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General George Armstrong Custer

[1] Although better known for his Indian fighting, George Armstrong Custer (Born December 5, 1839 in New Rumley, OH) compiled a creditable record as a cavalry leader in the latter part of the Civil War. The 1966th graduate of West Point, Custer, 34th out of 34, the bottom of his (1861) class, was commissioned a second lieutenant in the old 2nd Cavalry, later the 5th, on June 24, 1861.

[2] His Civil War assignments included: first lieutenant, 5th Cavalry (July 17, 1862); captain and additional aide-de-camp to Gen. George McClellan, USA (June 5, 1862 - March 31, 1863); appointed brigadier general on request of General Alfred Pleasanton, USV (June 29, 1863); commanding 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac (June 28 - July 15 and August 4 - November 25, 1863 and December 20, 1863 - January 7, 1864); temporarily commanding the division (July 15 - August 4 and November 25 - December 20, 1863); commanding 1st Brigade, 1st Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac (March 25 - August 6, 1864) and Army of the Shenandoah (August 6 -September 26, 1864); temporarily commanding 2nd Cavalry Division, Army of West Virginia serving with the Army of the Shenandoah (September 26-30, 1864); commanding 3rd Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Shenandoah (September 30, 1864 - January 5, 1865 and January 30 - March 25, 1865) and Army of the Potomac (March 25 - May 22, 1865); and major general, USV (April 15, 1865).

[3] While on leave he married Elizabeth Clift Bacon on February 9, 1864, in Monroe, Michigan. Elizabeth (April 3, 1842-April 14, 1933, in New York City) was the daughter of Judge Daniel Stanton Bacon and Eleanor Sophia Page Bacon.

[4] Serving during the first two Civil War years on the staffs of Generals McClellan and Pleasanton, Custer saw action in the Peninsular, Antietam, and Chancellorsville campaigns. Given his own star, he was assigned command of the Michigan cavalry brigade and, with it, took part in the Gettysburg, Bristoe, and Mine Run campaigns.

[5] At Gettysburg he remained with General Gregg east of town to face JEB Stuart's threat to the Union rear, although he was previously ordered to the south. The combined Union force defeated Stuart.

[6] In Grant's Richmond drive in 1864, Custer participated in the fight at Yellow Tavern, where Stuart was mortally wounded.

[7] Transferred to the Shenandoah Valley with his men, he played a major role in the defeat of Early's army at Winchester and Cedar Creek, commanding a division at the latter.

[8] Returning to the Army of the Potomac in early 1865, he fought at Five Forks and in the Appomattox Campaign. His victories against the rebel cavalry came at a time when that force was a ghost of its former self. Custer was brevetted in the regulars through grades to major general for Gettysburg, Yellow Tavern, Winchester, Five Forks, and the Appomattox campaigns. In addition, he was brevetted major general of volunteers for Winchester.

[9] Remaining in the army after the war, in 1866 he was appointed Lt. Col. of the newly authorized 7th Cavalry, remaining its active commander until his death. He took part in the 1867 Sioux and Cheyenne expeditions but was court-martialed and suspended from duty one year for paying an unauthorized visit to his wife. He commanded Fort Abraham Lincoln to June 20, 1874, and the Black Hills expedition to August 30, 1874. He was a witness before the Clymer Committee, House of Representatives, to May 11, 1876, where he testified in opposition to corrupt action between fort commanders and subtlers. He rejoined his regiment on May 17 at Fort Lincoln and was in the field from then on for the Sioux campaign from May 17. His army career ended June 25, 1876, at the battle of Little Big Horn, which resulted in the extermination of his immediate command and a total loss of some 266 officers and men. On June 28th, the bodies were given a hasty burial on the field. The following year, what may have been Custer's remains, were disinterred and given a military funeral at West Point (Monaghan, Jay, Custer: The Life of George Armstrong Custer)

