June 25th 1876: Custer’s Last Stand
On this day in 1876 Colonel George Custer made his famous ‘last stand’ against Native American forces at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, where he and a vast proportion of his men were killed. The battle came as part of the Great Sioux War of 1876 and saw United States troops fighting the combined forces of the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho people whose leaders included Crazy Horse and Chief Gall. The exact nature of Custer’s death during the ensuing battle is uncertain and subject to historical debate. The catastrophe of the ‘last stand’ came as a surprise to many American officials, as Custer had an exemplary record as a West Point educated military leader who served the Union Army in the Civil War, and they had underestimated the Native Americans’ skill in warfare.