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The American West :General George Armstrong Custer 1839 – 1878

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Introduction

G.C.S.E. COURSEWORK THE AMERICAN WEST: General George Armstrong Custer 1839 - 1878 by Thomas Parr General George Armstrong Custer 1) From 'Source A' I can see that Custer is a powerful soldier, due to his uniform and the weapon he is resting on. His uniform also shows that he is a high rank. His long hair shows that he is a bit of a rebel, as short hair is usually the norm. It also shows he is proud and different, and I feel shows arrogance. His pose shows confidence. His face is stern and emotionless, which I feel shows that he is in control, and very focused. In 'Source E' Custer is the only one wearing buckskin, so it shows his individuality, and possibly arrogance again - he had to be different. He is also with an Indian, so it shows he liked some of them. The fact that he has killed a grizzly bear shows that he is strong and brave- a good hunter. 2) Custer came from a poor background, but he was still incredibly ambitious and he wanted to be a lawyer. He needed a free education so went to West Point. He did not want to be a soldier and finished bottom of the class, maybe showing signs of laziness, complacency or just a lack of intelligence. He was lucky twice. First of all in 1861- the American Civil War, so it did not matter that he was bottom of the class, he became a soldier anyway. ...read more.

Middle

They think that he is a brave soldier, for whom his men have the utmost respect his skill and ability, and is a man who would give his life for the sake of his country. It is not useful however, for the truth. We know not all of his men loved and admired him, "He was too hard on his men and horses" (Source K), "Aloof and removed" (Source H), "Possible loss of life were worthy of but little considerations" (Source F). Source J is useful because it gives you the point of view of the Indians, of the enemy. It tells us that the Indians had a lot of respect for Custer, "He was a brave warrior", but the Source is not actually that useful. It does not give us much information, as we already knew he was a brave warrior. I think that Source K is the most useful source by far. This is because it tells us a lot of information about him, and is backed up by other Sources. It tells us that he did not care about his men, "He was too hard on his men". At the Battle of Little Big Horn, Custer attacked the Indians even though his men were exhausted. "He was always right", this maybe shows he was arrogant and big headed, thinking that he could win every battle, and is backed up other Sources. "He never conferred" for example with Reno and Bentine prior to the Battle of Little Big Horn. ...read more.

Conclusion

He then promised to back up Reno, but decided to attack from the North instead, leaving Reno and his men confused and not knowing what to do. By that time (mid afternoon, extremely hot and dusty) Custer had lost the element of surprise, and so the Indians were prepared for his attack. Custer also expected the Indians to scatter as they had always had done in the past, but they attacked back. But Custer's downfall was not brought upon him solely by himself, as there were other aspects beyond his knowledge or control. His men were armed with Springfield rifles, where as the Indians had superior Winchesters, which could fire far more quickly. Sitting Bull had a vision that Custer would be defeated. This was a huge moral boost for the Indians, who believed they would win. They were fired up for the battle, and many Indians were out for revenge. Some of Custer's less experienced men ran, "their knees hit their chins", some committed suicide, and others surrendered, further weakening his attack. Custer retreated to high ground, only to be outsmarted and outflanked by Crazy Horse, who had come round the back of Custer. Custer was surrounded and crushed, "Our horses hooves would have been enough". It was Custer's last chance for the fame and glory he craved. He ignored all the warnings in his singled minded attempts to wipe out the Indians. The Indians used superior tactics, and outflanked him. He was pumped up, and over-confident. Rather than call him foolish, I would say he was arrogant. Custer Being Shot By Th:)mas Parr 1:)E ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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