Print Resources

Brown, Dee, et al.; Either, Eric, interviewer. "Custer: How Today's Historians Rate Him." American History 32.5 (1997): 22-28.
More than a century after his death, George Armstrong Custer continues to incite debate.  Every facet of Custer's life continues to be analyzed constantly.  From his efforts in American wars against Indians in hopes of establishing western expansion, to his role in the pivotal battle at Washita, to his legendary death, Custer has been a stable figure in American culture.  This debate is continued by 13 historians who, in a series of interviews, analyze his final campaign and his death, at the hands of Sioux and Cheyenne Indians, at the battle of Little Bighorn in 1876.
Brown, Eulalie. "Sitting Bull's Version of Little Bighorn." American History Illustrated 1.5 (1966): 27-31.
There is a side to the Custer debate that is not in any history books of consequence. Who is Sitting Bull? Learn who Sitting Bull is in a one-on-one account. Told to a correspondent of the New York Herald a year after the battle took place, this interview is first-hand knowledge of the Battle at Bighorn from a war chief's perspective. Hear the tale of this Sioux chief whose leadership was instrumental to the Native American plight. Sitting Bull was in the village when Custer's force attacked, but because of his peaceful nature, he took no part in the final destruction. Share with Sitting Bull the knowledge he possesses, passed to him from generations. 2-page color painting of "Custer's Last Fight" by Gayle P. Hoskins, plains life discussed, Indian reaction to western movement, the role of a Sioux chief, and more. Know Sitting Bull.
Cullens, J. "Custer's Last Stand." Army Quarterly and Defense Journal [Great Britain] 90.1 (1965): 104-9.
Describes the Battle of Little Bighorn and the subsequent skirmishes with the Indians.  Important to note is Cullen's particularly detailed attention to battle strategy.  This article intricately describes the countless battles General Custer was involved in from a military perspective.  In addition to a military perspective, other points of view are discussed.  Cullen shifts the focus toward Custer and his effect on the history of America.  No other single event in American history has captured public imagination more completely.  Custer has shaped culture in a profound way.  Cullen relates Little Bighorn to a number of other military conquests.  The author states, "[Bighorn] is rather like the charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava in that both were exercises in military futility which led to disaster and a place in history."  Custer's place in history is examined and its effect explored.
Curtin, Patricia A. "From Pity To Necessity: How National Events Shaped Coverage Of The Plains Indian War." American Journalism 12.1 (1995): 3-21.
Discusses how the New York press covered the Indian wars through an analysis of their coverage of the Southern Cheyenne from 1864 to mid-1869. With the Civil War consuming the country's attention, the papers paid little notice to the 1864 Sand Creek massacre of Black Kettle's band of Southern Cheyenne, even when it became a subject of congressional investigation. With the war over, the American public found in the frontier a common endeavor and a chance to demonstrate the manifest destiny of a united people, and in Indian fighters they found heroes to embody the spirit of conquest. George Armstrong Custer's troops attacked Southern Cheyenne under the leadership of Black Kettle in 1868 at Washita, but despite the similarities to the 1864 massacre, the press, reflecting the mood of the country, deemed the attack a battle, not a massacre. The killings at Washita were depicted as a necessary action against Indian resistance to American expansion.
Custer, George A. My Life on the Plains. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 1962.
A masterful introduction by Edgar I. Stewart, "Custer's Luck," which investigates the relationship with Black troops (9th and 10th regiments), Custer's closeness to Sheridan, his Civil War accomplishments, and winter spent at Ft. Leavenworth. Maps of the central Great Plains, showing military posts and Custer's routes during the 1868-1869 Winter Campaign are included. Indian life is examined in detail from Custer's perspective. The General gives his take on the United States response to the Indian "problem." Tribes discussed are Kiowas, Cheyennes, and Arapahoes. Custer examines the treatment of the Indians as they were forced onto reservations by the government. The controversy of the Kiowas at Ft. Cobb is looked into, as some factions of the tribe participated in battle at Washita, and fled. Custer gives his response -— hunt them down! Custer follows his troop movements down the route of the Northern Pacific Railroad, as he protected the area from Indian attack. Also included is Custer's personal experience with Indians as he moved across the Plains. Pompey's Pillar, the most famous landmark on that famous stream on the trail across the plains is viewed through photographs and illustrations. The Plains as "Great American Desert" is explored. Many individuals intricate in the life Of General George Armstrong Custer are examined. Lives of the individuals involved in Custer's Troop are investigated. The soldiers involved in the battle at Washita, as well as Custer's troops included in the Indian Wars are discussed. Find out who the real California Joe is!! Also included are maps, illustrations, military correspondence, correspondence with Indians, Custer's military strategy, and personal experience surrounding Indians during the years living on the Plains.
