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CUSTER, GEORGE ARMSTRONG (1839-1876)

On November 27, 1868, famed U.S. Army officer Lt. Col. George A. Custer led an attack against the Southern Cheyenne village of Chief Black Kettle at the Battle of the Washita. Custer was born on December 5, 1839, in Harrison County, Ohio, and his only career was that of soldier. After the Civil War he became lieutenant colonel of the U.S. Army Seventh U.S. Cavalry.

Custer's Old Home, Fort Supply OK

After an unsuccessful campaign against the Cheyenne in 1867, the army planned a winter assault when the Indians were vulnerable. Leaving from near Fort Dodge, Kansas, on November 12, 1868, Custer escorted his troops to Camp Supply in Indian Territory. At dawn on November 27, he led the Seventh against Black Kettle's camp of some 250 Cheyenne along the Washita River. In the chaos that followed, an undetermined number of Cheyenne, including Black Kettle, and twenty-two soldiers were killed. Custer died in the Battle of the Little Big Horn on June 25, 1876.

SEE ALSO: MILITARY– NINETEENTH CENTURY, WESTWARD EXPANSION.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: George Armstrong Custer, My Life on the Plains or, Personal Experience with Indians (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1962). Stan Hoig, The Battle of the Washita: The Sheridan-Custer Indian Campaign of 1867-69 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1976). Robert M. Utley, Cavalier in Buckskin: George Armstrong Custer and the Western Military Frontier (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1988).

Stephen Black

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