The battle of Little Bighorn took place in late 1875. Sioux and Cheyenne Indians defiantly left their reservations, and were outraged about the intrusion of whites into their sacred lands in the black hills. In response they gathered in Montana with the great warrior Sitting bull to fight for their land.
To force the tribe back into the reservations, the army dispatched three columns to attack in a coordinated fashion, one of these columns contained Lt. Colonel George Custer and the seventh cavalry.
Lt. Colonel George Custer
Custer found a group of about 40 warriors. Ignoring orders to wait, he decided to attack before they could alert the main party, but he did not realize that the number of warriors in the village numbered three times his strength. Dividing his forces in three, Custer sent troops under Captain Frederick Benteen to prevent their escape through the upper valley of the Little Bighorn river. Major Marcus Reno was to pursue the group, cross the river, and charge the Indian village in a coordinated effort with the remaining troops under his command.
The Little Bighorn river.
Reno's squadron of 175 soldiers attacked the southern end, but ended up finding themselves in a desperate battle with little hope of any relief. Reno halted his charging men before they could be trapped, fought for 10 minutes in dismounted formation, and then withdrew into the timber and brush along the river.
Just as they finished driving the soldiers out, the Indians spotted about 210 of Custers soldiers headed towards the other side of the village, which took pressure off of renos men. Cheyenne and Hunkpapa Sioux crossed the river and slammed into the advancing soldiers, forcing them back to a long high ridge to the north. As the tribes were closing in, Custer ordered his men to kill their hoses and form a wall with their carcasses, but they unfortunately provided little protection against bullets, in less than an hour Custer and his men were killed in the worst American military disaster ever.