT DAYS IN NORTHEASTERN COLORADO. LT. BEECHER AND ROMAN NOSE ARE KILLED.
ACT OF CONGRESS ESTABLISHES WYOMING TERRITORY FROM PARTS OF IDAHO, DAKOTA, AND UTAH TERRITORIES.
NOVEMBER 27TH: BATTLE OF THE WASHITA- 7TH CAVALRY ATTACKS SOUTHERN CHEYENNE CHIEF BLACK KETTLE’S VILLAGE ON THE WASHITA RIVER, in response to Cheyenne raids on settlers along the Smokey Hill River.
August 18-20: The last wagon train rolls out of Ft. Phil Kearny. As the last of the soldiers disappear over the horizon, the Sioux burn the fort down.
ULYSSES S. GRANT NARROWLY ELECTED PRESIDENT.
TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILROAD COMPLETED.
JULY 11th: 5th Cavalry under Major Eugene Carr, surprises and destroys Cheyenne village under Tall Bull on Summit Springs in retaliation for raids on settlements along the Republican River.
First Government Agency is established for the Crow on Hide Scraper Creek (Mission Creek).
September 26th: U.S. Troops engage southern Lakota and Cheyenne at Prairie Dog Creek.
Lt. Col. George A. Custer and the Seventh Cavalry rescue two white women Cheyenne captives on Sweet Water River. Slim Face is captured and later killed.
ARIKARA, MANDAN & HIDATSA RESERVATION BOUNDARIES ESTABLISHED BY EXECUTIVE ORDER. LAND REDUCED TO 7.8 MILLION ACRES.
August 14th: BAKER FIGHT: GEN. STANLEY’S EXPEDITION SURVEYS YELLOWSTONE VALLEY FOR NORTHERN PACIFIC RAIL ROAD. CLASHES WITH SITTING BULL AND LAKOTA EAST OF MODERN DAY BILLINGS, MONTANA.
YELLOWSTONE BECOMES AMERICA’S FIRST NATIONAL PARK.
Crow Government Agency moves to present day Absarokee, MT.
October 2nd: Lakota attack Ft. McKeen.
October 3rd: Lakota attack Northern Pacific Rail Road survey crew on Heart River west of Bismarck, North Dakota.
NOVEMBER 19TH: FT. McKEEN LOCATED ACROSS THE MISSOURI RIVER FROM BISMARCK, NORTH DAKOTA RENAMED FT, ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
Fall: U.S. Arikara Chief of Scouts Howling Bear, leaves Fort McKeen (Ft. Lincoln) and rides to Fort Berthold Indian Agency to recruit Arikara’s as scouts against the Lakota Sioux.
“PANIC OF 1873” - U.S. EXPERIENCES FINANCIAL RECESSION.
7TH CAVALRY ARRIVES IN DAKOTA TERRITORY TO GUARD NORTHERN PACIFIC RAIL ROAD CREWS SURVEYING NEW ROUTE FROM BISMARCK TO PUGET SOUND WASHINGTON.
FT. ABRAHAM LINCOLN ESTABLISHED NEAR BISMARCK TO PROTECT NORTHERN PACIFIC RAIL ROAD AND SETTLERS. BECOMES 7TH CAVALRY HEADQUARTERS.
October 15th: Lakota warriors attack Fort Lincoln.
SEPTEMBER 23RD: YELLOWSTONE EXPEDITION UNDER COMMAND OF COL. DAVID STANLEY (WHICH INCLUDED LT. COL. GEORGE A. CUSTER AND 7TH CAVALRY) RETURN TO FT. ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
NORTHERN PACIFIC RAIL ROAD HALTS AT BISMARCK, DAKOTA TERRITORY.
BARB WIRE, COLT SINGLE ACTION ARMY REVOLVER, AND WINCHESTER 1873 INVENTED.
September 18th: Capt. Eagan leads 2nd Cavalry in attack against Lakota war party on the North Laramie River.
July 2: LT. COL. GEORGE A. CUSTER LEADS 7TH CAVALRY OUT OF FT. LINCOLN TO CONDUCT SCIENTIFIC EXPLORATION INTO BLACK HILLS. GOLD IS DISCOVERED.
