Brule and Ogalala Sioux
On that hot June day Custer's approach from the south was marked by a large cloud of dust which Crazy Horse, most well known and feared of the hostiles, and the other chiefs watched. The village was at rest, confident in their size, although ready to fight if molested, most of the 20,000 ponies were herded by young boys.
When Captain Reno's men began firing upon the upper end of the vast gathering, Crazy Horse led his warriors against them, outnumbering the troopers seven to one. A hasty retreat was made to a hill nearby and the men hurriedly dug shallow trenches with anything they could find.
"Hoka Hey!" Crazy Horse could now see the approaching cloud of dust to the east and could foresee that the intention was to attack from two sides. "Follow me, Brave men! Remember, today we do not count coups! We must fight a war of finishing! Today is a good day to die!" Crazy Horse then led his men to a coulee to the north of the approaching cavalry, Crow King and his warriors found a hiding place in a coulee south of the enemy. Gall followed along a ridge and came in behind Custer on the east. Indian daring had evolved into military planning.
Crazy Horse had taken a vow to protect the helpless ones of his people when, at the threshold of manhood, unspoken fate had shown him a vision in which he led them in battle, unharmed, with his light colored wavy hair flowing loose. He wore it loose now and remembered the Washita, where innocent women and children were killed under Custer's command. If only he could meet Custer.
General George A. Custer led the Seventh Cavalry that day, although the Indians were unaware of it. Custer's colorful identifying mark, long yellow hair, had been shorn previous to the campaign.