Featured What is the deal with George Armstrong Custer?

Northern Light

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Jul 21, 2014
Don't worry. Mr. Wittenberg responded. It's on page one. :smile:

So in summation: Custer was a very brave, very lucky, rather reckless boy who never grew up, who ticked off Grant, never could navigate army politics, had the love of his men- at least during the ACW, ultimately got defeated by a very good army and some very good leaders- after he made some mistakes of debated magnitude, and who may or may have not posed for a heck of a lot of photographs as opposed to photographers just finding him. Do I have that right?
Nice summary, Hanna. :dance:
 

rhettbutler1865

Colonel, CSA Cavalry
Honored Fallen Comrade
Joined
Feb 18, 2015
Alright so I looked in the thread archives and didn't find anything this comprehensive but maybe some posters could point me to them? If this is already a thread... sorry!

Okay, so this is kind of embarrassing because I really should know this but... I know next to nothing about Custer (shoot me now). He was a cavalry commander during the ACW, he had cinnamon spiced ringlets in his hair, he was um... a tad flamboyant we could say, and him and the rest of his force died at Little Bighorn. That's about it. Oh... I do know one more thing. He inspires really strong feelings. Some people seem to love him, some people seem to hate him. Why is that? Can anyone tell me more information about him or recommend a book?
At East Cavalry Field (Gettysburg) and another battle or two, he WAS a daring, aggressive fighter. I need to read more about him too, hanna,--since my mother was born on and died on the same days as Custer. Weird, huh? Since in my dream, I am shot at East Cavalry Field...I don't care for his huge ego, and Little Bighorn, but I have a framed photo (one of MANY) in my house of him with his dog. Softened me up...a little. Anyone who loves dogs, has IMO, some heart...I still don't "like" him, though...lol
 

rhettbutler1865

Colonel, CSA Cavalry
Honored Fallen Comrade
Joined
Feb 18, 2015
Alright so I looked in the thread archives and didn't find anything this comprehensive but maybe some posters could point me to them? If this is already a thread... sorry!

Okay, so this is kind of embarrassing because I really should know this but... I know next to nothing about Custer (shoot me now). He was a cavalry commander during the ACW, he had cinnamon spiced ringlets in his hair, he was um... a tad flamboyant we could say, and him and the rest of his force died at Little Bighorn. That's about it. Oh... I do know one more thing. He inspires really strong feelings. Some people seem to love him, some people seem to hate him. Why is that? Can anyone tell me more information about him or recommend a book?
And, Hanna, I don't care for the word "should" regarding anything--YOU KNOW A TON!
 

rhettbutler1865

Colonel, CSA Cavalry
Honored Fallen Comrade
Joined
Feb 18, 2015
Alright so I looked in the thread archives and didn't find anything this comprehensive but maybe some posters could point me to them? If this is already a thread... sorry!

Okay, so this is kind of embarrassing because I really should know this but... I know next to nothing about Custer (shoot me now). He was a cavalry commander during the ACW, he had cinnamon spiced ringlets in his hair, he was um... a tad flamboyant we could say, and him and the rest of his force died at Little Bighorn. That's about it. Oh... I do know one more thing. He inspires really strong feelings. Some people seem to love him, some people seem to hate him. Why is that? Can anyone tell me more information about him or recommend a book?
My guide at Gettysburg (as if I didn't already know) told me how Custer's men called him by many names, one was "a circus act")...his gaudy uniform, his personality...
 

rhettbutler1865

Colonel, CSA Cavalry
Honored Fallen Comrade
Joined
Feb 18, 2015
Alright so I looked in the thread archives and didn't find anything this comprehensive but maybe some posters could point me to them? If this is already a thread... sorry!

Okay, so this is kind of embarrassing because I really should know this but... I know next to nothing about Custer (shoot me now). He was a cavalry commander during the ACW, he had cinnamon spiced ringlets in his hair, he was um... a tad flamboyant we could say, and him and the rest of his force died at Little Bighorn. That's about it. Oh... I do know one more thing. He inspires really strong feelings. Some people seem to love him, some people seem to hate him. Why is that? Can anyone tell me more information about him or recommend a book?
"He fell in love with his own legend, and his troopers died for it."--a movie, sorry...but my feelings exactly.
 

