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Why did Custer die?

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posted on Aug, 25 2008 @ 02:52 AM
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reply to post by Oldnslo
 


Excellent job posting! Well done.




posted on Aug, 25 2008 @ 12:27 PM
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reply to post by jefwane
 


You are also correct. The Indians preferred rifles, used them, and their cartridge cases are all over the battlefield. They had them from the very state of the engagement. That included repeating rifles.

As the Indians crept up the coulees and ravines, they started launching arrow at Custer's men because they could do so without being exposed to the return rifle fire.

The Indians had all sort of rifles and pistols taken from the Fetterman episode in which all 80 soldiers were killed, plus many from other attacks and from trading pelts for rifles. They were very well armed and as the battle progressed, weapons taken from dead soldiers added to their inventory used against Custer.

Government troops possessed the .45 caliber Springfield carbine (single shot) and a six shot .45 caliber Colt single-action pistols.

The Indian armaments ranged from obsolete muzzle-loaders to the then modern repeating rifles such as Winchesters and the Henry rifle, both .44-caliber weapons.

Other weapons used on the Custer Battlefiled include:

.44-Caliber:

3 Smith & Wesson
62 Henry Rifles
7 Winchester Model 1873
Colt Model 1860
Colt Model 1871

.45-Caliber

12 Colt Model 1873 pistol
69 Springfield Model 1873 carbine
Sharps Rifle

.50-Caliber Rifles

27 Sharps
6 Springfields

These numbers are minimums!!! Indians had a habit of picking up all shell casing after a battle so the actual numbers and who used what may never be known for sure. The victors withdrew from the battlefield with many more rifles than they started with.

One point regarding archaeological work done on the battlefield in the 1990-2004:

There were numerous re-inactments of "The Last Stand" on the battlefield, using the same weapons as used in the actual battle. So some of the types of shell casings and balls/bullets found in the last 20 years may not be artifacts from the 1876 "Last Stand".

An archaeological dig in "Deep Ravine" may provide the only new information regarding the troopers and their weapons. This area has not been touched since Reno's men pushed dirt off the top of the ravine to cover and bury the bodies of those trooper killed and lying in the botton of the ravine.

Good post jefwane.



posted on Aug, 25 2008 @ 02:19 PM
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reply to post by En4cer
 


Go to Youtube for the most beautiful I've seen there Native American - Amazing Grace (in cherokee)

www.youtube.com...

If this does not moisten your eyes, you are one hard case.


The Battle of Wounded Knee Massacre, also known as The Battle at Wounded Knee Creek, was the last major armed conflict between the Oglala Lakota and the United States, subsequently described as a "massacre" by General Nelson A. Miles.

On December 29, 1890 Big Foot’s band was intercepted by Major Samuel Whitside and his battalion of the Seventh Cavalry Regiment and were escorted five miles westward to Wounded Knee Creek. There, Colonel James W. Forsyth arrived to take command and ordered his guards to place four Hotchkiss guns (repeating fire cannon) in position around the camp. The soldiers numbered around 500. The Indians, 350; all but 120 were women and children.

By the end of the fighting, which lasted less than an hour, at least 150 Lakota had been killed and 50 wounded. Army casualties numbered 25 dead and 39 wounded. Twenty Medals of Honor were awarded for the action. Was this reconstituted 7th Cavalry and the United States Army getting its belated revenge for the Indian victory at Little Big Horn and throughly endorsed by Congress?

The concept of Wounded Knee as a deliberate massacre rather than a tragedy caused by poor decisions stems from Gen. Miles. The America's public reaction to the battle at the time was generally favorable.

Aside: Each person whose name is placed on the Medal of Honor Roll is certified to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs is entitled to receive the special pension of $1,027 per month above and beyond any military pensions or other benefits for which they may be eligible. All Medals of Honor are issued in the original only, by the Department of Defense, to a recipient. Misuse of the medal, including unauthorized manufacture or wear, is punishable by a fine up to $100,000 and imprisonment up to one year pursuant to (18 U.S.C. § 704(b)),
en.wikipedia.org...

[edit on 8/25/2008 by donwhite]



posted on Aug, 25 2008 @ 09:50 PM
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reply to post by Oldnslo
 


Could it have ended differently than it did at Wounded Knee? From 1583 when Walter Raleigh landed at Roanoke Island, off what is now the Carolina coast, destiny had spelled the end of the native Americans as dominant on this continent.

