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Slim Buttes, September 9, 1876

Department of the Platte (Nebraska and Wyoming Territories)
Commander - Major General Crook

Yellowstone Expedition:

- 450 infantry (9th US Infantry (C, G, H companies) and 4th US Infantry (D, F, G companies))
- 1500 cavalry (2nd, 3rd and 10 companies of 5th US Cavalry)
- 240 Indian scouts

9th US Infantry Company Commanders on campaign:

Company C Captain Samuel Munson
1st Ltn. Thaddeus Hurlburt Capron
2nd Ltn. Hayden De Lany
Company G 1st Lt William Lewis Carpenter

4th US Infantry Company Commanders on campaign:

Company D - 1st Lt Henry Seton
Company F - Captain Gerhard Luke Luhn
Company G - Captain William Henry Powell, 2nd Ltn. Albert Burnley Crittenden

On Sept. 9, 1876, the battle of Slim Buttes occurred, about 70 miles north of the Black Hills, involving about 2,000 troops from General Crook's large force. The soldiers, both infantry and cavalry, had been pursuing the Indians all the way from SE Montana in a circuitous route covering about 300 miles, and were running out of food. They turned south in order to replenish their supplies from the mining camps in the Hills.

An advance column encountered a large camp of 250 - 300 warriors, with women and children of the Oglala and Miniconjous, and there was fierce fighting, in which the soldiers were initially driven back until the rest of the troops arrived and destroyed the village, driving off most of the inhabitants. Oglala from Crazy Horse's nearby camp counter-attacked, but were driven off by the superior numbers of soldiers. A huge amount of Indian supplies, skins, tipis, and ammunition were destroyed. And tons of meat were taken by the Army for their own sustenance.

Sitting Bull and his Hunkpapa may have come upon the scene after the US forces had marched on to the Black Hills. (One source says Sitting Bull was a leader in the fight. Another source says he came along later with his Hunkpapa band). Casualties were fairly light on both sides, considering the number of combatants. Crazy Horse and his Oglalas continued to harass the soldiers as they marched to the Black Hills, but they could not engage such a large US military force successfully, or stop the US army from occupying the Black Hills. The battle set the pattern for the relentless pursuit of the Indians and the destruction of their supplies. Some of the Lakota call it: "The Fight Where We Lost The Black Hills".

American Horse's village at Slim Buttes (South Dakota) was captured on September 9, 1876 as well as Dull Knife's village in the Big Horn Mountains on 26 November 1876.

Send your comments to Pvt. Max L. Popov
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