George Armstrong Custer -- Hero or Nut-job?

unclefred

Ad Honorem
Dec 2010
6,729
Oregon coastal mountains
#61
Sigh. Despite your pleas that 'it has to be this way', you are repeating and relying on old, discredited theories, or better said theories with no evidence in support. In the last few years, modern battlefield analysis of the evidence has changed some of the long held opinions, thanks to the big fire that revealed the new evidence-bodily remains, cartridges etc.

Some of the nitty gritty about what Custer may have encountered as he went down to ford the river, and then instead moved along it toward another ford, and why he then split off some of his troops, is fascinating. It relies on actual science, not an uncorroborated Indian looking for notoriety years after the events.
 
Last edited:
Oct 2009
3,337
San Diego
#62
Sigh. Despite your pleas that 'it has to be this way', you are repeating and relying on old, discredited theories, or better said theories with no evidence in support. In the last few years, modern battlefield analysis of the evidence has changed some of the long held opinions, thanks to the big fire that revealed the new evidence-bodily remains, cartridges etc.

Some of the nitty gritty about what Custer may have encountered as he went down to ford the river, and then instead moved along it toward another ford, and why he then split off some of his troops, is fascinating. It relies on actual science, not an uncorroborated Indian looking for notoriety years after the events.
Yeah, Sure- you only have to completely dismiss ALL the eye witness reportage of folks who happened to be native americans to believe that.

Sorry- I will credit the actual eyewitnesses and the findings of TERRY'S investigators who put their actual FINGERS in the hoof prints that were still fresh and visible on the ground. The men who actually FOUND the bodies with the wounds still oozing.
I am familiar with the 'recent' findings, and actually NONE of them disagree with my narrative.

Custer's column turned back at the river - there is Still no evidence at the river crossing of any serious opposition and every subsequent movement was entirely out of character with Custer's demonstrated actions in prior engagements.
 

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
6,650
#63
I son't see him as a nut job, but neither do I see him as a hero.

He was vain, overconfident, and arrogant. His dismissive attitude toward Native Americans was his downfall. He was more interested in making a name for himself than sound military tactics. The disaster was entirely of his own making.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
2,838
Sydney
#64
the attitude toward indians was widespread among soldiers from the East ,
Sheridan is a case in point
old Westerners had sometimes a finer understanding of their motivations
While it's but a novel , I recommend " Flashman and the redskins " by Mc donald Fraser
the rip roaring tales of the duplicitous coward Flashman is beside women and treasons , placed in a thoroughly accurate context rich in research
 
Oct 2009
3,337
San Diego
#65
the attitude toward indians was widespread among soldiers from the East ,
Sheridan is a case in point
old Westerners had sometimes a finer understanding of their motivations
While it's but a novel , I recommend " Flashman and the redskins " by Mc donald Fraser
the rip roaring tales of the duplicitous coward Flashman is beside women and treasons , placed in a thoroughly accurate context rich in research

Actually- if you read the accounts of the men themselves- you find that MOST soldiers in the west had sympathy and respect for the natives. Most of them did not entirely agree with the way the Government treated them.
I recommend On the Border With Crook. Written BY Crooks adjutant in the indian wars... you will get a real sense of what it was to be a soldier in the west, and lots of actual tales of interactions with natives that are not embellished with tropes for dramatic effect.
 
Likes: unclefred

Fiver

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
3,639
#66
The idea that Custer was shot at the river crossing is an old canard that I'm surprised is still repeated.


Gregory Michno-

Ten Myths of the Little Bighorn | HistoryNet
It amazes me that anyone believes White Cow Bull, who claims to have been everywhere and done everything -
* killed Custer by the river with a repeating rifle
* was heavily involved in fighting both groups that Custer's immediate command split into, firing every bullet he had
* saw the soldier who almost got away ,shoot himself. (Which is impossible if the last point was true)
* was the warrior who the women stopped from cutting off Custer's trigger finger
* was the warrior, using a buffalo skull as a rest, shot Charles Windolph's companion and nearly killed Windolph. (Which requires White Cow Bull to have acquired a buffalo rifle and plenty of ammunition instead or reloads for his repeating rifle)
* shot off Benteen's boot heel

And White Cow Bull made none of these claims until 1938, 62 years after the battle.
 

unclefred

Ad Honorem
Dec 2010
6,729
Oregon coastal mountains
#67
It amazes me that anyone believes White Cow Bull, who claims to have been everywhere and done everything -
* killed Custer by the river with a repeating rifle
* was heavily involved in fighting both groups that Custer's immediate command split into, firing every bullet he had
* saw the soldier who almost got away ,shoot himself. (Which is impossible if the last point was true)
* was the warrior who the women stopped from cutting off Custer's trigger finger
* was the warrior, using a buffalo skull as a rest, shot Charles Windolph's companion and nearly killed Windolph. (Which requires White Cow Bull to have acquired a buffalo rifle and plenty of ammunition instead or reloads for his repeating rifle)
* shot off Benteen's boot heel

And White Cow Bull made none of these claims until 1938, 62 years after the battle.
All excellent points. I can understand someone entertaining the possibility of Custer shot at the river, but there is no support for it except that nonsense. :D
 
Sep 2018
37
America
#69
Custer was a very capable soldier soldier during the Southern Rebellion but less successful on the Plains (obviously). Under his leadership (though the formal commander of the 7th on paper, Sam Sturgis, didn’t actually command the 7th until after Custer’s death) the 7th was clique ridden with many resentful officers and was also evidently not very well disciplined and Custer himself lacked discipline. These faults helped lead to the defeat at the Little Big Horn; that the 7th was not capable of carrying out Custer’s plan was Custer’s fault. I think Ranald Mackenzie, who had a firm grip on his regiment, the 4th Cavalry, could’ve won in the same situation. But Custer wasn’t crazy or anything like that.

Mackenzie would not have made the attack that Custer did. Mackenzie was methodical and cautious, and left nothing to chance. You are correct in that he forced a much greater degree of discipline on his men that Custer. The 4th Cavalry hated Mackenzie, until they saw the results he was capable of getting.
 

Baltis

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
3,995
Texas
#70
Custer was a very capable soldier soldier during the Southern Rebellion but less successful on the Plains (obviously). Under his leadership (though the formal commander of the 7th on paper, Sam Sturgis, didn’t actually command the 7th until after Custer’s death) the 7th was clique ridden with many resentful officers and was also evidently not very well disciplined and Custer himself lacked discipline. These faults helped lead to the defeat at the Little Big Horn; that the 7th was not capable of carrying out Custer’s plan was Custer’s fault. I think Ranald Mackenzie, who had a firm grip on his regiment, the 4th Cavalry, could’ve won in the same situation. But Custer wasn’t crazy or anything like that.

Mackenzie would not have made the attack that Custer did. Mackenzie was methodical and cautious, and left nothing to chance. You are correct in that he forced a much greater degree of discipline on his men that Custer. The 4th Cavalry hated Mackenzie, until they saw the results he was capable of getting.
I totally agree about Mackenzie. He was not guilty of unnecessary risks in the quest for glory. Also correct that he ended up gaining the respect of almost everyone he commanded. I just finished some research and lectures on the Red River War where Mackenzie was a major player. Impressive fellow that would likely have gone quite far if not for the mental illness that came on later.
 

Similar History Discussions