Hernando Desoto is assigned blame for the plagues that took so many native American lives. In the early 1500s he landed in Florida with several hundred men, horses, pigs, dogs and other animals, to look for the Seven Cities of Gold. Desoto ultimately died in what is now Arkansas.

Upwards of 80-90% of native Americans died of small pox, measles, and other diseases the Europeans had an acquired immunity but which were new to the inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere. Estimates vary widely on how many native Americans lived here before 1492. The ones I like are 7 million to 25 million. By 1620, the number was reduced to about 1 million. The nadir of native American people was reached in the 1900 census showing just under 300,000.

By the time the English, Scots, Irish and others began to come to America, around 1607 to the mid 1600s, all the land in Europe had been taken by someone. In an agricultural based economy, land was wealth. Land is power. And the overwhelming number of people in Europe had neither. Wealth or power. Over here, land was the most plentiful resource. Everyone in Europe possessed with a sense of adventure and who was able to raise the sea fare to cross the Atlantic - not cheap - about $50 paid in advance, about six months wages - took the leap!

The Atlantic is a very hard ocean to cross in a small crowded and leaky sailboat. The voyage was totally dependent on the weather. The typical time to cross was 6 weeks but could extend to 3 months at times of bad weather or the summer doldrums. Many put themselves into servitude for as long as 7 years, to get the passage. By 1790, on the taking of the first census, the population in the 13 colonies (by then states) was over 2.5 million freemen and 500,000 “other” as the Constitution purposely avoided using the word “slave.”

Despite the Blue Line drawn by King George III to stop white expansion across the Appalachians, the move west was inexorable. Unstoppable. Free land. More land than you could imagine. George Washington for example, managed to acquire 60,000 acres after the end of the Revolutionary War. A lot of land? A mere drop in the bucket when you figure the 13 original states contained more than 300,000,000 acres. One more example: the Northwest Territory - now Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota - contains over 205 million acres!

By 1864, the east coast and west coast were linked by railroads meeting at Promontory Point, UT. Abraham Lincoln, to get the private entrepreneurs working, prompted the US Government to give to the railroads 10 miles of land along either side for each 1 mile of laid track. 12,800 acres per mile! The railroads then sold off the land in 160 acre tracts, looking ahead to get farm products to carry on the new trains. 1,973 miles from St. Louis to Sacramento. 2,524,000 acres! And Lincoln traded land from the Louisiana Purchase made by Thomas Jefferson in 1803 for a continental railroad!

Whites purposely killed off the buffalo, on which the Plains Indians lived. Survived. There were 3 great herds. Variously estimated at 3 million to 7 million animals in each herd. Limited actually by the amount of grass those animals at the end of the herd could find to eat. Those at the very end starved to death. Finally, the buffalo was down to about 3,000 animals. Today there are 200,000 alive. answers.yahoo.com...

The US has made over 300 treaties with various native Americans. As Johnny Cash so succinctly put it in his well received song, “As Long as the Grass Shall Grow,” listen at www.youtube.com... but the US has a perfect record! We broke every treaty! Every one! Listen also to the Ballad of Ira Hayes www.youtube.com...

[edit on 8/26/2008 by donwhite]



posted on Aug, 26 2008 @ 02:18 AM
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Originally posted by asmeone2
Why did Custer die?

Because he deserved it?

Thanks to his own arrogance, at least.

And because Karma is a cruel mistress, and doesn't look well on genocide.
Very true,it was a great day when all those war criminals ment thier fate.



posted on Aug, 26 2008 @ 12:04 PM
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reply to post by mike dangerously
 



Very true, it was a great day when all those war criminals met thier fate.


Every army that has ever existed demands its soldiers follow orders. An army that disobeys orders is a mob. For disobedience, the Roman army sometimes employed the practice of decimation. Randomly selected, one man in 10 was taken out of the ranks and his fellow soldiers were required to beat him to death.

This dilemma - what orders to obey - was encountered on a humongous scale in WW2. 10s of 1000s of ordinary Germans (and French and Hungarians and others) guarded the many Nazi Death Camps. Any failure to obey orders to expedite the grizzly chore of mass murder would have resulted in their own death. And quickly, no doubt.

After capture and when questioned about their role in the murder of 6 to 9 million people, they responded, “I was just following orders.” This moral and legal excuse came to be known as the “Nuremberg Defense.”

We ourselves used it in the Mi Lai Incident in Vietnam. An USMC is now on trial in Riverside, CA, for shooting 4 unarmed prisoners in Falujah. He said he “was following orders.”

It’s tough to judge the necessity for the use of lethal force after the fact. Maybe we ought not to try? Yet for 1000s of years there has been a recognition or distinction made between HOT blooded kiling and COLD blooded killing. The first is excusable or susceptible of mitigatoin, but the latter gains no sympathy. A third category can be argued. Mistake. The USMC in Riverside claims he heard over the radio what he took to be an order to kill the prisoners. What do you do?

Q. Does an American soldier have a duty to DISOBEY what he thinks is an UNLAWFUL order?


[edit on 8/26/2008 by donwhite]



posted on Aug, 26 2008 @ 12:21 PM
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reply to post by Ranger23
 


I used the wrong source for the number of indians but both sides had rifles. Indians may also have used bows but they did have rifles. In fact, Custer had two bullet wounds, one below the heart and one to the left temple.



posted on Aug, 28 2008 @ 04:47 PM
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Originally posted by Misfit
The story from the other side, now coming out in mainstream and corroborated by 3rd-party historians, is that Custer also died while running from the Indians, not while making a "Last Stand" that he is glorified of. He died a coward.

That has been proven to be completely false. Custer and his men were attacked from behind by Crazy Horse and about a thousand warriors. It wasn't a question of how brave you were; there is only so much 200 odd army men with single shot carbines can do against a thousand guys with shotguns.
If you want to blame someone, blame Captain Benteen for refusing to come to Custer's aid.



posted on Nov, 19 2008 @ 05:03 PM
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Originally posted by mike dangerously

Originally posted by asmeone2
Why did Custer die?

Because he deserved it?

Thanks to his own arrogance, at least.

And because Karma is a cruel mistress, and doesn't look well on genocide.
Very true,it was a great day when all those war criminals ment thier fate.

I probably would call the Indians who massacred the wounded cavalrymen war criminals too. Come to think of it, wasn't Saddam Hussein a war criminal? Yet, you see all the liberals screaming that he was the second Teddy Roosevelt! Yep, don't pay any attention to when liberals call someone a war criminal. Most likely, the guy being blamed was the hero!



posted on Nov, 19 2008 @ 05:45 PM
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reply to post by Ranger23
 


Jessie James was part of a counter-revolutionary Southern post-civil war terrorist group -- as was the Ku Klux Klan -- dedicated to continuing the Civil War and consequently sold weapons to the Indians for the purposes of defeating Custer and the U.S. Army. These folks were directly and indirectly involved w/the assassination of Lincoln, by other 'terrorists' who were trafficking in opium and weapons.

You can read all about it in Eustace Mullins book, The Secrets of the Federal Reserve, (because the central banks of Europe were competing through the Civil War to re-colonize America) at: – free online copy of ‘Secrets of Federal Reserve’, by Eustace Mullins www.whale.to...

also see Jessie James, Ollie North, Ku Klux Klan, Special Forces linked to Martin Luther King, Jr & Barry Seal murders; & Monzer al Kassar & al Qaeda (Moslem Brotherhood) at: www.abovetopsecret.com...

My note: just like the Bush family has always trafficked in drugs and weapons and oil, and has succeeded in selling America out to the central banks.

here's an excerpt from my novel, 'American Civilian Counter-terrorist Manual www.americanciviliancounter-terroristmanual.4t.com...:

Bickley and his Knights work with foreign agents, to stir up armed rebellion with the aim of breaking off the Southern states and making them a banana republic of Britain, once again.
The Knights of the Golden Circle don’t disband after the Civil War, they continue as guerrilla fighters serving ongoing British attempts to destabilize the Union. They rob money to finance a second Confederate rebellion. That was the specialty of the James Gang, more Knights of the Golden Circle.
Historians say the American Civil War didn’t end in 1865, but continued to be fought underground for 19 more years …just as World War II didn’t end in 1945, because the CIA hired Hitler’s anti-Soviet guerrilla Nazi leader Otto Skorzeny and his ‘Werewolf’ guerrillas, who continued fighting in Eastern Europe and Eastern Russia, until 1952.
The Knights spy network was involved in many subversive activities, such as train robberies by Jessie James, the purpose being to fund the Confederates that went underground after they lost their military warfare in 1865 ...just like the Nazis went underground in Madrid, starting in the early 1940s, and operated an exile Nazi underground government in Madrid well into the 1950s under Werner Naumann ...until Germany was again recognized as an independent state.
As a Confederate agent, James smuggled guns and ammunition to Plains Indians, training them in guerilla tactics, for use against their common enemy, General George Armstrong Custer and the Union Army ... all the time, the American guerilla outfits run by Quantrill and James were supported by British banks to split up the United States ...reclaim the North, giving the South to Napoleon ...as payment for France’s help in the destabilization and counter-revolution, undoing, and reversing the American Revolution.
Apr. 1861, the Russian Ambassador to America throws his hat in, like a break dancer spinning on his back, jumps in the dance circle. “England will take advantage of the first opportunity to recognize the seceded states, and France will follow her,” the Russian Ambassador said.

Late 1861, England sends 8,000 troops to Canada ...1862, English, French and Spanish troops land at Vera Cruz, Mexico, ‘to collect on debts owed them by Mexico’ ...Jun. 10, 1863, French General Forey, with 30,000 additional French troops, take over Mexico City ...controlling most of Mexico.
Thru spies in Paris and London, Czar Alexander II in Russia discovers Confederates offer Louisiana and Texas to Napoleon III ...if he sends troops against the North.
Russia had said it supported Lincoln.
Jan. 1, 1863 for good will, Whoopi issues the Emancipation Proclamation to free the slaves, just as the Czar had done with the serfs, in 1861.
Sept. 8, 1863, President Lincoln and Secretary of State William Seward, ask Alexander to send the Russian fleet to San Francisco and New York, to be battle ready,




[edit on 19-11-2008 by counterterrorist]

[edit on 19-11-2008 by counterterrorist]

[edit on 19-11-2008 by counterterrorist]



posted on Nov, 19 2008 @ 06:32 PM
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Originally posted by donwhite

This dilemma - what orders to obey - was encountered on a humongous scale in WW2. 10s of 1000s of ordinary Germans (and French and Hungarians and others) guarded the many Nazi Death Camps. Any failure to obey orders to expedite the grizzly chore of mass murder would have resulted in their own death. And quickly, no doubt.



I think a different similarity exists between the genocide against native Americans and the Holocaust: both were only possible because of the rampant racism that existed at the time. The Nazi's believed Jews, Romani, homosexuals etc. to be subhuman, just like the European settlers (and later Americans) considered native Americans savages. This is also illustrated by the fact that SS troops committed far more war crimes in the east than they did in the west: Slavic people were also seen as subhuman and as such a valid target for inhuman behavior.

The idea that those guarding the camps were doing so out of fear for reprisal is mistaken: only members of the SS-Totenkopfverbände guarded concentration camps. These were all volunteers and some did ask to be relieved of their duties, which they subsequently were. Group pressure, political brainwashing and an unquestioned belief in their own superiority are the main reasons most did their jobs without asking too many questions, and without showing much remorse afterwards. I suppose some of these aspects may well account for the massacres committed against native Americans in that timeframe.



posted on Nov, 24 2008 @ 05:03 PM
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reply to post by steve_montana
 




I think a different similarity exists between the genocide against native Americans and the Holocaust: both were only possible because of the rampant racism that existed at the time. I suppose some of these aspects [racial superiority] may well account for the massacres committed against native Americans.



Yes. If you can score (compare) mass murder of innocent people, then I’d say our murder of Native Americans was a 6.5 on a 10 scale but the Nazis were 10 on a 10 scale. But as you point out in both cases it was made possible by our similar attitude of racial superiority. Over which we have not got.




The idea that those guarding the camps were doing so out of fear for reprisal is mistaken: only members of the SS -Totenkopfverbände guarded concentration camps.



I argue for my point of view. Assume a hypothetical death camp. Say it holds 40,000 inmates. Say the guards number 8,000. I suggest 7,000 of the guards were NOT part of the SS. I’d say 1,000 were. We know for a fact the Cleveland auto worker returned to Germany long after the war was an Ukraine. I believe I recall others who were also captured by the German Army but who “converted” and became camp guards.

