22 August 2019
After the success of the Little Bighorn game this year at the Salute and Joy of Six shows, we became interested in what happened to General Crook who may have been in a position to reinforce Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn if he hadn't fought a battle at Rosebud Creek a week before.
We have now added the Rosebud Creek scenario to the Rules for Gaming Battles. You can get a pdf of it by using The Battle of the Little Bighorn download on our Come and Play page. It has full Orders of Battle (OOB’s) for both sides, updated Movement, Fire & Melee tables and a full map
Rosebud Creek has almost been forgotten, thanks to the defeat a week later of Custer’s 7th Cavalry at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. However, this little battle had directly affected the circumstances that led to the disaster that befell George Armstrong Custer’s troops at the hands of the Allied Indian Tribes.
General George Crook was the commander of the southern column in a campaign that had been dispatched to move Indian tribes from land in South Dakota that had been found to have gold in it.
There were three columns in total. Colonel John Gibbon’s column approached from the west and General Alfred Terry’s column approached from the northeast. The specific objective of the campaign was to trap the Sioux and Northern Cheyenne and return them to their reservation.
On June 16, 1876, General Crook led an advance toward Rosebud Creek to search and engage Lakota and Cheyenne warriors. However, his intention for a quiet march was spoiled and he was spotted, giving the Indian tribes time to send out a big force against him the next day.
Tactically the battle was inconclusive, with casualties for both sides being very low. Crook held the field although strategically the Battle of Rosebud ended in victory for the Sioux and Cheyenne.
The problem for General Crook was that his troops had used a large amount of ammunition and were down to less than 10 rounds each. He therefore decided to withdraw to his base meaning his column was effectively out of the campaign.
If Crook had continued his march he may well have linked up with Custer, adding both his infantry and cavalry to the 7th US Cavalry’s troops. This would probably have meant that Custer’s last stand would not have happened.