Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument Local Customs

  • The Fallen on Last Stand Hill
    The Fallen on Last Stand Hill
    by mtncorg
  • Fallen of Keogh's Company
    Fallen of Keogh's Company
    by mtncorg
  • Men who fell in Benteen's counterattack
    Men who fell in Benteen's counterattack
    by mtncorg

Most Recent Local Customs in Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

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    INDIAN HEADSTONES

    by mtncorg Written Sep 30, 2014

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    The Sioux and Cheyenne lost between 60-100 men whom they removed following the battle. In 1999, the National Park Service started to place red granite markers at sites where Indians were known to have fallen in an attempt to bring some balance to the scene – the Sioux and Cheyenne are American citizens, after all, and their views of the battle are often submerged. At that, there is nowhere near even 60 markers placed, but a slightly better mental picture of the battle does emerge.

    Mato Heton fell here on Battle Ridge Tablet describing Cheyenne headstones
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    HEADSTONE MARKERS

    by mtncorg Written Sep 30, 2014

    In 1890, marble markers were placed on the battlefield at sites where soldiers fell. Some 246 markers were placed in the area where Custer’s battalion fought and two were set atop the Reno-Benteen Hill – 52 died there and in the valley fight preceding it. Of the men on that hill, 90% of the fallen were identified. Near the Last Stand Hill, of the 210 men whom were cut down, only 26% - 56 men – were recognizable – 27 were identified out of the forty on Last Stand Hill. Sixteen officers were killed – two were doctors – and of these twelve plus one doctor were with Custer. All of the officers were identified except for lieutenants Harrington, Sturgis and maybe Porter. Six civilians and scouts fell – four with Custer – and all of these individuals were identified.

    So, there are too many headstones for the number of men with Custer – 246 for 210 men. Captain Owen Sweet, the officer charged with placing the headstones, noted that on many parts of the battlefield men “fell by twos or as comrades in battle”. Forty-three pairs have been placed scattered over the field. One alternate theory is that burial and reburial – 1877 and 1879 – left indentations on each side of the deceased. In 1890, each indentation was counted as fallen soldier and two markers were placed instead of just one.

    The battle was not significant in terms of casualties when compared to the awful bloodletting of the American Civil war, but 268 men did die here, amounting to just over one percent of the authorized army strength of 26,312. Also, during the Indian Wars, the army lost 1128 men in the entire West, so a quarter of the entire loss was here at Little Bighorn. The placement of the marble markers on the battlefield makes these losses so much more real and poignant, as well as helps clarify some of the actions that occurred here.

    Unmarked headstones of men fallen in Deep Ravine The Fallen on Last Stand Hill Fallen of Keogh's Company Men who fell in Benteen's counterattack
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    Expected Behavior When Visiting National Cemeterie

    by KimberlyAnn Written Jan 12, 2010

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    National Cemeteries are designed to be shrines to honor the dead who served in the Armed Forces of the United States. While visiting these cemeteries visitors are expected to behave in a way that will not cause a disturbance to the quiet, serious, atmosphere of the cemetery. No form of sport is allowed, including no jogging, racing, skating, skateboarding, ball games, Frisbees, etc. This is also not a place to have a picnic or sunbath. Radios, pets, and alcoholic beverages are not allowed in the cemetery. Be respectful of the grave sites at all time, and do not sit, lean, or stand on headstones. If you have children, you will be expected to supervise them, so that they will behave in a quiet, appropriate way.

    Custer National Cemetery
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