It would not be the best use of the highly motivated but limited numbers of SS to put them in the routine job of walking the fence line all night in the cold. Why not use a willing POW to do that low grade job and free up your limited but eager and energetic SS to send to the FRONT where they can really do a good job for the Fuhrer and the Third Reich? SS in charge? Yes. But all SS? No. That would be an unproductive use of a limited resource. Very un-German.


[edit on 11/24/2008 by donwhite]



posted on Nov, 24 2008 @ 07:19 PM
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Originally posted by donwhite

I argue for my point of view. Assume a hypothetical death camp. Say it holds 40,000 inmates. Say the guards number 8,000. I suggest 7,000 of the guards were NOT part of the SS. I’d say 1,000 were. We know for a fact the Cleveland auto worker returned to Germany long after the war was an Ukraine. I believe I recall others who were also captured by the German Army but who “converted” and became camp guards.

It would not be the best use of the highly motivated but limited numbers of SS to put them in the routine job of walking the fence line all night in the cold. Why not use a willing POW to do that low grade job and free up your limited but eager and energetic SS to send to the FRONT where they can really do a good job for the Fuhrer and the Third Reich? SS in charge? Yes. But all SS? No. That would be an unproductive use of a limited resource. Very un-German.


[edit on 11/24/2008 by donwhite]


While I can see the logic of your argument, historical research (among others by Guido Knopp) clearly shows that it didn't quite work that way. For starters, John Demjanjuk is accused of voluntarily joining the SS, which is how he got to be a guard at Treblinka. By the way, he admitted to having an SS-tattoo in his armpit removed after the war. For more information, see en.wikipedia.org... In Belgium, there was one concentration camp, which was guarded by regular SS and a number of Flemish-SS'ers.

Moreover, the SS used prisoners to do much of the work for them: the so-called Kapo's and Funktionshaeftlinge. Using such a system, a ratio of 8000 guards to 40000 starved and exhausted prisoners makes no sense whatsoever. By the end of the war, the number of SS guards exclusively guarding the camps was 37674 men and 3508 women. The total number of SS-member was around 800000 at that time. For combat duty, the Germans also relied heavily upon non-German volunteers: in 1941, roughly 24000 French, Croats, Spanish and Walloons fought at the eastern front.

By the way, you suggest that fighting at the front was considered the most glorious an SS-man could do for his führer. In fact, Himmler and Heydrich (and, most likely Hitler) considered the job of the SS as the most important and difficult one: the elimination of all non-Aryan influences from Germany (and preferably beyond).



posted on Nov, 24 2008 @ 07:21 PM
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Because he was punctured repeatedly with arrows by a bunch of pissed off Indians.



posted on Nov, 24 2008 @ 07:25 PM
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Originally posted by Ranger23
I've heard people say that Custer was killed because he was a headstrong idiot who let himself be trapped in a no-win situation. But he was one of the best officers in the Civil War US cavalry. I don't think that he would have allowed himself to be trapped by the Indians unless he had been led to believe that there weren't any. So what I'm trying to say is this. Custer must have been betrayed by his own government. He had a lot of enemies in DC, like President Grant.


The bows of the Native Americans fired faster the the rifles Custer had, and yes he was a headstrong idiot.



posted on Nov, 24 2008 @ 07:49 PM
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reply to post by donwhite
 


Ft. Riley has a great monument for the soldiers that lost their lives at Wounded Knee. You can see a pic here of it.



posted on Nov, 24 2008 @ 07:56 PM
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reply to post by Ranger23
 

Custer was far from one of the best officers in the military. He was a murderous bastard, his wife's revision of his legacy not withstanding.

In the Civil War, he was pitted against John Singleton Moseby's Rangers. Rather than fight them as soldiers, he began wreaking havoc on the local farms, and when some of Moseby's Rangers were caught, he executed them on the spot.

This of course required retaliation, so Moseby's boys began executing the Yankee soldiers that had surrendered.

Finally, Custer's superior officers ordered him to knock it off.

Against the Indians, he was a murderous bastard there too. He loved a headline, in a hurry to get into politics, and yet he was vain and unknowing.

To separate his force as he did was amateur hour.

And when turned back at the river, the idiot turned left, instead of going right. He got a lot of good men killed due to his military stupidity.

He violated every principle of warfare in existence. His country was done a service with his death.

He went looking for a fight.

He got one.



posted on Nov, 24 2008 @ 08:08 PM
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The following is my opinion as a member participating in this discussion.