Dippie, Brian W. " 'The Thrillin'est Fight Ever!' Sheridan Re-enacts Custer's Last Stand." Annals of Wyoming 54.2 (1982): 2-9.
Efforts to reenact George Armstrong Custer's legendary "Last Stand" received considerable support from citizens of Montana and Wyoming beginning in the 1890's.  Dippie, a renowned Custer expert, analyzes the effect the Custer myth had on town commerce.  Town boosters in Billings and Sheridan especially promoted the idea as a way of drawing tourist dollars into their economies.  Many people viewed reenactments of the Bighorn battle, and this had a significant effect on tourism and consequently the economy of various places.  The Northern Pacific and Burlington railroads joined the endeavor and transported eager viewers to several of the reenactments between 1891 and 1927.  Yet the greatest of these performances occurred in 1902 at Sheridan, Wyoming, in which elements of the Wyoming National Guard were pitted against members of the Crow tribe.  This great public performance is examined in detail, as a crowd estimated as high as 10,000 people and a horde of photographers turned the occasion into an economic success.
Dippie, Brian W. Custer's Last Stand: The Anatomy of an American Myth. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1994.
This amazing collection of letters, pictures, artwork, military correspondence, items of popular culture, and personal diary entries, creates and explains the Custer legend as it exists and has progressed throughout history. Not only does this book answer the question "Why?" but also raises questions of its own. Dippie examines the myth and history of the "Last Stand" and its progression over time through the eyes and words and works of poets, artists, novelists, film, stage re-enactment, and reactions of Americans and creation of culture. Dippie measures the Custer myth to the chivalric afterglow and heroic stance of Custer as an enduring figure of American pride. The Custerphiles bible for understanding the myth.
Donovan, James. A Terrible Glory: Custer and the Little Bighorn--the Last Great Battle of the American West. New York: Little, Brown, 2008.
This book is filled with authentic historical detail presented in a narrative style that both educates and entertains the reader. It combines primary sources (some that are little known, even to historians), in addition to forensic research from the last twenty-five years that has provided some insight into some of the unanswered questions surrounding Custer's Last Stand at Little Bighorn. Includes a "careful sifting" of various historical and personal accounts, an in-depth presentation of the movements of Custer, his troops, and the various Indian tribes leading up to the battle; and photos of the key players involved in these events. Additionally, it is well-organized by topic; including a post Little Bighorn section that examines the events following this mythic battle—something not always found in many of these historical narratives.
Gray, John S. "Custer Throws a Boomerang." Montana 11. 2 (1961): 2-12.
Several years before the Custer "massacre" of 1876, the general took a leading part in the feud between the Army and the Interior Department over Indian policy for the tribes along the upper Missouri River. It is contended here that Custer, then in charge at Fort Abraham Lincoln (Bismarck, North Dakota), in an effort to discredit the Indian Agent Edmund Palmer, trespassed upon the latter jurisdiction and arrested the influential chief Rain-in-the-Face for an alleged murder. In an exchange of complaints to Washington, Palmer seems to have had the better of the argument. Custer soon met a greater retribution, when the chief escaped and helped to organize the Indian forces that overwhelmed the general in the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Based on correspondence of Custer and Palmer to their respectable superiors, and related official records.
Hofling, Charles K., MD. Custer and The Little Bighorn: A Psychobiographical Inquiry. Detroit: Wayne State UP, 1981.
This book focuses on George Armstrong Custer the individual.  Yes, he was a brash and flamboyant leader.  This scientific work by Hofling delves in to the mind of Custer and asks the question, "why"?  In a detailed analysis of Custer's personality, Hofling answers that question in many regards.  Topics discussed range from Custer's early years, the Civil War years, the Plains years, to how domestic life and marriage treated the man, Custer.  Hofling answers questions raised by Custer's irrational behavior and provides as well an in-depth look at how Custer the man works.  Illustrations are provided as well as maps of the Yellowstone/ Missouri river areas and the area of the 7th Cavalry's campaign against the plains Indians.  Also a detailed account of the battle of Little Bighorn, from the preliminary approach, early phases of fighting, and the terrible end to Custer's life, as well as general battle strategies in this colossal blunder.
