Any new information about Custer at Gettysburg?

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major bill

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I had to waste an hour today and waited by going to a book store. The bookstore has a ton of new books and many used books. although there was a book case of used Civil War books I did not see any that interested me. Do I really need another book about Grant or Lee? However, in the new book area was Custer At Gettysburg A New Look at George Custer versus Jeb Stuart in the Battle's Climatic Cavalry Charge by Philip Thomas Tucker Ph. D. So do we really need a new look at Custer at Gettysburg?

I am not putting down Doctor Tucker's book but just asking if authors tend to write about popular subjects at the expense of less popular subjects. I do understand that authors want to write about subjects that interests readers, thus selling more books. Still a handful of Generals have one book after another written about them and I wonder if I need yet another book about a general I have just read a book about.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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It's very odd. You know how Chamberlain still gets it in the neck for receiving so much attention post " Killer Angels " and " Gettysburg "? Backlash has been enormous and it wasn't his fault Shaara chose to craft a story around his fight on LRT. Custer gets a ton of attention without seeming to suffer the same fate. I'm not saying he should, he just seems teflon.

If he hadn't been killed at LBH would he have such a huge place in history? Is the fascination with his ACW career a need to extend his fame beyond LBH- it was what, an hour long battle? I'm not being snarky about Custer- he got on a horse, went to war and managed to live through one. There's only so much to write of in the battle that ended his career.

I have a very hard time reading too much about the ' Indian Wars ' anyway. The whole thing has always seemed to me to be mass bullying on a scale we still won't address.
 
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Northern Light

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It's very odd. You know how Chamberlain still gets it in the neck for receiving so much attention post " Killer Angels " and " Gettysburg "? Backlash has been enormous and it wasn't his fault Shaara chose to craft a story around his fight on LRT. Custer gets a ton of attention without seeming to suffer the same fate. I'm not saying he should, he just seems teflon.

If he hadn't been killed at LBH would he have such a huge place in history? Is the fascination with his ACW career a need to extend his fame beyond LBH- it was what, an hour long battle? I'm not being snarky about Custer- he got on a horse, went to war and managed to live through one. There's only so much to write of in the battle that ended his career.

I have a very hard time reading too much about the ' Indian Wars ' anyway. The whole thing has always seemed to me to be mass bullying on a scale we still won't address.
I was watching something about Custer the other day, and the commentator/lecturer said that if Wesley Merritt had died at LBH, it would have become a state historic site instead of a national one... but then, Merritt wouldn't have let himself be in that position in the first, in my estimation.
 
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I am not putting down Doctor Tucker's book but just asking if authors tend to write about popular subjects at the expense of less popular subjects. I do understand that authors want to write about subjects that interests readers, thus selling more books. Still a handful of Generals have one book after another written about them and I wonder if I need yet another book about a general I have just read a book about.
This is where our co-member David Dixon ( @LostGettysburgAddress ) and his faible for the less known people come in.
Look at his website B-list history:

When I last heard of him, David was working on a book about Union Brigadier August Willich , which will probably be published September 2020. I had the honor of translating some German sources for David, so I hope the book will find a wide audience!
 
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JPK Huson 1863

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I was watching something about Custer the other day, and the commentator/lecturer said that if Wesley Merritt had died at LBH, it would have become a state historic site instead of a national one... but then, Merritt wouldn't have let himself be in that position in the first, in my estimation.

That's so interesting! Both parts, that Merritt wouldn't allow himself to be in that position and how we'd view it if he'd been killed. I have a tough time getting into discussions about one of these men when I just don't know enough. He sure wasn't as flamboyant.

You'd have thought LBH's fame to this day would evoke a better understanding of why we were out there engaging Native Americans in battle in the first place. Doesn't seem to have. It's odd how Custer's name persists as having died a hero, massacred by those pesky Indians. It was indeed awful, a lot of men died out there. We tend to miss a lot focusing so much on Custer- this country declared war over land that did not, in fact belong to it. He died because he was in it.
 
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It's odd how Custer's name persists as having died a hero, massacred by those pesky Indians.
Funny that you say this, because here I always have to remind myself that Custer was not just a man with an enormously inflated ego, but an able leader (well, to a point) and gallant horseman. Custer's reputation seems to swing between extremes, first he was the glorious hero, then, when I started to get interested in history and in the American West he was mostly depicted as the overly vain dandy who had a much too high opinion of himself - and I hope meanwhile we are able to see both sides. Interstingly, at least with me Libby Custer has reached her goal: it was through what she wrote about him and her unwavering admiration that I started to think there must have been more to him than his "yellow hair". I think most of us will agree that he was a fascinating character this way or that, therefore the many books on him are most probably justified.
 
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Snowbound

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I watched an "Antique Roadshow" episode (Virginia Beach) last night that I recorded a week or two back. Lady had a display of her 6th Michigan Cavalry ancestor. It included what the appraiser said was an impressive 4 volume journal (62-65). They covered Gettysburg and Custer. I would imagine they would be put on line at some point. Not sure if this was an original air date.

My flag is a 60th Virginia. Supposedly it was Custer who cut out the center of many regimental flags after the war.
 

Northern Light

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I watched an "Antique Roadshow" episode (Virginia Beach) last night that I recorded a week or two back. Lady had a display of her 6th Michigan Cavalry ancestor. It included what the appraiser said was an impressive 4 volume journal (62-65). They covered Gettysburg and Custer. I would imagine they would be put on line at some point. Not sure if this was an original air date.

