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George Armstrong Custer
George Armstrong Custer

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A 1938 recording of the song "Custer's Last Charge"

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Custer's Last Stand
June 25, 1876

What do you know about the Battle of Little Big Horn? You might know the story better as Custer's Last Stand.

On the morning of June 25, 1876, Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer and the 7th Cavalry charged into battle against Lakota Sioux and Northern Cheyenne Indians. Custer's orders were to wait for reinforcements at the mouth of the Little Big Horn River before attacking the Indians, but Chief Sitting Bull had been spotted nearby, and Custer was impatient to attack.

A treaty had given the Sioux exclusive rights to the Black Hills, but when gold was later discovered in the area, white miners flocked to the territory. Despite the treaty, the U.S. government ordered the Indians away from the invading settlers and back to their reservations.

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CREDIT: "Portrait of Maj. Gen. (as of Apr. 15, 1865) George A. Custer, Officer of the Federal Army." Between 1860 and 1865. Selected Civil War photographs, 1861-1865, American Memory collections, Library of Congress.
AUDIO CREDIT: Warde Ford, unaccompanied vocals. "Custer's Last Charge." Recorded by Sidney Robertson Cowell. December 26, 1938. California Gold: Northern California Folk Music from the Thirties, Library of Congress.