Lot #401
George A. Custer

Extremely important letter as Custer prepares to track down Early's army on the morning of the Battle of Waynesboro
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Estimate: $6000+


Extremely important letter as Custer prepares to track down Early's army on the morning of the Battle of Waynesboro

Extremely important Civil War-dated LS in pencil, signed “G. A. Custer,” one page, 4 x 7.25, 11:45 AM on March 2, 1865. Letter to Bvt. Maj. Gen. Lewis Addison Grant, reporting on troop movements and conditions. In full: "I have arrived at Fisherville and found here but—one Company of Cavalry—they fell back toward Waynesboro—The roads are in a very bad condition—almost impossible for wagons or artillery. Genl. Rosser is reported to have passed through here last night." Matted with an engraved portrait to an overall size of 14 x 11. In very good to fine condition, with several horizontal folds and a few small stains.

Leading his division in Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley campaign, Custer had received orders to destroy the Virginia Central Railroad and take Lynchburg. Making a difficult march over wet clay roads in which horses were foundering in mud up to their bellies, Custer received word that the enemy, under Jubal Early and Thomas Rosser (Custer's friend and former West Point roommate), had just evacuated Staunton and fallen back toward Waynesboro. Driving off Confederate vedettes at Fisherville, Custer and his men marched to Waynesboro and found Early's army dug in behind a formidable line of earthworks that afternoon. Acting boldly, Custer did not await reinforcements and attacked immediately, throwing the Confederate forces into a panic and routing them in short order. Federal accounts claimed the capture of 1,600 men, 17 flags, 11 guns, and all of Early's supplies. Early escaped capture, but would never return to the battlefield.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autograph and Artifacts, Ft. Animation
  • Dates: #620 - Ended November 10, 2021

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