To what extent was Custer to blame for the defeat of the 7th cavalry?

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Jonathan Teece

To what extent was Custer to blame for the defeat of the 7th cavalry?

In order to answer the question, to what extent was Custer to blame for the defeat of the 7th cavalry; two different viewpoints need to be taken into consideration. On one hand Custer was against a great leader, on the other hand, he could be accused of making somewhat suicidal charges. In this essay, I will take both of these viewpoints into consideration.

        Firstly, I will look at the reasons why Custer may not be to blame for the defeat of the 7th Cavalry in 1876. Custer was against a brilliant war leader and tactician, Crazy Horse. As well as, Sitting Bull, a holy man who had been able to unite the Sioux more than anyone else before him. Custer may have underestimated these two men, which ultimately led to his defeat. The Indian village in Little Bighorn was bigger than it had been seen before, with over 7000 people and 2000 warriors. Insufficient information about this could also be to blame for the defeat. Thirdly, the other two army forces failed to get to the battle, Crook’s forces had been defeated, and had retreated, while Gibbon was marching on foot. This shows that lack of resources could have been to blame for the defeat.

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        I will now look at the possible reasons for Custer to be to blame for the defeat. Custer had orders to wait for Gibbon’s force before attacking, but instead force-marched his men in order to attack on his own, because he wanted all of the glory. His men were exhausted when they attacked. Custer had always been headstrong and had made his reputation in the civil war by making crazy ‘brave’ charges, putting his own men in danger. He had graduated bottom of his class at officer school. Custer ignored the advice of his scouts, who said the village was ...

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