The Great Showman by Steve Payne
says: what if Custer's injury at the Battle of Gettysburg ended his
promising military career? Please note that the opinions expressed in this
post do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).
In 1863, on July 3rd the
promising military career of Cavalry Commander George Armstrong Custer ended
prematurely on this final day of the Battle of Gettysburg.
Custer's recklessness was in many ways an exaggerated reflection of the
desire for boldness that Lincoln sought in his commanders. He was in fact
rather lucky to have survived to the ripe old age of twenty-three. Because
at Hunterstown, in an ill-considered charge ordered by Kilpatrick against
the brigade of Wade Hampton, Custer fell from his wounded horse directly
before the enemy and became the target of numerous enemy rifles.
"I challenge the annals of warfare to produce a
more brilliant or successful charge of cavalry" ~ Custer on Custer's Dash
sheer luck he survived to receive a promotion to brigade command of the
1st Michigan Cavalry just five days before Gettysburg. His preparation for
battle included outfitting with a ludicrous black velvet suit of his own
design. And on the final day of the battle, he led a wild charge directly
in the path of Jeb Stuart's horsemen yelling "come on you wolverines!".
257 men died in "Custer's Dash", the highest loss of any Union cavalry
brigade. And his own famous luck ran out (or perhaps other's luck was in),
as his horse was shot from under him.
After the Civil War, and out of uniform, Custer turned his attentions
to a career in politics. But he soon discovered that his innate gifts of
luck, self-promotion and over-exhuberance needed to be complemented with a
higher order of intelligence that he sadly lacked. Dispirited, he was to
find some form of happiness in an alternative career in showmanship,
joining Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show and starring alongside another
warrior known as Sitting Bill.
says the idea for this story originated from the source articles in
American Heritage Magazine, Spring 2010 Edition and also
To view guest historian's comments on this post please visit the
Today in Alternate History web site.
Other Contemporary Stories
Editor of Today in
Alternate History, a Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History
That Never Occurred Today. Follow us on
Facebook, Myspace and
Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit
differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items
explore that possibility. Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist
superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy
Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting