One of the great ironies of Custer’s career that he continued to be famous and even revered in America, even though he was responsible for the defeat at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. This was partly because of his wife. She wrote many books about her late husband and gave many interviews about his life and achievements. Libbie became a celebrity in her own way and she never remarried even though she was considered a great beauty. She was a widow for 56 years. Perhaps the greatest proponent of the myth of George Custer was Buffalo Bill. He was a great impresario and he staged for many years the Wild West Show, dramatizing Custer’s bravery.
These were live performances in which often real cowboys and Indians recreated famous scenes from the Wild West. One of the most popular of these was the Battle of the Little Big Horn. In Buffalo Bill’s recreation of the Battle, Custer is shown as dying bravely and as a hero. In fact, Custer was widely blamed for the defeat. However, Libbie and Buffalo Bill helped to keep the name of Custer alive
Custer was thought to have lived a charmed life. He was considered lucky by his own superiors and subordinated. This only made him more popular in the army and in the country at large. This can be seen in the way that he managed to escape two court-martial with little consequences for his career. Part of the reason why Custer was lucky was that he was so charismatic and this allowed him to get away with a lot of things. He seemed to have believed that he was almost protected by a higher power and that he was destined for better things.
During the Civil War, Custer was very lucky not to have been killed or seriously wounded in spite of his daring command and having eleven horses killed under him. There was even a phrase common in the army about ‘Custer’s luck’. It seemed that Custer’s luck would never run out and that he would continue with a charmed life. Many expected that his luck would bring him to the very top of the establishment in America and that he would one day even be a President. However, his luck finally ran out at the Little Big Horn. His charmed life had made him overconfident and he did not listen to his subordinates who advised him not to risk his forces. Custer in his overconfidence probably led his men to their doom.
There are many different accounts of the death of Custer. One of the most striking is the Cheyenne claim was that the great general and hero of the American public was actually killed by a Cheyenne female warrior. In June 2005, the Northern Cheyenne broke a century of silence about the death of Custard. Storytellers said that according to their tradition, Buffalo Calf Road Woman, a Northern Cheyenne heroine, struck the mortal blow against Custer. According to tradition, she was the one who knocked him off his horse. She then ran up to the helpless Custer and killed him.
This story seems unlikely, because a soldier who inspected his body, stated that Custer had been killed by two shots most likely from a rifle that had been fired from a distance. The shots had hit him in the temple and in the heart and it seems that his death was quick.
What is known is that Custer was found dead on the battlefield. His body had not been mutilated and some have speculated that this was out of respect for him by the Cheyenne. Following the recovery of Custer’s body and that of his brother Tom, they were both buried side by side in a shallow grave. One year later, Custer’s body and many of his officers were recovered and sent back east for a proper burial. Custer was re-buried again with full military honors at West Point. Many of the ordinary soldiers remained buried at the battle site. It has since been listed as a National Cemetery by the American government.