BATTLE OF THE LITTLE BIGHORN
When Lt. Col. George A. Custer led the 7th Cavalry along Lodge Trail Ridge above the Little Bighorn River on June 25, 1876, he may have thought their training and firearms would be adequate to halt any attack along the stream the
Indians knew as the Greasy Grass. But the hundreds of Sioux led by Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, Dull Knife, and others would prove to be superior fighters on that hot June day. Before the battle ended, Custer and his command died; many more were wounded. This became the single worst defeat ever handed to the federal army during the Plains Indian wars. The American Indians often had better firepower than soldiers since the tribesmen typically had repeaters, while most members of the US cavalry were equipped with the Springfield Trapdoor.
RED CLOUD’S WAGON BOX FIGHT
Six civilians and 26 US Army soldiers took refuge behind a fortification of wagon boxes on August2, 1867, during Red Cloud’s War, when a far larger force of Lakota attacked. The soldiers were on the high ground, and held off the Indians with newly issued breechloading Springfield Model 1866 rifles until reinforcements arrived from Fort Phil Kearny.
These repeating rifles made all the difference since there was no delay needed for reloading, as the Indians had expected.