Quotes on the love of books.

Diane Kalas, Inspirational Historical Romance Author

"I cannot live without books."
Thomas Jefferson (Author of the Declaration of Independence)

Monday, October 28, 2013

George A. Custer: Cadet Oath Upon Entering West Point

Former West Point Classmates
Photo by James F. Gibson, courtesy Library of Congress
Civil War Treasures from the New York Historical Society

The photo above shows Union Captain George A. Custer, sitting beside a former West Point classmate and friend, Confederate Lieutenant James B. Washington, who had been captured by General McClellan's men in May 1862. Custer was serving as an aide on McClellan's staff at the time. Note the men are sitting so close beside each other that their shoulders, elbows and knees are touching. The bond between West Point graduates was so strong not even a Civil War could ruin their friendships.

The Cadet Oath Taken by Robert E. Lee Upon Entering West Point, September 25, 1825:

"I, Robert E. Lee, a cadet born in the State of Virginia, aged 18 years and 9 months, do hereby acknowledge to have this day voluntarily engaged with the consent of my mother to serve in the Army of the United States for a period of five years, unless sooner discharged by proper authority. And I do promise upon honor that I will observe and obey the orders of the officers appointed over me, the rules and articles of war, and the regulations which have been or may hereafter be established for the government of the Military Academy."

Source: Freeman, Douglas, S.,R. E. LEE: A Biography, Vol. 1, page 51
Source: Civil War Talk.com

The Cadet Oath Taken Upon Entering West Point
Regulations for the United States Military Academy, 1857 edition.

"I, (cadet name) of the State of (state) aged (cadet age) years, months, having been selected for an appointment as Cadet in the Military Academy of the United States, do hereby engage with the consent of my (parent or guardian) in the event of my receiving such appointment, that I will serve in the army of the United States for eight years, unless sooner discharged by competent authority. And I (cadet name) DO SOLEMNLY SWEAR (emphasis original), that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the United States of America, and that I will serve them HONESTLY and FAITHFULLY (emphasis original), against all their enemies or opposers whatsoever; and that I will observe and obey the orders of the President of the United States, and the orders of the Officers appointed over me, according to the Rules and Articles of War."

Source: Civil War Talk.com

The Current Cadet Oath Taken Upon Entering 
The United States Military Academy

"I, (cadet's name), do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States, and bear true allegiance to the National Government; that I will maintain and defend the sovereignty of the United States, paramount to any and all allegiance, sovereignty, or fealty I may owe to any State or Country whatsoever; and that I will at all times obey the legal orders of my superior officers, and the Uniform Code of Military Justice."

Source: BUGLE NOTES, West Point Academy, 2013

Rumors came to a head at West Point Academy on George Washington's birthday, February 22, 1861. The incumbent President, James Buchanan, tried to prevent a mass resignation of cadets from the Academy before Lincoln's inauguration and directed the cadets be read:
"The Friendly Counsel and Prophetic Warnings Contained in 
Washington's Farewell Address to His Troops."

The cadets were marched into the chapel, the tradition on Washington's birthday, to listen to the staff read the address. Throughout the address, the call for union is stressed much to the annoyance of cadets from the South. All classes had been cancelled for the day because of the holiday and, after the chapel service, the cadets spent the rest of the day discussing politics and the impending war. At the end of the day, the band marched across the parade ground playing Washington's March then The Star Spangled Banner. Suddenly, all hell broke loose! Cadets rushed to every window. 

Tom Rosser of Virginia, Custer's room mate called out: "Secession, Secession - Dixie, Play Dixie!"

The Southerners broke into singing "Dixie" while on the other side of the quadrangle, Custer led the singing of The Star Spangled Banner." The Academy was divided.

Source: www.americancivilwar.asn.au/meet/2002
West Point Classmates - Civil War Enemies by Paul Kensey, October Meeting 2002

George A. Custer in the Civil War

George Armstrong Custer
More is known about Custer’s Indian War campaigns, under the direction and authority of the United States Department of War, than his Civil War record. Custer participated in over one hundred engagements and earned him the title Boy-General. The title was appropriate for a young man just twenty-three and the youngest general in the Federal service.

When Custer’s service began, a cavalryman was used for escort duty, scouting or message carrying. Infantrymen at the time had a statement that spoke to their feelings: “You’ll never see a dead cavalryman.” Custer changed all that as a new commander of the Michigan Cavalry Brigade who shouted: “Come on you Wolverines,” as he led them in a charge against the seemingly invincible JEB Stuart at Gettysburg. 

