Custer acquired a solid reputation during the Civil War. He fought in the first major engagement, the First Battle of Bull Run. His association with several important officers helped his career, as did his performance as an aggressive commander. Before war's end, Custer was promoted to the temporary rank (brevet) of major general. (At war's end, this was reduced to the permanent rank of Lieutenant Colonel). At the conclusion of the Appomattox Campaign, in which he and his troops played a decisive role, Custer was on hand at General Robert E. Lee's surrender.
After the Civil War, Custer was dispatched to the West to fight in the Indian Wars. The overwhelming defeat in his final battle overshadowed his achievements in the Civil War. Custer was defeated and killed at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876, fighting against a coalition of Native American tribes in a battle that has come to be popularly known in American history as "Custer's Last Stand".