How Custer's rise and fall was covered by The New York Times

"The Custer Fight" by Charles Marion Russell, 1903. Image from Library of Congress

The New York Times published an account of how George Armstrong Custer was covered by the paper in the late 1800s.

Custer's first mention on April 3, 1863, was brief. But three months later, he was a rising star in the military -- he had been promoted to general and led troops in the Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War.

His next appearance in the paper on July 7, 1876, was relatively short. The story ended with just a few fateful words: "Custer has met with a fearful disaster."

The next day the paper devoted nearly its entire front page to the historic Battle of the Little Bighorn. There the nation discovered in more detail what happened on June 25-26 in 1876, when tribal warriors crushed Custer and his forces.

Higher-ups in the military blamed Custer for his own downfall, the Times reported on July 8, 1876. "Custer was surrounded on every side by Indians, and horses fell as they fought on skirmish line or in line of battle," the paper wrote.

Get the Story:
1863: Custer’s First Stand (The New York Times 5/4)

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