George Armstrong Custer

George Armstrong Custer

Born: 1839 in New Rumley, Ohio

Died: June 25, 1876 at the Battle of the Little Big Horn (Montana Territory)

    Custer was an Army officer, Custer graduated last in his class from West Point in 1861.   Custer served in the Civil War as a second lieutenant in the Union Army.   At the end of the War, Custer was promoted to major general of the Regular Army

     Following the war in July of 1866, in the reorganization of the U.S. Army, Custer was made lieutenant colonel of the 7th Cavalry Regiment in the Indian territories

     Custer was involved in the campaign against the Cheyenne Indians during 1867 - 1868.  Custer after a court-martial for going AWOL to visit his sick wife at Fort Hayes, was suspended from duty for a year

      Low regard with loose unreliable performance Custer pressed to perform.  It was not until the controversial Battle of Washita in 1868 that Custer won a victory over the Cheyenne Indians

     In the eyes of many, Custer was responsible for the inhumane massacre of Black Kettle's friendly sleeping Indian Village

    1870 until 1872 Custer's 7th Cavalry was disbanded and was not reunited until the gold rush in the Dakota Territory.  Custer and the 7th Cavalry were to escort a survey party which moved from Fort Rice upstream

     The intensity of the party included 373 civilians, 1500 soldiers of the 7th Cavalry led by Custer and 275 supply wagons

    Again in 1874 a reconnaissance mission of the Sioux's beloved Black Hills in Dakota Territory included scientists, newspapermen, photographers, and miners.     Immediately the miners found gold.   Custer and the 7th Cavalry was back in action again

    The Army kept out the invasion of prospectors until September of 1875 when the Sioux refused to sell the Black Hills for six million dollars

    Custer and the 7th Cavalry on June 25, 1876, having ridden up the Rosebud and turning west to the Little Big Horn en route to meet Gibbon's columns, Custer found a Sioux village, underestimating the size, (eager for glory) Custer launched an attack

    Dividing the cavalry into three groups with Captain Benteen with 125 soldiers to the south, Major Reno with 115 soldiers across the Little Big Horn and Custer himself with 264 soldiers along the eastern bank of the river

    Greatly out numbered Custer and his attacking force were massacred while Reno and Benteen were forced to regroup and never able to join their commander

    The Battle of the Little Big Horn or Custer's Last Stand as it is also known was the beginning of the end for the Sioux. Although it was the greatest Indian victory, the timing coming so close to the United States Centennial proved disastrous for the Indians

     The American government and people cried for revenge.  The politics were immense and enormous resources were expended to their beckoning call.  Custer and the 7th Cavalry were to be avenged.   The goal was to smash the Indians' resistance once and for all.  The deed was done.    The remaining Indians  incarcerated as prisoners of war, were the remnants of the once proud  free nations of the Plains Indians

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