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Battle of the Little Bighorn, Montana

The advance of the Northern Pacific railroad survey diverted for a time the hostilities of the Sioux from the people of the territory to the exploring expedition. Red Cloud had said that the railroad should not be laid across is country, and he meant to maintain his word. Accordingly, when the surveying party, with a force of 1,500 men and an abundance of ammunition and supplies, appeared on the Yellowstone about the middle of July, he was there to resist their progress. The expedition was commanded at this time by Gen. D. S. Stanley, the 7th cavalry companies being under General Custer, they were met at the mouth of Glendive Creek by steamers loaded with subsistence and the material of war. A strong stockade was erected fifteen miles above this point, and garrisoned by one company of the 17th infantry and two of cavalry under the command of Captain E. P. Pearson. The remainder of the force proceeded up the river, Custer generally in advance with a portion of the cavalry, looking out a practicable road for the supply trains and artillery. The expedition had proceeded as far as Tongue River without encountering the Sioux, and had begun to feel that relaxation from apprehension, which the Indian knows so well hew to inspire. ‘Where there ain’t no Injuns you’ll find ’em thickest,’ was the caution of Bridger the mountaineer to the military in 1866. Absaraka, 183. On the 4th of Aug. Custer, with two companies of the cavalry, numbering ninety-five men, guided by a young Arickaree warrior, left camp at five clock in the morning. At noon, while taking...

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