To what extent was Custer to blame for the defeat at the battle of Little Bighorn and to what extent was it due to circumstances outside of his control?
In this essay I shall be writing and explaining about the defeat at the battle of Little Bighorn. I will be writing about why the battle began in the first place. How it could have been prevented. And who was to blame for the defeat. I will also be examining why Custer decided to attempt to conquer the Sioux nation by himself, his attitude and ambitions and his personality. His background, his confidence, the battle itself and the reasons why he failed are also factors I will be exploring. As well I will be writing about why ‘mistakes were made’.
General George Armstrong Custer was born and bred in the small town of Munroe in Michigan. His father was a blacksmith, but he himself wanted to become a lawyer. However, because he came from a modesty family that could support his law school tuition he decided to attend West Point Military Academy as the other poor boys did. Custer did not desire for a military career, but he thought that after this he would have the education to become a lawyer. At West Point, Custer graduated thirty-fourth out of a class of thirty four. This definitely showed that Custer’s heart was not in Military-at the time. But this did not justify what his career would be. He was poor academically but excelled in swordsmanship and horsemanship. Little did he know he would become and officer in 1861, the beginning of the American Civil War.
During the civil war, Custer had a flair that caught the eyes of powerful men. He then married in 1864 to Elizabeth Bacon. Some said this marriage was a great love story. He was adored deeply by her and she devoted nearly 60 years of widowhood to glorifying his memory. Custer was put on his own staff on the basis of a chance meeting by the Commander of the Army, General George McClellan. Once George McClellan had lost his job, Custer then went back to the Calvary and made incredible leaps in rank. Between July 1862 and July 1863, he went from first lieutenant to Brigadier General of Volunteers and then was given the command of a Brigade of Calvary. In 1865, Custer became a Major General at the mere age of 23. Custer fought with courage was incredibly brave as he would not let his men do something that he would not do himself. Up until the Battle of Little Bighorn, he was invincible because he had won all 51 of his battles and wars. The battle in Waschita 1868 was one of his best victories because he managed to kill the chief Black Kettle.