|Main Post, Fort Robinson|
Who was Crazy Horse? Historians pretty much all agree that the Sioux leader Crazy Horse played an active role in the 1876 defeat of George Armstrong Custer and his regiment at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Some have contended that Crazy Horse may have led a flank assault on the troopers and that this might have sealed Custer's fate. Whatever the actual involvement Crazy Horse had in that battle, it was an important one and it handed the army it's biggest single defeat to that date. Crazy Horse made his name among his fellow warriors as being one of the fiercest fighters against white settlement in the West. Many historians also place a young Crazy Horse at the site of the Fetterman Massacre which occurred just about a mile outside of Wyoming's Fort Phil Kearny in 1866. That was during Red Cloud's War against the troops, gold prospectors and settlers traveling on the old Bozeman Trail. Red Cloud's War in which Crazy Horse was very involved in was the Sioux Indian's only "war victory" over the U.S. military in as much as the three military posts along the Bozeman Trail were abandoned per the peace treaty between the Sioux and the U.S. Government. The building of the forts along that trail which crossed the heart of Sioux territory was the primary reason Chief Red Cloud went to war.
Crazy Horse was thought to have been born in 1840. Some biographers have pointed to 1838 however 1840 is probably more accurate. His parents were Lakota Sioux and his father was also named Crazy Horse. The tale is that when Crazy Horse grew up his father transferred his name to his son and found another one for himself. An interesting side note concerns possible photos of Crazy Horse. There is some disagreement as to the authenticity of purported pictures of Crazy Horse since his biography states that he didn't allow photographs to be taken of him. Sketches drawn of him at the time may be more accurate.
|Fort Robinson restored structures|
|Drawing depicting Crazy Horse surrender|
What happened next is explained in a few slightly different versions. Similar to many historic events that occurred so long ago, there were a few different versions. The result of the September 5, 1877 attempted arrest of Crazy Horse is however not in dispute. During this action he was stabbed by a bayonet and died later that night at Fort Robinson. The relations between Crazy Horse and General Crook were deteriorating for some time due to the circumstances explained above. In addition, a rumor (not necessarily credible) spread that Crazy Horse wanted to kill Crook whenever they were scheduled to meet. Another apparent miscommunication occurred when it was falsely translated to Crook that Crazy Horse would "go north and fight until there was not a white man left". Crazy Horse had departed Fort Robinson a few days earlier in September because his wife was ailing and he wanted her to be closer to his relatives. When he returned to Fort Robinson he was facing arrest per orders of General Crook. Based on many things Crook seemed to have had enough and wanted Crazy Horse locked up in the guard house. The story also is that there was concern among the military that Crazy Horse might bolt from the reservation and try to lead another rebellion. How plausible that scenario would have been is a matter of debate. As was typical for the times, his arrest was carried out by both the Indian police and the army working together. Crazy Horse resisted the arrest attempt and allegedly grabbed a knife and cut the hand of one of the Indian police. In a way, the circumstances were a bit similar to what happened to Sitting Bull years later at the Standing Rock Agency. It was an attempted arrest that got out of control.
The official story is that the fatal stabbing came from a bayonet wielded by a forty-seven year old army private named William Gentles. The tale is that Gentles stabbed Crazy Horse twice and missed on the third attempt. Crazy Horse slumped to the ground and was dying. He was eventually take to the adjutant's office and refused to be laid on the cot. He was laid on the floor, the fort doctor gave him a few shots of morphine, and with his father present at his side, Crazy Horse died at about 11:30 that night. His remains were turned over to his parents the next morning and eventually were buried at an undisclosed location after the reservation was relocated. The exact site of where Crazy Horse is buried remains unknown to this very day although historians have identified four probable locations.
|Fort Robinson plaque|
When the Crazy Horse Monument is finally completed, the dimensions should be 563 feet high and 641 feet long. When Korczak passed away in 1982 his family continued on with the project. Today, Korczak's grandchildren are involved. A good deal of the work now involves dynamite blasting. Nobody really knows when this massive monument to Crazy Horse will be completed. What is known is that if and when the sculpture is finally completed it would probably be the largest of it's kind in the world.
|Statue of General George Crook|
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