June 2nd: Steamer Josephine reaches the Bighorn River.
SEPTEMBER 20TH: U.S. GOVERNMENT COMMISSION UNDER SENATOR ALLISON MET WITH LAKOTA IN FIRST FORMALIZED ATTEMPT TO PURCHASE BLACK HILLS.
SEPTEMBER 29TH: LAKOTA SIOUX REFUSE U.S. GOVERNMENT OFFER OF $6 MILLION FOR BLACK HILLS.
November 3rd: Secretary of the Interior Zachariah Chandler and Assistant Secretary Benjamin Cowen, and Secretary of War William Belknap, are called to the White House to meet with the president and Generals Sheridan and Crook. They discuss the Indian question, and President Grant confides in them his decision to resort to war against the Sioux.
NOVEMBER 9TH: E.C.WATKINS, U.S. INDIAN BUREAU REP. REPOTS ON STATE OF AFFAIRS ON GREAT SIOUX RESERVATION INDIANS. REPORT FINDS MANY ANGRY AND UPSET OVER CONDITIONS AND FOOD ALLOTMENTS. MANY LEAVE TO JOIN SITTING BULL AND CRAZY HORSE. WATKINS SUGGESTS that THE INDIANS BE TURNED OVER TO THE MILITARY AND “WHIPPED INTO SUBJECTION.
December 3rd: Secretary of the Interior, Zachariah Chandler issues an ultimatum targeted at Sitting Bull and his non-reservation followers to “return to the reservation by January 31, 1876 or be deemed hostile.”
U.S. POPULATION 46 MILLION WITH 38 STATES. 35,000 MILES OF RAIL ROAD TRACK. U.S. BECOMING AN INDUSTRIAL POWER.
FIRST ELECTRIC STREET LIGHTING IN U.S.
20 IRISH COAL MINERS HANGED IN PENNSYLVANIA AS MEMBER OF THE MOLLY MAGUIRES FOR MURDERING THEIR BOSSES.
"THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER" BY MARK TWAIN PUBLISHED.
JANUARY 31ST: U.S. GOVERNMENT ULTIMATUM DEADLINE IGNORED BY SITTING BULL AND HIS FOLLOWERS.
February 1st: Secretary of the Interior Zachariah Chandler informs Secretary of War, William Belknap that problems with the Lakota Sioux are “now turned over to the War Department, for such action of the Army as you may deem proper…”
February 8th: General Phil Sheridan sends confidential telegraphs to General Terry and General Crook, notifying them that the “War Department has ordered operations against hostile Indians.”
FEBRUARY 21st – March 4th: Major James Brisbin with a small force of 221, departs Ft. Ellis, Montana to relieve a party of civilians besieged by Lakota Sioux at Ft. Pease Trading Post near mouth of Bighorn River.
March 3rd: Former U.S. Indian Scout Bloody Knife is hired as a Civilian Scout by the U.S. Quartermaster, Fort Abraham Lincoln, for the approaching Great Sioux Campaign against Sitting Bull.
MARCH 17TH: COL. REYNOLDS ATTACKS CHEYENNE VILLAGE ON POWDER RIVER.
March 24th: Lakota and Cheyenne survivors of Col. Reynold’s attack are given refuge by Crazy Horse.
March 26th: General George Crook’s column returns to Fort Fetterman.
March 29th : Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer testifies before the Clymer Committee in Washington D.C. concerning corruption in the Army and Indian post traderships. President Grant is incensed at Custer’s personal attacks against his brother and friends.
APRIL 3rd: MONTANA COLUMN UNDER COL. JOHN GIBBON DEPARTS FT. ELLIS IN PURSUIT OF SITTING BULL.
April 9th: Lt. James Bradley arrives at Crow Agency (near Livingston, MT) to recruit Crow’s as U.S. Indian Scouts in the campaign against their traditional enemy the Lakota under Sitting Bull.
