Unlike Hooker, Meade desired to keep his mounted commander on a short leash; he immediately removed Pleasonton from the field and made him a virtual prisoner at army headquarters. This was not unhappy news for Buford, who had felt rather uncomfortable at Brandy Station with Pleasonton on the scene, looking over his shoulder. Other aspects of the cavalry's reorganization, however, left Buford with mixed feelings...The command of this new Third Cavalry Division went to Judson Kilpatrick, a favorite of Pleasonton's, whose fighting spirit had been amply displayed at Brandy Station and Aldie but whose reputation for recklessness troubled Buford. -- Longacre's Buford biography
What are Lonacre's sources for Buford's discomfort at Brandy Station? What did Buford ever say about Kilpatrick? Are we dealing with Buford's expressed feelings of Longacre's assumptions?
conz - "...galling to Buford, who had waited so long and worked so hard for a field command, .... Custer's promotion obviously really got under his skin...."
Clair, do you (or anyone) sense any carry over of Buford's attitude to his former staff member, Captain Myles Keogh?
This is the problem with "It must have's." Here an "it must have" has become an accepted fact. If only Buford's attitude toward Custer was transmitted to Keogh, perhaps Keogh can be saved from the degradation of being Custer's friend.
Reno had graduated from West Point in 1857 and probably had left by the time Custer arrived.
Merritt did not command all the Cavalry at Five Forks. Crook was a full rank Maj Gen and senior to Merritt. Sheridan commanded the Union Cav. Merritt commanded a formation called the Army of the Shenandoah. This was actually the 1st and 3rd Divisions of the AOP Cav Corps which had been transferred to the Shendoah in the Summer of 1864. Crook had been given command of David Gregg's 2nd Div of the AOP. Mackenzie's Cav Division of the Army of the James was attached to Sheridan. Sheridan also commanded Warren's Fifth V Corps in the pursuit of Lee.
The Cavalry did not "demolish" Lee's Army during the Appomattox Campaign. It managed to harrass, chase, and force parts of the ANV stop and fight. They, with infantry, inflicted crippling losses on Lee. Finally the Cav got ahead of Lee at Appomattox Station and held Lee in the area of Appomattox Court House until the Infantry could get up.
".. His master mind and incomparable genius as a cavalry chief, you all know by the dangers through which be has brought you, when enemies surrounded you and destruction seemed inevitable.... The profound anguish which we all feel forbids the use of empty words, which so feebly express his virtues. Let us silently mingle our tears with those of the nation in lamenting the untimely death of this pure and noble man, the devoted and patriotic lover of his country, the soldier without fear and without reproach"
Taken from General Orders as prepared by Merritt soon after Buford's death. Merritt succeeded Buford in command of the First Division. (Hard, Eighth Cavalry Regiment, p 287.)
One thing that seems to be missed quite often, is that the USMA up until Custer's Class, was a five year Course. The possibility that there could have been resentment from previous graduates is quite real, Merritt was a 5 year attendee. That and their competetive nature would certainly light the fuse of personal acrimony.
The course at West Point was changed to 5 years with the Class of 1859. 2 classes entered the Academy in 1854, a four year class which graduated in 1858 and the Class of 1859. The Classes of '59 and '60 were the only ones to complete the course in 5 years. The 5 year Class of 1861 graduated in mid-May about 6 weeks early. Custer and the Class of 1862 graduated a year early in June 1861. Normally graduates were commissioned on the 1st of July. Custer's class was commissioned effective 24 June, so they were actually a year and 7 days early.
There was not a long tradition for the 5 year course.
The Class of June 1861 did pretty well. About a 3rd of the class was commissioned into or transferred to the Ordnance Department and 3 joined the Confederacy. Of the 20 or so others, it lost in killed in action or dies of wounds 4 regimental commanders (including Custer) and 3 battery commanders, otherwise the class might have had a couple more generals. It may be the only class that had killed in action the men who stood first and last.
