George Custer

  • No one ever thought George Armstrong Custer would amount to much. Before he was the "Boy General" hero of the Civil War, he was a precocious teenager who was known for his elaborate pranks. During his tenure at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Custer racks up a record-total of 726 demerits. He graduates last in his class, and at any other time in history, he would have received an obscure posting. But when the Civil War breaks out one year later, the Union needs every experienced military man it can get.

    The Civil War proves to be the opportunity that Custer is waiting for. When a General wishes to know how deep a river is, Custer races his horse into the river and shouts back, "That's how deep it is, Mr. General!" Custer is awarded with a military command, and he uses it to prove his reckless bravery — capturing 50 Confederate soldiers in his first mission, and in true Custer-fashion, capturing the first Confederate flag of the war for good measure.

    Custer wins the respect of his men by leading them personally into battle. Those that learn to put up with Custer's massive ego and love of the spotlight become his fiercely loyal soldiers, and three days before the battle of Gettysburg, Custer is promoted from captain to brigadier general of volunteers — thus becoming the "Boy General" at the tender age of 23. Gettysburg would be Custer's most triumphant moment. His brigade loses 257 men during the battle (the highest loss of any Union cavalry brigade), but Custer succeeds in breaking the back of the Confederate assault. He later writes in his report, "I challenge the annals of warfare to produce a more brilliant or successful charge of cavalry."

    But when the war ends, so do Custer's wartime promotions — he goes back to his original rank of captain, much to his shame. Custer's will spend the rest of his life trying to re-achieve the glory of Gettysburg — and he sees his opportunity in the Great Plains, fighting the Sioux and their leaders, Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. As he wins victory after victory on the Plains, Custer sets his sights even higher... on the White House. With the Presidency in mind, Custer recklessly attacks a massive Indian Camp at the Little Bighorn River. Ironically, at Little Bighorn Custer will achieve the fame he has always craved — but he will achieve it with tragedy, not glory.