George Custer

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George Armstrong Custer
George Armstrong Custer,jpg.jpg

Born December 5, 1839
New Rumley, Ohio
Died June 25, 1876 (aged 36)
Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument in Montana

Resting place:
Little Bighorn battlefield, later reinterred at West Point Cemetery in West Point, New York

Political Party Democratic Party
Spouse Elizabeth Bacon Custer (married 1864-1876, his death)
Religion Protestant

Military Service
Nickname(s) Yellow Hair; Iron Pants
Allegiance Union Army
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1861–1876
Rank Lieutenant Colonel
promoted to Major General; returned as colonel in Indian Wars
Battles/wars American Civil War, including:

First Battle of Bull Run
Peninsular Campaign
Battle of Antietam
Battle of Chancellorsville
Battle of Gettysburg
Overland Campaign
Battle of the Wilderness
Battle of Yellow Tavern
Battle of Trevilian Station
Valley Campaigns of 1864
Battle of Guard Hill
Third Battle of Winchester
Battle of Cedar Creek
Battle of Tom's Brook
Siege of Petersburg
Appomattox Coampaign
American Indian Wars

Battle of the Washita River
Battle of the Little Bighorn

George Armstrong Custer (December 5, 1839 – June 25, 1876) was a United States Army officer and cavalry commander in the American Civil War[1] and the American Indian wars in the western portion of the country.[2] His untimely death left his 34-year-old widow Elizabeth Custer to embark on a nearly 60-year effort to promote him as a hero, which was successful until she passed away. Sporting famous "long, golden curls" popular with the public, he had them cut before he met his final demise in battle: "Like the biblical Samson, Custer would find that his haircut was a prelude to disaster."[3]

Custer graduated in 1861 at the bottom of his class from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.[4] As the Civil War was just starting, trained officers were in immediate demand. He worked closely with General George B. McClellan, his fellow partisan Democrat who recognized Custer's abilities as a cavalry leader. At the age of twenty-three, he was made brigadier general of volunteers. He fought in at least sixteen Civil War battles and was present at the surrender of the Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

Sent into the Indian Wars thereafter, he met an early demise at the age of thirty-six at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in southern Montana. All of his regiment died in the fight against the Sioux. Custer was buried with his fallne men on the site of the battlefield. However, Custer's corpse was later re-interred at with a hero's burial at West Point.

One of his scouts, James H. "Dog" Kelley, took care of Custer's of dogs. As a parting gift from the Army, Custer gave Kelley, later a mayor of Dodge City, Kansas, a dozen greyhounds. Hence Kelley acquired his nickname, "Dog."[5]

Initially praised largely due to the untiring efforts of his widow Libbie, George Custer's reputation was ultimately shattered by Frederic Van De Water’s GloryHunter (1934) (published a year after Libbie died) and John Ford's classic movie, Fort Apache (1948).

References