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 solders... more
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 went... more
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 by... more