The Confederate Stuart was leading his superior force of veteran Confederate cavalry around the Union right on July 3, at the moment the Federal cannons were pounding Pickett’s men as they crossed the wheat fields between Seminary and Cemetery ridges. In a series of charges and counter charges, Custer drove the Confederate forces from the field saving the Union line on Cemetery Ridge.

Custer in his red necktie, and braid-covered, velveteen uniform was in the front of the charge where his men could see him. Custer believed his job was to instill courage in his men and to lead by example.

Custer knew and loved horses and he rode a fast-gaited mount that he could move back and forth rapidly in front of his command, presenting a more difficult target while he was at it. The records indicate Custer had a dozen horses shot under him in the course of the war, but was wounded just once himself.

General Hugh S. Johnson believed that Custer’s spectacular charge so shattered Stuart’s cavalry it saved the battle for General Meade. Following that final day of July 3, it was Custer who ripped the rear of General Lee’s bedraggled forces as they made their weary way back to Virginia where they recouped and regrouped to fight another day.

Custer was best known as a tactician, although some considered him a genius on the field, he displayed ability as a strategist. Custer and General Alfred Torbert planned a cavalry attack on Cold Harbor that was approved by Sheridan and supported by Meade and Grant. It was successful beyond all expectations, partially because Custer replaced his armchair with a saddle and led his men in the engagement

Through Custer’s Civil War years, he was appointed to the staffs of Generals Baldy Smith, Kearny, Hancock, McClellan, Hooker and Pleasonton as requested. These were not by chance or a matter of political influence appointments. Custer was commended for his ability and zeal.

Custer displayed his qualities of generalship in the battles of Cedar Creek, Five Forks, Cold Harbor, and Yellow Tavern where one of his men killed JEB Stuart.

In the final phase of the campaign in 1865, Custer drove his men hard. It was the cavalry’s job to lead the relentless drive that would force General Lee to surrender. Sheridan made every effort to head off Lee near Appomattox Court House, Virginia. Near there on April 8, he reported: “Custer, who had the advance, made a dash at the station, capturing four trains of supplies with locomotives. Custer pushed on toward Appomattox Court House, driving the enemy, charging them repeatedly.”

Once the terms of surrender were decided upon by Grant and Lee, Sheridan purchased a small pine table from the owner of the house, Wilmer McLean, that cost him $20 in gold, for the official and historical event. Afterward, Sheridan addressed a short letter to Mrs. Custer and then presented the table and letter to Custer:
                                                Appomattox Court House
April 10, 1865
My dear Madam:

I respectfully present to you the small writing table on which the conditions for the surrender of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia were written by Lt. Gen. Grant – and permit me to say, Madam, that there is scarcely an individual in our service who has contributed more to bring about this desirable result than your very gallant husband.
                                                Very Respectfully,
                                                Phil Sheridan
                                                Major General

Frost, Lawrence A. THE CUSTER ALBUM, Washington, Superior Publishing Company

Whittaker, Frederick, A COMPLETE LIFE OF GEN. GEORGE A. CUSTER, New York, 1876

Monday, October 21, 2013

Myth #4. How George A. Custer Became a General

Myth #4. In the movie, They Died With Their Boots On, starring Errol Flynn in 1942, Hollywood produced a wildly inventive account of Custer’s life and military commissions. No sign of truth anywhere in the film. The following list is Custer’s U.S. Army Commissions that are in the possession of the Custer Battlefield National Monument:

June 24, 1861 - Second Lieutenant in the Second Regiment of Cavalry. Signed by Abraham Lincoln, Sept. 9, 1861. Custer was a recent West Point Academy graduate.

June 5, 1862 – Additional Aide-de-Camp with the rank of Captain. Signed by Abraham Lincoln, July 30, 1862

July 17, 1862 – First Lieutenant in Fifth Regiment of Cavalry. Signed by Abraham Lincoln, June 6, 1863.

June 29, 1863 – Brigadier General of Volunteers. Signed by Abraham Lincoln, March 11, 1864.

July 3, 1863 – Brevet Major for gallant and meritorious services at the Battle of Gettysburg, PA. Signed by Andrew Johnson, August 3, 1866.