April 10th: 25 Crow’s are enlisted as U.S. Indian Scouts to assist Col. John Gibbon’s command in locating Sitting Bull’s allied Lakota and Cheyenne.
April 26-May 9: 30 new Arikara’s are enlisted as U.S. Indian Scouts for the campaign against Sitting Bull. The scouts will be used to provide reconnaissance information on the Lakota and Cheyenne, carry important dispatches and mail, and locate suitable locations for campsites.
MAY 10TH: PRESIDENT GRANT OPENS CENTENNIAL EXPOSITION AT FAIRMOUNT PARK IN PHILADELPHIA. ENTRANCE FEE 50 CENTS.
May 16th: Lt. James Bradley and approximately 25 soldiers and scouts discover Lakota and Cheyenne camp on the Tongue River.
May 17th: Col. John Gibbon attempts to cross to south side of Yellowstone River to attack village but decides to remain north of the Yellowstone after several horses drown in the attempt.
MAY 17TH: DAKOTA COLUMN UNDER COMMAND OF GENERAL TERRY DEPARTS FT. LINCOLN IN PURSUIT OF SITTING BULL WHO IS BELIEVED TO BE LOCATED ALONG THE LITTLE MISSOURI RIVER. CUSTER COMMANDS THE 7TH CAVALRY.
May 29th: President Grant announces that he will not seek a third term as president.
MAY 29TH: WYOMING COLUMN UNDER GEN. GEORGE CROOK DEPARTS FT. FETTERMAN IN PURSUIT OF SITTING BULL.
JUNE - MOON OF THE RIPENING CHOKE CHERRIES
June 2nd: General Crook orders his civilian scouts to make contact with his “Crow allies”.
JUNE 4-7: A SUNDANCE CEREMONY IS HELD AT DEER MEDICINE ROCKS. SITTING BULL RECEIVES A VISION OF SOLDIERS FALLING INTO HIS CAMP. A GREAT VICTORY OVER THE BLUE COATS IS PROPHESIZED.
June 9th: At 6:00 PM Lakota and Cheyenne fire on Gen. Crooks camp from a high bluff on the north side of the Tongue River. Crook orders a counter attack and drives the warriors away after a nearly one hour battle.
June 10th: Major Marcus A. Reno and six Companies of the Seventh Cavalry, and one Gatling Gun and crew, are ordered on a ten day reconnaissance of the area west of the Powder River to the Tongue River to help determine the location of Sitting Bull’s encampment.
June 16th: Lakota under Crazy Horse and Cheyenne under Two Moons leave their village on Reno Creek, and ride out to attack Gen. George Crook's command proceeding down Rosebud Creek.
June 17th: BATTLE OF THE ROSEBUD –BATTLE WHERE THE SISTER SAVED HER BROTHER – Crook’s column is attacked at mid-morning by Lakota and Cheyenne, resulting in a six hour heated battle. Nine soldiers are killed in action, 13 warriors are reported slain. Crook retains the field but withdraws to his base camp located on Goose Creek (present day Sheridan, WY).
Major Reno returns from his reconnaissance scout of the Powder River and Rosebud Creek. Reports to General Terry that he has located signs of abandoned Lakota villages in upper Rosebud valley.
June 18: Sioux and Cheyenne enter Little Bighorn valley and set-up their village.
JUNE 21ST: Supplied with news of Sitting Bulls recent encampment along the Rosebud valley, GEN. TERRY HOLDS A BATTLE CONFERENCE ABOARD STEAMER FAR WEST, ANCHORED AT MOUTH OF ROSEBUD CREEK AND YELLOWSTONE RIVER.
JUNE 22ND: LT. COL. GEORGE A. CUSTER AND 12 companies of the 7TH CAVALRY are ordered to MARCH UP ROSEBUD CREEK in pursuit of Sitting Bull. Mark Kellog, Bismarck Tribune reporter sends back last dispatch with prophetic epitaph “I go with Custer and will be at the death.”
June 22nd: General Terry joins Col. Gibbons column and marches west up the Yellowstone River before crossing over to the Bighorn River valley.
