When I decided to visit the Little Bighorn Battlefield Memorial I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was sure there would be a cairn commemorating Custer’s Last Stand, but I did not expect the breadth and depth of information that I was to behold.
I arrived early, at 8:30am which turned out to be an excellent idea. The crowd was small and the temperatures hadn’t heated up too much. In fact, by the time I departed at 11:30 the site was packed and the temperature was up to 33C.
I arrived just in time to hear a park ranger give a 45 minute talk of the entire battle. It was excellent, if not a little too detailed. But after the presentation I knew pretty much all I needed to know.
One of the cool things about the ranger’s talk is that it was held outdoors on a patio which had a view of the entire battlefield. As the Ranger described certain aspects of the battle she pointed towards the location she was referring. It was easy for her to , demonstrate how the topography of the area played a large role in the battle.
One interesting thing I learned is how Custer ordered his men to shoot their own horses and use the horse carcasses as barriers against the attack. (A diorama on site depicts the horrific scene)
After the talk I went on my own walking tour of the site, visiting the Native American memorial and the main US Army memorial which is located on “Last Stand Hill”.
The site is strewn with markers of where the men fell, including Custer. These are not grave markers. Most of the men are buried in a mass grave which is located under the memorial cairn. Custer’s body was transported to Washington, DC where he is buried in Arlington Cemetery.
There are white markers for the US soldiers and red markers for the native Americans. The white markers have been there for some time, but the red markers were only added recently. Custer’s marker is black.
There is a five mile driving tour which takes you through all the different parts of the extensive battlefield. The scenery is magnificent. I took a video of the return trip.
I have to say that I highly recommend this site to anyone that is traveling through Montana. The US National Parks service have done a great job here.
The Driving Tour
I put a camera on my dash for the return trip of the driving tour. If you watch, you can see the type of topography is at the site.