Before the battle with Custer, which was the culmination of a long flight by the Indians to remain free, the medicine man sitting Bull told of a vision of "many soldiers falling into camp". It literally came true, as some Indian accounts tell of soldiers of falling dead into the camp. On the counsel of Sitting Bull, the Indians did not continue the annihilation on to Reno's men. "We have killed enough," he said, and the balance of the calvary men, entrenched on Reno Hill, were left to puzzle about Custer's whereabouts. Sitting Bull was a wise leader, respected by white and Indian, and his intelligence and desire for peace are best exemplified by the letter he left attached in the cleft of a branch for the soldiers to find along the road to Fort Keough, after the Custer fight.
He had learned to read a little and to write his name; he recognized the power of the written word. An interpreter friend wrote the letter as he requested. It read:
I want to know what you are doing on this road.
You scare all the buffalo away.
I want to hunt in this place.
I want you to turn back from here.
If you don't, I will fight you again.
I want you to leave what you have got here and turn back from here. I am your friend.
He led his followers to the Grandmother country, Canada, where they hoped to be free from harassment by the soldiers and to live in peace. When he later returned to the reservation, the old medicine man was killed by long time enemies, Crow Indian police, under a flag of truce.
Although historians may call the battle a massacre, the Sioux and Cheyenne, 2,500 to 4,000 fighting men strong, were attacked in their lodges and rallied to defend their women and children. One hundred years later Ralph Crawford finds the passions and motives of the men who participated in the historic drama stir him to recreate them in bronze.