100 Voices from the Little Bighorn by Bruce Brown Deluxe CD-ROM Bundle Edition

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100 Voices: Sioux, Cheyenne, Arapahoe, Crow, Arikara and American Eye-witness accounts of the Battle of the Little Bighorn

100 Voices: Full List * Crow/Arikara * Sioux/Cheyenne * American * Rosebud

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Features: Who Killed Custer? * Who Killed Custer? Audio Book
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This is a FREE EXCERPT from
Bruce Brown's 100 Voices...

Julia Face's Story of the Battle
A Oglala Sioux woman's account of the Battle of the Little Bighorn

From an interview with Sewell B. Weston in June 1909.


Oglala Sioux Julia Face


Q. How old is witness?

A. 51 years. (Proper name [is] Julia Face.)

Q. With what tribe of Sioux was she at the time of the battle? Who was the fighting chief of the tribe at the battle?

A. With Oglalas. Crazy Horse.

Q. Was witness in fight with Crook on the Rosebud 8 days previous to Custer battle?

A. Yes.

Q. How many days were you in the village before the Custer fight?

A. Had just arrived the night before.

Q. When did Indian scouts first bring news of the approach of soldiers, and did they suppose them to be Crook or Custer.

A. Can not state. The soldiers were down as near to the camp as they ever got when she was first apprised of any being near. (In explanation will state that her husband was in the tepee suffering from a wound in the left hip he received on the Rosebud, and she was caring for him. She had been in the hills just prior to this where she went during the Reno fight. As the wound was giving her husband much trouble, she was practically oblivious to everything else until the warriors turned out en masse to go after Custer.)

Q. How many tepees or how many warriors were there in the village of your own tribe?

A. A great many. (Oglalas.)

Q. Was the village surprised, and did squaws prepare to leave?

A. Yes. Squaws and children left the village. Some of them went a considerable distance.

Q. Was there considerable fighting at this point, and what caused Custer to go from there to the high ridge where he was killed?

A. At the start there was considerable fighting done. [She] thinks there were so many warriors that Custer was looking for a place to get where he could fight to a better advantage.

Q. Did the Indians reach the high ridge ahead of Custer, and did he at any time charge them and drive them off?

A. None of the warriors reached the high ridge ahead of Custer. The Indians acted just like they were driving buffalo to a good place where they could be easily slaughtered. Custer never charged.

Q. Custer's men lay killed and strung out over a line about 11/a miles long, in the shape of a letter U with open ends toward creek. Now, was a stand made at one place or at several places? If made at only one place, then most of the men must have been killed running, were they not?

A. No stand of any duration was made. (Witness was quite a ways from the battle, being at the Oglala tepees. She had a good view from that distance.) Soldiers were killed [while] moving.

Q. Did the soldiers fire across the river into the village before the fight started, and did they hit anyone in the village?

A. Witness did not hear any shooting until the warriors started out to fight Custer. Then the shooting seemed to be confined to the Sans Arc, Minneconjou and Oglala tepees.

Q. At what point on the map were the last soldiers killed, and were they on foot or on horses?

A. At "H" [Deep Ravine]. There was a soldier, mounted, who tried to get away. He turned to retrace along the ridge. This was the last able soldier that she saw alive. The soldiers at "H" [Deep Ravine] were partly mounted and partly afoot, the preponderence mounted.

Q. What part of the battle did witness see?

A. Practically all, except at "K" [Keogh's stand] when many of the soldiers were out of sight. Witness states that the dead soldiers were quite plain as the Indians would strip them and their skins would shine in the sunlight. They would rob the soldiers and take their money and keep the silver and gold [coins], but would throw the paper money away.

Q. Did any man escape to the river?

A. No soldiers reached the river.

Q. Was Long Yellow Hair (Custer) recognized in the fight or among the dead on day of battle?

A. No one recognized Custer. It was thought he was some cowboy.

Q. How soon after the battle was witness on the ground?

A. Witness started to the battlefield. After going about halfway [she] turned and went back to her husband.

Q. In falling back from the river, did the soldiers go by way of "H" and "G", or by way of "C" and "D". In other words, were the soldiers lying between "H" and "G" killed in the first of the fight, or at the last part of it?

A. Soldiers went from "C" [bluff] to "D" [Calhoun Hill] and on to "H" [Deep Ravine] via "K" [Keogh's stand].

Q. After the soldiers got to the ridge, did they keep together in one body, or did some of them make a stand to give others a chance to select a position?

A. The soldiers were all together when they reached the top of the ridge. By this time they were surrounded on the sides and in the rear.

Q. At what stage of the battle were any cavalry horses captured, and was there considerable ammunition on them?

A. A great many horses were brought into camp after the fight. [She] could not state as to the amount of ammunition that was in the saddlebags.

Q. Was Chief American Horse in this battle and with what tribe?

A. No. American Horse was not there.

Q. How many Indians were killed?

A. Could not answer. Witness had a brother-in-law killed.

Q. Were any of the wounded soldiers taken into the village and tortured?

A. No wounded or other soldiers were taken to the village.

Q. How long did the fight last where the last stand was made at "G"?

A. Could not state just how long a stand was made here. Quite a fight was made at this point.

Q. When was it first known to the Indians that Custer was killed?

A. That same night it was rumored that it was Custer. Some little time after it was confirmed.

Q. Had any of the Indians killed in the Crook fight been brought to this village?

A. Plenty Lice and another warrior were wounded on the Rosebud. [They] died in the camp on the Greasy Grass.

Lakota Recollections of the Custer Fight: New Sources of Indian - Military History, compiled and edited by Richard G. Hardorff, The Arthur Clark Co., Spokane, WA, 1991, p 187 -192


Julia Face was the daughter of Face, and the wife of Thunder Hawk. The questions she answered were supplied to Sewell B. Weston by Walter Camp.

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