George Custer was born on December 5th, 1839, in, Ohio. He joined the US cavalry and was to become one of the best-known men in America. He was widely seen as a national hero by some and also a national disgrace. George Armstrong Custer rose to fame in the American Civil War, however, he won everlasting fame some ten years later because of his catastrophic defeat at the battle of Little Big Horn. Ironically, it was his defeat that made him secure the everlasting fame that this most ambitious of men sought all through his colorful life and career.
Many believe that the General was personally responsible for the defeat at the Battle in which he died. He was a daring man and a brilliant leader of men and had proved himself to be one of the finest cavalry officers of the American Civil War. Indeed, he was an almost mythical figure in the Union army. However, he was also a poor strategist and his need for glory and recognition clouded his judgment.
These qualities meant that he was responsible for the defeat at the Battle of the Little Big Horn and his own death.
The Battle of the Big Horn was the best-known defeat inflicted by the Native American tribes upon the American army for almost a century. A force of 200 experienced cavalrymen was killed by the Native Americans. Custer unit was annihilated by the Lakota Sioux and their allies the Cheyenne. Among the unit of some 200 men that were killed by the Lakota Sioux and Cheyenne on a hot day on June 25, 1876, were some members of Custer’s family. In total four members of the extended Custer family, was to die in the battle. These included his eighteen-year-old nephew Henry Reed, the son of his sister. His brother-in-law was also killed. During the battle, his two younger brothers were also killed. One of whom, Thomas had won the medal of honor twice in the American Civil War.