Was Custer a good general

George Armstrong Custer

A life in the military

George Armstrong Custer's life has been shaped entirely by his military career. His German ancestors, who emigrated to America in 1693, had a military background. His father was a member of a militia. The young Custer graduated from the military academy in West Point and served shortly afterwards in the American Civil War on the side of the Union (Northern States).

George Armstrong Custer in the Civil War

The young officer's field is the cavalry, in which he took part in some of the most important battles of the Civil War from 1862 onwards. So he moves to the Battle of Gettysburg, in which the northern states manage to turn the fortunes of war in their favor.

Although his behavior is considered downright foolhardy, the young officer quickly makes a career. As early as 1865 he was appointed major general of the volunteer army, which is why he is often referred to as "General Custer". Due to the different rank designations that existed in the army of the Union troops at the time, this designation is controversial. Regardless of such details, he is known nationwide as a war hero and has already made a remarkable career for his age. At the end of the war in 1865, he was just 25 years old.

The Indian Wars

Loyal to the army, Custer took command of the 7th U.S. Cavalry Regiment in 1866. From now on, the enemy is no longer the southern states, but the Indians.

Custer's career seemed to stall for a short time when he set off for the first time to explore the Indian territories in 1867. Since he disobeyed orders, he was suspended for indiscipline and can only be quickly returned to the service through personal contacts.

In 1868, Custer commands an attack on an Indian village, which in historical retrospect is sometimes referred to as a massacre. It's not the only incident where opinions differ about the commandant's methods.

Death at Little Bighorn

In the 1870s, George Armstrong Custer made several forays into Indian territory. In June 1876 a military operation begins in which Custer played a central role. His regiment is said to attack a group of Indians while another unit cuts off the escape route. Little does Custer suspect, however, that he would be faced with a clear outnumbering.

At the Battle of Little Bighorn, such as those of war chiefs Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull is under command, is the first time a unit of the US Army is inferior to the Indians in terms of firepower. Later analysis of what happened suggests that Custer made tactical mistakes that day that contributed to the devastating defeat. Custer and his entire regiment are killed in battle. The former military academy graduate finds his final resting place in West Point.

Custer in historical terms

The one-sided image of the hero of the civil war who made a decisive contribution to the victory of the northern states changed over time. A critical examination of the treatment of the Indians also led to an increasingly negative portrayal of Custer in films and literature. His historical significance as an officer who contributed to many key moments in American history remains regardless.