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Custer the American Hero?

Discussion in 'Other Notable Biographies' started by major bill, Dec 29, 2016.

  1. Bee

    Bee 2nd Lieutenant

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    Yes, had he done a little preliminary groundwork, Custer would have revealed a thing or two about his target:

    Custer did not attempt to identify which group of Cheyenne was in the village, or to make even a cursory reconnaissance of the situation. Had he done so, Custer would have discovered that they were peaceful people and the village was on reservation soil, where the commander of Fort Cobb had guaranteed them safety. There was even a white flag flying from one of the main dwellings, indicating that the tribe was actively avoiding conflict. http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/custer-massacres-cheyenne-on-washita-river
     

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  3. Martini-Henry

    Martini-Henry Sergeant

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    Agreed
     
  4. Will Carry

    Will Carry Corporal

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    I have read that the American Indians had great respect for people like Andrew Jackson and Custer because they were great warriors. This may not be accurate and only "Treaty Talk". Custer was certainly a fighter and a colorful character.
     
  5. Eric Wittenberg

    Eric Wittenberg Sergeant Major Forum Host

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    I'm studying up on the LBH fight these days, and that has brought my very ambivalent feelings about George Custer back to the surface. In 2012, I posted this on my blog, which spells out my thoughts as well as I can state them: http://civilwarcavalry.com/?p=3281
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2016
  6. BillO

    BillO Captain

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    I've long felt it was a real shame that a nice, young Virginia boy wasn't the one to kill that fool.
     
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  7. diane

    diane Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    I've had some trouble being fair to Custer because he's connected to Sheridan - who has no good place in my mind! Very lopsided there and apt to stay that way. To me, Custer had help messing up at the Little Big Horn and historians have, until recently, all but tied themselves in knots to make sure it didn't appear that an American general and CW hero had been wiped out by savages. You had Sherman, who had declared the Sioux were worthless and were going to be kept as a 'species of pauper' if not wiped out - Sherman didn't have much use for the Sioux... And this all influenced what an ambitious subordinate like Custer did. The Washita was a despicable act of betrayal by the Federal government but it was one of scores worse - it was not considered a dastardly deed of bloody murder by the people who read of it in the town newspapers but a job well done. The LBH was part of the campaign to clear the Plains of the tribes, be they peaceful or warlike they were in the way of the dang railroad! In this light, then, Custer was doing his job and being a soldier like all the other Army men out there - Crook, for example. However, Custer was also the guy who declared there was gold in them thar Black Hills, caused a rush and broke the treaty of Ft Laramie and every place else all to heck and gone. Custer is responsible for the treaties being broken, no doubt of that. You might say, with good cause, the people were gunning for him. The details of what exactly happened have been revealed to be less one-sided than they used to be, lots of new information has come out in newer studies. At the time it happened, it was the year of the centennial of the United States - 1876. That was really, really bad timing for the Sioux! The papers had to make Custer out to be a vainglorious idiot or acknowledge the fact that Indians weren't inferior. Kind of an echo of that surprised statement by Cobb about if blacks made good soldiers then all the notions of slavery were wrong.
     
  8. Martini-Henry

    Martini-Henry Sergeant

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    Wow! I read your blog it is seriously good. I intend to follow it from now on. Thank you for an excellent piece.
     
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  9. Eric Wittenberg

    Eric Wittenberg Sergeant Major Forum Host

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    Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it. I've been pretty bad about posting this year, but I intend to get back into it next year. It's been around since 2005.
     
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  10. major bill

    major bill Captain Forum Host

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    Yes I do.
     
  11. Martini-Henry

    Martini-Henry Sergeant

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    Have you written any books? If so I would deffo's buy one.
     
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  12. atlantis

    atlantis Sergeant

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    He was insubordinate an reckless. At little bighorn he bears full responsibility for the deaths of the troopers under his command.
     
  13. major bill

    major bill Captain Forum Host

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    Custer seemed to have performed fairly well during the Gettysburg Campaign and during the Appomattox Campaign. How should his Civil War service be judged, excellent, good, fair, poor, or very poor
     
  14. Eric Wittenberg

    Eric Wittenberg Sergeant Major Forum Host

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  15. FZ11

    FZ11 Sergeant Major

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    Good to excellent.
     
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  16. John Winn

    John Winn Captain

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    I don't view Custer as a hero although I'll give him credit for his Civil War service. After the war, though, he was a treaty breaker and a reckless commander who attacked innocents including women and children. I think he got what he deserved and I don't admire him.
     
  17. Mike Serpa

    Mike Serpa 1st Lieutenant

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    Certainly there was no shortage of photos of him. He seemed to get promoted very quickly. "The Boy General" and youngest Major General in the history of the USA. Were other Union soldiers jealous of him?
     
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  18. FZ11

    FZ11 Sergeant Major

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    Disagree. You're talking about the mythological Custer. Custer made some misjudgements at the LBH but his detachment of Benteen was in conformity with his orders to prevent the Indians from escaping to the South. Custer's attack was made one day earlier than planned as Custer believed his presence had been discovered. At the LBH, Custer's luck and ammunition ran out.
     
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  19. Bee

    Bee 2nd Lieutenant

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    This is such a well-written piece, Eric, and even though it's about the third time I have read it, I am amazed at how well it captures my complicated relationship with Custer. It is through you that I have been able to move beyond the red-hot reaction to the name "custer" to a much more pragmatic view. Indeed, I hope you pick up the blog this year.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2016
  20. 2nd Dragoon

    2nd Dragoon Private

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    I am reading "The Earth is Weeping" by Peter Cozzens... a rather good read, well documented, worth reading about the wars against the Indians...
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2017
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  21. Bee

    Bee 2nd Lieutenant

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    I just received this book as a present, yesterday, so I am glad to hear that it is a good read :smile:
     
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