May 8, 1864 – Captain in Fifth Regiment of Cavalry. Signed by Andrew Johnson, June 1, 1865.

May 11, 1864 – Brevet Lieutenant Colonel for gallant and meritorious services at the Battle of Yellow Tavern, VA. Signed by Andrew Johnson, August 2, 1866.

September 19, 1864 – Brevet Colonel for gallant and meritorious services at the Battle of Winchester, VA. Signed by Andrew Johnson, August 1, 1866.

October 19, 1864 – Brevet Major General of Volunteers for gallant and meritorious service at the Battles of Winchester and Fisher’s Hill, VA.

March 13, 1865 – Brevet Major General for gallant and meritorious services during the campaign ending with the surrender of the insurgent army of Northern Virginia. Signed by Andrew Johnson, July 28, 1866.

April 15, 1865 – Major General of Volunteers. Signed by Andrew Johnson, March 10, 1866.

July 28, 1866 – Lieutenant Colonel of the Seventh Regiment of Cavalry. Signed by Andrew Johnson, March 5, 1867.

From the information listed above, you can see Custer was made a General or Brevet Major or Brevet Colonel several times and always for gallant and meritorious services. A brevet was a commission giving an officer higher nominal rank than that for which he received pay. It was an honor conferred by the Senate for meritorious service or heroism. Many were conferred upon staff officers who saw no active combat, creating much resentment among those officers who were serving on the line of action.

For a time, an officer with a brevet frequently was assigned a command commensurate with his brevet rank and was paid accordingly. For that reason, the honor was not an empty one. In addition, the recipient bore the title of his highest rank for his entire career. General Custer is a case in point. Socially and oftentimes officially, Custer was addressed as General though his rank in the Seventh Cavalry was that of Lieutenant Colonel. In this last instance, he received the pay and the compensation of a lieutenant colonel.

After the war, there was a scramble for the available openings in a much smaller post war army. Regular army officers, who held high rank in the Volunteer Army, had been dropped in grade to their regular army grades in keeping with the need for fewer officers. Appointments were often made based on the influence of friends in high places as well as the professional background and abilities of the applicants.

Custer’s Civil War record worked for him and in the end worked against him. Unknown to George, he made enemies within the officer ranks, men he had not even met during the war. Career army officers accumulated a level of envy and jealousy over Custer’s youthful promotions that allowed them to engage in gossip, slander, and bearing false witness against Custer in military courts, personal letters and even books they wrote on the famous boy-general.

Frost, Lawrence A., CUSTER LEGENDS, Ohio, Bowling Green University Popular Press, 1981

Utley, Robert M., FRONTIER REGULARS, New York, 1973

Note: All of Custer’s commissions listed are in the files of the Custer Battlefield National Monument. Also in the files, is a letter from Major General Phil Sheridan to Secretary of War Station, dated April 6, 1866, requesting that Gen. Custer be appointed “Colonel of Cavalry upon the reorganization of the Army.” He added to the request that “The record of this officer is so conspicuous as to render its recital by me unnecessary. I ask this appointment as a reward to one of the most gallant and efficient officers that ever served under me.” 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Myth #3 - Custer's Flamboyant Attire

Custer’s Vanity and Distinctive Appearance

Myth #3.         “His vanity, his desire to appear distinctive, led him to don whatever dress would make him most conspicuous and distinguish him from his companions.” A quote from Charles J. Brill, author of Conquest of the Southern Plains.

Answer:           Custer permitted his curly, blond hair to grow long, cutting it short when he married Libbie Bacon, and vowed not to cut it again until he entered Richmond. And later as Custer prepared to leave Fort Abraham Lincoln in the spring of 1876, he cut it short, presumably because they would be within a country known to be quite warm at that time of year. Barbers were not a common complement of the service. Shaves and haircuts were often self-administered. In addition to the practical reasons he kept his hair short, Custer knew he had attractive hair and wasn’t embarrassed to wear it long.

Custer’s choice of a hat had to do with his having a light complexion that burned readily with sun exposure. Instead of the regulation dress hat, he usually wore a broad-brimmed, flat topped, sombrero, either of straw or light colored felt. At West Point, his fair skin with pink tones earned him the name Fanny. The Southern cavalryman had learned that straw was cooler than felt, and that a light color reflected the warm rays of the sun. The Northern army did not adopt this style.

