A Complete Life of General George A. Custer, Volume 1: Through the Civil War

A Complete Life of General George A. Custer, Volume 1: Through the Civil War


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In the election year of 1876 the Battle of the Little Big Horn was horrifyingly fresh to opinion makers, who divided along political lines in assigning blame. The late General George A. Custer, who had been a Democrat with aspirations to high office, was more pilloried than praised by President Grant and influential editors of Republican newspapers. Coming to the defense of Custer was Frederick Whittaker, who less than six months after the disaster published this first biography of him. A Complete Life was the beginning of a legend, and Whittaker did more than anyone else except Libby Custer to make the flamboyant Boy General a permanent resident of the national consciousness.

Quite aside from its contribution to the public image of Custer, this important book placed him and his associates against a concrete background of onrushing events. Drawing on newspaper reports and the general's own words, Whittaker captures the excitement of the era. In Volume 1 a boy's life in Ohio is made immediate. Then Custer's escapades as a cadet at West Point (where he was called Fanny because of his golden locks), his courtship of Judge Bacon's saucy daughter, and his singular service as a cavalryman in the Civil War are described in vivid circumstantial detail. From the first Battle of Bull Run through Gettysburg and the Virginia campaign he is seen in action, conspicuously defying death and winning promotion. Volume 2 deals with Custer's fighting in the West, ending with a memorable description of his last stand at the Little Big Horn in June 1876.

The introduction to Volume 1 is by Gregory J. W. Urwin, who won praise for Custer Victorious: The Civil War Battles of General George Armstrong Custer, also a Bison Book.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780803297425
Publisher: UNP - Nebraska
Publication date: 04/01/1993
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 356
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.85(d)

About the Author

Gregory J. W. Urwin is an associate professor of history at the University of Central Arkansas.

Table of Contents

Introduction to the Bison Book Editionxiii
Preliminary Remarks1
Book 1The Boy
Chapter I.Early Life3
Birthplace and Boyhood
Going to School
First Love
The Nomination to West Point
Chapter II.Plebe Custer17
The Sorrows of a Plebe
The First Camp
Chapter III.Cadet Custer25
Becoming a Real Cadet
Riding Lessons
"Benny Havens, oh!"
The Coming of the War
The Attack on Fort Sumter
Graduation Time
A Court-martial
Lucky Escape
Book 2The Subaltern
Chapter I.Lieutenant Custer, Second Cavalry49
Going to Washington
Ordered to take Despatches to McDowell
Night Ride to Centreville
Chapter II.Bull Run59
Custer joins his Troop
Incidents of the Battle
The Panic
The Defeat
Chapter III.Organizing an Army77
The New General
Custer on Staff Duty
Sick Leave
The Pledge
Chapter IV.The Peninsular Campaign93
Custer's First Charge
The Transports
The Peninsula
Chapter V.Winning the Bars103
The Evacuation
The Pursuit
The Advance on the Chickahominy
Custer made a Captain
Book 3The Captain
Chapter I.From Richmond to Malvern Hill119
The Battle of Fairoaks
McClellan's Peril
A Month's Respite
The Seven Days
Custer's Letters
Chapter II.McClellan's Removal125
Harrison's Landing
Custer's Letters
The Maryland Campaign
McClellan Deposed
Custer at Monroe
The Course of True Love
Chapter III.The Cavalry Corps141
The Winter of 1862-3
Custer on Pleasonton's Staff
The Urbana Expedition
Chapter IV.Winning IIIs Star153
Battle of Aldie
Custer to the Front
Book 4The Michigan Brigade
Chapter I.The Gettysburg Campaign167
The Boy General with the Golden Locks
The Battle of Gettysburg
Custer as a Cavalry Chief
Chapter II.After Gettysburg181
Lee's Retreat
Captures of Trains
Falling Waters
A Squadron Captures a Brigade
Lee Escapes
Chapter III.To the Rapidan and Back193
Advance on Culpepper
Meade's Retreat
Battle of Buckland's Mills
End of Campaign
Love Letters and Orange Blossoms
Chapter IV.The Wilderness and the Valley219
Sheridan in Command
The First Raid
The Second Raid
Early in Maryland
The Cavalry Ordered to the Valley
Chapter V.Winchester231
Playing Chess with Early
The False Move
Custer at Winchester
Book 5The Third Cavalry Division
Chapter I.Woodstock Races247
Assigned to the Third Division
Rosser against Custer
Sheridan's Orders
"Whip or Get Whipped"
Woodstock Races
Chapter II.Cedar Creek263
Sheridan Ordered to Washington
Early's Surprise of Wright
The Battle of Cedar Creek
Plunder of the Union Camps
Arrival of Sheridan
Early's Overthrow
Custer and Merritt finishing the Victory
Results of the Valley Campaign
Chapter III.The Last Raid271
Cutting the Canals
Chasing Early
Nearing Richmond
Back with the Army
Chapter IV.Five Forks279
Advance on Five Forks
Devin's Repulse
The 5th Corps
The Victory
The Pursuit
Chapter V.Appomattox297
Heading off Lee
Sailor's Creek
The Night March
Lee's Surrender
Custer's Last Order
Chapter VI.The Great Parade309
From Richmond to Washington
Close of Custer's War Career
Book 6After the War
Chapter I.The Volunteers in Texas315
The State of the Country
Discontent of the Men
Discharge of the Volunteers
Custer in Texas
Chapter II.The Regular Army325
Peculiar Hardships of the American Regular Army
Jealousy of the Nation
The Old and the New Army
Settling Down
Chapter III.The Seventh Cavalry337
Description of the Regiment
Its Officers and Men
Custer and President Johnson
Ordered to Kansas

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