George Armstrong Custer was a United States Army officer and cavalry commander in the American Civil War and the American Indian Wars. Raised in Michigan and Ohio, Custer was admitted to West Point in 1857, where he graduated last in his class in 1861. With the outbreak of the Civil War, Custer was called to serve with the Union Army.
Custer developed a strong reputation during the Civil War. He participated in the first major engagement, the First Battle of Bull Run on July 21, 1861, near Washington, D.C. His association with several important officers helped his career as did his success as a highly effective cavalry commander. Custer was brevetted to brigadier general at age 23, less than a week before the Battle of Gettysburg, where he personally led cavalry charges that prevented Confederate cavalry from attacking the Union rear in support of Pickett's Charge. He was wounded in the Battle of Culpeper Court House in Virginia on September 13, 1863. In 1864, Custer was awarded another star and brevetted to major general rank. At the conclusion of the Appomattox Campaign, in which he and his troops played a decisive role, Custer was present at General Robert E.