I'll speak well of Custer. I'm a Native American with ties to the Lakota peoples, so what I say is not spoken from anger or politics.

I personally knew men who as boys were "in" on the fight, though they only held the horses when warriors dismounted to fight. They were not allowed to enter combat.

From what I have been told, there was no "organized" stand, but rather, desperate men fighting to the death, with no quarter asked or given. They died in clumps and singly, as chance dictated.

And please understand, the method of war was totally different for Natives than whites. For Native forces there was no "central command", nor even the idea of overall coordination. To the Lakota, war was a personal affair, and the enactment of it was on a personal level. Therefore any engagement was a matter of seizing the moment. They fought man to man, and considered the foe worthy if he stood to face them.

George Custer simply underestimated the will and power of the forces he had to deal with. It was not a matter of battle tactics gone badly, for every soldier knows plans never work, only men succeed.. It was a really over confidence on Custer's part that led him to that spot in the first place.

It is evident, from historical records, that Custer, hero of the War of Yankee Aggression, (
) had an eye on becoming president of the United States. He was willing to take chances with his command to "quell the Indian problem". It seems evident that he felt that should he be able to emerge a "hero" for ending large scale conflict with Native Americans, he had a very good chance of becoming President.

The whole conspiracy, if it could be called such, was in the mind of a man who would take any chance, sacrifice any number, kill any adversary, to become POTUS. General George Armstrong Custer died because he wanted to be the greatest "Indian Killer" of all time, and ride that glory to the White House.

Many men have done worse. At least Custer was willing to die trying.




As an ATS Staff Member, I will not moderate in threads such as this where I have participated as a member.


[edit on 24-11-2008 by NGC2736]



posted on Nov, 24 2008 @ 08:15 PM
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reply to post by NGC2736
 

Well, my ancestors fought that SOB too, but up and down the Shenandoah Valley. That I have North American Indian in my blood as well guarantees me no prejudice.

He was a murderous bastard.

The thing I respected about those who were peacefully minding their own business on the Little Bighorn, was that if any man came looking to fight, they didn't want him go away disappointed.

He wanted glory.

He got it.

But not the way he intended. That's why you always gotta be real careful about what you want. You just may get it.



posted on Nov, 25 2008 @ 10:39 AM
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reply to post by NGC2736
 




It is evident, from historical records, that Custer, hero of the War of Yankee Aggression, had an eye on becoming president of the United States. He was willing to take chances with his command to "quell the Indian problem." It seems evident that he felt that should he be able to emerge a "hero" for ending large scale conflict with Native Americans, he had a very good chance of becoming President.



The American Civil War like the later Cold War, had a mushy ending. The surrender of Gen. Lee at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865, is the most commonly accepted date. However Gen. Lee was not the only general of the Confederacy. He commanded the largest single rebel army, the Army of Northern Virginia but that was the extent of his command. There were battles yet to be fought mostly in Texas but elsewhere too, such as in Mississippi. President Jefferson Davis was also a West Point grad who believed himself - like our own Bush43 - to be specially endowed with a talent for waging war. Another well accepted War ending date is that of the capture of Davis on May 10, 1865. (Not disguised as a woman, either).

The Battle of Little Big Horn in the Dakota Territory was fought June 25-26, 1876. What future intentions Lt. Col. G.A. Custer held in his mind we cannot know. We do know his wife spent the remainder of her life traveling about the country defending her husband’s mistake at the Little Big Horn which implies then as now Americans do not like any war we are losing.

Aside:
West Point grad Lieutenant Custer had been designated a brevet Brigadier General in the War of the Rebellion - the official name for the Civil War - and was the youngest man ever to achieve that rank. “Brevet” is a discontinued field appointment. The brevet officer’s pay remains that of his permanent rank. When out of the field, brevets were not to wear that rank insignia. Ever audacious and shrewdly flamboyant Custer wore his general's uniform off the field. Some students of history regard the brevet rank as just an honorary designation. End.

Abraham Lincoln was assassinated just 41 days into his second term. April 15, 1865.* The problematic pro-Southern Andrew Johnson became president. Unlike the 1860 election, Lincoln did not run as a Republican in 1864. Instead, he ran on what he called the “Union Party” ticket and he hand picked the Tennessee War Democrat Johnson as his running mate to placate the pro-Southern sentiments still widely held in the North. As a US senator, Johnson had remained loyal to the Union.