Mike Serpa

Major
Joined
Jan 24, 2013
AKAIK, Custer entered the war as a 2ndLt and ended up as the youngest Major General in the history of the USA even to this very day. Maybe there was some jealousy from others who were bypassed by his promotions?

According to D. Mark Katz, in Custer in Photographs - page xiii, Custer "captured more armaments, more prisoners and more battle standards than any other commander North or south." More jealousy possible?

"At least 160 photographs of Douglass have been found since Dr. Trodd started her project. “General George Armstrong Custer used to be considered the most photographed American of the 1800s with around 155 known photos, following President Abraham Lincoln and the writer Walt Whitman with 130 photos each,” Dr. Trodd said to the New Haven Register."
http://1world1family.me/frederick-douglass-the-most-photographed-american-in-19th-century/

Douglass lived much longer than Custer and more time to have photos taken but would any consider him a camera hog? Did Custer seek out photographers or did they follow him around?
!Custer.jpg
Let's start a campaign to get George Armstrong Custer on the $100 bill.:nah disagree:
 

Specster

Sergeant Major
Joined
Sep 19, 2014
Location
Mass.
I don't really have any problems with Custer, but he's such an easy target . . . because of his own doings.

Those cinnamon spiced ringlets as you pointed out are a perfect example of why he catches allot of grief. :playfull:

That was not quirky in the day and there were plenty of Southern "Dandys".

Beyond that, I dont think he was promoted to General as rapidly as he was because he was doing his job poorly.

Lastly, there are so many "what ifs" and the battle turning on its head in seconds at Gettysburg. If Custer did not hit JEB S. full force with inferior numbers, the outcome may have been different.

From what I have seen in documentaries and such, at Little Big Horn, it was just one of those days, in battle when it just does not go your way. Custers judgement was flawed but his subordinates didnt help much. I dont think he necessarily attacked women and children but tried to hold them hostage in an effort to esacpe. At least that is an explaiantion I heard as recently as last week (documentary, Hx Channel).
 

Eric Wittenberg

1st Lieutenant
Keeper of the Scales
Joined
Jun 2, 2013
Location
Columbus, OH
AKAIK, Custer entered the war as a 2ndLt and ended up as the youngest Major General in the history of the USA even to this very day.

Mike, Custer was a BREVET major general only. He did not receive a promotion to full major general of volunteers. While he was also brevetted major general in the Regular Army, he reverted to his permanent rank, first lieutenant, at the end of the war. He was then commissioned LTC of the newly-formed 7th Cavalry a number of months later.

Hence your statement is not correct.
 

Mike Serpa

Major
Joined
Jan 24, 2013
Mike, Custer was a BREVET major general only. He did not receive a promotion to full major general of volunteers. While he was also brevetted major general in the Regular Army, he reverted to his permanent rank, first lieutenant, at the end of the war. He was then commissioned LTC of the newly-formed 7th Cavalry a number of months later.

Hence your statement is not correct.
You are right. Help me understand. Would his men address him "Captain" or "General?" This same question applies to all brevet promotions whether brevet general or brevet colonel, etc. Thanks, Eric.
 

Eric Wittenberg

1st Lieutenant
Keeper of the Scales
Joined
Jun 2, 2013
Location
Columbus, OH
You are right. Help me understand. Would his men address him "Captain" or "General?" This same question applies to all brevet promotions whether brevet general or brevet colonel, etc. Thanks, Eric.

Either is appropriate, but he insisted that the men call him general. That was one of the things that really irked Benteen, who served as a lieutenant colonel during the Civil War and then briefly served as colonel of a buffalo soldier regiment before being assigned to the 7th Cavalry. Despite that fact, everyone called him Captain Benteen.
 

Mike Serpa

Major
Joined
Jan 24, 2013
Either is appropriate, but he insisted that the men call him general. That was one of the things that really irked Benteen, who briefly served as colonel of a buffalo soldier regiment before being assigned to the 7th Cavalry. Despite that fact, everyone called him Captain Benteen.
Did the higher rank pay go along with the brevet promotion?
 
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