Sigismund Sternburg Part Two - A Fatal Shot
The Brush Corral
Unfortunately, the corral’s location was flawed. The south side was only about 40 feet from Warman Creek, a good place for hostiles to hide until they made attempts to breach the fortification. This tactical flaw seems to be a strange oversight coming from a man with Sternburg’s military engineering background. Conversely, Sternburg had no experience fighting Indians and the materials at hand were less then desirable for construction of a proper fortification.
A Fatal Shot
Finn Burnett, a civilian who was involved in the battle, would later state that Sternburg’s initial plans called for the party to fight the battle from rifle pits just outside the corral, but the frighteningly fast approach of the warriors made this impossible.
At this point, while the rest of the group lay flush against the ground, Sternburg according to Burnett “stood tall” refusing to take cover. Reportedly, Private Thomas Navin implored Sternburg to get down before he got shot. Sternburg grew angry at this warning from one of his subordinates.
Always A Soldier
A day later Sternburg, whose body had been carried back to the fort, was given a funeral with full military honors. He was buried on cemetery hill, close to the fort. A multitude of his personal belongings were sent back to his family, including a Hebrew bible, sabre, and a photograph album. In 1892, the body was moved to the Custer National Cemetery at Little Bighorn Battlefield. He still lies there today, half a world away from his homeland, a soldier to the very end.
Did You Know?
The Crow Reservation was established by the Treaty of 1851. Today the reservation encompasses approximately 2.2 million acres, largest in the state of Montana. This is 2 1/2 times the acreage of the state of Rhode Island. More...