In 1876, on this day, cavalry commander Lt. Gen. George Armstrong Custer narrowly avoided a catastrophic defeat when, receiving word that the Sioux encampment against which his regiment had been dispatched by his commander Gen. Alfred H. Terry was heavily defended, he uncharacteristically decided to delay attacking rather than strike at once.
Miracle at Little Big Horn by Eric LippsThe wisdom of this choice would be graphically borne out when it became clear just how outnumbered Custer's force was. Had he proceeded, as would have been more typical given his character, he and his men would have been slaughtered.
Custer would continue to serve in the war against the Sioux until 1879. In 1884, the popular general would defeat Grover Cleveland at he Democratic Party's national convention and would beat Republican James G. Blaine to become the 22nd president of the United States.