By Robert M. Utley
George Armstrong Custer. The identify conjures up quick attractiveness in virtually each American and in humans around the globe. No determine within the heritage of the yankee West has extra powerfully moved the human imagination.When initially released in 1988, Cavalier in Buckskin met with severe acclaim. Now Robert M. Utley has revised his best-selling biography of common George Armstrong Custer. In his preface to the revised version, Utley writes approximately his summers (1947-1952) spent as a historic aide on the Custer Battlefield-as it used to be then known-and credit the paintings of numerous authors whose contemporary scholarship has illuminated our knowing of the occasions of Little Bighorn. He has revised or accelerated chapters, further new details on resources, and revised the map of the battlefield.
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Extra info for Cavalier in Buckskin: George Armstrong Custer and the Western Military Frontier
After helping General McClellan write his final report, Custer returned to the Army of the Potomac late in April 1863. S. Volunteers, reverted to First Lieutenant Custer, Fifth Regular Cavalry. He came back to the cavalry at an auspicious moment. Burnside's disaster at Fredericksburg had sent him the way of McClellan, and Major General Joseph Hooker had taken over the Army of the Potomac. Like Burnside, Hooker's strengths did not lie on the battlefield, as Chancellorsville dramatized early in May.
Custer's first biographer bears major responsibility. Frederick Whittaker, a sometime dime novelist and Civil War veteran who idolized Custer, rushed his thick, turgid tome into print within six months after the Little Bighorn. Crammed with misinformation from the press, it served as a principal source for a generation of scribblers of adventure books, tabloids, and penny dreadfuls, many of whom flagrantly plagiarized it. This sample, typical of much that pretended to history, is from J. W. Buel's Heroes of the Plains (1881): Men had sunk down beside their gallant leader until there was but a handful left, only a dozen, bleeding from many wounds, and hot carbines in their stiffening hands.
For many, Custer continued to be the shining knight of old. Frederick Whittaker would have applauded Warner Brothers' 1941 spectacle They Died with Their Boots On, in which Errol Flynn swashbuckled his way from Bull Run to the Little Bighorn, along the way fighting Rebels, Indians, dimwitted superiors, and corrupt politicians. Olivia de Havilland's Libbie furnished the love angle. The picture perpetuated almost every cliché in the Custer repertory, but a nation just entering World War II found it a stirring celebration of America's military heritage.