George Armstrong Custer - Birth, Siblings and Nicknames

Birth, Siblings and Nicknames

Custer was born in New Rumley, Ohio, to Emanuel Henry Custer (1806–1892), a farmer and blacksmith, and Marie Ward Kirkpatrick (1807–1882). He had two younger brothers, Thomas Custer and Boston Custer, who both died with him at the Little Bighorn. His other full siblings were the family's youngest child, Margaret Custer, and the weak and unhealthy Nevin Custer. Custer also had several older half-siblings.

Throughout his life Custer was known by a variety of nicknames. He was called "Autie" (his early attempt to pronounce his middle name) and Armstrong. During the Civil War, Custer was frequently termed "The Boy General" in the press, reflecting his promotion to brigadier general at the age of 23; during his years on the Plains in the Indian Wars, his troopers often referred to him with grudging admiration as "Iron Butt" and "Hard Ass" for his physical stamina in the saddle and his strict discipline, as well as with the more derisive "Ringlets" for his vanity about his appearance in general and his long, curling blond hair in particular.

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