In the spring and summer of 1876 the United States Government launched a military campaign upon a portion of the Sioux and Cheyenne Indians, who refused to live within the boundaries of the Great Sioux Reservation. They chose to continue their traditional nomadic way of life. The campaign was initiated when a Government ultimatum to return to the Great Sioux Reservation, in South Dakota, by January 31st, 1876 was ignored.
Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer and 647 men of the 7th Cavalry, part of the eastern column, were ordered by General Terry, south along Rosebud Creek. Ahead of the main column, Custer’s 6 Crow and 39 Arikara Indian Scouts found the massive village. In the Valley of the Little Bighorn River, the Seventh Cavalry and their Indian allies attacked the village of 8,000 to 10,000 people, on June 25th,1876. After the battle was over, 263 7th Cavalrymen lay dead, including George Custer. 350 7th Cavalrymen survived.