U.S. Grant was the real hero of the Union and was elected president in 1868 and again in 1872. See Note 1. Although his tenure in office has been called “the most corrupt,” there is absolutely no evidence that Grant himself was either 1) a participant or 2) aware of the duplicity going on. He was too much a “hands off” president.

As to corruption, the evidence points to just the contrary. Grant was nearly broke and at the end of his life, lived off the generosity of Samuel Clemens. The unwritten ban on presidential 3rd terms kept Grant from running for a third time in 1876. However he did not interpret that ban as a bar to him from seeking a new stint at the presidency. Grant made a determined run for a third term nomination in 1880 that went sour for him.

In that era - you might say prior to Theodore Roosevelt - 99% of the power to pick presidential candidates lay in the Conventions. It was deemed improper for a candidate to either announce the fact or to go out and speak to the public on that issue. The 1876 GOP Convention leaders nominated Rutherford B. Hayes for the presidency.

Much ado is made over the 1876 election. Three states, Florida, South Carolina and Louisiana had hotly disputed vote counts. The Democrat Samuel Tilden of NY had won the popular vote by 254,235 votes. 51% to 47.8%. For the GOP to win the presidency in the Electoral College, it had to carry all 3 states. Hayes won 185 electoral votes - required to win - to 184 EV for Tilden! Shades of Florida and 2000. It is widely claimed an “unholy bargain” was made giving the GOP the presidency in exchange for ending the Reconstruction Era in the Old South. The 11 states of the Confederacy.

The GOP consented to the reign of TERROR practiced by white supremacists (Democrats) best exemplified by the Ku Klux Klan. The South waged a relentless war of suppression against the recently freed slaves and the few whites who supported their cause. The return of whites to power by violence was allowed to continue on in the South without Federal intervention. This condition was considered to be legal until 1954. It’s effects are still being felt today.

For 1880, the Republicans settled on another brevet Major General, James A. Garfield who was chosen by the Convention over a traditional second term for Hayes because Hayes was TOO honest! As it turned out, Garfield was more like Hayes than like Grant. But it mattered not because on July 2, 1881, just shy of 4 months into his term, Garfield was shot!** (Thus was born the “20 Year Curse” on American presidents. Lincoln, 1860, Garfield, 1880, and McKinley, 1900, were to be assassinated. Roosevelt, 1940, had been the target of an assassin in 1932 but this is a stretch. Kennedy, 1960, and Reagan, 1980, are not).

The 1880 election was the closest in popular votes the winner ever received if you disregard those elections where the winner had fewer votes than the loser. As in 2000. The winning Garfield polled 1,898 more votes than the losing Democrat, Gen. Hancock.

Custer, b. 1839, would have been but 41 in 1880. But that would have been 4 year POST the Little Big Horn. Memories fade. Other matters come to the fore. Based on the history of the 1880 Republican Convention, I do not believe Custer would have been nominated then. The party stalwarts were too deep into control to let an unknown quantity take the top job. And Grant was under heavy criticism for the corruption in his 8 years of service which might have dimmed the desire to put forward another war hero.

In the 1884 election, one of the closest in American presidential electoral history, Democrat Cleveland beat Republican James G. Blaine, by a mere 25,685 votes nationwide! Cleveland went on to lose the 1888 election to William Harrison, despite polling 90,596 more votes than Harrison.

I’m not sure at this writing if Custer was a Dem or a GOP. Whether Custer could have gained the Republican nomination in 1884 is highly speculative to say the least. I don’t know that of course, but based on what I do know, I doubt it. See all my above. And, merely getting the nomination does not assure winning the prize! After all, HALF of all the candidates for the high office have LOST!


*Lincoln was shot on April 14, he died the next day. The Inauguration Day was March 4 prior to 1936. (We need to change it again to December 1).

**Garfield was shot on July 2, 1881, and died 10 weeks later on September 19, 1881, most likely from infections caused by his attending physicians.

Note 1.
Grant resigned his West Point Army commission at the rank of Captain. At the start of the civil war Grant was called into service by the Governor of Illinois. He was made commanding general of the state militia with the rank of Brigadier General. When the Illinois militia was brought into the Federal service Grant was allowed to keep the rank of Brigadier General. Later he was to become the FIRST 3 star general since George Washington. And still later, Sherman and Sheridan were granted 3 star rank.


[edit on 11/25/2008 by donwhite]



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