By Charles D. Collins Jr., Combat Studies Institute (U.S.)
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Additional info for Atlas of the Sioux Wars
Having placed Colonel Joseph J. Reynolds in command of the column, Crook was nominally an observer. Crook, however, retained practical control, and Reynolds was largely a supernumerary. Marching with Crook and Reynolds were 10 cavalry companies, 2 infantry companies, and 62 civilian packers. These units, plus Crook’s staff, the guides, and reporters totaled 883 men. Crook, a master of efficient and effective pack trains, had his column well prepared for its winter campaign. Trouble began almost immediately.
F. Smith for 7 days and had no prior experience fighting Indians. Though the actual Indian strength is unknown, it probably approached 500. The initial attack occurred sometime around noon. The Indians made several dashes at the corral hoping to lure the soldiers into chasing them. After that tactic failed, they conducted a mass charge on the corral. The warriors expected a volley of fire from the soldiers followed by a pause for the soldiers to reload their clumsy muzzle-loaders. During that pause, the attackers planned to rush in and overrun the corral.
While the last of Royall’s men extricated themselves, Mills digested his new instructions from Crook. Since Mills’ command had driven off a small party of Sioux near the bend in the Rosebud, it apparently led him to believe that the Indian village was nearby. He wanted to continue the attack on the suspected Indian village, but obeyed his orders. Mills climbed out of the canyon and proceeded westward toward Conical Hill. Mills arrived too late to assist Royall’s withdrawal, but his unexpected appearance on the Indians’ flank caused the Sioux and Cheyenne to break contact and retreat.