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

1876 – Custer is defeated and killed at Little Bighorn

General George Armstrong Custer went into battle at Little Big Horn under a number of false impressions.

He was under the impression that he would be facing no more than 800 Native Americans, rather than more than twice that number – Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse had recruited assiduously, knowing that a battle was coming. He was under the impression that his major challenge would be preventing the escape of the enemy forces, rather than defeating them. And finally, he was under the impression, based on these assumptions, that the force under the command of his subordinate Major Reno would be far more effective in battle than it proved.

But with Reno’s forces isolated and routed, Custer’s forces were outnumbered and surrendered. More than 200 men in Custer’s army, including Custer himself, were killed.

Referenced in:

Custer – Johnny Cash
General Custer – Swan
Jim Bridger – Johnny Horton
Little Big Horn – Running Wild
I Love America – Alice Cooper
Custer Had It Coming – Redbone
Custer Song – Buffy Sainte-Marie
The Punch Line – The Minutemen
Custer Died A-Runnin’ – David Wilkie
Some Fool Made A Soldier Of Me – The Kingston Trio
Please Mister Custer, I Don’t Wanna Go – Larry Verne
History is Made By Stupid People – The Arrogant Worms