Tuesday, January 31, 2017
the battle at little bighorn
I drove through Montana in late September on my way to the west coast. Near Billings I took a short detour off of Interstate 90 and stopped at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. I had read about the battle in history books but seeing it put a lot of things into perspective. I had visited other battlefields where hills and trees offered the soldiers protection from the opposing side. However, here I was looking out over the stark flatland of Montana and finding myself amazed at how a battle could have taken place here at all along the banks and shallow hills of the Little Bighorn.
Not all of the soldiers present during those fateful days in June of 1876 perished. Two out of the three regiments survived. But General Custer's group of soldiers didn't make it. Miscommunication, arrogance and bad timing led to the US Cavalry downfall. And the native tribesman that called this wide open area home lost warriors as well. The visitor center gives detailed information about the epic battle that was fought here and the drive through the park (complete with pullovers) gives the visitor perspective of what the soldiers and warriors faced during the battle. The message written on the wall is very moving. The monument is operated and maintained by the National Park Service.