Geo. Custer biography?

Discussion in 'General Military Arms & History Forum' started by mrkirker, Jun 26, 2009.

  1. Thomas G

    Thomas G New Member

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    And while I'm on the subject, Custers "socialite wife" was at Ft. Lincoln at the time of her husbands demise, that's waaayyy up north on the plains, damned little socializing going on there. When he got his, the pay stopped and she was hauled to the nearest RR depot and sent back to Michigan at her own expense, as were all the other wives. No V.A. rep. in those days. Two great things ol' George taught us is, don't try to ambush a regiment with a platoon, and pay attention to your scouts.
  2. fmacsin1

    fmacsin1 New Member

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    I believe Custer was so arrogant, he believed his own "fable." That led him to be reckless and he just happened to "win." And being a colorful militiaman, he made his men look good. Success breeds success. However, I wonder what the Las Vegas odds would have been on how many victories he could achieve? Obviously, his luck ran out and he lead them to it.
  3. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

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    Well, I should have opened my mouth with more care. Did not intend to rile anyone up. I have a casual interest in history; not a serious one. None of this makes any real difference today.

    I hope the poster who defacto called me a "fool" for [sic] "makeing statements without research"; will do a little actual research of his own. I think he certainly needs to do so, in order not to appear even more uninformed about Custer than myself.

    It will become apparant I have done a little recent research of my own.
    All anyone has to do is type in inquiry phrases from any major search engine; to get hours of material to read on just about any subject from multiple sources on the Internet.

    The real point of this post is how history tends to get revised and distorted over time; and how a man who would be long forgotten by almost everyone is better known than many greater and more important men because of his arrogance and poor judgment and lack of respect for the abilities his adversaries, that cost him his life and the lives of his men.

    Fifty-five plus years ago I was a second hand reader of men's magazines of the times like "True" "Argosy" "Saga" and "Cavalier" among others whose names I can not remember. A well written article in one such magazine about CSA Col. J. S. Mosby caused me to appreciate the military genius of this man: especially in that his cavelry carried no sabers favoring 4 to 6 revolvers and a doublebarrel shotgun loaded with buckshot in its place. It concluded by saying that the United States could thank him for the relatively quick and decisive victory over the Germans after Normandy because Mosby had taught Gen. G. Patton (as a boy in California) most of what Patton knew about tactics. This Patton fact is is well documented on the Internet today. I am surprised that my detractor did not do some research before declaring that he was unaware of it, as if to imply that it was not true.

    Forty to fifty years ago magazine articles about the "Little Big Horn slaughter" (and other massacres) reported that White's bodies were typically mutilated in the fashion previously described by myself in a previous post. In my recent research, I found claims that Custer's body was claimed not to have been mutilated as were many of the bodies of others who died there that day. {Revisionist History? He was just another White dressed in scout's buckskin clothing. Why would his body have been treated differently? But, maybe it was.}

    I found no reference to anything like his ears being enhanced for hearing in the "Happy Hunting Grounds", either; and would seriously doubt the accuracy of such a statement for several obvious reasons for an enemy who had been previously called "squaw killer". {perhaps unjustly}

    Old magazine articles and recent research indicate that J.S. Mosby blamed Custer for the murder of 6 of Mosbys's men who had been captured. {It now appears that Custer may have been following illegal orders; or my have not been actually involved with these murders.}

    Mosby promptly selected 7 Union POW's at random (except a Custer officer) and ordered them hanged in retaliation, with detalis to be communicated to the Union Command with the warning that if CSA POW's were not treated in a humane manner, Union POW's would not be either. Only two or three Union POWs were actually executed. The others were allowed to escape. The Union Command got Mosby's message and the hanging of irregular POW's stopped.

    As to Mrs. Custer, I will stand by my basic statements. She was a very intelligent and politically astute woman. Head of the social order at Fort A. Lincoln. She would likely be the equal of Hillary Clinton or any other current US female politition, today.

    After her husband's death she collected his widow's pension and latter an inheritance from her prominant Michigan father's estate. However, about two years before his death George had taken out a life insurance policy with New York Life Ins. Co. for $5000 which NY Life says is the equivilant of about one half million dollars in buying power today. She was not left in dire monetary straights as were the wives of others who died that day.

    I find no record of her spending any significant time in Michigan afterward. She quickly moved to New York City, and its social scene, wrote three successful books, tirelessly defended and promoted the memory of her husband in speaking engagements (likely paid) and died there in 1931.

    Likely, we still remember George Custer because of the publicity of Elizabeth Bacon Custer, who seems to have turned his blundering death (and well promoted fame) into a money making enterprize for herself.

    Having done more research, I do not know what kind of a man Custer actually was. I no longer regard him as the certain, sadistic POW murdering war criminal that I previously viewed him as. I do think that he is over-rated as a professional soldier and hero. None of this has anything to do with the fact that he served his country (USA) in "The Great War of Yankee Industrial and Banking Agression", which had little to do with slavery.
  4. kutaho

    kutaho New Member

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    He made war on women, children, grandfathers, and grandmothers,
    those are the ones who ran. The fact that his ears were pierced so he could hear better in the next world shows the understanding the human beings had.
    If it had been me, yellow hair would have died a slow death.
    Forgive me, but i have a strong sense of you get what you give.
    I cry at the response of this, what he did to my people...
  5. Thomas G

