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Battle of Pease Bottom
Part of the Yellowstone Expedition of 1873
DateAugust 11, 1873
Locationpresent-day Treasure County, Montana
Result United States Victory
 United States Lakota Sioux
Commanders and leaders
United States George A. Custer Sitting Bull
~500 soldiers ~400 warriors
Casualties and losses
1 killed, 3 wounded, 1 horse wounded 3 killed, 1 wounded

The Battle of Pease Bottom, also called the Battle of the Yellowstone was a conflict between the United States Army and the Sioux on August 11, 1873 along the Yellowstone River near present-day Custer, Montana. The main combatants were units of the U.S. 7th Cavalry under Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer, and Native Americans from the village of the Hunkpapa medicine man, Sitting Bull, many of whom would clash with Custer again approximately three years later at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.[1]


U.S. Army forces

Custer and companies of the 7th Cavalry were part of the military column commanded by Colonel David S. Stanley accompanying the 1873 Northern Pacific Railway survey party surveying the north side of the Yellowstone River west of the Powder River in eastern Montana. Stanley's column consisted of a 1,300 man force of cavalry, infantry, and two artillery pieces (3" rifled Rodman guns). It traveled with 275 mule-drawn wagons and 353 civilians involved in the survey. Twenty-seven Indian and mixed-blood scouts supported the column.[2]

Native American forces

The Native American forces were from the Sitting Bull's village, estimated at anywhere from 400 to 500 lodges.[3] It included Hunkpapa Sioux under Gall accompanied by the warchief Rain in the Face, Oglala Sioux under Crazy Horse, and Miniconjou and Cheyenne.


On the morning of August 11, 1873, Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer, commander of the 7th Cavalry was encamped with a portion of the 1873 Yellowstone Expedition (Various companies of the 7th Cavalry and one company of the 22nd Infantry) along the north side of the Yellowstone River at what is now known as Pease Bottom near present-day Custer, Montana. In the early morning warriors from the village of Sitting Bull started firing at Custer's camp from across the river, and by dawn skirmishing had broken out in several locations. After Private John Tuttle of Company E, 7th Cavalry was killed in the morning fighting, warriors crossed the Yellowstone River and attacked the rear of Custer's camp. The 7th Cavalry successfully defended their rear from this attack, then the warriors suddenly broke off the fight. The soldiers under Custer soon learned this was because of the approach of Colonel Stanley and the main column. During the battle, Lieutenant Charles Braden of the 7th Cavalry was critically wounded, along with two other Private's of the same regiment. Braden's thigh was shattered by an Indian bullet and he remained on permanent sick leave until his retirement from the Army in 1878.

Officers in the Engagement

Order of Battle

United States Army

Native Americans

See also


  1. Lubetkin, M. John (2006). Jay Cooke's Gamble: The Northern Pacific Railroad, The Sioux, and the Panic of 1873. Norman, Oklahoma, USA: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-3740-1. 
  2. Lubetkin, M. John, Jay Cooke's Gamble: The Northern Pacific Railroad, The Sioux and the Panic of 1873, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK, 2006 p.187
  3. Lubetkin, M. John, Clash on the Yellowstone, Research Review: The Journal of the Little Big Horn Associates, Vol. 17, No. 2, Summer, 2003, p. 17

Further reading

  • Colonel Stanley's and Lieutenant Colonel Custer's Expedition on the Yellowstone, 1873.
  • Lubetkin, M. John, Jay Cooke's Gamble: The Northern Pacific Railroad, The Sioux, and the Panic of 1873, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Oklahoma 2006 ISBN 0-8061-3740-1

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