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Helena Herald Story of the Battle
Union -- Extra.
THURSDAY, JULY 6. 11.30 A. M.
GREAT BATTLE WITH THE INDIANS.
GEN. CUSTAR'S COMMAND ANNIHILATED.
CUSTAR KILLED Three Hundred Dead
Left on the Field. Gen. Custar's Two Brothers, a Nephew, Brother-In-Law, and 17 Commissioned Officers Among the Killed.
Special Dispatch to The San Diego Union.
STILLWATER, Montana Ter., July 2. -- Mug. Taylor, scout for General Gibbons, arrived here last night direct from Little Horn river. He brings intelligence that General Custar found an Indian camp, of about two thousand lodges. on the Little Horn, and immediately attacked it. He took five companies, and charged into the thick est portion of the camp.
Nothing is known of the operations of this detachment, only as they are traced by the dead. Major Reno commanded seven other companies, and attacked the lower portion of the camp.
The Indians poured in a murderous fire from all directions, and the greatest portion fought on horseback. General Custar, his two brothers, nephew and brother-in-law were all killed, and not one of his detachment escaped. Two hundred and seven men were buried in one place, and the number of killed is estimated at three hundred, with ouly thirty-one wounded.
The Indiana surrounded Major Reno's command, and held them for one day in the bills, cut off from water, until General Gibbons' command came in sight, when they broke camp in the night and left.
The Seventh company fought like tigers, but were overcome by brute force. The Indian loss cannot be estimated, as they bore off and cached the most of their killed. The remnant of the Seventh Cavalry, together with General Gibbons' command are returning to the mouth of the Little Horn, where a steamer lies. The Indians got all the arms of the killed soldiers. There were seventeen commissioned officers killed. The whole of the Custar family died at the bead of their column. The exact loss was not known. Both the adjutant and sergeant major were killed.
The Indian camp was from three to five miles long, and was twenty miles up the Little Horn from its mouth. The Indians actually pulled men from their horses in some instances.
The above is confirmed by other letters, which say that Custar met a fearful disaster.
The Boyeman (Montana) Times, Extra, confirms the report, and says the whole number killed was three hundred and fifteen. Gen. Gibbons joined the command at Reno. When the Indians left the battle field looked like a slaughter-pen, as it really was, being in a narrow ravine. The dead were horribly mutilated. The situation now looks serious.
General Terry arrived at Gibbons' camp on a steamer, and crossed his command over to join General Custar, who knew it was coming before the fight occurred. Lieut. Crittenden, son of Gen. Crittenden, was also among the killed.
The Custer Myth: A Source Book of Custerania, written and compiled by Colonel W.A. Graham, The Stackpole Co., Harrisburg, PA 1953, p 8
This July 6, 1876 San Diego Union Extra is a nearly verbatim replica of the Helena Herald story that ran on July 4, 1876, breaking the story of Gen. Custar [sic] and the Battle of the Little Bighorn on the day of the United States' centennial.
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Here is the first news account of the Battle of the Battle of the Little Bighorn, which appeared in the Helena Herald on July 4, 1876, along with Crow scout Curley's crucial first account of the battle, which appeared in the Helena Herald on July 15, 1876. Here's W.A. Graham's account of how Helena beat Bozeman with the news; here's the New York Times' coverage of the battle; and here's T.R. Porter's account of how the Sioux also scooped the Americans.
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