While campaigning on the plains, Custer found a pair of buckskin trousers and a fringed buckskin jacket that was waist length both comfortable and durable. At times, he wore moccasins but preferred Wellington cavalry boots that afforded protection for his legs while on the trail.

The cavalry officers and enlisted men were permitted to dress informally while campaigning. Many men would have canvas sewed onto their trousers at the points of wear on the seat and inner thighs. Government issued shirts were not mandatory. Checkered black and white shirts were popular as were navy blue. Hats were seen in numerous shapes and sizes, because everyone disliked the regulation black felt hat. The hat was hot and unshapely after being in the rain.

For a time, Custer wore red flannel shirts until Libbie begged him to give them up for obvious reasons. He became an even more noticeable target, wearing the bright red shirts.

At the post, Custer wore the standard and accepted uniforms that lieutenant colonels customarily wore. While on garrison duty, he dressed smartly and expected his officers to do likewise. He wanted them to respect themselves in the way they dressed and that would result in respect for the outfit they served. This was just one of many requirements Custer used in developing esprit de corps in the Seventh Cavalry.

When Custer visited New York, during the winter, he would wear civilian clothes. When he was elevated to the rank of brigadier general in the Civil War, he had the prerogative of designing his own uniform. Some called it a bizarre uniform. General James H. Kidd, then a colonel in the Michigan Cavalry Brigade, described Custer after viewing him when he first took command.

“I saw an officer superbly mounted who sat his charger as if to the manner born. Tall, lithe, active, muscular, straight as an Indian and as quick in his movements, he had the fair complexion of a schoolgirl.

Custer was clad in a suit of black velvet, elaborately trimmed with gold lace, which ran down the outer seams of his trousers, and almost covered the sleeves of his cavalry jacket. The wide collar of the blue navy shirt was turned down over the collar of his velvet jacket, and a necktie of brilliant crimson was tied in a graceful knot at the throat, the long ends falling carelessly in front. The double row of buttons on his breast was arranged in groups of two, indicating the rank of a brigadier general. A soft, black hat with wide brim adorned with a gilt cord, and a rosette encircling a silver star was worn turned down on one side giving him a rakish air. His golden hair fell in graceful luxuriance nearly to his shoulders, and his upper lip was garnished with a blond mustache. A sword and belt, gilt spurs and top boots, completed his unique outfit.

That garb, fantastic as at first sight it appeared to be was to be, the distinguishing mark which, during all the remaining years of that war, like the white plume of Henry of Navarre, was to show us where, in the thickest of the fight, we were to seek our leader – for, where danger was . . . there was he, always.”

Like the company guidon, the personal designating flag or the regimental standard, Custer was the rallying point and none could fail to see where he was located. He once said that by being in front where his men would see him in that uniform and red necktie, sharing their dangers and inviting the enemies’ bullets, he served to set an example.

General George Patton, in more recent time, used a similar psychology. Patton used to ride in a jeep at the head of a tank advance. When Patton was seen standing in the lead tank or jeep, a pair of ivory handled revolvers strapped to him, his men took on new courage. The faintest of hearts beat faster when they saw their commanding general up in front sharing their hardships and danger. Obviously, the revolvers were symbolic of his horse cavalry days, because they had no use in tank warfare. Who would doubt it was Patton when they spotted those revolvers? 

Frost, Lawrence A., CUSTER LEGENDS, Ohio, Bowling Green University Popular Press, 1981

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Myth #2 - Custer Graduated Last In His West Point Class

Custer’s West Point Academy Years

When Custer arrived at the West Point wharf in the summer of 1857, to begin the five years of training then required to graduate from the United States Military Academy, he became one of the 300 boys granted this privilege. He was an 18-year-old boy whose face showed the softness of youth with no hard angles. At nearly 6 feet tall with a slim build, he had blond wavy hair with a fair complexion that sunburned easily and sun sensitive eyes.

Young Custer had achieved his first of many dreams, acceptance into our country’s finest military academy. His military career would bring him universal fame, prestige, and accolades in both civilian and military spheres. The time period being age 18 in 1857, until June 25, 1876, when he died at 36 years of age. In 18 years, a young man from farming communities in Ohio and Michigan, would become the most well known U.S. Cavalryman and earn a position in the history books.

