George Armstrong Custer

Status
Closed
Aug 2010
537
St. Louis
What are your thoughts on the late American general? Was he a hero for how he served country in the Civil War? Or was he a bigoted, homicidal, evil man for how he treated the American Indians distastefully (raped their women, etc.)? Regardless of whether he was a hero or a villain, one thing is certain, he was arrogant and stupid for refusing reinforcements and Gatling guns and attacking over 7000 Indian warriors with just a few hundred troops, especially since his troops were (at close range) outgunned (but at long range his troopers had the advantage).
 

Salah

Forum Staff
Oct 2009
23,284
Maryland
Dashing, courageous, pompous, arrogant, and foolish. Where his treatment of the Indians is concerned, he was a typical product of his day.
 

Salah

Forum Staff
Oct 2009
23,284
Maryland
That doesn't make it "OK" though.
Certainly not. It only means he shouldn't be judged harsher than the countles other military men of his day who murdered, raped, and otherwise mistreated Indians. Custer wasn't the worst of the scumbugs in this arena - that honor goes to Chivington, author of the massacre at Sand Creek.
 

NewModelSoldier

Ad Honorem
Oct 2009
5,021
Vancouver
He wasn't stupid for refusing gatling guns. Following Indians on homeground with their swift ponies was incredibly difficult, especially with the federal regulated horses which tended to be bigger but not as quick. Speed was the key to catch the Indians.

As a product of his times, while he certainly engaged his government's enemies, he was not cruel and understood the frustration of the reservation Indians who were by and large ignored and cheated by the Indian Agency (several of his scouts knew the reservation life).

Yes, he was certainly brash, arrogant and bold (but hey, what cavalryman worth their salt isn't?), but I think he deserves a bit of a reputation makeover.

Reno is still a character out of the whole situation who even after serious study comes under fire, perhaps even more so. He was blind drunk for most of the engagement with the Indians, hampering his own men and not aiding Custer.
 
Aug 2010
537
St. Louis
He wasn't stupid for refusing gatling guns. Following Indians on homeground with their swift ponies was incredibly difficult, especially with the federal regulated horses which tended to be bigger but not as quick. Speed was the key to catch the Indians.

As a product of his times, while he certainly engaged his government's enemies, he was not cruel and understood the frustration of the reservation Indians who were by and large ignored and cheated by the Indian Agency (several of his scouts knew the reservation life).

Yes, he was certainly brash, arrogant and bold (but hey, what cavalryman worth their salt isn't?), but I think he deserves a bit of a reputation makeover.

Reno is still a character out of the whole situation who even after serious study comes under fire, perhaps even more so. He was blind drunk for most of the engagement with the Indians, hampering his own men and not aiding Custer.

The history books claim that Reno tried his best to catch up to Custer and save him...
 

tjadams

Ad Honoris
Mar 2009
25,362
Texas
Dashing, courageous, pompous, arrogant, and foolish. Where his treatment of the Indians is concerned, he was a typical product of his day.
That's about how I would label him too. This is no positive indictment about his actions towards American-Indians, we all know he was a product of his times. The US Army saw a chance, along with his wife's lifelong dedication, to make a defeat into a win for Custer as a hero. Its nice and tidy that way.
 

NewModelSoldier

Ad Honorem
Oct 2009
5,021
Vancouver
The history books claim that Reno tried his best to catch up to Custer and save him...
All of them in the world have said this? Because all that I have read, with the many eyewitnesses available from the engagement, say he was drunk as a skunk. His alcoholism affected his postwar career as well and eventually led to his dismissal, along with a charge of cowardice I believe.
 

HistoryFreak1912

Ad Honorem
Apr 2009
4,428
Alabama, USA
I remember making a topic like this so long ago, but then it derailed when a troll invaded and wouldn't leave.

The pointers I discovered was that one cannot judge him with knowlege he (or anyone else in the 1870s) would have no way of obtaining.

Custer, after the Civil War, may have been suffering from a mild case of PTSD. He (being the type who wants to have glory) may have planned to get killed all along.

I used to hate him, but now I find him somewhat intriguing.
 

tjadams

Ad Honoris
Mar 2009
25,362
Texas
Good points History F.
Some people thrive on the battle and adrenaline from combat, planning combat or just the whole military life style. Take away the personal glory that combat can dole out and that person has to seek it somewhere.
 
Status
Closed