Hutton, Paul Andrew, ed. The Custer Reader. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1992.
This extensive collection of various authors' works regarding Custer's life and his mythical presentation throughout history is a must read for any serious Custer buff.  This is the George Armstrong Custer "Bible."  Included are the many phases of Custer's life: the Civil War years, his years as a cadet at West Point, and his rise as a prominent public figure in the military to the immortal "Last Stand" at Bighorn (1876).  The book also examines the Custer myth.  Presented are accounts of Custer's changing image as a western hero in popular culture.  A pictorial record of the old west and Hollywood's portrayal of Custer as a martyred hero are also included.  Present are actual accounts from survivors of the battle.  Kate Bighead discusses her involvement and perspective of the battle as a surviving eye-witness.  Also discussed is Custer as an Indian fighter with the 7th regiment, some reminiscences through letters as a young cavalry officer, and Custer's growth as a prominent American hero.
McMurtry, Larry. Custer. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2012.
A history of Custer the man as well as the Battle of Little Bighorn, including overviews of his personal life and history; a brief historical context for Little Bighorn and the Indian battles that preceded it; and an overview of what is known about the battle including the unanswered questions that still remain. Though based in history, this is still a somewhat less formal and more opinionated account of these events. This book also includes pictures, maps, photos, and artwork related to Custer's life and final battle.
Michno, Gregory F. " 'How Big Was That Village?': Custer Loses In A Fair Fight." Journal of the West 35.1 (1996): 59-69.
This article is an in-depth examination of the battle on the Little Bighorn that happened on June 25, 1876. That day the Indians overwhelmed the US 7th Cavalry's attempt to seize an Indian village in Montana. Supposedly, according to this author, Custer commanded his army in a deliberate attempt to overtake this village. Michno has an opinion on Custer's tactics as well as his mental processes that is different than the majority of historians today. He believes that Custer was calculated in his actions —- that he knew the exact size of the Indian forces -— and he deliberately attacked, hoping the Indians would scatter like timid creatures. As we all know, this did not happen. Michno believes that Custer accurately calculated the strength of his opponents and reasonably decided that his attack would succeed. Where Custer erred, Michno believes, is in not taking into account the Indians' knowledge of the terrain and by making the error of assuming a flea response from the natives.
Reichley, John A. "The Unknown Custer." Military Review 64.5 (1984): 72-75.
Everyone knows about General Custer, but to understand him it is essential to understand his family. There is no other family member more significant in understanding George Armstrong Custer than his brother Thomas. Thomas Ward Custer followed his elder and more famous brother into military service. That is not the only regard Thomas followed his brother in. Custer lead his brother in many respects. Eventually George Custer would lead his brother to death. This work examines the life and times of the "unknown Custer." Thomas Custer, like his brother, was quite capable in military service. He was commissioned a lieutenant of cavalry at age 19 and in 1863 earned a Medal of Honor by capturing a Confederate battle flag. In 1865 he captured yet another Confederate standard and was awarded another Medal of Honor. The accomplishments of Thomas Custer have previously gone unnoticed, but this book brings to life the Custer spirit. In 1876 he died with his brother while fighting Indians at Little Bighorn. In order to understand George Armstrong Custer completely, Thomas Ward Custer must be brought back to life.
Sandoz, Mari. Crazy Horse: The Strange Man of the Oglalas. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1961.
This selection includes discussion of the exciting childhood years of Crazy Horse, as he learned his path along the holy road. Also discussed are early frontier movements, soldier advancement, and what kind of effect this had on the life and culture of Native Americans. Matters of the Great Teton Council are investigated, and their effect on the Indian situation explored. Crazy Horse is examined as a Warrior. As we learned from his meager childhood, he blossomed into a leader and a courageous fighter. Native American life prospered around him, as he emerged as leader of the Sioux, dealing with problems around the "White Lakes" area, native acculturation, and advancing relationship with the white settlers. Crazy Horse was a man of the people. His personal life is investigated in detail. Topics discussed: marriage, relationship with tribes-people, death of those close to him, and his growing family worth. The later years of Crazy Horse's life are included as well. Throughout his life and in death, myth was created. Victory at Little Bighorn brought him national fame and solidified his image as a powerful Native American soldier. The effects of Westward advancement of Americans, reaction to life on reservations, and The Great Encampment are topics also discussed.
