On Monday, we visited the Custer National Cemetery at Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. We walked through the cemetery during our previous visits to the park, but Monday was special with it being Memorial Day. There were many veterans along with family members who have loved ones buried there. We even watched several families place small wreaths beside headstones of their ancestors who were scouts for the Calvary during the Indian Wars.
I’m not going to retell the story of the Battle of Little Bighorn since everyone knows this is where George Custer died while fighting the Sioux and Northern Cheyenne tribes. When you are standing on the battlefield and looking out across the plains, you have to wonder what exactly was going through Custer’s mind – there were thousands of warriors they were up against.
I am sharing pictures from the museum and parts of the battlefield. I called and talked with the historian at the park yesterday and he was kind in answering my questions about the cemetery and the history of the battle.
There are almost 4,300 grave sites. He did tell me that count is only for the sites because at one time they stacked people for burial, so there is no known number of people. The cemetery is closed for new burials except for the last remaining reserved plots. The reason for this closure is encroachment lines for the battlefield. This cemetery is NOT listed on the VA website because it is owned by the National Parks.
The cemetery has 8 Medal of Honor recipients. Some of these have been newly found within the past 10 years because research is ongoing to verify and locate all recipients of this great honor. One recipient, Joseph Cable has a plaque, but is not buried there. He was wounded while fighting the Nez Perce and was being sent back to Ft. Keogh and died on the way. They believe he is buried somewhere along the Missouri River since wounded soldiers were transported by boat at that time. The historian did say, if Cable’s remains were found then he more than likely would have been labeled an Unknown Soldier and sent on to Ft. Keogh.
The next pictures are from inside the museum. I wish the sun would have been a little higher, because the two cases of Custer’s clothing and other items had a crazy glare for pictures. Elizabeth Custer donated the items in the museum, so others could enjoy them.
There were two cases with models of both battles.
Sitting Bulls' Bow and Arrows
These are the faces of the war. I have LINKED to a larger picture so you can see who each of the men were. When the link opens, click on the picture and then the + sign at the bottom.
The two political leaders behind the battle.
All the information about the attack is from the Indian warriors. The men who were with Reno did tell how everything looked and where everyone laid when they returned to the area; they were in complete shock of what they found. They are the ones who buried Custer and the other soldiers.
This monument is at the top of Last Stand Hill. The remains of all the soldiers were reburied here in a mass grave and the names of the known soldiers are listed. Many do not realize that Custer and some of the other officers were transferred to other locations for reburial. Custer is buried at West Point.
The remains of the 7th Calvary horses were moved to a mass grave in 1881.
One of the many markers where warriors died. They are not buried here, they were given tribal burials.