Wednesday, June 25, 2008

General George Armstrong Custer

Today we feature a portrait of George Armstrong Custer. Custer graduated last in his West Point class of 1861. He was a flamboyant cavalry commander in the Civil War. He had a rather undistinguished career in the war, but did manage to get his picture taken a lot, and did manage to get lots of coverage in the newspapers. He was known as a risk taker . . . to the point of being reckless.
After the war he became an Indian fighter, and many felt he had an eye on the whitehouse, and that he felt that high profile campaigns against the Indians would be his ticket to the presidency.
It was on this day, June 25, in the year 1876, that Custer and his 7th cavalry attacked an encampment of Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho Indians. The Indians were led by the legendary Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull. Custer and all his men were killed, in what became known as "Custer's Last Stand", or, "The Battle of Little Big Horn".


  1. While I admire your attempts to post a historical picture each day, you do need to get your facts straight.

    "He had a rather undistinguished career in the war, but did manage to get his picture taken a lot, and did manage to get lots of coverage in the newspapers. He was known as a risk taker . . . to the point of being reckless."

    Contrary to your statement, Custer enjoyed an illustrious Civil War career and was deemed a Civil War Hero. The youngest US General ever. Sure, he was reckless, but that recklessness is what helped the Union win.

    He never lost a battle flag and captured many.

    On display at the Smithsonian is the writing table Major General Phil Sheridan presented to Libbie Custer at the conclusion of the Civil War along with this note:

    “I respectfully present to you the small writing table on which the condition for the surrender of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia were written by Lt. General Grant – and permit me to say Madam that there is scarcely an individual in our service who had contributed more to bring about this desirable result than your very gallant husband. Very Respectfully, Phil Sheridan, Major General”)

    Aside from President Lincoln, more books have been written about Custer than any other Civil War participant. Many books cover his western years, but most do cover his distinguished Civil War career. I'd recommend you reading up on Custer. You will be surprised by his contributions.

  2. Errrr . . . there were lots of books written about Hitler, but that did not make him a great man.

    Many would consider Sheridan as not much better than Custer.

    Also, Last in his West Point class? please.

  3. Last in class at West Point or instrumental in helping the Union win battles - I'd have to vote for the real life experience rather than school - unless of course, one is on the otherside

    I didn't say he was a "great man" rather I disputed the opinion "he had a rather undistinguished career in the war." The author should have prefaced that with "In my opinion" rather than pass it off as fact as the facts run contrary.

    Whether you like him or not or his actions, give the guy his due in the course of American history.

    Of course, Sheridan can also be portrayed as a bad guy. However, his actions and others, right or wrong - are what shaped US history and contributed directly to the America we know today. You may not agree with their practices but at least recognize in a historically accurate way what their contributions were.

  4. A wise man once told me, " 'A' students hire 'A' students and 'B' students hire 'C' students ". Such was the case with Sheridan, a common thug, who was suspended from west point for attempting to stab another student. After a year suspension, he returned to west point to finish near the bottom of his class. He brought his thuggish ways with him to the Civil War, and to this day is considered to be a War Criminal in the south.

    Sheridan, an incompetent man, had the challenge to hire subordinates even more incompetent. This was a tough challenge, but luckily he found Custer, a brash, arrogant man, happy to send men to slaughter for his own glory. Little Big Horn was perhaps one of the greatest military disasters of US history. Simply stated, Custer was an arrogant, glory hungry, murderous man, not fit for duty.

  5. The only reason Custer was last in his class was due to the fact that many southerners resigned from West Point to join their state's call for military duty.

    His demerits had little to do with his grades and more to do with his antics and practical jokes that he often pulled.

    While at West Point his instructors raved about Custer's horsemanship and tactics.

    As far as Sheridan's 'thuggish ways'...sure glad he wasn't the nicest man in the war. War's are not won by people that play's not Sunday School.

    And, what war cimes? Never heard that one before. However, being considered a war criminal to the side that lost isn't so much of a stretch. I guess Morgan's Raiders were model citizens???

    You will have to let me know where you get the info on how Sheridan was considered incompetent.

    Custer sending men to their death for his own glory?...who led those charges? He never placed them any where he wouldn't go first. His wish was to achieve glory for himeslef AND his men.

    Almost all Civil War Generals were wanting glory. How do you think they became generals to begin with? Remember that young 2nd LT. that finished FIRST in his class, most likely hiding BEHIND his regiment that went on to become a 23 year old Major General??? Isn't he the guy they are writing about in the next blog over? Oh, wait a minute, hold-up,nobody knows nor do they care about that guy.