Today, 130 Years Ago

June 25, 1876:

“Crazy Horse did not behave as usual. Ordinarily he was composed, even when battle was imminent, but it is said that this morning he rode back and forth, hurried into his lodge, and quickly reappeared with his medicine bag. After moistening one hand he dipped it in maroon pigment and printed a hand on each side of his pony’s hips. On both sides of the neck he drew an arrow and a bloody scalp. All of which suggests intuitive knowledge of things to come, or else he had been talking with Oglala scouts who told him what to expect. Most Indians, however, seem to have felt secure in the belief that only a great fool would attack. …

“Rain in the Face had been invited to a feast. The guests were eating when they heard bluecoat guns, which did not sound like their own. Rain habitually carried a stone-headed war club, even to parties, but he rushed back to his lodge for a gun, his bow, and a quiver of arrows. Then … he and his friends saw troops on the eastern ridge. While riding against these troops they discovered a young woman — Tashenamini, Moving Robe — riding with them. Her brother had been killed … and now she was holding her brother’s war staff above her head. Rain declared that she looked as pretty as a bird. ‘Behold, there is among us a young woman!’ he called out, because this would make everybody brave. ‘Let no young man hide behind her garment.’

“Custer’s soldiers were almost surrounded by the time Rain got there. They had dismounted, he said, but climbed back on their horses, dismounted again, and split into several companies. They were shooting very fast. After a while some of them began riding toward Reno’s troops, but Indians followed them like blackbirds following a hawk.”

–“Son of the Morning Star,” Evan S. Connell (1984)

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