When General Custer led his troops to annihilation in the Battle of the Little Big Horn in 1876, he was possibly the most notorious Indian fighter the army had known. In his own time, he achieved much of his fame as a daring soldier through his own published accounts of his adventures. Indeed, in My Life on the Plains, originally published serially in the Galaxy magazine starting in May 1872, Custer displays the flamboyance and glamour generally attributed to him by others.
Covering the years 1867-69, the period of most extensive military activity against the Plains Indians, Custer's book tells of the newly reorganized Seventh Cavalry's operations on the frontier. When published, it aroused fresh controversy over the Battle of the Washita during the Winter Campaign of 1868. In fact, Custer so vigorously denounced the "humanitarians" espousing the "Indian peace policy" that one of those named by him--General W. B. Hazen--defended his reputation in a pamphlet issued in 1874. Hazen's rebuttal, entitled "Corrections of Life on the Plains," is appended to this volume.