The Detroit News featured a story yesterday about "Custer and Michigan: A Love Affair" complete with historic photos. An excerpt: "in the 19th century, Detroiters loved him. He and his wife, Elizabeth Bacon Custer -- "Libbie" -- were devoted to Monroe and Detroit." Article is here:
The story recounts a bit of Custer's Civil War career, including how he served under George McClellan in 1862.
What it does not mention -- because only with the publication within the last months of Michigan at Antietam did fresh research prove it up -- is how Custer acted in the role of staff during the Maryland Campaign of 1862 as if he were a combat officer. Dispatches in the McClellan papers at the Library of Congress, and other locations, reveal how Custer was at the front lines engaged in hostile action against the Confederates and how he urged his commanding general to act with dispatch and boldness. It is a story never before told -- and one that foreshadows the kind of commander Custer would become during the remainder of the Civil War, leading from the front, practically fearless under fire.
For a new insight into George Armstrong Custer's Civil War record during the momentous lead-up to the Battle of Antietam and issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation (prior to his appointment as general in 1863 and the Gettysburg Campaign, check out Michigan at Antietam: The Wolverine State's Sacrifice on America's Bloodiest Day.
Your book purchase will help fund a Michigan monument at Antietam National Battlefield that should include Custer's name.