Scott, Douglas D., P. Willey, and Melissa A. Connor. They Died With Custer: Soldiers' Bones From The Battle Of The Little Bighorn. Oklahoma: U of Oklahoma P, 1998.
Individual bones from the battlefield as well as entire skeletons are identified through a series of detailed photographs accompanied by scientific commentary about the time of death, how the individual died, and past medical condition. This extensive archeological journal provides a medical perspective on the treatment of the soldiers and Indians who died at the battle of Little Bighorn. Special attention is given to the burials and reburials of the bodies. Included is a detailed account of the brutal mutilation that occurred to the soldiers' bodies after death. Also mentioned is the angered nation's reaction to this incident. Accompanying the gruesome is actual accounts of regimental history of the 7th cavalry and general regimental structure of 1876, as well as a over-view of frontier life as it related to these soldiers (commonality of disease, dental health, horseback-riding, and rampant tobacco use). Personal identification of bodies is discussed extensively, with such names as Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer, his brother Captain Thomas Custer, Lt. Algernon Smith, and Kansas hunter Ralph Morrison (who was scalped, killed, and left to rot at Little Bighorn in 1868).
Scott, Douglas D., Peter Bleed, Andrew E. Masich, and Jason Pitch. "An Inscribed Native American Battle Image From The Little Bighorn Battlefield." Plains Anthropologist 42.161 (1997): 287-302.
A brass artifact found in the Hunkpapa campsite that was attacked by Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer on 25 June 1876 is engraved with images of soldiers and American Indians. What significance does this artifact have? Historians debate the purpose of the battle image depicted. The battle image was scratch-engraved on this unique medium in a pre-reservation Biography style reminiscent of rock art and robe art of the same era. Actual depiction on the rock is still under question, though many experts believe the battle image pertained to Custer's "Last Stand" at Little Bighorn. This article describes the artifact and presents preliminary interpretations. The artifact is a unique source of history, wrought with cultural significance, and tribal power.
Shoemaker, John O. "The Custer Court- Martial." Military Review 51.10 (1971): 36-47.
Discusses the circumstances which led up to the court martial of Lieutenant-Colonel George Armstrong Custer at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, during September and October of 1867. Argues that the charges preferred against Custer -— that he had absented himself from his command at Fort Wallace without proper authority; that he required his men to march at an unreasonable pace when both men and mounts were exhausted from a campaign on the Platte; that he took no action to rescue stragglers from his march when they were attacked by Indians; and that he ordered a group of deserters brought back "dead or alive" in the face of new military regulations prohibiting such punishment -— were circumstances or proof of their falsity. Concludes that Custer's later actions at the Little Bighorn were an attempt to compensate for an image tarnished by this trial.
Sklenar, Larry. To Hell with Honor: Custer and the Little Bighorn. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 2000.
Sklenar presents an analysis of the Battle of Little Bighorn, including a detailed examination of the underlying facts and historical perceptions that surround it. It offers a comprehensive reconstruction of events that offers both historical context and an insight into George Armstrong Custer and his background, motivations, and role in the famous battle. Deeply researched and studied, Sklenar's account is an impressive historical overview that offers a fresh perspective on past analyses of Custer's Last Stand.
Stewart, Edgar I. "Which Indian Killed Custer?" Montana 8.3 (1958): 26-32.
Constant debate wanes between experts on the exact identity of the Indian who killed Custer. Learn the extent to the impact this issue has on popular culture. In this debate, many suggestions are made. Various authorities have different opinions on the matter, which is cause for the heated squabble discussed within. Who killed Custer? Was it a war chief? And if so, was it Crazy Horse? Did he die at the hands of one of his own men? Stuart examines the most recently published theories and evidence of the time on this phase of the Custer controversy. Mystery surrounds every reachable conclusion, as historians fight to bring a closure to the details of his immortal death. There is little chance that conclusive proof will ever appear on these questions that have been disputed since the event in 1876, but this work includes every hope of conclusive proof. Get involved in the scandal.
