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George Custer was an American general who in 1876 led 210 men into battle at Little Bighorn against Native Americans. Custer and his men were killed.
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As the still young country looked to settle the West, it needed to defeat the Lakota and Cheyenne Indians that still dominated parts of the frontier.
In 1876 the United States ordered an attack on the Lakota that involved three separate forces, one of which was led by Custer. But Custer and his men advanced more quickly than the other two units, and in a fatal display of brazen confidence,
the general ordered his 210 men to attack a large Indian village on June 25.
On the other side of the attack was Sitting Bull, the revered Lakota chief who had originally wanted peace at Little Bighorn. But Custer was determined to fight. The general's biggest mistake came in ordering his men to divide into three units. Against the onrush of thousands of Lakota, Arapaho and Cheyenne warriors, Custer and his men were surrounded and killed.
The defeat was a stinging embarrassment to the U.S. government, which redoubled its efforts and quickly and cruelly defeated the Lakota.
For his role, Custer became the stuff of legend, though not the kind he'd wished for. During her final years, Custer's wife wrote accounts of her husband's life that cast him in a heroic light. But no story could overcome the debacle that became known as Custer's Last Stand.
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