General George Armstrong Custer: The Greatest Failure In History

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Thomas Langley 30 January 2016 History 1302 Panola College Professor Bill Offer The Forgotten Custer Our life is defined by our accomplishments and failures. Sometimes the only thing that is remembered about a person seems to be the failures. We often hear of great Generals from Robert E. Lee to George Patton and many others that have stood out in the course of history. There is one man nonetheless that seems to hold the title of “Greatest Failure in History”. This is the case with General George Armstrong Custer. George A. Custer was born on December 5, 1839 and was raised in a large family. Like most children, Custer exuberated a lot of energy that often led to mischievous behavior. This conduct led to poor grades during his youth. At …show more content…

He was to take important plans to General McDowell who was in charge of the Battle of Bull Run. This was to be his first time on a battlefield where he and several others such as Colonel William Tecumseh Sherman, Brigadier General Thomas Jackson, and Colonel Kirby Smith would learn first-hand about war. After the Battle of Bull Run, Custer was then appointed to General Phil Kearny. He attempted to learn as much as he could from this seasoned officer. Throughout the Civil War, Custer was a valuable asset to the Union Army. Custer’s cavalry unit was instrumental in the victory at Appomattox and in appreciation General Phillip Sheridan bought the desk where the surrender of Robert E. Lee was signed and gave it to Custer. General Sheridan, prior to giving Custer the desk, wrote a letter to Custer’s wife complimenting her husband for his role in the victory. "Permit me to say, Madam," he wrote, "that there is scarcely an individual in our service who has contributed more to bring about this desirable result than your gallant …show more content…

In 1867, he led a failed attempt against the Southern Cheyenne Indians that resulted in his court martial and suspension for a year for not being present during the movement. General Phillip Sheridan, though, came to Custer’s defense and he was eventually reinstated. Custer once again made the army proud with his attack on Black Kettle’s band in 1868 at the Washita river. George was then sent to the Black Hills and participated in several battles with the Lakota Indians between 1873 and 1876. Upon discovering the valuable resource of gold in the Black Hills, the government appointed Custer, along with Generals John Gibbon and George Crook, to remove the Lakota Indians. The plan seemed to be a simple one that required the three units to converge on the Lakota Indians and deal them a definite defeat. Custer and his Seventh Calvary arrived ahead of Gibbon’s unit and little did he know that Crook’s unit was turned back by Crazy Horse and his warriors. Upon Custer’s first initial evaluation, he believed that it was just a small Indian village. Custer split his unit into three divisions and carried out the attack. He was met with thousands of Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapaho warriors that dealt a devastating defeat to George A. Custer and his Seventh Cavalry. Custer and all his men had

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