George Armstrong Custer was born on December 5, 1839 in New Rumley, Ohio. Graduating from West Point in 1861, he saw service during the First Battle of Bull Run and Gettysburg. Later, he attracted national attention for his relentless pursuit of Robert E. Lee`s troops from Richmond to Appomattox, where he accepted the Confederate flag of truce on April 9, 1865.
After reaching the rank of major general in the volunteers, Custer was mustered out of volunteer service in 1865 and returned to his permanent rank of captain. However, when the Seventh Cavalry was organized later in the year, Custer was promoted to lieutenant colonel and given command.
Custer took part in the disastrou Indian campaign that General Hancock waged against the Indians in 1867 and was court-martialed for disobeying orders. He was suspended from the army for a year, but soon was recalled by General Sheridan and defeated Chief Black Kettle`s Cheyennes in the battle of the Washita River in 1868.
In 1874, Custer published My Life on the Plain, a description of his explorations of the Yellowstone River and his periodic battles with Indians. Before leaving on an assignment to serve on General Terry`s expedition against the Sioux and Cheyennes under Sitting Bull , Custer testified before Congress on corruption in the Indian Bureau. This angered President Grant, who relieved Custer of his command. Loud outcries against this decision forced Grant to reinstate him and he rejoined the 7th Cavalary in Montana.
During the campaign, Custer split his forces and then encountered a large force of Indians, numbering about 2500 to 4000. In the Battle of Little Big Horn, Custer and his entire force of more than 260 men died on June 25, 1876.