Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A New Look at General Custer

THERE IS, OF COURSE, A LOT OF MYTH about the life of George Armstrong Custer. He is chiefly remembered for his “last stand” at the Little Big Horn. But there is much more about the man that transcends the Indian Wars of the 1870s.

Custer, promoted from captain to brevet brigadier and later major general, was a brilliant Civil War commander whose troops were fearlessly loyal to him. He had the confidence of Generals Grant and Sherman and has been regarded as perhaps the most talented cavalry officer in the Union Army.

But life was different for Custer, now a captain again, after the war. Obtaining a commission as Lt. Colonel, he headed for the Plains and a new kind of soldering – leading troops known for their disrespect of him. There he found himself on the wrong end of a court-martial in a place where there were long lulls in the fighting and where he increasingly turned his attention to his beloved wife, Libbie.

All this becomes a well-told story in Custer; The Controversial Life of George Armstrong Custer, by Jeffry D. Wert. If you are a history buff, pick this one up.

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