June 24th: General Terry, and his staff along with Col. Gibbon’s column are ferried to south side of the Yellowstone River near the mouth of the Bighorn River by Captain Grant Marsh and the riverboat Far West. The Montana column proceeds up the Bighorn River valley in a pincer movement toward Sitting Bull, and hopes to reach the mouth of the Little Bighorn River at or about June 26.
SATURDAY JUNE 24TH: DYING DANCING CEREMONY HELD IN INDIAN ENCAMPMENT. APPROXIMATELY 20 YOUNG LAKOTA AND CHEYENNE TEENAGERS TAKE SUICIDE VOW.
7TH CAVALRY HALTS AT PRESENT DAY BUSBY, MONTANA. U.S. INDIAN SCOUTS SENT AHEAD TO CROW’S NEST TO VIEW LITTLE BIGHORN VALLEY. ARRIVE AT 2:30 AM.
June 25th: Battle of the Little Bighorn begins.
JUNE 26TH: BATTLE OF THE LITTLE BIGHORN ENDS. SITTING BULL’S VILLAGE WITHDRAWS IN LATE AFTERNOON UP LITTLE BIGHORN VALLEY AFTER SCOUTS REPORT GEN. TERRY’S COLUMN ADVANCING UP BIGHORN VALLEY.
JUNE 27TH: GENERAL TERRY AND MONTANA COLUMN ARRIVE AND DISCOVER CUSTER’S DEAD BATTALION.
JUNE 28TH: MAJ. RENO’S COMPANIES BURY CUSTER’S COMMAND.
JUNE 29TH – 30th: 7TH CAVALRY WOUNDED EVACUATED TO STEAMER FAR WEST ANCHORED AT THE MOUTH OF THE LITTLE BIGHORN RIVER NEAR PRESENT DAY HARDIN, MONTANA. 52 transported to Fort Lincoln Hospital for medical treatment.
JULY 5TH: FAR WEST ARRIVES AT BISMARCK WITH NEWS OF CUSTER’S DEFEAT.
JULY 6TH: BISMARCK TRIBUNE PUBLISHES NEWS OF CUSTER’S DEFEAT. NEWS REACHES GEN. SHERMAN AND GEN. SHERIDAN ATTENDING CENTENNIAL EXPOSITION.
Mrs. Elizabeth Bacon Custer receives word of her husbands death at the Little Bighorn at 7:00 AM by Lt. C.L. Gurley, 6th U.S. Infantry, at her residence at Fort Abraham Lincoln. She agrees to console the other widows and their families at the post.
JULY 17TH: COL. WESLEY MERRIT AND THE 5TH CAVALRY INTERCEPT APPROXIMATELY 800 CHEYENNES LEAVING RED CLOUD AGENCY, NEBRASKA TO JOIN SITTING BULL AND CRAZY HORSE. IN A RUNNING FIGHT YELLOW HAIR IS KILLED BY SCOUT WILLIAM F. CODY (BUFFALO BILL).
AUGUST 15TH: SIOUX AND CHEYENNE WHO REMAINED ON THE GREAT SIOUX RESERVATION WERE DISARMED, AND DISMOUNTED. CONGRESS VOTED TO SEIZE THE BLACK HILLS, AND UNCEEDED TERRITORY WEST OF THE 103RD MERIDIAN. THE FORCED RIGHT OF WAY FOR THREE ROADS TO THE BLACK HILLS ALSO RESULTS.
SEPTEMBER 1ST: James Butler Hickock also known as “WILD BILL HICKOCK” is MURDERED IN THE NUMBER 10 SALOON AT DEADWOOD BY JACK McCALL.
SEPTEMBER 7TH: JESSE JAMES GANG ATTEMPTS TO ROB THE BANK IN NORTHFIELD MINNESOTA WITH DISASTROUS RESULTS.
SEPTEMBER 9TH: BATTLE OF SLIM BUTTES. CAPT. ANSON MILLS ATTACKS 37 LODGES UNDER OGLALA LAKOTA SIOUX CHIEF AMERICAN HORSE.
