Monroe County Library System,  Monroe, MI 48162


Bygones of Monroe:

Capt. Geo A. Custer

The Correspondent of the New York Times, gives an account of the desperate cavalry fight at and near Aldle says:

“Gen. Kilpatrick ordered the First Maine Col. Douty, First Mass. Lt. Col. Curtis and a battalion of the 4th New York under Col. Chesnola to charge up the road. There was a little hesitancy at first when Gen Kirkpatrick accompanied by Col. Douty of the First Maine and a Capt. Costar of Gen. Pleasanton’s staff went to the front and called upon the troops to follow. There was no hesitancy then. The Maine boys gave three cheers for Gen. Kilpatrick and the whole column made a dash up the road in the face of the carbines, rifles and cannon sweeping everything before them.”

Col. Douty was killed.

The Capt. Costar of Gen. Pleasanton’s staff here alluded to, is Capt Geo. A. Custer of the 5th Regular Cavalry, lately on the staff of Gen. McClellan and now on that of Gen. Pleasanton. He is one of our Monroe boys, educated here, but a short time a resident of Ohio, from which he was sent to West Point through the influence of Hon. Mr. Bingham, M.C.. He graduated at West Point in 1861 and went directly into the army. He was the first man to reconnoiter the Chickahominy last summer, having plunged in and waded across in sight of the enemy for which he was offered and accepted a place on the staff of Gen. McClellan. It will be remembered that he led a detachment of the 4th Michigan Infantry across the Chickahominy and attacked and nearly annihilated the Louisianan Tigers. He also led the reconnoitering party composed of the First Mich. Infantry among others, to the south of James River, in the direction of Petersburg while our army lay at Harrison’s Landing.

After McClellan was relieved of the command, Capt. Custer returned to his home in Monroe, where he resided with his brother in-law, David Reed, until about the 1st of April, when he left for Washington and when Gen. Pleasanton was assigned to the command of the cavalry forces, was placed on the staff of that officer. While in this position, and while our army was at Falmouth recently, Capt. Custer led a small party of cavalry down the Peninsula between the Potomac and Rappahannock broke up a nest of contraband traders, took a considerable number of prisoners, crossed the Rappahannock with some five or six men and seized some rebel officers whom he brought as prisoners. For this expedition he was highly complimented by Gen. Hooker.

Capt. Custer has been strongly recommended to Gen. Blair as Col. Of Cavalry by Gen Burnside, Gen. Stonemen, Gen. Humphrey, Gen. Copeland, Gen. Stahl, Gen. Pleasanton, and also Gen. Hooker who assert that we have not a more gallant man in the field and that whenever there is a daring expedition to be undertaken or hard fighting to be done, he is ever the foremost.

(Monroe Commercial, July 2, 1863, Page 2 Column 2)

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