General George A. Custer
Original Author: Unknown
Created: May 1865
Medium: Wet collodion glass-plate negative
Publisher: Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division

General George A. Custer

Union general George A. Custer poses for this glass-plate image taken by an unknown photographer in 1865. Custer's name is etched into the emulsion at the top of the negative and appears in reverse. Though he graduated last in his class at West Point in 1861, Custer became a brigadier general at age twenty-three, the youngest Union general at that time. Custer was twenty-five when this portrait was made.

Though he fought effectively in the Civil War, he had less success during the western Indian wars that followed. He is renowned for his greatest failure: the Battle of the Little Bighorn on June 25–26, 1876, during which he and all of the men in his battalion were killed. Custer was thirty-six years old when he died.