I doubt any animosity was directed toward the members of Custer's class because of their early graduation.
Notes on Custer & Kilpatrick, out of Martin's Kilpatrick bio:
"The winter of 1863-64 was one of hard work, " Kidd related. "[Only] at division...headquarters...was there time for play." Kilpatrick had laid out a track where he and Custer gambled on horse races almost every day.
Boys playing together, and even moreso...
Fall of 1863: Kilpatrick's predictions that the Rebels were about to cross the river to attack teh Union soon came to a stop, not so much because the enemy had settled in their camps but because he was distracted by a new interest that occupied most of his attention. Annie Jones, a teenaged prostitute, had come to his bivouac. She boasted of having slept with many key officers in the Yankee army (including Custer, whom she had met in Warrenton last fall). Kilpatrick was so thrilled with Annie, he "forgot" about his wife and baby son at West Point and invited her to share his tent. She accepted and, when not entertaining Kilpatrick, spent her time dressed in a major's garb and galloping about the grounds on the mare that he gave her.
Not sure what that says about their relationship, except that they were kindred spirits. <g> Can't really see Buford or Merritt in this light. But this...gads...
Kilpatrick had driven his men, allowing them only nine hours sleep over the three days. He was no doubt in a hurry to return to camp to see Annie Jones. Upon his arrival, he was appalled to find that while he had been away, Annie had left the bivouac to visit the Rebels. Even worse, when she came back, Annie had moved all her belongings into Custer's tent, saying that she preferred his company to Kilpatrick's. Kilpatrick was so angered by Annie's fickleness that he arrested her for being a spy and sent her north to Washington.
Shades of Custer's future courts martial affair on the Plains?!
The Annie Jones affair, however, would further mar his reputation. In time the whole army would learn of his being thrown over for Custer - embarrassing enough when the rejection was by a good woman, a disaster from a prostitute. This problem did not concern low morals. Pride was at stake, and Kilpatrick was no doubt cut to the quick when the examiner who investigated the incident found the case "amusing."
Could Kilpatrick and Custer be "friends?" Probably the same as Merritt and Custer could be...both men were Custer's senior, and both were bested by Custer in different aspects of "reputation" and fame...Kilpatrick's in infamy, and Merritt's in glory.
Yet Kilpatrick and Custer were more kindred spirits at heart, true Hussars in every sense of the word, and could have been closer than Merritt and Custer ever could have been, I think.
The officer promoted to head the Second Brigade [in Kilpatrick's new cavalry division just before Gettysburg] was a friend from West Point. George Armstrong Custer, also a native of Michigan, was an equally odd selection to don the stars of a general. He had been an abject failure at the U.S. Military Academy. He ranked last in his class, graduating just after Kilpatrick's group and had been involved in a number of escapades, each of which threatened his expulsion from school. His frolics linked to "loose women" had often included Kilpatrick.
I'm betting that Kilpatrick and Custer had a good laugh over the whole Annie affair, afterwards. It was just more boyish hijinks from school.
But I guess it was getting under his craw, since...
Although Kilpatrick would not begrudge Custer's good fortune [in getting their boss Pleasonton to grant him a leave] he must have been infuriated that the furlough was given directly by Pleasonton. He had bypassed the channels of command, encouraging Custer in his insubordinate view of Kilpatrick's leadership, a problem that had begun at Gettysburg. Kilpatrick had been forced to put his displeasure in writing, saying to Custer, "I've noticed in your communications to me a bad attitude, I've only tried to...advise - not censure. I hope no ideas erroneous will induce you to forget that it is impossible for me to command the Division without the willing support of my Brigade Commanders."
One Hussar trying to control another...but it doesn't really sound acrimonious or hostile...more of a warning to an overzealous friend.
