Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer 1
- Born: 5 Dec 1839, New Rumley, Harrison County, Ohio, USA
- Marriage (1): Elizabeth Clift Bacon on 9 Feb 1864 in Monroe, Michigan, USA
- Died: 25 Jun 1876, Little Big Horn, Dakota Territory, USA at age 36
George Armstrong Custer (December 5, 1839 \endash June 25, 1876) was a United States Army officer and cavalry commander in the American Civil War and the Indian Wars. At the start of the Civil War, Custer was a cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point, and his class's graduation was accelerated so that they could enter the war. Custer graduated last in his class and served at the First Battle of Bull Run as a staff officer for Major General George B. McClellan in the Army of the Potomac's 1862 Peninsula Campaign. Early in the Gettysburg Campaign, Custer's association with cavalry commander Major General Alfred Pleasonton earned him promotion from First Lieutenant to Brigadier General of United States Volunteers at the age of 23.
Custer established a reputation as an aggressive cavalry brigade commander willing to take personal risks by leading his Michigan Brigade into battle, such as the mounted charges at Hunterstown and East Cavalry Field at the Battle of Gettysburg. In 1864, with the Cavalry Corps under the command of Major General Philip Sheridan, Custer led his "Wolverines", and later a division, through the Overland Campaign, including the Battle of Trevilian Station, where Custer was humiliated by having his division trains overrun and his personal baggage captured by the Confederates. Custer and Sheridan defeated the Confederate army of Lieutenant General Jubal A. Early in the Valley Campaigns of 1864. In 1865, Custer played a key role in the Appomattox Campaign, with his division blocking General Robert E. Lee's retreat on its final day.
At the end of the Civil War (April 15, 1865), Custer was promoted to Major General of United States Volunteers. In 1866, he was appointed to the Regular U.S. Army rank of Lieutenant Colonel, leading the 7th U.S. Cavalry and served in the Indian Wars. He was defeated and killed at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876, against a coalition of Native American tribes composed almost exclusively of Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho warriors, and led by the Sioux chiefs Crazy Horse and Gall and by the Hunkpapa seer and medicine man, Sitting Bull. This confrontation has come to be popularly known in American history as Custer's Last Stand.
Custer married Elizabeth Clift Bacon (1842\endash 1933) on February 9, 1864. Following the Battle of Washita River in November 1868, Custer was alleged (by Captain Frederick Benteen, chief of scouts Ben Clark, and Cheyenne oral tradition) to have had a sexual relationship during the winter and early spring of 1868-1869 with Monaseetah, daughter of the Cheyenne chief Little Rock (killed in the Washita battle). Monahsetah gave birth to a child in January 1869, two months after the Washita battle; Cheyenne oral history also alleges that she bore a second child, fathered by Custer, in late 1869.
Custer led the 7th U.S. Cavalry in an attack on the Cheyenne encampment of Black Kettle - the Battle of Washita River on November 27, 1868. Custer reported killing 103 warriors, though estimates by the Cheyenne themselves of the number of Indian casualties were substantially lower; some women and children were also killed, and 53 women and children were taken prisoner. Custer had his men shoot most of the 875 Indian ponies the troops had captured. This was regarded as the first substantial U.S. victory in the Comanche War, helping to force a significant portion of the Southern Cheyennes onto a U.S. appointed reservation.
Custer was allegedly married in an indian ceremony to Me-o-tzi, daughter of Chief Little Rock who had died in the fighting. Two children were born and Libbie later visited the camp to see for herself. She noted that the first child bore no resemblance to her husband but accepted the second child, who had fair skin and yellow streaks in his hair, as undeniably his. 2
George married Elizabeth Clift Bacon on 9 Feb 1864 in Monroe, Michigan, USA. (Elizabeth Clift Bacon was born on 8 Apr 1842 in Monroe, Michigan, USA and died on 4 Apr 1933 in New York, New York, USA.)