An officer and cavalry commander during the Civil War and Indian wars, General George Armstrong Custer (1839–76) was well-known in his lifetime for his personal daring and his aggressive approach to warfare. After his “last stand” in 1876, he was even more famous as the commander who led his entire unit to annihilation by a massive coalition of Native American tribes at the Battle of the Little Bighorn.
A few years before the fatal clash, Custer published a series of reminiscences concerning his participation in the U.S. Army’s 1867–69 campaigns against the Plains Indians. The evocative accounts, written during one of Custer’s semiretirements rather than from the field, tell of marching, camping, furious firefights, and ruthless slaughter on both sides. In addition to its value as a document of military history, this book offers fascinating insights into the notorious general’s character, from his enthusiasm for self-mythologizing to the rash behavior that led to his demise.