Midpoint of the War: May to July 1863

The Army of Northern Virginia Moves North

What had Custer achieved to this point in the war?

Born in Ohio in 1839, Custer was the son of farmers. He entered West Point in 1857 and graduated just as the Civil War began. Though he was outstanding at the military academy in terms of the combat arts, he graduated last, dead last, in the class of thirty-four cadets. He was commissioned in time to participate in the First Battle of Bull Run, and he then served as aide to General George McClellan. It was General Alfred Pleasonton, however, who really saw Custer’s potential, and it was thanks to him that Custer became, in June 1863, the youngest brigadier-general in the Union Army.

Like J. E. B. Stuart—to whom he was naturally compared—George A. Custer was a natural leader of men. Handsome, fearless, and gifted with a marvelous tactical sense, he was a superb cavalry officer. By late June of 1863, Custer was on the rise, and woe to those who did not recognize the fact.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Civil War Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App