Generals Custer and Pleasonton - 34188
Custer was "conspicuous for gallantry throughout the fight", Gen. Pleasonton
General Alfred Pleasonton was appointed commander of the Cavalry Corps of the Army of Potomac in May of 1863. Joining his staff and rapidly becoming his protégé was Captain George Custer.
During the June 9, 1863, Battle of Brandy Station, Va., Custer lived up to his reputation for courage. As the Confederate cavalry broke through the Federal line, Custer was tasked with riding through the gun fire, to deliver a message to reposition the US batteries. As the howling shells burst over his head, Custer spurred his horse through the flying metal to disappear into the white smoke, out of sight.
Five, then ten minutes passed as Gen. Pleasonton waited for a sign that the Federal guns were moving into place. "I'm afraid Custer has been hit," Pleasonton said to young Captain Ulric Dahlgren, who had ridden up. "I wish you would ---"
"The batteries are coming up, sir", answered Dahlgren. Emerging from the bank of smoke, the Federal guns began rapidly wheeling into position, each piece being loaded and fired as the caissons dropped to the rear.
"So they are," replied General Pleasonton. "It's all right."
"The guns have gone into action, sir," said Captain Custer, with another salute, as he rode up.
"So I see, sir," responded the General. "Thank you, Mr. Custer."
On Pleasonton's recommendation, Custer was promoted to youngest general in the Civil War. In this image, Custer is on the left as the pair relax at Warrenton, Va. in October of 1863.