George Armstrong Custer, an 1861 West Point grad, was the youngest officer to attain high rank in the Civil War. He served as an aide to Gen. George McClellan until Gen. Ambrose Burnside took command of the Army of the Potomac.

Although Custer met a bad end when he led 264 men to massacre by the Sioux in 1876, his legend lived on, largely thanks to his wife Elizabeth. Mrs. Custer lectured about her fallen husband, and even wrote a children’s book that promoted him as a role model for manliness.