John Bingham and George Armstrong Custer

Gerard Magliocca

Gerard N. Magliocca is the Samuel R. Rosen Professor at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Professor Magliocca is the author of three books and over twenty articles on constitutional law and intellectual property. He received his undergraduate degree from Stanford, his law degree from Yale, and joined the faculty after two years as an attorney at Covington and Burling and one year as a law clerk for Judge Guido Calabresi on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Professor Magliocca has received the Best New Professor Award and the Black Cane (Most Outstanding Professor) from the student body, and in 2008 held the Fulbright-Dow Distinguished Research Chair of the Roosevelt Study Center in Middelburg, The Netherlands. He was elected to the American Law Institute (ALI) in 2013.

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1 Response

  1. Richard L. Aynes says:

    The conclusion confuses Custer’s performance as a Civil War soldier/General and his post-war performance. In the Civil War Custer was a hero and said to be the youngest of the Union Generals.

    At Gettysburg, for example, along with General Gregg, Custer’s unit blocked JEB Stuart’s attempt to reach the battlefield in the Union rear. In 1864 he particpated in the Battle of Yellow Tavern where Stuart was killed. He was one of Sheridan’s favorite cavalry generals in the Shenandoah Valley campaign. Custer is contorversial and there are disputes as to whether his Civil War success was the result of “Custer’s luck” and recklessness or tactics devleoped for the situations in which he found himself. But there can be no doubt he was a successful soldier and general in the Civil War.

    Hence, it is inappaririate to judge his military merits (“poor performance as an officer”) without including the Civil War battles and unfair to judge Bingham’s “judgment” in supporting Custer on the same grounds. It may be worthy of note that at the time of the Civil War battles Bingham was in the Congress. At the time of the Little Big Horn Bingham was in Japan as the U.S. Minister.