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 Colonel? (No more a Brevet promotions)
Even in a post war scaled down Army this promotion deficit speaks volumes about his conduct including his behavior at Washita, his AWOL and court martial., his Presidential suspension and considered a loose cannon by other ranking officers.
Public accolades during the Civil War kept Custer in the hero status. Constantly replacing horse soldiers was no where as easy as replacing infantry solders. Horse solders criteria required a skill set far above a infantry skill set.
I spent many months in the early 70’s communicating via snell mail and sometimes expensive long distance phone calls with military historians including one at West Point.
Research pre-Internet could be a long and laborious process including long waits on Inter library book and manuscripts loans and transfers.
In summary in military terms Custer was not a good solder. His AWOL and Presidential suspension was evidence of that. If Custer was a higher ranking enlisted man he would have been severely punished for his AWOL.
It is obvious that modern scholars whom never served really do not understand the significance which the military views AWOL.
Some modern historians minimize Custer’s misconduct and continue to promote him as a great soldier.
One of the first learning opportunities I experienced as I entered my history masters program is the difficulty removing these politically correct filters and making assessments using strictly military based criteria and evidence.
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
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... 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 we... more
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
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
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
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
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
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
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