Custer didn’t deal with military victories and moral failures for long. In 1876, he and his 264 men died in an attack on Sioux and Cheyenne warriors during the Battle of the Little Big Horn in Black Hills, Montana.
The federal government opened Black Hills to gold mining in 1875 but Native Americans refused to leave the area because of its religious significance. As the U.S. military gathered to forcibly relocate the warriors, Custer’s troops disregarded orders and attacked a village.
George Flanders was a soldier in a group arriving in Black Hills on June 26, 1876, a day after Custer’s charge. Flanders buried his comrades that day and, years later, he heard an account of Custer’s battlefield actions. In the Federal Writers’ Project essay, George L. Flanders, he recounted the Cheyenne Indian tale that “Custer had received a wound in the hip and was unable to get up, but continued shooting until he had used all except one of his cartridges and with that last bullet shot himself.” Custer’s death galvanized the military. In subsequent months, they tracked down Sioux and Cheyenne warriors and forced them onto reservations.
George L. Flanders was born April 6th, 1858, st St Joseph, MO. His father died when George was two years old and at the age of nine was compeled to go to work to help support the family. At the age of 13 he started his career as a cowboy at which time he secured work on the cattle ranch owned by C.H. and V.H. Phenny, whos brand was called the Crazy D. He remained with the Crazy D ranch for six years. He enlisted, for a term of three years, in the Scout service under General Miles in the year of [1877?], he was then 19 years old.
The following day after Custer's massacre, June 26th, 1876, he was with General Miles when the General arrived at the Battle Ground on the little Big Horn River and assisted in burying the dead soldiers. George was in several battles against the Cheyenne Indians. On two occasions he was shot off his horse. He was [convalesing?] from wounds when his term of service ended.
After he regained his health he returned to the Crazy D ranch for a period of one year.
Source: American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940