In an idyllic location 20 miles south of Sheridan WY, a gentle ridge huddles between the Bighorn Mountains and plains to the east. Sheltered by the smooth Sullivant Hills that slide into Lodge Trail Ridge, this innocuous fold of land was the scene of the US Army’ second worst military defeat in Plains Warfare. The Cheyenne refer to it as the ‘Hundred Soldiers Killed Fight’ and to the Lakota it is “A Hundred In The Hands’. Americans remember it as the Fetterman Massacre, yet perhaps more accurately should be described as the Fetterman Miscalculation.Although Colonel Carrington meticulously supervised the construction of Fort Phil Kearny, the location was a logistical nightmare and left every party of soldiers vulnerable during the daily five mile trip to collect wood. The Lakota and Cheyennes noted this problem, and a Lakota Visionary, Crazy Mule was sent to seek a vision of prophecy to determine if battle could be successful for them. With his positive prognosis under their belts, the warriors taunted and enticed Captains Fetterman and Brown across their commander’s explicit boundary and once past Lodge Trail Ridge into Peno Valley it was over in 40 minutes. Lakotas, Cheyennes and Arapahos charged from behind every rock, thicket and frosty ravine and the totality of the defeat (during which Fetterman and Brown saved their last bullets for themselves) shocked the nation. The Bozeman Trail policy was abandoned by the US Government and ‘Red Cloud’s War was won. Yet it is not the military logistics and movements, but the plethora of fascinating cultural imperatives that make this event and site so special. Come hear how Crazy Horse masterminded victory for his People.
About Your Day
The area where this battle occurred is well preserved, and look remarkably like is did on the day of the fight. There is a path to follow through the battle area, and some signage as you walk. However, if you want to know detail, and you are interested in both sides of the story, you need an Indian historian with you. The official State version won't satisfy your curiosity, or need for truth.
You will meet your guide and spend the day at the battle site, you may visit the old fort and check out the museum. You will also be able to drive around the area to see other places of interest as they pertain to this fight.