OCTOBER 15TH: SITTING BULL LEADS 400-600 WARRIORS AND ATTACKS AN ARMY ESCORT WAGON TRAIN ON ITS WAY TO GLENDIVE TO THE CANTONMENT ON THE TONGUE RIVER (PRESENT DAY MILES CITY).
OCTOBER 16TH: UNDER A FLAG OF TRUCE, SITTING BULLS MEETS IN CONSUL WITH COMMANDER OF THE U.S. ARMY ESCORT WAGON TRAIN; AND REQUESTS THAT THE ARMY REMOVE ITSELF FROM SIOUX LAND. THE ARMY REFUSES.
OCTOBER 18TH: COL. NELSON A. MILES WITH THE ENTIRE 5TH INFANTRY DEPARTS TONGUE RIVER CANTONMENT TO FORCE SITTING BULL ONTO THE RESERVATION.
OCTOBER 21ST: BATTLE OF CEDAR CREEK- COL. NELSON A. MILES PURSUES LAKOTA AND CHEYENNE IN A TWO DAY RUNNING BATTLE NORTH OF PRESENT DAY MILES CITY. EARLIER, COL. MILES HAD CONFERRED WITH SITTING BULL IN AN UNSUCCESSFUL ATTEMPT TO PERSUADE HIM SURRENDER.
NOVEMBER 10TH: CENTENNIAL EXPOSITION CLOSES. OVER 8 MILLION PEOPLE VISITED.
NOVEMBER 25: COL. RONALD MACKENZIE AND 1,100 CAVALRYMEN ATTACK CHEYENNE VILLAGE OF DULL KNIFE, AND LITTLE WOLF ON RED FORK OF POWDER RIVER. BY SPRING MOST CHEYENNES FACE STARVATION AND SURRENDER.
NOVEMBER 30TH: 40 LODGES OF MINNECONJOU AND SANS ARC LAKOTA SIOUX SURRENDER TO MILITARY AUTHORITIES ON THE CHEYENNE RIVER AGENCY, IN PRESENT DAY SOUTH DAKOTA.
TELEPHONE INVENTED BY ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL.
AGREEMENT OF 1876: REDUCES GREAT SIOUX RESERVATION. LAKOTA LOSE BLACK HILLS.
November/December: First Lakota arrive in Canada. 109 lodges camp near Legare Trading Post at Wood Mountain.
December 31st: Superintendent Walsh reports to Commissioner at Fort Macleod that he had met with the refugee Sioux and warned them to be peaceful and observe Canadian law.
Jan. 1-3: Col. Nelson A. Miles with seven companies of Infantry, move up Tongue River in pursuit of Cheyenne and Lakota Sioux under Crazy Horse. Skirmish results and Cheyenne and Lakota forced to abandon winter camps and flee up Tongue River.
JANUARY 8TH: BATTLE OF WOLF MOUNTAIN.
Col. Miles and approximately 300 Infantrymen clash in sub-zero blizzard conditions with Crazy Horse and his followers. Crazy Horse and his followers withdraw after a heated battle.
APRIL 4: Fort Custer is established near present day Hardin, Montana at the confluence of the Little Bighorn and Bighorn Rivers to keep the peace following the defeat of the Lakota Sioux in 1876-1877.
April 22nd: 300 Cheyennes under Two Moons, and Hump of the Minniconjou Lakota surrender to Col. Nelson A. Miles near present day Miles City, Montana.
MAY 6: CRAZY HORSE AND MORE THAN 1,100 FOLLOWERS, TIRED OF FIGHTING AND NEAR STARVATION, SURRENDER TO MILITARY AUTHORITIES AT FORT ROBINSON.
SITTING BULL FLEES TO CANADA WITH FOLLOWERS.
May 7th: Col. Nelson Miles with four troops of Cavalry defeat band of Minniconjou Lakota under Lame Deer and Iron Star, near present day Lame Deer, Montana.
JULY: CUSTER AND FELLOW OFFICERS REMOVED TO CEMETERIES BACK EAST. JOHN FOUCH, TAKES FIRST PHOTOGRAPHS OF LITTLE BIGHORN BATTLEFIELD.
