Capt. George Custer and Gen Affred Pleasonton on horseback

November 05, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

It used to be that only the wealthy could afford to have a portrait of themselves or their family made. By 1862, Oliver Wendell Holmes noted photography has become, "the social currency, the green-backs of civilization". The affordability of photographs resulted in soldiers taking pictures wearing their uniforms, with their loved ones, and in the case of cavalry officers - with their horses.

04041 - Capt. George A. Custer and Gen. Alfred Pleasonton on horseback04041 - Capt. George A. Custer and Gen. Alfred Pleasonton on horseback"Custer was a splendid horseman - fearless, graceful, and dashing." Gen Alfred Pleasonton

During an August 17, 1880 interview for "The New York Times", Pleasonton was asked, "How was Custer?"

"He was a splendid leader, and when he was upon my staff he did some wonderfully brilliant things. The trouble with Custer was that he would not see that his whole force was available. He would rush in and lead a regiment in a charge and let a whole brigade look at him."

"What was he on your staff?"

"He was Captain A.D.C., but I had him promoted to Brigadier-General. He would have licked the Indians on the Little Big Horn if he had kept his command together."


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