George Armstrong Custer (1839-1876) was an American army officer and cavalry commander in the American Civil War and the Indian Wars. He established a reputation as an aggressive cavalry brigade commander willing to take personal risks by leading his Michigan Brigade into battle. At the end of the Civil War (1865), Custer was promoted to Major General of United States Volunteers. His distinguished war record, which started with riding dispatches for General Scott, has been overshadowed in history by his role and fate in the Indian Wars. Custer was defeated and killed at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876, against a coalition of Native American tribes. He wrote about the Indian wars in My Life on the Plains (1874).