July 25th: General Sherman reports from the steamer Rosebud at anchor at Fort Custer “These Sioux Indians can never again regain this country, and they will be forced to remain at their agencies or take refuge in the British possessions.”
SEPTEMBER 5: CRAZY HORSE IS KILLED WHILE RESISTING ARREST AT FORT ROBINSON.
September 28th: Spotted Tail meets with President Rutherford B. Hayes to request that Black Robes (Franciscan priest) teach his people on the Rosebud.
OCTOBER 17: GENERAL TERRY MEETS WITH SITTING BULL AT FORT WALSH TO NEGOTIATE HIS RETURN TO UNITED STATES. SITTING BULL REFUSES AND REMAINS IN CANADA WITH HIS FOLLOWERS.
CONGRESS APPROPRIATES BLACK HILLS WITHOUT FULL CONSENT OF LAKOTA SIOUX.
October 17th: Brig. General Alfred H. Terry and U.S. Commissioners meet with Sitting Bull at Fort Walsh. Lakota Chiefs rebuke Commissioners and refuse to return to the United States. Sitting Bull responds to Gen. Terry “This part of the country does not belong to your people. You belong on the other side; this side is ours.”
NORTHERN PACIFIC RAIL ROAD RESUMES CONSTRUCTION TO PUGET SOUND WASHINGTON.
August 29th: Spotted Tail establishes the Rosebud Agency (Spotted Tail Agency).
September 10th: Chief Little Wolf and Dull Knife with 300 followers flee toward Montana and Canada. Dull Knifes band is recaptured.
October 26th: Following their capture in October, Dull Knife and approximately 200 Cheyenne are imprisoned at Fort Robinson, Nebraska for fleeing Indian Territory in present day Oklahoma.
Presence of Lakota in Canada upsets Canadian Indian tribes (Cree, Assiniboine, Saulteaux and the Blackfoot Confederacy). Canadian buffalo herds slaughtered in large numbers by Lakota, and herd is pushed south of the Milk River into the U.S.
Small Lakota hunting party crosses back into the U.S., and discovers two fellow tribesman with stolen Lakota horses. Father-in-law kills his son-in-law over the crime.
January 5th: War Department orders Dull Knife and his band back to their reservation in Oklahoma. Little Wolf’s band proceeds toward the Powder River, but are forced to surrender to Col. Nelson Miles at Fort Keogh.
January 9th: Chief Little Wolf and Dull Knife's Cheyenne flee Ft. Robinson hoping to reach their homeland. 68 killed in escape from Jan 9-23 before recapture.
JANUARY 13TH: RENO COURT OF INQUIRY CONVENES AT PALMER HOUSE, CHICAGO ILLINOIS. MAJOR RENO IS LATER VINDICATED. COURT FINDS NO GROUNDS FOR MILITARY COURT MARSHALL PROCEEDINGS ON RENO’S CONDUCT AT THE LITTLE BIGHORN.
January 29: Custer Battlefield National Cemetery established by Sec of War.
ARMY ERECTS CORDWOOD MONUMENT FOR 7TH CAVALRY CASUALTIES ON CUSTER HILL, AND REBURIES CASUALTIES.
July: Facing starvation in Canada, 200-300 lodges of Lakota Sioux leave Sitting Bull and return to the United States.
JULY 17TH: Col. Nelson Miles with a force of 600 soldiers and 140 Crow and Cheyenne scouts, engage in battle with Sitting Bull and his followers near the Milk River in Northern Montana. After a short and decisive battle, Sitting Bull leads his people back into Canada.
FORT BERTHOLD RESERVATION REDUCED TO 1.2 MILLION ACRES.
February 12th: U.S. Army increases patrols along Canadian border to curtail Indian raids.
JULY 19TH: SITTING BULL ARRIVES AT FT. BUFORD DAKOTA TERRITORY WITH 43 FAMILIES, AND SURRENDERS THE FOLLOWING DAY TO MAJ. BROTHERTON.
August 5th: Spotted Tail is killed in altercation by Crow Dog.
7TH CAVALRY MONUMENT ERECTED ON LAST STAND HILL, 7TH CAVALRY CASUALTIES BURIED IN MASS GRAVE.
