It was an eerie feeling to visit Last Stand Hill in Montana where Lt. Colonel George Custer and more than 200 men were wiped out by Lakota Sioux and Cheyenne warriors. The date was June 25, 1876. Also killed in the battle were Custer’s two younger brothers, Boston and Tom, and his brother-in-law and 18-year-old nephew. It was a battle and outcome that shook the entire nation.
Prior to his fateful encounter with the Sioux and Cheyenne, Custer had an amazing streak of pretty good fortune, including 11 horses shot out from under him in battle, but avoiding serious injury. He had been court-marshaled in 1867, but his military career bounced back.
I read several books and articles about George Custer prior to visiting Little Bighorn. Each author pointed out that his streak of amazing luck may have emboldened Custer in a way that ultimately resulted in a bloodbath. His luck had now run out.
When he gave the orders to divide his command into four columns for an early morning assault, an officer asked him, “Suppose we find more Indians than we can handle?” Custer answered, “All I am afraid of is we won’t find half enough. There are not enough Indians in the country to whip the Seventh Cavalry.” (“Bloodshed at Little Bighorn,” Tim Lehman, page 52)
It’s good to be self-confident. It’s dangerous to be cocky. Scripture admonishes us: “Do not think of yourself more highly that you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment.” (Romans 12:3)
A word of warning from George Custer . . . and the Bible.