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Battle of the Rosebud
The Battle of the Rosebud is also known the Battle of the Rosebud Creek.
On June 17, 1876, in what is now Montana, United States General George Crook and a force of some 1000 mixed cavalry and infantry units engaged a mixed Sioux / Cheyenne Native American ("Indian") force of about 1500. It should be noted that in addition to his regular force, General Crook had 300 Crow (or Absaroke) and Shoshone Indians who wished to defeat their traditional foes and retake hunting grounds.
The battle occurred on somewhat difficult terrain, in a deep canyon. As Crook himself related: "The sides were very steep, covered with pine and apparently impregnable.". The Indian attack took the soldiers by surprise and a desperate battle ensued for six hours. The hard fighting of Crook's Crow and Shoshone warriors helped save the Army from a complete disaster. Crook recalled a detachment sent to destory the Lakota village, and when this force returned they hit the rear of the Indian attack and forced them off the field.
The results of the Battle of the Rosebud were not especially shocking in terms of human loss, and although there are suggestions of mutilation carried out on the Indian dead, it was the first instance where different tribes had shown enough cohesion to fight along side one another. Crook claimed he lost only 10 dead and 21 wounded but other accounts list the U.S. losses at 28 dead and 56 wounded. Since Crook had actually forced the warriors from the field he claimed it as a victory, but the Indian attack had halted his advance and delayed him from joining up with the 7th Cavalry under George A. Custer, ensuring the latter's defeat at the Battle of the Little Bighorn on June 25, 1876.
The battlesite is preserved at the Rosebud Battlefield State Park in Big Horn County, Montana.
- Dillon, Richard H. North American Indian Wars (1983)
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