Martin summarizes a changing relationship between the men, though:
Although Kilpatrick's performance was good in this second battle of Brandy Station, most of the credit whet to Custer. He was the hero, despite (in Kilpatrick's eyes) his being a poor leader, one who was insubordinate to his superior. The two were competing for glory, and Kilpatrick was determined to win that contest, an unspoken vow that would cause him to shun Custer when he needed him most.
And the break...
Although Kilpatrick's defeat at Buckland was embarrassing, the drubbing was unimportant to the war. No ground was lost or won; no strategy changed as a result of the skirmishing between rival horsemen. The event, however, was most damaging to Kilpatrick's career. Both superiors and subordinates lost confidence in his leadership. Custer in particular was upset. "I...regret the loss of so many good men," he wrote,"all the more painful that it was not necessary." He felt he could no longer trust Kilpatrick in battle.
I agree that it is not right to say that Custer was in "Kilpatrick's" camp...in reality, he, Pleasonton, and Kilpatrick were all in a "Hussar camp," in which there could never be one ordained leader or icon. <g>
Unlike in the Dragoon camp, where Buford was an idol to his proteges, as was Wilson to his western "camp" in his own way.
Just an interesting note in Armes' diary, 8 Jan 1868:
"The trial of Gen. George A. Custer was ended yesterday, and this morning I appeared for trail before the same court, whose president is Gen. L.C. Easton....
"...Gen. Custer and Lieutenant Cook were held to $ 5,000 bail to day to appear before the civil court tomorrow morning."
"Colonel Benteen and Lt Commagere, Seventh Cavalry, were the only two witnesses examined today. Both were for the prosecution. Colonel West, Seventh Cavalry, testified before the civil authorities against General Custer and Lt Cook today."
13 Jan: Back to his own trial, for assaulting a fellow officer and breaking arrest...
"I was given until Wednesday to prepare my defense. Lt Leary is fixing it up. He is a bright, popular young officer and a friend of mine who I believe will show the charges against me were false and fixed up through malice and jealousy by officers whose records will not bear investigation."
Lots of this kind of fratricidal in-fighting in those days, as if these officers didn't have anything better to do on the plains. <g> Not nearly so bad in today's Army.
Capt. Armes had sent recommendations for brevets for the bravery of a couple of his Lts, and here is headquarter's reply:
"General Hancock, being exceedingly pressed by business, has directed me, to say in reply to your letter of the 20th inst., that he sent the recommandations for brevets for yourself, and, he believes, for Mr. Bodamer, through General Sherman's headquarters, and to make the matter more certain the General spoke about it to General Sherman.
"It is probable that the recommendations are at the AG's office in Washington, and have never been acted upon....At this time it is not probable that any further action by General Hancock would secure the brevets for you..."
"A short time after General Hancock had been relieved in New Orleans by order of General Grant he accidentally met the General on Pennsylvania avenue, who at once extended his hand, which was refused by General Hancock, and very few of his recommendations were favorably acted upon for some years afterwards."
"Captain Byrne became very arbitrary and took advantage of his position as senior Captain of my battalion to place me in arrest (arrest No. 15). I immediately preferred charges against him, and General Penrose placed him also in arrest."
The aftermath of this exchange of charges was that CPT Armes was dismissed from the Army for "conduct unbecoming of an officer," and later his two accusers were court-martialled and sent to prison for a few years.
It took Armes several years to get his name cleared.
"As soon as it became known that General Schofield had ordered a court or my trail my friends began calling to inform me of it, among them Gen. George A. Custer, with whom I had served a portion of the time during the war of the rebellion, who looked upon such trumped-up charges as an outrage, and immediately took my part."
Part of the Belknap mess, of which CPT Armes was a big player...bigger than Custer, which affected the Army greatly...
“March 25…Col. Lewis Merrill, one of my worst enemies, is here with Belknap working to defeat me.”
“March 29. Called on General Terry last evening and made an appointment with him in regard to Colonel Merrill; also saw Senator Bayard, who gave me some points in the Belknap matter.”
