A famous U.S. soldier known for his reckless abandon in combat, particularly when it came to killing Native Americans. He was later killed by Native Americans. In retrospect, he probably should have stuck to killing Rebels.
George Armstrong Custer entered the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1859. For the next four years, he would prove himself to be one of the worst students in the history of the academy. In additon to graduating last in his class, he was recommended for expulsion every year of his studies at The Point, which pretty much cemented his reputation as the class Prankster/Asshat. Nevertheless, he was pushed through his training and graduated in June 1861. Just in time for the bloodiest four years in American history, The American Civil War. Custer was assigned to the 5th Cavalry, and eventually to the positon of Staff Officer, a rather cushy job because for most of the war, he just sat there and watched the slaughter like it was a goddamn hockey game.
Now, in June 1863, a little thing lovingly known as "Custer Luck" kicks into overdrive. New Corps commander and bestest buddy Alfred Plesonton assumes command of the Army of the Potomac's Cavlary, and guess who gets a piece of the action? George Armstrong Custer is jumped from the rank of Captain to Brigadier General, four paygrades in an instant. For doing nothing. Three days later, The Battle of Gettysburg takes place, and on the third day of battle Custer will show the signs of his later command style. With no experience in leading anything bigger than a canteen run, he charges 5,000 Rebel Cavalry with only 500 men from Michigan and promptly obliterates everything in his path. Goddamn Custer Luck.
Trusted with a Division, he leads every attack he is a part of from the front, pretty much daring God to smack him upside the head with a lead bullet. This is not the case, and he ends the Civil War with the rank of Major General dispite suffering horrendous casulties in every engagement he fought in. Yet for some unknown reason the people absolutely loved him. The man would think himself unkillable for some time to come.
"I'm fucking bulletproof"- George Armstrong Custer
*Custer Luck is something he actually said he had. I can't make this garbage up.
Reckless bravery and poor judgement are not the only things Custer is well known for. The man had a thing for uniforms. And when I say "thing", I mean damn near a fetish.
"I love the way my scarf flutters in the wind while I cave in the heads of my enemies"- George Armstrong Custer
Custer's favorite uniform was a modified General's frock coat in black velvet and a light blue sailors shirt, complete with matching hat and a bright red scarf. Now this is 1863, their choice of clothing may be a little strange to begin with, but Custer takes this to a whole new level. Many of his fellow generals believed he looked like a clown, however his subordionate officers and enlisted men absolutely fucking loved it. Officers copied his uniform and enlisted men all took to wearing red scarfs. Honestly, if you saw a picture of his brigade, you would think:
A. The circus is in town
B. This is from a playbill from some sort of backwards Wild West musical
And thats what his enemies thought of his brigade until they were smashed to a bloody pulp.
During the Indian Wars, Custer abandoned his "lovely" uniform of martial garity and managed to one up himself with this:
"I could have made this uniform out of denim if I wanted to be particularly naughty"-George Armstrong Custer
The Battle of Little Bighorn is remembered by thousands as a glorious last stand as Custer and his entire Seventh Cavalry go down in a blaze of glory fighting the savages. This version is wrong in two ways. Lets list them, shall we?
1. Custer was a poor tactician
When told that his column was approaching an Indian villiage along the Little Bighorn River, Custer decided to use a plan that worked during an 1868 battle against a Native chief named Black Kettle. He split his regiment into three batallions and made two charge the villiage while he came around with his own batallion and took the Indian's wives and children hostage. This blatent dickery earned himself a victory, but drained the last drops of "Custer Luck" he had left. This plan worked against a small villiage of about 300 tepees, but what Custer unknowingly attacked at the Little Bighorn was a villiage of 3,000. Colonel Custer could have been aware of the situation had he listened to his Arikara scouts scrambling to convey in sign language that he was "about to do something incredibly retarded". This didn't stop Ol' Yellow Hair. Custer had a regiment of about 600, and split them into three uneven groups and only attacked with two. Custer went even farther, and split his batallion in two, with two companies in each. One under Custer, who attempted to assault the villiage, and one under a Captain Yates who was tasked with holding the Sioux's attention while Custer went in for the kill. You can see where this is going, right? One batallion was forced back, one sat around and did nothing during the attack, and Custer's was whiped out to the last man after splitting into no less than two additional pieces. His glory seeking search for prisoners ended up with with his batallion being pushed back and eventually over run with no survivors. Wheres your "Custer Luck" now!?
2. Custer's senior officers were incompetent, petty, or drunk
Major Marcus Reno and Captain Frederick Benteen were Custer's immediate senior officers during the battle. Both were intrusted with a third of the entire regiment, Reno was to attack the villiage head on, while Benteen was to support Custer when he rode through the villiage and gathered the hostages. These two had to have been the worst possible choices for the assignments. Lets start with Reno.
Oh boy, where to start with this guy
Marcus Reno was a gallant officer during the Civil War, for sure. But during the Indian campaign, he paid more attention to the bottle than to the battlefield. Before and during the engagement, Reno was imbibing heavily on more than eleven gallons of whiskey he purchased before the campaign. Alchohol, instead of making him reckless and brave, made him a bit of a coward. About half way through his charge He stops, orders his men to dismount and fight on foot and promptly flees the action, leaving his men to fend for themselves and eventually retreat with him. The natives smell blood in the water and gun down many of the fleeing troopers. After the action, Reno is court martialed twice for peeping at Colonel Samuel Stirgis' daughter and dismissed in disgrace.
The only officer of the Indian Wars to look and act like my Grandmother
The 7th was utterly destroyed, suffering 50% casulties, however it will be rebuilt and fight in every major American war up until the present day. The legacy of Custer still lives on today in movies and books, each with their own interpretation of what happened. However, because the news reporter Custer hired was killed in the battle, we may never know.
However, I have come to the conclusion that although Custer was a brash, arrogant jackass who treated warfare like it was some sort of perverted game, he was a soldier and went out the way he always wanted.
What can I say? He went out in style.