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FOLLOWING ORDERS: Deliberate Defeat at the Little Bighorn

FOLLOWING ORDERS: Deliberate Defeat at the Little Bighorn

Reinhard Monette Bebow


The battle of Little Bighorn in 1876 marked the beginning of the end of conflict between the U.S. and its military against the various Native American tribes west of the Mississippi River. Historians have given us various ideas of why Lieutenant Colonel Custer met with defeat. But none have noted, in connection with the November 3rd “secret meeting” between Grant and his generals, a movement of troops away from the Black Hills even before decisions were supposedly made to no longer keep miners out of that sacred land. When we study attitude and orders in conjunction with what we know about these events, the idea emerges that the government knew that they couldn’t get the Indians to break the Fort Laramie Treaty unless they were attacked. Here, then, is a presentation of the possibility of deliberate defeat by the U.S. government and its military in order to take the Black Hills.



The battle of Little Bighorn; conflict between the U.S. the Plains Indians

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Based on research done for my yet unpublished book, Civil War & Bloody Peace: following orders.

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,” and No. 6B, Subreport of General Crook, June 20, 1876, 114-21. Crook’s Autobiography, esp. 194-200. Joseph White Bull, Lakota and Cheyenne, 18-19. Little Hawk, “Battle of Rosebud Creek,” ibid, 25. “Interview with Foolish Elk,” Walter Camp, Custer in ’76, 197. Charles Collins, Jr., Atlas of Sioux Wars,

King, Campaigning with Crook, 7-9. Charles King, Papers of the Order of Indian Wars, 39. Ambrose, Crazy Horse and Custer, 415-416. John Finerty, War Path and Bivouac, 129.

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th Infantry Returns, July, 1876. Mattes, Indians, Infants and Infantry, 220. Robinson, Good Year To Die, 222. Fort Fetterman Post Returns, July 1876. Crook’s Autobiography, 199-200.

Gary Noy, ed., Distant Horizon: Documents from the Nineteenth-Century American West (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999), esp. 232. George E. Hyde, A Sioux Chronicle, (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1956), 3. Crook’s Autobiography, 200. Charles King, “My Friend, Buffalo Bill, Winners of the West 10, no. 1, Dec. 1932, Army and the Indian, 368.

Tribune Extra, July 6, 1876, from Utley, Custer and the Great Controversy, 38-41. Will the tribes eventually take this money? For some opinions see Tim Giago, “Black Hills Claims…”,Huff Post Politics,

b_533267.html and Chet Brokaw, “Judge tosses Sioux lawsuit…” Aberdeen News, 20110808,0,6996892.story


Copyright (c) 2014 Monette Bebow Reinhard

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