NORTHERN PACIFIC RAILROAD ENTERS MONTANA.
CITY OF BILLINGS FOUNDED BY NORTHERN PACIFIC RAILROAD. POPULATION HAILED AT 119,000.
Crow Government Agency moved to its final location at Crow Agency, MT. Crow agree to further land cession.
April 10th: U.S. Government prohibit Lakota traditional customs and religious practices.
NORTHERN CHEYENNE RESERVATION CARVED FROM CROW RESERVATION.
JULY 28TH: CROW KING, PROMINENT HUNKPAPA LAKOTA WAR LEADER AT LITTLE BIGHORN DIES AT FORT YATES, ON THE STANDING ROCK INDIAN RESERVATION IN NORTH DAKOTA.
SITTING BULL JOINS BUFFALO BILL’S WILD WEST SHOW.
December 31st: Black Robes (Franciscan priests) arrive at Rosebud Reservation and establish St. Francis Catholic Church and School.
10TH ANNIVERSARY OF BATTLE OF THE LITTLE BIGHORN. 7TH CAVALRY OFFICERS MEET FORMER CHEYENNE AND LAKOTA ADVERSARIES, AND TOUR BATTLEFIELD.
DAWES SEVERALTY ACT - U.S. GOVERNMENT DISSOLVES OLD TRIBAL ENTITIES AND DECREES THAT INDIANS BE TREATED AS INDIVIDUALS.
ALLOTMENT ACT IS INTENDED TO MAKE FARMERS OUT OF INDIANS.
Crow warrior leader Wraps Up His Tail and a small group of his followers lead unsuccessful insurgency against U.S. Government because of newly imposed laws prohibiting inter-tribal warfare and restricting Crow tribal members to their reservation. Troops from Fort Custer quell the insurrection.
Crow lead horse raid against the Northern Cheyenne camped on the Tongue River.
Crow leader Two Leggings recaptures horses stolen by a Lakota raiding party from Fort Peck, killing one Lakota. This incident is believed to be the last recorded inter-tribal conflict on the Northern Plains.
MONTANA, NORTH DAKOTA, AND SOUTH DAKOTA BECOME STATES. LAKOTA SIOUX DEPRIVED OF 11 MILLION ACRES.
AGREEMENT OF 1889: GREAT SIOUX RESERVATION BROKE UP INTO SIX RESERVATIONS: STANDING ROCK; CHEYENNE RIVER; LOWER BRULE; CROW CREEK; ROSEBUD; AND PINE RIDGE.
October 31st: Short Bull delivers first sermon on the Ghost Dance on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
JULY 10TH: WYOMING TERRITORY ADMITTED INTO THE UNION AS A STATE.
NOVEMBER 20TH: PRESIDENT HARRISON, IN RESPONSE TO SOUTH DAKOTA RESIDENTS DIRECTS THE SECRETARY OF WAR TO TAKE ACTION AGAINST THE GHOST DANCE MOVEMENT.
DECEMBER 15TH: SITTING BULL PLACED UNDER ARREST AND KILLED BY STANDING ROCK RESERVATION INDIAN POLICE DURING GHOST DANCE UPRISING.
MOON OF POPPING TREES:
DECEMBER 29TH: WOUNDED KNEE MASSACRE: 84 LAKOTA MEN, 62 WOMEN, AND CHILDREN ARE KILLED BY U.S. TROOPS ON WOUNDED KNEE CREEK, SOUTH DAKOTA.
CAPT. OWEN SWEET ERECTS MARBLE MARKERS AT 7TH CAVALRY CASUALTY SITES.
BUFFALO IN U.S. NEARLY EXTERMINATED BY OVER HUNTING. ONCE GREAT HERDS DWINDLE TO LESS THAN 2,000 HEAD.
WYOMING BECOMES 44TH STATE.
STEAMBOAT TRAFFIC ENDS ON THE MISSOURI RIVER IN MONTANA.
FRONTIER ERA ENDS AS WESTERN PLAINS BECOMES SETTLED BY EURO-AMERICAN RANCHERS AND FARMERS.