Myth #2.         George Armstrong Custer graduated last in his West Point Class

Answer:           In one of the last articles Custer had written for publication, he observed that: “My career as a cadet had but little to commend it to the study of those who came after me, unless as an example to be carefully avoided. My offenses against law and order were not great in enormity, but what they lacked in magnitude they made up in number. The resignation and departure of the Southern cadets took away from the Academy a few individuals who, had they remained, would probably have contested with me the debatable honor of bringing up the rear of the class.”

Except for a few young men, there seemed to be no hard feelings when Southern boys began leaving the Academy at the early state of the Rebellion and returned home to join the armed forces of their home states. Cadets were broad-minded, professionals-to-be who respected their fellow cadets loyalties even when they did not agree.

Here’s a quote from Custer on the subject: “Any Southern cadet who wants to leave the Academy and go home and fight for his home State has a clear right to. I’m going to stick to the Union, but I refuse to hold the slightest bitterness against any Southern cadet or Southern army officer who resigns and follows the fortunes of his own State.”

West Pointers consider the last man graduating at the Academy to be the “goat.” Custer graduated 34 out of 34 students. Custer’s class had started in 1857 with 79 names on the roster. The drop-outs started immediately. Twenty-two cadets didn’t show up for admission. One died on sick leave. Twenty-two resigned because of the Civil War. Many of the latter, and some had less than a semester to graduate, joined and fought on the side of the Confederacy.

John Carroll, one of the country’s leading Custer authorities, is of the belief that 23 members of the class that started with Custer in 1857, conceivably could have finished behind Custer. As he said in a comprehensive study of the subject: “It is not only completely wrong, but faulty to claim Custer as the “Goat.” True, he finished last, but this was because of a decimated class and not necessarily because of an earned academic standing.”

The term “goat” as applied to Custer is a traditional one that was applied to the graduate who was at the very bottom of his class. Actually, it didn’t apply to Custer for the term was not yet in use. Classes at West Point Academy up to 1861 were scheduled for five years.

In May 1861, the five year class graduated from West Point Academy. In June 1861, the four year students were allowed to graduate West Point due to the Federal government’s desperate need for Army officers. George A. Custer was in the June 1861 graduating class.

In the final analysis Custer has been victimized and made to appear, through inaccurate research, as the “goat” of his class. John Carroll, Custer historian, has laid that myth to rest.

While growing up, Custer and his family enjoyed practical jokes. This habit never left George and throughout his brief life, especially during his West Point years, he had a reputation as a prankster, dare-devil, and carefree fellow.

Custer’s Academy records indicate he had done well in scholastic performance. However, he also earned more demerits for nonsense than most. He had to cut and run at sight of an adjutant in full uniform for fear he would be placed in arrest and confined to quarters. To classmates, Custer had more fun, gave his friends more anxiety, walked more tours of extra guard, and came nearer being dismissed more often than any other cadet.

While at the Academy, Custer began to let his hair grow long a la Cody. After being reported several times, he shaved his head and wore a wig. He was reported numerous times for “Hair out of uniform,” to the amusement of classmates.

In a letter to a friend, Custer describes how some cadets left the Academy grounds late at night to go into a nearby town for the purpose of enjoying things that were not allowed, such as ice cream, candies, fruit, wine and liquors. They had to change clothes and sneak out. This was very risky and the penalty severe, if caught. He didn’t actually admit to his friend that he participated, but I’m thinking – yes, he did and loved the thrill of adventure.

Brig. Gen. Evans Andruss wrote to Libbie Custer: “His boyish, but harmless frolics kept him in constant hot water. He was beyond doubt the most popular man in his class and even the plebes (Andruss was one while Custer was a cadet) deemed it an honor and a pleasure to be ‘deviled’ by him.” Custer was an “immortal” to those who came after him. Cadet Custer exhibited the high jinks of a rambunctious youth right off a farm and living hundreds of miles from home.

Custer excelled at horsemanship and made the highest jump on record with the exception of a higher jump made by Cadet Ulysses S. Grant who graduated the Academy in 1843. Custer was the strongest man in his class. He demonstrated his physical strength when, while lying down he would spring up to a standing position in one fluid motion.

Custer graduated the United States Military Academy just in time to be present at the first battle of Bull Run on July 21, 1861. He, no doubt, called it “Custer luck.” He had been assigned as a second lieutenant to the Second U.S. Cavalry when he saw the first smoke of battle on that occasion, although he took no active role.

