Dan Brown
Mon Jul 12, 16:40

When it comes to casualties, it's unlikely that Custer had the most. Both sides produced heavy casualties. In terms of leadership and sound judgement on the battlefield, there were worse generals than the boy wonder. The Civil War was just a bloody mess.

But Custer was a peacock. And his troops liked him - at least during the war. The red silk scarf was easy to spot, as he was usually in the thick of it. Whatever Custer was, good, bad, and indifferent, he was certainly brave.

The military is a perfect environment for the full display of plumage. Institutions of conformity is where the non-conformist stands out; even small displays of individuality can have huge influence. Think of MacArthur with his Raybans and corncob pipe, or Patton with his El Paso holsters and Ivory gripped pistols. There's a lot of ego in the armed services.

What I've found interesting over the past few days is how much the LBH dominates the Custer legend. Looking of the details of Custer's Civil War record is not as easy as one might think. Virtually every site is about the last stand. That skirmish has been beat to death. His fight with JEB Stuart at Gettysburg is more noteworthy.

    • Custer won a lot of battles while personally not catching a Rebel bullet. However a great commander is also evaluated on winning battles while minimizing casualties ( deaths + injuries knocking sol... more
      • Well... — Dan Brown, Mon Jul 12 16:40
        • "his troops liked him"B.J., Tue Jul 13 13:16
          When you say Custer's "troops liked him" I assume you're referring to the troops whom were not dead or otherwise knocked out of action? and I assume you were not referring Custer's troops whom we... more
          • The Michigan BrigadeDan Brown, Wed Jul 14 13:07
            I was referring to the Wolverines. They knew the boy general who, despite his grades and demerits, had sound tactical judgement and who personally led him into battle. Custer was guilty of the afor... more
            • The morale of the WolverinesDan Brown, Wed Jul 14 17:14
              After the battles of the third day at Gettysburg the enlisted men of the Michigan Brigade took to wearing red scarves of of endearment for their commander and so that he would be so easily identified ... more
    • Fame and GloryDan Brown, Sat Jul 10 13:09
      Considering the hundreds of books on Custer and the Little Big Horn, the movies, the revisionist histories, and the millions of opinions, the irony is that he really had little effect, if any, on hist... more
      • Lieutenant Colonel Custer .....B.J., Thu Jul 15 15:41
        My very first history project per Custer in 1973 was not directly focused on the LBH. My project was researching why 11 years post op Civil War why Custer only had a permanent rank of Lieutenant Colon... more
        • History is not staticDan Brown, Fri Jul 16 7:21
          History is not governed by a specific course, it does not obey academic rules. It is an entity unto itself, independent from consensus, or fashion. The only historical moments people agree upon are pe... more
          • Re: History is not staticB.J., Fri Jul 16 13:36
            Evidence based research is the mechanism which defines history. It is not defined by one's opinion nor is it defined by philosophy. Yes Custer was correctly defined by Styles with the good and the ... more
          • Let's Face ItGary Roberts, Fri Jul 16 11:10
            One of my favorite analyses of Custer is the last chapter of Robert M. Utley's CAVALIER IN BUCKSKIN (1988). Utley, who has devoted more time to the plains Indian wars of the than probably any other h... more
            • Re: Let's Face ItB.J., Fri Jul 16 14:18
              All of the above appears to give a balanced view of Custer. However Custer's AWOL misconduct and later presidential suspension are the only variables which really matters. This was the summation o... more
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