JULY 22ND: FORT ABRAHAM LINCOLN. ESTABLISHED IN 1872 NEAR PRESENT DAY BISMARCK/MANDAN, NORTH DAKOTA TO PROTECT THE NORTHERN PACIFIC RAIL ROAD IS ABANDONED.
CROW INDIAN RESERVATION 1.8 MILLION ACRES OPENED TO SETTLERS BY PRESIDENTIAL PROCLAMATION.
SEPTEMBER 5th: RAIN IN THE FACE, HUNKPAPA LAKOTA WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT AT THE LITTLE BIGHORN AND SUBJECT OF LONGFELLOWS FAMOUS POEM, DIES AT OWL CREEK, SOUTH DAKOTA.
April 17th: Fort Custer located near present day Hardin at the confluence of the Little Bighorn/Big Horn River, is abandoned.
October 13th: U.S. Government orders family names for all American Indians.
December 1st: Oglala Lakota Chief Red Cloud dies.
40TH ANNIVERSARY OBSERVANCE OF THE BATTLE OF THE LITTLE BIGHORN.
May 23rd: Curly, famous Crow scout for Lt. Col. Custer during the battle, dies in his cabin near Crow Agency, Montana.:
NATIVE AMERICANS GRANTED CITIZENSHIP AND ALLOWED TO VOTE.
JUNE 25-26TH SEMI-CENTENNIAL OBSERVANCE OF THE BATTLE OF THE LITTLE BIGHORN. “BURY THE HATCHET” CEREMONY BETWEEN BATTLE VETERANS HELD. AN ESTIMATED-----PEOPLE ATTEND.
OCTOBER 25TH: LAND PURCHASED FOR RENO-BENTEEN BATTLEFIELD, FOR INCLUSION IN CUSTER BATTLEFIELD NATIONAL CEMETERY (LITTLE BIGHORN BATTLEFIELD NM).
LT. CHARLES VARNUM, CUSTER’S CHIEF OF SCOUT’S AND LAST 7TH CAVALRY OFFICER AT LITTLE BIGHORN DIES.
WAR DEPARTMENT TRANSFERS JURISDICTION OF LITTLE BIGHORN BATTLEFIELD TO THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE.
PRIVATE CHARLES WINDOLPH, CO. H, 7TH CAVALRY, AND LAST 7TH CAVALRY SURVIVOR OF THE BATTLE OF THE LITTLE BIGHORN DIES.
DEWEY BEARD, OGLALA LAKOTA WARRIOR AND LAST WARRIOR SURVIVOR OF THE BATTLE OF THE LITTLE BIGHORN DIES.
FEB. 27: MEMBERS OF AMERICAN INDIAN MOVEMENT SEIZE CHURCH AT WOUNDED KNEE AND BEGIN 71 DAY STAND OFF WITH FBI AND LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS.
CENTENNIAL OBSERVANCE OF THE BATTLE OF THE LITTLE BIGHORN IS PROTESTED BY RUSSELL MEANS AND THE AMERICAN INDIAN MOVEMENT.
U.S. SUPREME COURT AWARDS EIGHT SIOUX TRIBES $105 MILLION FOR SEIZURE OF BLACK HILLS. TRIBES REFUSE PAYMENT AND DEMAND RETURN OF BLACK HILLS.
IRON PLAQUE INSTALLED ON LAST STAND HILL BY AMERICAN INDIAN MOVEMENT TO HONOR NATIVE AMERICAN PARTICIPATION IN THE BATTLE.
JAN. 3: Custer Battlefield National Monument changed to Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. Custer Battlefield National Cemetery changed to Custer National Cemetery, and Indian Memorial authorized by Congress.
MAY 31TH: Cheyenne casualty marker placement of red granite markers for Lame White Man and Noisy Walking.
November 11TH: Indian Memorial ground breaking.
June 25: Indian Memorial dedicated.
Copyright 1999-2013 Bob Reece
Friends Little Bighorn Battlefield, P.O. Box 636, Crow Agency, MT 59022