By Charles D. Collins Jr., Combat Studies Institute (U.S.)
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Extra info for Atlas of the Sioux Wars
On 5 March, the Indians boldly staged a raid against the soldiers’ camp. Crook, tired of marching under the watchful eye of the Indians, on the morning of 7 March ordered the infantry companies to make a great show of marching back to the abandoned Fort Reno site (near present-day Sussex, Wyoming) with the trains. At the same time, the cavalry, stripped down to minimum subsistence for 15 days, would hide that day and resume its march that evening. The ruse worked; the 10 cavalry companies escaped the Indian spies and roamed unnoticed for the next 10 days.
R. 100 150 FT SEDGEWICK CDC Map 15. Crook’s March to the Powder River Crook was the first to depart for the field. Anticipating the coming campaign, he secretly had been gathering units from scattered posts throughout his department. When the order to fight came, he was nearly ready to start his northward march from Fort Fetterman (near present-day Douglas, Wyoming). When Crook’s troops marched out on 1 March 1876, the weather was clear and bitterly cold. Having placed Colonel Joseph J. Reynolds in command of the column, Crook was nominally an observer.
Sheridan had validated his converging column strategy. At the tactical level, Sheridan’s key subordinates (Major Andrew Evans, 3d Cavalry; Colonel Ranald S. Mackenzie, 4th Cavalry; Major Eugene A. Carr, 5th Cavalry; Colonel Nelson A. Miles, 5th Infantry; and Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer, 7th Cavalry) established a formula for battlefield success: relentless pursuit, attack from multiple directions to confuse and panic the enemy, disciplined firepower to hold the undisciplined Indian warrior at bay, and offensive action to maintain the initiative.