British Custeriana Series


George Armstrong Custer

 by Fred Dustin


Custer's Trial: The Aftermath

This is a concise biography of Custer, written by one formerly considered to be among the giants in research. Fred Dustin belonged to an era when protagonists, which included Charles F. Bates, W. I. Ghent, W. A. Falconer, Earl A. Brininstool, Frederic F Van De Water, Edward S. Luce, William A. Graham and Dr. Charles Kuhlman, vociferously adopted various positions with regard to the main characters in the Little Big Horn campaign. Of these, Fred Dustin, as Barry Johnson points out in his Introduction to the article, was one of the staunchest defenders of Major Reno and a stern critic of George Custer. In the comments in his introduction to the 1958 printing of the article, Barry Johnson reminded readers that “many of the situations described are capable of wholly different interpretations.” In recent years these “alternative interpretations” have received perhaps more prominence. This paper, which has not been widely disseminated, provides a different view to many and it is hoped that its reappearance will prove both stimulating and enlightening.

The review by the Judge Advocate General of Custer’s 1867 court-martial seems to be a valuable contemporary insight into the response to Custer’s exploits by the Army’s senior Law Officer. Recently there has been speculation that Custer’s “anxiety to see his family” was predicated on rumours of his wife’s possible infidelity with Captain Weir. It is not known if those rumours were circulating at the time of his court-martial and if so what bearing, if any, they might have had on the Court’s findings and sentence. Dustin clearly knew little about the background to these events and his coverage in 1946 was quite sparse. He made no comment about the sentence and Holt’s review is offered as an impartial, dispassionate assessment of an episode that seems to have done Custer little credit and was to have a bearing on Sheridan’s consideration of Custer’s application for reinstatement in 1876.

Price: £5.00 ($10.00) including Postage and Packaging to subscribing members of EWS and CAGB.

All others £6.50 ($13.00) excluding postage and packaging. 

Members of either EWS or CAGB should order from either Barry Corbett (EWS) or Kevin Galvin (CAGB). 

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