While the NPS now claims that less then 200 Sioux and Cheyanne were killed in the battle the testimony of many Sioux participants indicate that the Indian casualty rayte was much higher. custer.over-blog.com/article-10489108.html
White Bull says that many were killed by Reno's skirmish line. Considering the power of the army rifle at that time Reno starting to fire into an unprepared village those rounds could have traveled through the village hitting people in their teepees who were totally unaware an attack was occurring. Further the fact that the warriors did not press the attack on Reno but mostly engaged in long range firing at Reno and Benteen indicates they were weakened by the battle and were mainly interested in keeping Reno and Benteen's commands on the hill so that the village could escape. I suspect that the indian casualties were over 300 as many wounded would have died days later My belief is that had Reno acted aggressively and not lost his nerve the Little Big Horn would today be known as the final victory of manifest destiny which gave the US total control over this country from coast to coast. I suspect the NPS estimates of casualties is very low
Several unnamed Lakota Sioux participant accounts given to John W. Smith, a trader who spoke fluent Sioux, accompanying Gen. Terry’s Dakota column, and published by the New York Herald on October 13th 1876. The Herald identified this man as John W. Smith, “a frontiersman of 20 years’ experience who speaks Sioux fluently”, who had got this information in the Standing Rock Agency “from what he considers reliable Indian sources,” with my annotations in brackets.
"They reported forty Indians killed in the fight, and twenty since died of wounds, [for a total of about 60,] their loss being principally with the Sans Arcs and Cheyennes ...."
Last Edit: Oct 10, 2020 22:13:30 GMT -5 by moderator
Intesresting that you should bring this subject up.
I was going through through some old files recently & came across some interesting material I hadn't read for two decades or longer. In the files are some first-hand accounts recorded by individuals who accompanied Sheridan & Nowlan on their trip to the battlefield in June 1877. Apparently, while they were there they did a very thorough search of the battleground & the surrounding country, to a radis of about 15 miles. They were looking for any missing troopers & they found, by actual count, the remains of 64 dead Indians. All appeared to have been battles casualties. How they determined that, I don't know, but they did have an experienced scout with them.
Interestingly, they calculated that about 10,000 lodge poles littered the LBH vally floor.
In an unpublished account by E.A. Garlington, he was told that Cheyenne suffered that greatest number of casualties & that one company (group) was responsible for most of the Cheyenne losses. Garlington, believed from the information provided, that E Co., the "grey horse troop", were the ones responsible
In explaining their hostility toward the Cheyenne, particularly the Cheyenne scouts employed by Gen. Miles, the Lakota in Canada explained to the officers of North-West Mounted Police that the hard feelings between the two people stemmed from the losses sustained in the Custer fight. How exactly is not made plain. But there was certainly a rift between the two tribes.