Battle of Little Muddy Creek

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Battle of Little Muddy Creek
Part of the Great Sioux War of 1876
DateMay 7, 1877
Locationpresent-day Rosebud County, Montana
Result United States victory
Belligerents
United States United States Miniconjou Lakota
Northern Cheyenne
Commanders and leaders
United States Nelson A. Miles Lame Deer
Strength
471 soldiers
5+ Indian scouts
~200 men, women, and children
Casualties and losses
4 Killed
10 Wounded
5–14 Killed
~20 Wounded
~40 Captured

The Battle of Little Muddy Creek, also known as the Lame Deer Fight, was fought on May 7, 1877 by United States soldiers and scouts, against a village of Miniconjou Lakota and Northern Cheyenne. The Battle occurred near Little Muddy Creek in Montana Territory, near present-day Lame Deer, Montana, United States.

Background[edit]

On May 1, 1877, Colonel Nelson A. Miles led a mixed force of his own 5th United States Infantry, the 22nd United States Infantry, and the 2nd United States Cavalry out of Cantonment Tongue River in search of Miniconjou Lakota under Lame Deer. On the Tongue River, Indian scouts found a trail heading west to Rosebud Creek, and Colonel Miles followed with his command of 471 officers and enlisted men.

Battle[edit]

Spotting a camp of 61 lodges on Little Muddy Creek, Colonel Miles left his Infantry and moved in with cavalry under Captain Edward Ball and mounted infantry under Lieutenant Edward W. Casey. The mounted force reached Lame Deer's sleeping village before dawn at 4:30 a.m. Company H of the 2nd Cavalry under Lieutenant Lovell H. Jerome and the mounted infantry under Casey began the fight with a mounted charge into the village. One of the army's Indian scouts, Hump, called to the Lakota and Cheyenne that Miles wanted to negotiate with them.[1]

Lame Deer approached Miles accompanied by his nephew Iron Star and two others. Miles told Lame Deer to lay down his rifle, which he did, but cocked and facing forward. When White Bull, one of Miles's scouts, tried to take Iron Star's rifle, he fired, with the bullet going through White Bull's coat. Lame Deer grabbed his weapon on the ground and fired it at Miles, the bullet just missing him and killing his orderly, Private Charles Shrenger. Chaos ensued. Several soldiers and Lakota were hit in the gunfire. Lame Deer was shot down by a volley of 17 bullets fired by men of Company L, 2nd Cavalry. Companies F, G, and L of the 2nd Cavalry then attacked the small and defenseless Indian village, destroying it and capturing about 450 horses, killing half of them. The army had four men killed and ten wounded in the engagement, while the Lakota suffered from 5-14 killed, and about 20 wounded and 40 captured.[2]

Aftermath[edit]

Five Congressional Medals of Honor were awarded to soldiers for their actions during the battle. They were:

One Purple Heart was also awarded to a soldier for his wounds suffered in the battle; one of only twelve awarded for the American Indian Wars. It was for:

Battlefield[edit]

The Little Muddy Creek Battlefield is located in Rosebud County, Montana about one mile southwest of the present-day town of Lame Deer, Montana.

Order of battle[edit]

United States Army, Colonel Nelson A. Miles, Commanding.

Native Americans, Chief Lame Deer

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lakota and Cheyenne: Indian Views of the Great Sioux War, 1876-1877.
  2. ^ "May 7, 1877 Little Muddy Creek/Lame Deer Fight (Lame Deer, Montana)". Retrieved 24 January 2017.