By the standards of 19th century warfare, the engagement between George Armstrong Custer's 7th Cavalry and Sioux warriors on a remote hillside near the Little Bighorn River was little more than a skirmish. But the battle on June 25, 1876 cost the lives of Custer and more than 200 men of the 7th Cavalry, and Americans were stunned when the news from the Dakota Territory reached the east coast.
Shocking reports about Custer's demise first appeared in the New York Times on July 6, 1876, two days after the nation's centennial celebration, under the headline, "Massacre of Our Troops."
The idea that a unit of the US Army could be wiped out by Indians was unthinkable, and Custer's final battle was elevated to a national symbol. These images related to the Battle of the Little Bighorn give an indication of how the defeat of the 7th Cavalry was portrayed.
Gratitude is extended to the New York Public Library Digital Collections for permission to use images in this gallery.
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