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Farewell to Colonel Custer

One of the most interesting figures in U.S. history was a man named Lieutenant-Colonel George Armstrong Custer. When he was killed at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in Montana he was given a West Point funeral with full military honors on October 10, 1877. He was buried on the grounds of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. He was 36 years old.

Custer was a determined man who won national fame due to some rather risky doings during the Civil War. He would go on to become the youngest major general in the U.S. Army. When the Civil War was over he continued to attract attention as a Lieutenant-Colonel in the 7th Calvary. This unit was created to fight in the western Indian Wars.

When reports came in that Custer was treating deserters of the 7th unusually cruel and overworking his soldiers he was court-marshaled and convicted in 1867. Custer managed to redeem himself through attacks on a winter camp of Cheyenne Indians on the Washita River. Others condemned him for attacking a band of Indians that were peaceful.

The Battle of the Little Bighorn was the most heated battle of the Sioux Wars, It was fought with thousands of angry Sioux and Cheyenne warriors near the Little Bighorn River in what is today the U.S. state of Montana. His spectacular death at the Little Big Horn was controversial in his day and made him a beloved martyr.  Whatever really happened at Little Big Horn which is also referred to as Custer’s Last Stand he became a legendary hero. After his death, his widow Elizabeth helped to make her late husband a legend by writing several adulatory books that took a look at his military career. This was followed by many other books and movies some more fiction than actual history but brought forth a definite image of Custer.

Unfortunately in the 1960s, the status of Custer has a national hero and martyr came under question. Afterward, he was referred to as a vain man who was always seeking to be glorified.

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