The Battle Of Little BigHorn
An Eyewitness Account By The Lakota Chief Red Horse
Recorded In Pictographs
And Text At The Cheyenne River Reservation
1881



Five springs ago
I
With many Sioux Indians
Took down and packed up our tipis
And moved from Cheyenne river to the Rosebud river
Where we camped a few days
Then took down
And packed up our lodges and moved to the Little Bighorn river
And pitched our lodges with the large camp of Sioux
The Sioux were camped on the Little Bighorn river as follows

The lodges of the Uncpapas were pitched highest up the river under a bluff

The Santee lodges were pitched next

The Oglala's lodges were pitched next

The Brule lodges were pitched next

The Minneconjou lodges were pitched next

The Sans Arcs' lodges were pitched next

The Blackfeet lodges were pitched next

The Cheyenne lodges were pitched next

A few Arikara Indians were among the Sioux being without lodges of their own
Two-Kettles among the other Sioux without lodges

I was a Sioux chief in the council lodge
My lodge was pitched in the center of the camp
The day of the attack
I and four women were a short distance from the camp digging wild turnips
Suddenly one of the women attracted my attention
To a cloud of dust rising a short distance from camp
I soon saw that the soldiers were charging the camp
To the camp I and the women ran

When I arrived a person told me to hurry to the council lodge
The soldiers charged so quickly we could not talk (council)
We came out of the council lodge and talked in all directions
The Sioux mount horses, take guns, and go fight the soldiers
Women and children mount horses and go, meaning to get out of the way
Among the soldiers was an officer who rode a horse with four white feet
This officer was evidently Capt. French, Seventh Cavalry
The Sioux have for a long time fought many brave men of different people
But the Sioux say this officer was the bravest man they had ever fought

I don't know whether this was General Custer or not
Many of the Sioux men that I hear talking tell me it was
I saw this officer in the fight many times but I did not see his body
It has been told me that he was killed by a Santee Indian who took his horse

This officer wore a large-brimmed hat and a deerskin coat
This officer saved the lives of many soldiers
By turning his horse and covering the retreat
Sioux say this officer was the bravest man they ever fought
I saw two officers looking alike
Both having long yellowish hair

Before the attack the Sioux were camped on the Rosebud river
The Sioux moved down a river running into the Little Bighorn river
They Crossed the Little Bighorn river and camped on its west bank

This day
The day of the attack
A Sioux man started to go to Red Cloud agency
But when he had gone a short distance from camp he saw a cloud of dust rising
He turned back
He said he thought a herd of buffalo was coming near the village
The day was hot

In a short time the soldiers charged the camp
This was Major Reno's battalion of the Seventh Cavalry
The soldiers came on the trail made by the Sioux camp in moving
Crossed the Little Bighorn river above where the Sioux crossed
And attacked the lodges of the Uncpapas farthest up the river
The women and children ran down the Little Bighorn river a short distance into a ravine

The soldiers set fire to the lodges
All the Sioux now charged the soldiers
Drove them in confusion across the Little Bighorn river
Which was very rapid and several soldiers were drowned in it

On a hill the soldiers stopped and the Sioux surrounded them
A Sioux man came and said
That a different party of Soldiers had all the women and children prisoners
Like a whirlwind the word went around
And the Sioux all heard it and left the soldiers on the hill
They went quickly to save the women and children

From the hill that the soldiers were on
To the place where the different soldiers were seen
Was level ground with the exception of a creek

Sioux thought the soldiers on the hill
Reno's battalion would charge them in rear but when they did not
The Sioux thought the soldiers on the hill were out of cartridges
As soon as we had killed all the different soldiers
The Sioux all went back to kill the soldiers on the hill
All the Sioux watched around the hill on which were the soldiers
Until a Sioux man came and said many walking soldiers were coming near

The coming of the walking soldiers was the saving of the soldiers on the hill
Sioux can not fight the walking soldiers
They were afraid of them
So the Sioux hurriedly left

The soldiers charged the Sioux camp about noon
The soldiers were divided
One party charged right into the camp

After driving these soldiers across the river
The Sioux charged Custer's soldiers below and drove them into confusion
These soldiers became foolish
Many threw away their guns
They Raised their hands
Saying "Sioux pity us, take us prisoners"
The Sioux did not take a single soldier prisoner but killed all of them
None were left alive for even a few minutes

These different soldiers discharged their guns but little
I took a gun and two belts off two dead soldiers
Out of one belt two cartridges were gone
Out of the other five

The Sioux took the guns and cartridges off the dead soldiers
Went to the hill on which the soldiers were
Surrounded and fought them with the guns and cartridges of the dead soldiers
Had the soldiers not divided I think they would have killed many Sioux

The different soldiers that the Sioux killed made five brave stands
Once the Sioux charged right in the midst of the different soldiers
Scattering them all
Fighting among the soldiers hand to hand

One band of soldiers was in rear of the Sioux
When this band of soldiers charged
The Sioux fell back
The Sioux and the soldiers stood facing each other
Then all the Sioux became brave and charged the soldiers
The Sioux went but a short distance before they separated and surrounded the soldiers
I could see the officers riding in front of the soldiers and hear them shooting

Now the Sioux had many killed
The soldiers killed 136 and wounded 160 Sioux
The Sioux killed all these different soldiers in the ravine
The soldiers charged the Sioux camp farthest up the river
A short time after the different soldiers charged the village below
While the different soldiers and Sioux were fighting together
The Sioux chief said "Sioux men
Go watch soldiers on the hill and prevent their joining the different soldiers"

The Sioux men took the clothing off the dead and dressed themselves in it
Among the soldiers were white men who were not soldiers
The Sioux dressed in the soldiers' and white men's clothing
And fought the soldiers on the hill

The banks of the Little Bighorn river were high
And the Sioux killed many of the soldiers while crossing it
The soldiers on the hill dug up the ground
The soldiers and Sioux fought at long range sometimes the Sioux charging close up
The fight continued at long range until a Sioux man saw the walking soldiers coming
When the walking soldiers came near the Sioux became afraid and ran away

Source
Text
Garrick Mallery, Picture Writing Of The American Indians
10th Annual Report Of The Bureau Of American Enthonology
1893



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