Stewart, Edgar I. Custer's Luck. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 1955.
This book examines with great vigor the creation of the Custer myth. Custer was lucky from birth and had a penchant for warfare. As he grew to a cadet, then a brigadier general, and finally the Indian Fighter we know today, he became an American icon. This work examines Custer's rise to fame and immortality that has been forever deemed a result of "Custer's Luck." Topics include: Preliminaries of Conflict with Indian Forces, Gathering Storm of Advancing American Forces—The Montana Column, Impeachment at Belknap, Guarding of the Yellowstone, The Wandering of the Tribes, Indian Wars, Following the Indian Trail, Gibbon's March, The Last Stand, and How the Indians Defeat Affected America. Various Maps, and Illustrations included: Ft. Abraham Lincoln, Custer and other military dignitaries, War Chiefs—Sitting Bull and Two Moon, The Reno Battalion, "Custer's Last Fight" by WR Leigh, Graves of Unknown Soldiers and the ridge where Bighorn battle occurred, and a pictorial interpretation of present-day Custer Battlefield National Monument.
Utley, Robert M. "Custer: Hero Or Butcher?" American History Illustrated 5.10 (1971): 4-9, 43-48.
Summarizes the image of Major General George Armstrong Custer with a focus on his career as an Indian fighter from 1867 to June 1876. Historians have had as much difficulty in judging Custer's character as his contemporaries did. Custer is complex. His contemporaries called him "stubborn," "arrogant," and "selfish." Either Custerphobe or Custerphile, Custer is a character. Discusses issues by decade and how they relate to the image of Custer. Timely emphasis on Red History and the Vietnam War transformed the image of an Indian-fighting cavalryman. Why does George Armstrong Custer have an image in American culture? Other field commanders deserved equal or greater recognition, but they lacked the distinctive personal style that captures popular fancy -— and an autobiography, and wife-biographer. Yet Custer's attitudes that Indians should be civilized under Army guidance, combined with his admiration for many Indian customs as well as their physical proficiencies, were contradictions shared by most frontier commanders.
Utley, Robert M. Custer Battlefield. Washington: Office of Publications, National Park Service, US Dept. of the Interior, 1969.
A military-specific account of the campaign of 1876 (Battle of Little Bighorn). Included and discussed in detail are the strategies of either side of the battle: Custer and his troops and Crazy Horse and the Indians. Utley gets inside the head of the war chiefs who controlled the course of this battle and explains how such a massacre occurred by showing the sequence of troop movements. Also, Utley analyzes the military campaign from Custer and his comrade's point of view as the troops marched onward toward their destiny with death. Contained are detailed accounts of strategies through various photographic explanations and easy to follow outlines. Also included are eye-witness accounts of the events of Custer's "Last Stand." Maps of the territory as it was in 1876, and how it remains today, as well as pictures of the campaign as it happened. Focus is given to Custer's annihilation, how Reno was besieged, how the rescue occurred, and the eventual collapse of the Sioux.
Utley, Robert M. Custer and Me: A Historian's Memoir. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 2004.
This memoir discusses the famed Custer historian's relationship with Custer for over sixty years, sometimes "dominating his life" and, at other times, "prowling in the shadows." It includes the author's personal reflections and memories about how he was introduced to Custer, namely through the film They Died with Their Boots On. However, this should not only be viewed as a memoir; it should also be considered a personal exploration by the author of his own life in the larger context of investigating how the myth and legend of Custer has dominated the American consciousness—and his own consciousness as well. Overall, it is not only an autobiography of the famed "narrative historian" but also an insight into how the Custer narrative still pervades American culture and history.
Utley, Robert M. Custer and the Great Controversy: The Origin and Development of a Legend. Los Angeles: Westernlore Press, 1962.
An expansion of Custer historian Utley's masters thesis, this book is a detailed historical account of Little Bighorn, and how the legend of Custer emerged from this history to become the enduring American myth at the center of the Last Stand. The battle itself is also steeped in legend, and Utley provides background, press reports, Indian accounts, and the post Little Bighorn "Great Debate" over Custer's role and the reasons for the battle's failure to lay a foundation for the changing perceptions of the Custer myth. The book also includes a useful bibliographical survey that provides a valuable list of sources to one who wishes to further study this moment in history.

