Old Two Moons remembers General Custer's Last Battle


The soldiers, some of them anyway, crouched behind their dead horses, huddled together on a bluff by the Little Bighorn River in Montana. As noted previously, the Battle of the Little Bighorn and General Custer's Last Stand have been reported from many viewpoints. Accounts vary and the memories of the storytellers can rightly be questioned and criticized. I came across one not-so-well-known narrative in a highly recommended book, The Great West, edited by Charles Neider (1958). This publication may be out of print. I found it pinched between other aging volumes on a back shelf of the central market bookstore in Asheville, North Carolina. One chapter transcribed an interview conducted by a once well regarded journalist, Hamlin Garland, who tracked down and queried an old Cheyenne chief named Two Moons. "Nothing could exceed the dignity and sincerity of his greeting," wrote Garland.

Yellowstone River

According to Two Moons: "We traveled far, and one day we met a big camp of Sioux, and had a good time, plenty grass, plenty game, good water. Crazy Horse was head chief of the camp. Sitting Bull was camped a little ways below, on the Little Missouri River."

"Crazy Horse said to me, 'I'm glad you are come. We are going to fight the white man again.'"

Days later, the large contingent of Indian residents moved into the valley of the Little Horn, thinking "Now we are out of the white man's country. He can live there, we will live here."

Two Moons told Garland (through interpreter Wolf Voice), "One day, I looked up the Little Horn towards Sitting Bull's camp. I saw a great dust rising. It looked like a whirlwind. Soon Sioux horseman came rushing into camp shouting: 'Soldiers come! Plenty white soldiers.'"

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