The Battle of Little Bighorn was one filled with negligence. Custer was the head of the 7th Cavalry and was tasked with helping keep the Native Americans in line and on their reservations, especially since some Natives had become militant in face of what they viewed as wrongs persecuted unto them by the government. As we all know now, they were correct; they were being wronged.
George Armstrong Custer
Custer had bad intel to start things out. He had been told of 800 hostiles, but there would eventually be nearly 2000. Although he would later ascertain information hinting at a larger enemy force, he decided not to make changes to his approach. Custer would go on to separate his men into 4 smaller detachments because he feared the Natives might try to escape, thus leaving each detachment even more extremely outnumbered. Moreover, when given the opportunity to accept reinforcements, he also turned them down, saying that his men could handle anything the Native Americans could throw at him.
Spoiler Alert: The Battle of Little Bighorn was also known as Custer’s Last Stand.
Sitting Bull, a Lakota Holy man, is said to have prophesied the victory.
Of all the battles on this list, it is by far of the smallest scale. Because of this, it seemingly takes on more personal traits. The stories relating to the pivotal characters have room to breath. The battle is not so overly complicated by documents that try to account for the whereabouts of thousands of troops at any given time that it obfuscates the larger picture. The battle site wasn’t particularly large; its smaller scale gives it focus. The men in Custer’s detachment were slaughtered so thoroughly that no one lived to tell of it first hand, thus lending it an air of mystery.
You can imagine the Native American’s plight and you can imagine the last moments as Custer and his men made their last stand. And yet, in some ways, you have to imagine what happened, because no one can say exactly what happened that day, just that it resulted in the slaughtering of Custer’s men.