1868 – Custer’s Cavalry routs the Cheyenne at Washita River

George Armstrong Custer was never a lucky man. Even before his death at Little Big Horn, controversy dogged his career.

The Battle of Washita River – also known as the Massacre of Washita River, which is fairly indicative right there – is a case in point. On the 27th of November, 1868, Custer’s 7th Cavalry attacked the Cheyenne under Black Kettle, who were encamped on the banks of the Washita (near present day Cheyenne, Oklahoma).

Accounts vary as to what followed, but some facts are generally agreed upon. Custer reported to his commanding officer the following day that some 103 Cheyenne warriors, plus ‘some’ woman and children, had been killed. Cheyenne estimates place the number of warriors at around 50, and display rather more precision in the measuring of women and children’s deaths.

Black Kettle and his wife were both among the dead. Custer would follow them into the grave some eight years later, at the hands of the Cheyenne and their Lakota allies.

Referenced in:

Banner Year – Five Iron Frenzy