Bruce Brown's 100 Voices...
Flying Hawk's Story of the Battle
"THE INDIANS were camped along the west side of the Bighorn in a flat valley. We saw a dust but did not know what caused it. Some Indians said it was the soldiers coming. The chief saw a flag on a pole on the hill. "The soldiers made a long line and fired into our tepees among our women and children. That was the first we knew of any trouble. The women got their children by the hand and caught up their babies and ran in every direction.
"The Indian men got .their horses and guns as quick as they could and went after the soldiers. Kicking Bear and Crazy Horse were in the lead. There was thick timber and when they got out of the timber there was where the first of the fight was. "The dust was thick and we could hardly see. We got right among the soldiers and killed a lot with our bows and arrows and tomahawks. Crazy Horse was ahead of all, and he killed a lot of them with his war-club; he pulled them off their horses when they tried to get across the river where the bank was steep. Kicking Bear was right beside him and he killed many too in the water.
"This fight was in the upper part of the valley where most of the Indians were camped. It was some of the Reno soldiers that came after us there. It was in 'the day just before dinner when the soldiers attacked us. When we went after them they tried to run into the timber and get over the water where they had left their wagons. The bank was about this high (12 ft. indicated) and steep, and they got off their horses and tried to climb out of the water on their hands and knees, but we killed nearly all of them when they were running through the woods and in the water. The ones that got across the river and up the hill dug holes and stayed in them.
"The soldiers that were on the hill with the pack-horses began to fire on us. About this time all the Indians had got their horses and guns and bows and arrows and war-clubs, and they charged the soldiers in the east and north on top of the hill. Custer was farther north than these soldiers were then. He was going to attack the lower end of the village. We drove nearly all that got away from us down the hill along the ridge where another lot of soldiers were trying to make a stand.
"Crazy Horse and I left the crowd and rode down along the river. We came to a ravine; then we followed up the gulch to a place in the rear of the soldiers that were making the stand on the hill. Crazy Horse gave his horse to me to hold along with my horse. He crawled up the ravine to where he could see the soldiers. He shot them as fast as he could load his gun. They fell off their horses as fast as he could shoot. (Here the chief swayed rapidly back and forth to show how fast they fell). When they found they were being killed so fast, the ones that were left broke and ran as fast as their horses could go to some other soldiers that were further along the ridge toward Custer. Here they tried to make another stand and fired some shots, but we rushed them on along the ridge to where Custer was. Then they made another stand (the third) and rallied a few minutes. Then they went on along the ridge and got with Custer's men.
"Other Indians came to us after we got most of the men at the ravine. We all kept after them until they got to where Custer was. There was only a few of them left then.
"By that time all the Indians in the village had got their horses and guns and watched Custer. When Custer got nearly to the lower end of the camp, he started to go down a gulch, but the Indians were surrounding him, and he tried to fight. They got off their horses and made a stand but it was no use. Their horses ran down the ravine right into the village. The squaws caught them as fast as they came. One of them was a sorrel with white stocking. Long time after some of our relatives told us they had seen Custer on that kind of a horse when he was on .the way to the Bighorn.
"When we got them surrounded the fight was over in one hour. There was so much dust we could not see much, but the Indians rode around and yelled the war-whoop and shot into the soldiers as fast as they could until they were all dead. One soldier was running away to the east but Crazy Horse saw him and jumped on his pony and went after him. He got him about half a mile from the place where the others were lying dead. The smoke was lifted so we could see a little. We got off our horses and went and took the rings and money and watches from the soldiers. We took some clothes off too, and all the guns and pistols. We got seven hundred guns and pistols. Then we went back to the women and children and got them together that were not killed or hurt.
Firewater and Forked Tongues by M. I. McCreight, Trails End Publishing, Pasadena, CA 1947 p 111 - 115
Flying Hawk was Crazy Horse's cousin and Kicking Bear's brother.
Click here for Flying Hawk's recollections of Crazy Horse.
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