Controversial American military man (1839-1876). Though he barely graduated from West Point and was court-martialed twice, Custer achieved fame during the Civil War and numerous wars with the American Indians.

He had a reputation as a brilliant and charismatic leader, but he also made some famously bone-headed decisions. More than once, he charged enemy forces without knowing how strong they were, he broke formation to chase game (he once got lost while chasing buffalo and accidentally shot his own horse), and he made wild detours to hunt for Indians.

Custer was madly in love with his wife, Elizabeth, frequently "forgetting" his orders so he could go see her, but he also kept an Indian concubine. He also loved dogs and horses; he wept in public when one of his favorite dogs died. He also loved music and traveled with his own brass band, as well as a personal chef. He also had a reputation as a boundlessly enthusiastic optimist with a deep-seated love of practical jokes.

Custer is most famous for his tragic misstep at Little Big Horn. In 1876, he and 250 of his soldiers attacked an Indian camp, not knowing that it included numerous tribes and about 2,500 warriors, including great chiefs like Crazy Horse and Gall. Custer sent back messengers requesting immediate aid, but he strayed too close to the camp, where his men were surrounded and massacred.

Research from GURPS Who's Who 2, compiled by Phil Masters, "George Armstrong Custer" by Joel Sparks, pp. 90-91.

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