Rosebud Battlefield State Park
The Battle of the Rosebud (also known as the Battle of Rosebud Creek) occurred on June 17, 1876, near this marker, which was then Montanna Territory. The skirmish was part of the conflict between the Sioux and Cheyenne Indians and the US Army with their Indian allies over control of the area. Commanding the opposing Indians was Leader Crazy Horse. The US army was under the command of George Crook.
Backstory and Context
The Lakota and Cheyenne Indians were given “Unceded Territory” in which the US government was forbidden to trespass. This took place during Westward Expansion, the 19th-century movement of settlers into the American West, and the government tried to negotiate with the Indians to purchase the land. When the Indians did not comply with the deadline, they were forced onto a reservation.
General Crook planned to divide into three armies, meet at Big Horn River, and set up an attack on the Indians. Crook sent scouts out on June 15: they didn't return. On June 17, at 8 in the morning, General Crook let his men rest and the horses graze. He ignored the information given to him by the scouts about a heavily populated village of Indians nearby, underestimating the power of the Indians. He believed that they would try to flee and planned to make the attack quiet. At 8:30 on June 17 shots were heard by the army, making them uneasy. Two scouts would enter on horseback yelling “Lakota!, Lakota!” His men rushed to gather their horses and prepare for battle.
The battle soon started and the Army was outnumbered three to one. General George Crook only had around 1,300 men, while the Indians numbers were nearly 4,000. The battle lasted 6 hours, finally resulting in General George Crook and his men retreating. His forces suffered a loss of 28 men and had 56 casualties. He claimed this as a victory, having claimed the battlefield for the US. In reality it was a defeat, and the U.S. Army would soon face more trouble in battles to come (See Battle of Little Bighorn, which takes place 8 days later).
History.com, Editors. “Native Americans Score Victory at the Battle of the Rosebud,” November 16, 2009. https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/indians-hammer-u-s-soldiers-at-the-battle-of-the-rosebud.
Finerty, John F. “War-Path and Bivouac,” January 1, 1890. https://archive.org/details/warpathandbivou00finegoog/page/n494/mode/2up.
Lauterborn, David. “The Battle of Rosebud, A to Z,” October 3, 2014. https://www.historynet.com/the-battle-of-rosebud-a-to-z.htm.
Collins, Charles D. “Atlas of the Sioux Wars,” 1995. https://web.archive.org/web/20090713165913/http://www-cgsc.army.mil/carl/resources/csi/sioux/sioux.asp.
Battle of the Rosebud, 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t64yJc-LbCQ.