    Thomas G New Member

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    Custer was not mutilated because he had a wife and child among the Northern Cheyenne, the people would not dessecrate a member of the tribe(that's how they perceived him)Also, they knew very well who they were up agianst and they knew the man on sight, they had dealt with him before. But if you're getting your History lessons from True and Cavalier(I read them too) then there'r not much I can tell you, except that I've stood where Custer fell, His tactical screw up is pretty plain to see. Nothing to hide behind but other Indians.
  6. Artemus

    Artemus New Member

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    Custer belonged to a large group of Army Officers that thought nothing of slaughtering women,children and old men and then calling it a successful campaign.This is a very sad chapter in US history.When I was a kid I rooted for the Cavalry and Cowboys,now I root for the Native Americans.
  7. 45nut

    45nut New Member

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    {Thread veers back on track}

    A very good read is Stephen E. Ambrose's "Crazy Horse and Custer"

    amazon dot com

    Ambrose does not gloss over Custer's flaws and it ties together two powerful men who met in battle.
  8. Thomas G

    Thomas G New Member

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    After reading "bury my heart" many years ago, I sort of side with the indians too. I have to say though that army officers follow orders no matter what thier personnal feeling are. At the time of Custer's fight he was not following orders, he was specificaly ordered to wait for the rest of the army to catch up with him befor he initiated any action. Speculators feel that what Custer intended was a glorious victory and a fast trip to St.Louis where the Democratic convention was being held. He had hoped to throw his hat in the ring for Vice President, then eventually to the big chair. He didn't get to St. Louis, which I personally feel is a good thing. History is full of fighting men like him, includeing Geo. Patton and Irwin Rommel but I wouldn't care to serve under them.
  9. nightfighter

    nightfighter New Member

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    While it was reported that Custer was revered by his men during the Civil War, he was generally despised and hated by his men during the Indian wars. He punished them severely for any infraction while at the same time broke many rules and regulations, including going A.W.O.L while on duty, traveling back to Michigan to be with his wife. The "stuff" about "...a leader that never asked of his men that which he wouldn't do himself...", was the product of a fictional movie (I believe it was, "Custer of the West", but not sure). The above comes from one of the books and documentaries published about him. Also, I believe he was the one credited for the most demerits ever given to a West Point cadet.
  10. Freebore

    Freebore New Member

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    I did a lot of reading about Custer and I would highly recommend reading the book "Son of the Morning Star" by Evan S. Cornnell. Much of this book is taken from transcripts kept by Custer's company surgeon. This book gives you all of the gory details regarding Custer's time in the west, and his final demise at Little Big Horn.

    Also, there is a lot of information regarding the Ogala Souix and their activity concerning Custer at the time.......very good book.

    Son of the Morning Star is what the Souix called Custer
  11. kingnothingugm

    kingnothingugm Member

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    An arrogant politician in military dress. He matched single shots against lever actions...refused the offer of the gatling gun and sorely underestimated his enemy...he would have made a great VP for Obama...sorry, no recommendations for the bio! Just my $.02.
  12. nightfighter

    nightfighter New Member

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    He did not "...refused the offer of the gatling gun...", he decided to leave them behind as being too slow to keep up with his light cavalry movements.
    Also, he had nothing to do with using single shots against lever actions. The 1873 "trapdoor" carbine was the standard issue for cavalry...he had nothing to do with it. Furthermore, men armed with single shot trapdoors can maintain a higher volume of fire than men armed with the same number of lever actions over a period of time...this has been demonstrated several times. The advantage of the lever action's magazine is only useful in maintaining the initial volume of fire. After the magazine is empty, it takes a longer time to reload it than it takes a man with a trapdoor to load and fire the same number of shots. As has been the subject of magazine articles on a couple of different occasions. It was not until the advent of the stripper clip for bolt actions that magazine fed repeaters could best the rate of fire from trapdoors. The single shot "trapdoor" continued to be used by National Guard soldiers during the Spanish American War even though the Army were issued Krags.

    Custer's biggest mistake was sending Major Reno to cross the river while he continued on the high ground to cut off the Indian retreat. Noteworthy is that Custer would not believe how many Indians were in the encampment despite his Crow scouts telling him that if he attacked, it would be the day he died.

    When Reno got into trouble, he dismounted his men in the trees and fought dismounted (one fourth of the men have to hold horses, cannot shoot). Reno (who was known for his drunkenness), alternately gave the order to mount and then dismount several times...most likely in the confusion, many of his men did not follow the current command. And then, the Crow scout standing next to Reno (I think his name was "Curly", but it might have been "White Man Runs Him", cannot remember for sure.), took a round through the head, splattering Reno with blood and brains, Reno really lost it, ordering his men to mount and gallop across the river and up the slope to open ground. Some may have not heard the order, many were killed as they crossed the river...in complete disarray. Reno made a stand on the high ground were he stayed (Bentyne eventually joined him there), until the next day.
  13. kingnothingugm

    kingnothingugm Member

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    Either way he declined to take the Gatling, the machine gun of the day. Although it may not have been accurate or extremely mobile, it was a good psychological deterent. And although the trapdoors may have been able to sustain a higher rate of fire over time, Custer was outnumbered by an enemy equipped with repeating firearms. even if the advantage was only 2 to 1 it still means that one could fire and then reload while the next fired. Then again, had the circumstances been reversed, Custer may still have been defeated and I am just blowing smoke.:D
  14. nightfighter

    nightfighter New Member

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    As you say, Custer was very outnumbered. However, if he had keep all thee units as one (Reno, Benteen) they would likely have been attacked (I do not think the Indians were going to run as they usually did), and they could have been held off until relief arrived. Then after giving the cavalry a rear end kicking, they would have left (they would have had to leave...they knew that infantry were on the way).
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