Did Lt. Colonel Armstrong Custer leave behind a ′blood treasure′ at the Battle of the Little Bighorn? Did a Cheyenne chief named Two Moon, sometimes called Two Moons, hide it? Was there a treasure map in the memorial for Two Moon built by his friend, W. P. Moncure? These questions and others were explored by Scott Wolter in last night′s episode of America Unearthed on the History Channel H2. That the 7th Cavalry probably went on its fateful mission taking along its payroll does seem plausible. So what happened to the estimated $25,000 in gold in silver coins? Such a treasure could be worth $500,000 or more depending on the rarity and condition of the coins, not to mention the historic value. A small guidon flag from the 7th Cav recently was auctioned for $1.4 Million dollars. So finding any horde of artifacts from the Battle of the Little Bighorn would be quite valuable.
Scott Wolter gets a tip from a journalist, Don Shelby about the Custer treasure. He provides Scott with background information and sends him o an expert on the subject, Jim Stiller. Jim runs a coin shop in Excelsior, Minnesota and tells Wolter that he has a clue to the treasure and it only costs $140. Scott is puzzled until Stiller shows him an old Indian-head nickel. The face is that of the Cheyenne warrior, Chief Two Moon. According to the legend, Two Moon found the payroll, as well as other valuables that the roughly 250 dead troopers carried, and stashed them away. On his death bed, Two Moon gave his good friend W. P. Moncure a manila envelop containing a map to the treasure. In 1936, Moncure built a memorial for Two Moon and hid the envelop and other items inside.
Jim Stiller then gives Scott Wolter a map of Montana and sends him to the town of Busby to meet with an expert and author on the subject, David Meyer. He tells Scott how in 1957, a journalist named Kathryn Wright obtained access to the Two Moon Memorial and photographed the contents inside. However, she did not open the manila envelop. On its outside are instructions to open it in 1986 on the 110th anniversary of Custer′s Last Stand. Unfortunately, in 1960, the memorial was vandalized and the envelop was stolen. Nobody has seen it since. Also, nobody locally suddenly got rich, either. So, if there is a treasure, it may still be hidden.
The trail seems cold, so Scott heads to the actual site of the Battle of the Little Big Horn, or as the Lakota Indians called it, the Battle of Greasy Grass. There, Wolter meets with John Slatton, who helps run the US Cavalry Training School. They are a group of reenactment enthusiasts who give folks a taste of what life, and fighting, was like in the 1870s. He insists that Scott change into a uniform and sets him up to serve as a trooper. Wolter goes through the motions and rides a horse into a mock battle.
Later, Slatton gives Scott some historical background. Custer was known as the ′Son of the Morning Star′, as he always attacked at dawn. Unfortunately for Custer, the element of surprise was lost when the Indians came across his supply wagon. Custer had jumped the gun, disobeying orders to wait until three other formations of troops were in place under the commands of Col. John Gibbons, Brigadier Generals George Cook and Alfred Terry As a result, he was vastly outnumbered by the combined force of Lakota, Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors and Custer′s entire command was wiped out. Two other columns of the 7th Cavalry, commanded by Major Marcus Reno and Captain Federick Benteen, were also defeated, but they managed to retreat and survive. The battle lasted two days, June 25 and 26 in 1876.
Scott Wolter is fresh out of leads since the treasure map was stolen. So he meets again with Don Shelby and Jim Stiller at the coin shop. Wolter wonders if the gold coins found in the Saddle Ridge Horde in California could be the Custer Blood Treasure? But Stiller shoots the idea down as most of those coins were minted in the 1880s and 1890s. Without the map by Two Moon, the treasure could be anywhere, if it ever existed at all in the first place. Chalk up another unsolved mystery.