Video/Audio Resources

George Armstrong Custer: America's Golden Cavalier.
He came to fame as the youngest general in the Union Army, leading a pivotal charge at Gettysburg. He earned a place in history for his ill-fated command at the battle of the Little Big Horn. George Armstrong Custer is one of America's truly mythic figures a compelling figure whose name is synonymous with defeat, yet whose life was marked by towering accomplishments. BIOGRAPHY unravels the truth from the legend in this compelling portrait. Excerpts from Custer's journals and letters tell of his remarkable rise through the ranks of the Union Army during the Civil War, and his re-invention as an Indian fighter afterwards. Leading scholars explore his critical relationship with his wife and reveal how she helped turn her husband into an American legend after his death. And period accounts and artifacts help bring the historic "Last stand" to life.
George Custer: Showdown at Little Big Horn.
He was rushed into action in the Civil War after graduating last in his class at West Point. He earned a permanent place in American folklore at the battle of the Little Big Horn. George Custer was never destined for greatness. That he achieved immortality is testament to his own bad luck and judgment more than anything else. This film is a revealing examination on the ill-fated life of this notorious commander. Trace his exploits in the Civil War, where he became a brigadier general at the age of 23, fighting at Gettysburg and Bull Run. Discover how he petitioned for permission to fight for Mexico, and follow him west where he enjoyed a moderately successful career as an Indian fighter. Finally, a point-by-point examination of the battle of Little Big Horn reveals how Custer led 264 men to death and secured a unique place in American history. Through rare photos, dramatic re-enactments and the commentary of leading historians, BIOGRAPHY explores the tragic life of George Custer.
Last Stand at Little Bighorn. Produced and directed by Paul Stekler; written by James Welch and Paul Stekler. (American Experience) Distributed by PBS Video, 1992.
Examines the Battle of the Little Bighorn, known as "Custer's Last Stand," from an Indian and white man's perspective.  Uses journals, oral accounts, Indian ledger drawings, archival footage, and feature films to present the dual viewpoints of this historic event.
The New Explorers: Betrayal at Little Big Horn. A&E.
A remarkable inquiry into one of the most storied incidents in American history, this film sheds new light on the battle that lives in infamy. Using modern scientific techniques and detailed analysis of the battlefield, it challenges many of the established facts about Custer's Last Stand. Journey back to Montana in 1876 to relive the legendary encounter between General George Armstrong Custer and the Sioux Chief Sitting Bull. The ebb and flow of the battle come to life through a meticulous re-enactment staged at the actual site. But some of what is presented here is new for recent discoveries suggest that textbook tales of Custer's Last Stand are flawed. This film shows how metal cartridges from Custer's force have been found in locations that change our understanding of the battle. And evidence from the official inquiry into the incident strongly suggests that Custer's defeat was not inevitable!
The Real West: Geronimo/Custer.
In volume 2 of this tape, trace the legendary tale of Custer's last stand. Was General Custer a daring tactician or an egotistical loose cannon? In this film, you'll walk right into the historic ambush at Little Big Horn.
The War for the Black Hills. (episode #3 of The Way West) Distributed by PBS Video, 1995.
Follows the dramatic sequence of events that led up to the battle of the Little Big Horn in June of 1876. Financial pressures spurred the United States to invade the Lakotas' sacred Black Hills in search of gold. That treaty violation, together with the systematic extermination of the buffalo, sparked outrage among the Lakota and Cheyenne. The stage was set for a cataclysmic showdown between the United States Army and the tribes of the Northern Plains.

Online Resources

America's West: Development and History [Archived]

The American Civil War home page [Archived]

American Indian Heritage Foundation

Archeology at the Battle of Little Bighorn [Archived]

The Court Martial of George Armstrong Custer [Archived]

Custer Battlefield Historical & Museum Association

General George A. Custer Home Page

High Spots of Custeriana A Bibliography by Tal Luther (1972).
A Bibliography by Tal Luther (1972).

Thomas Ward Custer homepage

Washita Battlefield National Historic Site