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Author Topic: BIRTH OF SON OF THE MORNING STAR: G.A. CUSTER IS BORN - 1839  (Read 30 times)
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« on: December 05, 2017, 04:25:21 pm »

Although more famously associated with Monroe, Michigan, George Armstrong Custer is born on this date in New Rumley, Ohio, in 1839. A member of a large family [his father had children by two wives, the first pre-deceasing him], Custer spent part of his youth in New rumley, asnd then moved to Monroe, where he was raised by his half-sister and her husband. A carefree youth, Custer was known for his love of practical jokes [a practice he carried into his cadet years at West Point], and his resistance to discipline.

Custer got an appointment to West Point from a Republican Congressman, despite the fact his fasther, emanual, was a well known Democrat. the appointment may have been, in part, the result of Custer's involvement with the daughter of  local Republican big wig, who wanted to get Custer away from his daughter.

Whatever the reason, Custer joined the Cadet class of 1861, and despite the fact most of his closest friends were southerners, and that Custer was anything but an Abolitionist, he sided with the Union when war seemed inevitable, and a large portion of his friends resigned and went South.

But before that, Custer had to graduate and get commissioned, which was no easy task. During his time at the  Point, Custer piled up more demerits, and tours than any other cadet in the class. But no matter how close he got to removal, he always avoided expulsion. And so he graduated in 1861 - as last in his class [an honor shared with the previously graduated George Pickett]. And yet, as officer of the day, he almost blew even that break by allowing two cadets to engage in a fight, which he refereed.

But with a letter of reprimand in his file, 2 LT George Armstrong Custer went to Washington, where he joined what would become the Army of the Potomac. He would spend the next four years with them.

Custer's Civil War was tumultuous. He fought in every major battle his Army did. He was one of the first Union officers to capture a flag. He was the first Union officer to observe enemy troops from a hot air balloon [the Peninsula]. He made a significant contribution to the victory at Gettysburg [Runnel's Farm]. His men killed JEB Stuart [Yellow Tavern]. And he became the youngest Major General in the U.S. Army [at 23].

After the Civil War, Custer remained in the Army. Demoted to LTC, he accepted the executive officer slot in the newly formed 7th U.S. Cavalry [after refusing the Colonelcy of one of the Black Cavalry regiments]. His post Civil War career was a combination of successes and failures. And he went from history to legend on a windswept hill in Montana, on June 25th, 1876.

George Armstrong Custer is buried with his beloved wife at West Point, a place where he said he had been happiest. He is still one of the best known figures in the history of the Civil War and the old west. He has appeared in dozens of movies, novels, television scripts [he had his own show] and stories. And it all began on December 5, 1839.

You can get more with a smile, a handshake and a gun than you can with a smile and a handshake - Al Capone
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