Carroll, John, WAS CUSTER REALLY THE GOAT OF HIS CLASS, an address given before The Little Big Horn Associates at Louisville, Kentucky, October 1974

Frost, Lawrence A., CUSTER LEGENDS, Ohio, Bowling Green University Popular Press, 1981


Custer Historian, Lawrence A. Frost

Lawrence A. Frost (1907-1990)

The following is information on the main Custer author whose work I am using for my blog articles.

Lawrence A. Frost, a podiatrist and an historian, published several books on George A. Custer, including biographical works on General Philip Sheridan, General Ulysses S. Grant, and Thomas A. Edison. Dr. Frost spent a lifetime in researching Custer, his career and personal life.

Dr. Frost, a 1929 graduate of Ohio College of Podiatry Medicine in Cleveland, became interested in Custer a decade later when he was studying the history of shoes and boots. He collected footwear worn by notables; a pair of boots worn by Custer in the Civil War was included in a display in his office.

Dr. Frost owned 2,000 books relating to Custer in his library and over 1,000 magazine articles. In his opinion, some reviewers had little knowledge to recommend anyone reading their reviews and many authors of books on Custer had little in their background and research to offer anything new.

Dr. Frost taught at the Illinois College of Podiatry Medicine in Chicago and at his alma mater.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Myth #1 - George Armstrong Custer

The Myths of George Armstrong Custer

Myth #1. George was born in Monroe, Michigan.

Answer: George was born in New Rumley, Ohio, December 5, 1839, the son of Emanuel and Marie. Custer’s nickname was Autie, his mispronunciation of his middle name as a child. George’s father was a blacksmith who loved horses, but also farmed for a living. George, no doubt, developed his love of horses from his childhood experiences

The Custer family moved to Monroe, Michigan, in 1842, and lived there for six months and returned to New Rumley. George’s family was close-knit and this began a length of time where George moved back and forth between his father’s farm and his half sister’s home in Monroe, spending two years with each family as needed. While in Monroe, George’s brother-in-law owned a livery business and George helped tend the horses, while going to the Stebbins Academy. George returned to New Rumley at the age of 16 to attend the McNeely Normal School in Hopedale. George secured his teacher’s certificate from the Harrison County Board of School Examiners and obtained a teaching position at the Beech Point School.

George wanted a military career in the U. S. Cavalry and his father supported his wishes. George secured the nomination for the United States Military Academy from Congressman John Bingham. George’s father signed the acceptance of appointment to West Point, and George reported to West Point, New York, in the summer of 1857. He was 18 years old.

Merington, Marguerite THE CUSTER STORY, New York, The Devin-Adair Company, 1950

George Armstrong Custer, an Introduction

A National Phenomenon – George Armstrong Custer

A long time ago, a person wrote an article about judging historical figures from the 20th century perspective, cautioning readers to use a wide lens. George Armstrong Custer is one of those historical, larger-than-life characters requiring an uncritical mindset at the beginning of the research. According to the librarian at the Monroe County Library in Monroe, Michigan, no other historical figure has had as many books written about him as Custer. Just mention his last name and most people recall Custer was a Civil War hero, Indian fighter, and died in the line of duty as the commander of the famed Seventh Cavalry attacking a sleeping village of innocent Native Americans.

Discovering the truth, setting aside the myths or legends about Custer, from a distance of 137 years is time consuming but not very difficult. While I cannot interview the man, or anyone who knew him personally or casually, what I do have is a staggering amount of government documents from West Point Military Academy and the U.S. Army available to me. In addition, personal letters written by Custer to his wife, family members, friends, superior officers, and books he wrote describing his life on the plains, serial articles he wrote for magazines and lectures he gave on his adventurous life. I can also read the many numerous books written about Custer authored by fellow U.S. Army officers both friend and foe. Moreover, I cannot overlook the numbers of books written by Custer scholars and historians in this century.

My journey into Custer’s world began with a story idea I had where he and his wife are secondary characters, hometown neighbors and friends of my heroine. What I learned about Custer made me want to call him George or Autie as a friend would call him. I would also like to ask him “What were you thinking, George, when you . . .”

I decided to write a series of blog articles about the controversial boy-general, focusing on the myths surrounding Custer’s military career and some of his personal life. I am not a Custer scholar or historian. I have a passion for writing inspirational historical romance and want to pass along some of the information I have found in my research.

As always, I enjoy comments left on my blog.