100 Voices from the Little Bighorn by Bruce Brown Deluxe CD-ROM Bundle Edition

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100 Voices: Sioux, Cheyenne, Arapahoe, Crow, Arikara and American Eye-witness accounts of the Battle of the Little Bighorn

100 Voices: Full List * Crow/Arikara * Sioux/Cheyenne * American * Rosebud

Guided Tours: Crazy Horse at the Little Bighorn * Crazy Horse at the Rosebud

Features: Who Killed Custer? * Who Killed Custer? Audio Book
Features: Crazy Horse Surrender Ledger * Winter Count of Crazy Horse's Life
Features: Bogus Crazy Horse Photos * Unsung 7th Cavalry Scouts Saga
Features: Indian Battlefield Tactics * Woman Warriors
* Little Bighorn Maps
Features: U.S. Medal of Honor Winners * U.S. Atrocities * Indian Atrocities
Little Bighorn Mysteries * Virtual Museum

This is a FREE EXCERPT from
Bruce Brown's 100 Voices...

American Horse's Story of the Battle
A Northern Cheyenne's account of the Battle of the Little Bighorn

Cheyenne wolf scout by David Humphreys MillerCheyenne Chief American Horse provides the single most complete account of the scouting information that the free Indian leaders were receiving on Custer's movements before the battle.

Other important scouting info came from Hollow Horn Bear, Little Wolf, Fast Horn, Foolish Elk, Owns Bobtailed Horse, Respects Nothing and Chat-ka, as well as both Sioux and Cheyenne youths moments before the American invaders' attack. And here is High Dog's description of Sioux and Cheyenne scouting: "how it is done."

Although the Indians did not expect Custer to ride all night and attack immediately on the 25th, Sitting Bull's "G7 was excellent," as W.A. Graham noted.

-- B.B.
August 10,2010
updated April 21, 2011

As told to George Bird Grinnell in 1895.



Cheyenne chiefs Two Moon and American HorseNorthern Chevenne Indian Reservation, Montana, 1895

WE FIRST came together and heard that the white soldiers were in the country, down near the mouth of the Rosebud, close to the Yellowstone. A large camp gathered there. After a while, we all moved up the Rosebud, keeping scouts out all the time. While we were going up the Rosebud, we had a fight with the soldiers. [Note: this was the Battle of the Rosebud, where a Cheyenne / Sioux force commanded by Crazy Horse defeated a larger force commanded by Gen. George Crook. See Crazy Horse at the Rosebud for more info.] Afterward we crossed over to Reno Creek and camped. Scouts came in and said that lots of white men (soldiers) were coming.

Next morning we moved on and camped in a big bottom where there is a bunch of timber, the place where we were afterwards attacked [by Custer]. Scouts were kept out all the time. The next day some men were back on the Rosebud, watching to see where the troops with whom they had fought were going. These went the other way, but these scouts discovered Custer going up the Rosebud. A short time after the scout who made this discovery got into camp, four or five lodges of Sioux, who had set out to go to Red Cloud Agency, discovered Custer's troops close to them. These lodges got frightened and turned back, and when they reached the main camp, their report caused great alarm.

Above [on Reno Creek], where the Indians had left the Rosebud, two men, wounded in the first fight on the Rosebud, had died and [had] been left there in lodges. The troops discovered these lodges and charged them, and found not one there alive. The scouts of the Indians saw this.

About this time, the troops turned and went to the head [of the lower forks] and there separated. The next thing I heard [was] an old man haranguing in the camp that the soldiers were about to charge the camp from both ends, the upper and the lower. I was in the Cheyenne camp, at the lower end of the village.

Then everyone who had a horse mounted it, but most of the men were on foot; they had no horses. Reno's party was the first to get down to the Indian camp, and most of the men went up there to meet him. I was with those who went to meet Reno, as he was charging down on the flat where the timber stands. When the troops reached this timber, they stopped and went into it, and stopped [again]. The Indians were all around them. Then the Sioux and the Cheyennes charged and the troops ran for the river. The Indians rode right up to them [and] knocked some off their horses as they were running, and some fell off in the river. It was like chasing buffalo-a grand chase.

Reno's troops crossed the river and got up on the hill. Just as the troops got on the hill, the Indians saw a big pack train of mules coming, which met Reno there. The Indians all stopped at the river; they did not try to cross, but turned back to look over the dead for plunder, and to see who of their own people was killed.

While they were doing this, they heard shooting and calling down the river-a man calling out that the troops were attacking the lower end of the village. Then they all rushed down below and saw Custer coming down the hill and almost at the river. I was one of the first to meet the troops and the Indians and the soldiers reached the flat about the same time. When Custer saw them coming, he was down on the river bottom at the river's bank. The troops fought in line of battle, and there they fought for some little time. Then the troops gave way and were driven up the hill. The troops fought on horseback all the way up the hill. They were on their horses as long as the horses lasted, but by this time the Indians had got all around them and they were completely surrounded.

Those [Indians] who were following behind picked up the guns and ammunition belts of the soldiers who had been killed, and [they] fought the troops with their own guns. Many of the belts picked up had no cartridges in them. The soldiers were shooting all the time, as fast as the Indians. There were so many Sioux and Cheyennes that the whole country seemed to be alive with them, closing in on the troops and shooting. They kept following them until they got to a high point, and by this time very few white men were left. Here they closed in on them, and in a moment all were killed. I think this ended about two or three o'clock.

After we had killed those on the hill, we discovered that there were some other white men who had gotten off. They were discovered by people down below, and were below, that is, downstream from the monument. They charged these and killed them all.

After they had finished with Custer, they went back to Reno. It was now pretty late in the afternoon. They had fought there all night and all the next day until the middle of the afternoon. While they were fighting, someone came up the river and reported that troops were coming-a good many. They left Reno and returned to camp, for they had made up their mind that they did not want to fight anymore. They had fought for two days now and thought that they had fought enough.

Cheyenne Memories of the Custer Fight: A Source Book by Richard G. Hardorff, The Arthur Clark Co. Spokane, WA 1995, p 24 - 31


Much confusion attends to the name American Horse, which referred to at least three prominent but different 19th century Indian chiefs, two Lakota Sioux and one Cheyenne. This account is by the third, the Cheyenne war chief American Horse.

-- B.B.

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