Washita Battlefield National Historic Park / by Dave Hileman

This is not a battle that most people would know if they had a moderate interest in history. But you ought to visit here. We were here in the evening - no one else anywhere around. It is in an isolated area of Western Oklahoma and you have to make the decision to go there because it is not on the way to anywhere else. It was not quiet. The wind blew in the tall grass and the trees. The Washita River, a small stream by Eastern standards, gurgled and splashed across some rocks and birds were singing ever step of the 2 mile hike. This was not a shinning moment in America's history. Custer - in a harsh winter storm - attacked and destroyed the village of Black Kettle. He killed Chief Black Kettle and between 13 and 103 warriors (his number is the high one, survivors the lower) and about a dozen women including Black Kettle's wife. Black Kettle and his wife were both were shot trying to cross the river. Many escaped to other nearby villages. Custer returned to the fort with 50 or so women and children captives. This all occurred about 9 years before Little Big Horn. The photo is the site of the village.