George Armstrong Custer was a United States Army officer who, after finishing last in his class at West Point, was still called to serve in the Union army at the start of the The Civil War. After serving in the American Civil War, he then served in the Indian Wars, meeting his end at the battle of Little Bighorn.
Facts & Information
December 5, 1839, New Rumley, Ohio
June 25, 1876, Little Bighorn, Montana
HIGHEST RANK ACHIEVED
Brevet Major General of Volunteers
More Stories About George Armstrong Custer
GEORGE CUSTER’S EARLY LIFE
Custer was from the first 13 German immigrant families. They arrived in North America about 1693 from Krefeld and The Rhineland area in Germany. He had older-half siblings, a younger sister and unhealthy brother as well as two healthy younger brothers who served and died with him at Little Bighorn. He had a wide range of nicknames: Autie, Armstrong, Boy General, Iron Butt, Hard Ass, Ringlets.
Much of Custer’s childhood was spent in Monroe, Michigan, and he attended college in Hopedale, Ohio. Even without command experience he was one of the Union army’s youngest generals. He was promoted to general at 23 for daring and because of the people he knew. It was because he was such a young general that he earned the title ‘Boy General.’
He was known to be very fastidious in scouting out an area before any battle, thoroughly gauging enemies and discussing battle tactics, the enemy strength and their weak points. From this information, he would come up with the best way to engage in battle. In opposite to this, his style for battle was often referred to as foolhardy.
GEORGE CUSTER IN THE CIVIL WAR
A cavalry commander in the United States Army, Custer fought in both the Indian Wars as well as the Civil War. He was raised in Ohio and Michigan and West Point admitted in 1858. During the Civil War, he gained a reputation that was strong because of whom he associated with. The Battle of Bull Run was his first major engagement. He had a temporary promotion to major general but returned to captain at the end of the war. He played an important role at Appomattox and was there when Robert E. Lee surrendered.
GENERAL CUSTER AFTER THE CIVIL WAR
He left for the west and the Indian Wars after the Civil War. He led the 7th Cavalry in the Battle of Washita River. Later, in 1873, he was sent to the Dakota Territory to help protect a railroad survey crew from attacks by the Lakota Indians.
BATTLE OF LITTLE BIGHORN
By 1876, still in the Black Hills, tensions had risen between the United States and the Plains Indian Tribes, leading to a battle on June 25-26 by the Little Bighorn River between Custer’s 7th Cavalry and the Lakota and Cheyenne Tribes led by Crazy Horse and White Bull. Around 500 U.S. soldiers met an estimated 3,500 Indian warriors. All the U.S. troops were killed in what is often referred to as, “Custer’s Last Stand.”