Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

After leaving Yellowstone, I headed to Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.  I wasn't sure if I was going to make there or not.  It was sort of out of the way for everything else I was doing.  Taking 212 out of Yellowstone though deposited me right at the entrance of the battlefield.  I went from frost in the morning and snow covered peaks to 105 degree heat.  I think that heat was responsible, at least in part, to my phone dying.

I was not aware that there was a National Cemetery at the battlefield.

It was much smaller than the other National Cemeteries that I have been too but was very peaceful.

Overlooking a portion of the battlefield near the visitor's center.  Visible as two small white spots near the center of the picture are a couple of grave markers for U.S. soldiers.  The trees lie along the Little Bighorn River.  This is where the Indians were camped.

Just above the cows in the center of the screen where the skyline drops sharply, then descends gradually to the left is where Custer was on the morning of the attack.  This is 14 miles distant.  Large plumes of dust from the thousands of horses were rising into the air.  Custer, fearing the Indians were in the process of breaking camp and were going to slip away, moved to attack.

Gravestones for the U.S. Cavalry are white.  They lie where soldier's bodies were found.

Indian gravestones are made of red stone.

The Indian memorial to those who died in the battle.  This was beautiful and I've only shown one side.  The other three sides were sunk into the earth and bore the names of those who were killed.  It was incredible.

The monument to the soldiers who were killed.  I don't recall when this was erected, but it has been there a long time.  It stands at the top of Last Stand Hill.  This picture was taken from the area of the Indian memorial. 

The graves at Last Stand Hill.  The black one is Custer's.  These lie over hill from the previous picture.

A rabbit.

Custer retreated up Deep Coulee to Last Stand Hill.  This is the view of Last Stand Hill from partway down Deep Coulee.

Deep Coulee.  The trees denote the location of the Little Bighorn River.  Custer's forces had pushed down towards the encampment, but were ultimately forced back up the coulee.

The trail partway down Deep Coulee.  You can see soldiers were being killed as they retreated up the hill.  There were signs telling you to stay on the path because there were rattlesnakes in the grass.

This is at the end of the trail into Deep Coulee looking into it towards the Indian encampment.

In today's all encompassing world view, with the ability to see the earth from space, radar, and near instantaneous communications across the globe, it is sometimes hard to imagine what it was like in a time when you couldn't see across the hill and communications could take days.  This is the view from of the trail in Deep Coulee towards Last Stand Hill.  Last Stand Hill is behind the hill on the left.  Standing here, it was easy to see how the fog of war played a part in the events that took place here.

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