My flag is a 60th Virginia. Supposedly it was Custer who cut out the center of many regimental flags after the war.
Why would he do that?🤔
 

Kurt G

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Custer is a complex character and we've discussed him in recent threads . He showed a lot of compassion to defeated Confederates on many occasions , but also became involved in the Mosby mess . To Major Bill's question , I don't think there is any new information out there that would justify buying the book . Custer's reputation during the war was very good , at least from the Union side . He would lead from the front and he claimed his flamboyant dress was so his men could see him on the field . He was extremely brave and a respected leader . Starting in 1866 things started to change . He found himself in charge of undisciplined troops and reacted harshly . During the Plain's Wars he went AWOL to see Libbie . He left his command once to chase bison and accidentally shot his horse leaving him far from his men and in hostile territory . He never would have done these kinds of things during the war . He had deserters from the 7th shot without a trial and that got him into serious trouble . As far as war against the Native Americans , that is a very sad and often disgraceful part of this nation's history . He was a part of it as were so many others . As far as Custer cutting out the center of Confederate flags , I've never heard that , but I won't claim it didn't happen . After "Pickett's" charge , captured Confederate flags were dragged in the dirt behind horses to the cheers of the Union troops .
 
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WJC

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If he hadn't been killed at LBH would he have such a huge place in history?
If Custer's mission in June 1876 had been successful, he might today be remembered as the nineteenth President of the United States. But that's a subject for the What If... Discussions forum.
 

James N.

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I've written about this before, but in many ways the Boy General's career has needed and benefitted from periodic rehabilitation over the past century-and-a-half. Immediately following his "untimely" death at age thirty-six, he was both lionized as a great hero by the public, while being made scapegoat by the U.S. Army's High Command (Grant, Sherman, and his former friend and mentor Sheridan) for what was largely their own failures and shortcomings. The writings of his devoted wife Elizabeth/Libby and admiring former subordinate Frederick Whittaker overcame the criticisms, propelling him into the first rank of American Heroes.

Then along came in the 1930's the death of his greatest promoter and protector of his legacy Libby and the rise of so-called muckraking journalists like Frederic Van de Water whose biography Glory Hunter set the new standard for bleeding heart liberalism of the Depression era, during which it became the fashion to tear down former American idols who were all found to have proverbial feet of clay. America's participation in WWII somewhat overcame this, but postwar it returned anew in widespread sympathy for what cynical Frontiersmen of the Nineteenth Century had termed sarcastically Lo - The Poor Indian. Custer and his alleged legacy again became a political football for the new AIM (American Indian Movement) activists in books like Vine Deloria's Custer Died For Your Sins.

It wasn't until my friend and fellow reenactor and educator Greg Urwin published the first real study of Custer in the Civil War Custer Victorious that the general public "remembered" that Custer had been the once-famous Boy General and genuine Civil War hero. Although Greg has since admitted that he probably went a little too far in singing Custer's praises, it was likely necessary in order to combat at least a quarter-century of negative press. Since then other balanced works about Custer and Sheridan and his cavalry in the war have somewhat restored his wartime prominence, but other "popular" liberal views of the Frontier make periodic favorable re-appraisals a necessity.
 
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Kurt G

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I think the 1970s might have been the low point for Custer's reputation . Little Big Man portrayed him as an insane megalomaniac . I was in college in the 70s and I was a history minor . My 2 semester History of the United States skipped the Civil War completely . We covered the causes and next semester we started with reconstruction . This was during part of the Viet Nam era and no one seemed to want to teach anything about war . Serious scholars have re-examined Custer in recent years and that has helped redeem his reputation , at least during the Civil War .
 

Northern Light

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he might today be remembered as the nineteenth President of the United States
He might have wanted that, but Libby didn't. She vetoed any attempts at his entering politics. I imagine she knew him too well.
 

rpkennedy

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Custer was talented and personally brave, there is no question about that. That said, he was aggressive to a fault and had the habit of biting off more than he could chew but was able to extricate himself and his men when things looked particularly bad (he did this probably half a dozen times during the war and had always managed to walk away). Unfortunately for him and his men, his luck ran out at Little Big Horn.

Ryan
 
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Northern Light

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Custer was talented and personally brave, there is no question about that. That said, he was aggressive to a fault and had the habit of biting off more than he could chew but was able to extricate himself and his men when things looked particularly bad (he did this probably half a dozen times during the war and had always managed to walk away). Unfortunately for him and his men, his luck ran out at Little Big Horn.

Ryan
Well, there is brave and there is reckless. I think all the luck he had in the war went to his head. Some men thrive on war, and are lost when it ends and they have to go on with the realities of life.
 

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I am not a fan of Mr. Tucker's books so I probably won't be buying this one, and I usually buy everything about Custer, especially the Civil War Custer. As far as needing another book about Custer, who I am a fan of, if a book offers new insights or previously unknown facts about any character or event that I am interested in, no matter how many other books have been written about that subject, I am all for it.

For example, for more than fifty years we have been hearing "not another book about Gettysburg, can there be anything we don't already know". As it turns out there was quite a bit we didn't already know.

Custer, being as controversial as he is, has a built in audiance.

In regards to Custer at Gettysburg, I may be all wet, (I frequently am), but I don't think he ever claimed he did it alone. That being said his brigade took the lions share of the losses if I am not mistaken.

John
 
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