Monday, September 19, 2011

Influential Figures - George A Custer

Casey Childs, George Armstrong Custer (1839 - 1876), Charcoal, 14x8.5″

George Armstrong Custer - US Army Officer & Cavalry Commander
  • Born: December 5, 1839
  • Birthplace: New Rumley, Ohio
  • Died: June 25, 1876 at Little Bighorn, Montana (battle)
  • Best Known For: Battle of Little Bighorn, Custer's Last Stand
George Armstrong Custer was a United States army officer and cavalry commander in the American Civil War and the Indian Wars. Today he is most remembered for a disastrous military engagement known as the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Raised in Michigan and Ohio, Custer was admitted to West Point in 1858, where he graduated last in his class. However, with the outbreak of the Civil War, all potential officers were needed, and Custer was called to serve with the Union Army.

Custer developed a strong reputation during the Civil War. He fought in the first major engagement, the First Battle of Bull Run. His association with several important officers helped his career, as did his success as a highly effective Cavalry commander. Before war's end, Custer was promoted to the temporary rank (brevet) of major general. (At war's end, this was reduced to his permanent rank of captain.) At the conclusion of the Appomattox Campaign, in which he and his troops played a decisive role, Custer was on hand at General Robert E Lee's surrender.

After the Civil War, Custer was dispatched to the West to fight in the Indian Wars. The overwhelming defeat in his final battle overshadowed his achievements in the Civil War. Custer was defeated and killed at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876, fighting against a coalition of Native American tribes in a battle that has come to be popularly known in American history as "Custer's Last Stand". After his death, Custer achieved the lasting fame that he had sought on the battlefield. The public saw him as a tragic military hero and exemplary gentleman who sacrificed his life for his country.

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