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Title: Battlefield Detectives: Custer's Last Stand
Channel Transmitted: History Channel UK
Category: Documentary / Educational
Documentary examining the events leading up to the Battle of Little Big Horn, the tactics used by Custer and the reasons for his failure.
The story of 'Custer's last stand' is legendary. In 1876, the 7th Cavalry led by Lieutenant Colonel George Custer fought heroically to the last man against a horde of Lakota Sioux and Cheyenne Indian warriors led by Sitting Bull.
The scale of the defeat and its many unanswered questions has created a myth that's been told and re-told in countless books and movies. Tonight's episode of Battlefield Detectives Thursday 6 April at 8.30pm reveals the real story behind Custer's defeat. But if it wasn't the gallant last stand history has led us to believe, what was it?
Over 250 men were killed in a battle that took less than 90 minutes. Using the forensic skills of a crime scene investigation, archaeologists have finally begun to uncover the evidence, revealing what actually occurred at the battle. Over 5,000 artefacts have been recovered from the site including countless bullets. The large number of bullets and cartridge cases found, indicate that the Indian warriors were heavily armed and in much greater numbers than previously thought.
By examining skull and bone fragments, investigators are able to put a human face on the past and can speculate on the health and condition of the 7th Cavalry. Far from being the experienced, healthy troop that would easily defeat the Indians, the majority of Custer's men were young, with poor hygiene and diet and many were suffering from arthritis and rheumatism. The condition of the bone fragments also indicates the brutal ferocity with which the Indians fought.
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