“March 30. Called at the Arlington last evening, where I had a long talk with General Custer. Was up to the Capitol and on the floor of the House. Saw several others and talked with a number of friends, who are doing what they can on my bill and about investigating Colonel Merrill.”
“March 31. General Custer and I went to the Military Committee room, where we had a discussion with the members of the committee in relation to the Merrill charges.”
“April 1. Had a long talk with General Custer today. He, as well as myself, is very anxious to have Colonel Merrill brought to trial, but his political friends appear to be shielding him.”
“May 30. While at Willard’s last evening I was informed that the Senate had decided by eight majority to try Belknap.”
“July 11. Was up to the Senate again today, but unable to get my case called up. Mr. Gobright assisted me to draw up a nice leatter at our meeting at the National Hotel last evening to send to Mrs. Custer regarding a resoution on the death of General Custer.”
Intesting comment by CPT King in an Army report...
"But we have some regiments, Laus Deo! in which tradition and legend and fellowship seem to go hand in hand. I love to get a letter from a Second Cavalryman and see its soldier crest and the motto "Toujours Prêt" on the envelope. It has its proud story written out in full, and Rodenbough and his comrades have told its glorious past. The divided days of the Seventh are gone forever, please God, and a splendid regiment, one in pride and purpose, has sprung from the thrilling episodes of its early history. Yet who is to gather and edit those scattered records of savage fight, cruel suffering and final triumph.
Price, long before they laid him in his grave, put his shoulder to the wheel (and his hand in his pocket) and gave us a compilation of the regimental returns of the Fifth (Cavalry). Wilhelm has done the same for the gallant old Eighth Infantry. Powell told the story of his old love—the Fourth—before promotion took him from it; and even one of those "aggregations of batteries," the First Artillery, has found its Boswell in Major Haskin."
I went down to the new KC National Archives-Regional Center today and they had some books out that I hadn't seen.
For this post, the source will be: Collections of the State Historical Society of North Dakota; Vol 2-4 (sorry, I didn't note which volume.)
Extracts from the diary of J.E. Bangs who was on the Northwestern Boundary Survey; I have no idea who he was as he was not an official member of the American or English commissions; yet he wrote letters to the North Dakota Secretary of State and Governor.
All events occurred in 1873.
"08/19-"...Weir, Bell1, Van Shrader and Hart to lunch-good time-Cavalry Camp in afternoon."
08/21-"Over to Cavalry Camp at night."
09/13-"Twining and Reno call on British Commissioner-came back full of spirits." [Italicized in original]
09/16-"Walked over to Cavalry Camp in afternoon, saw Reno and Keogh-All rest out hunting and Minking."
09/18-"Cool day-over to Cavalry Camp in afternoon, take a ride with Edgerly."
09/19-"Edgerly came over and stayed about an hour."
09/21-"Mr. Henderson-Gurley-Keogh and Edgerly over at night."
09/22-"Mail goes out. Ridgley taking letters, note to Gurley-Delicious day, Edgerly and Bell over-Mr. Campbell and myself call to Cavalry Camp at night. See all but Reno-he in bed-8 o'clock-selfish-deliciously fine day."
09/24-"Reno and Keogh over for a few minutes."
09/26-"Over at Cavalry Camp."
10/03-"Over Cav. Camp at night-got $400 from Bell."
10/04-"Morning cloudy-In tent all day-Bell, Keogh, and Reno come over-give Bell check for $500."
10/05-"Over at Cavalry Camp with Twining in afternoon."
10/07-"...over to Cav. Camp in morning."
1 There was a member of the U.S. Commission named Bell. Whether the Bell mentioned in these extracts is that Bell or Bell of the 7th Cav. is unknown.
"Indications are that we shall have the whole fighting force of the Sioux nation to contend with."
George Crook telegraph to Gen. Sheridan May 29, 1876
I'm curious about the circumstances regarding the moneys exchanged on 3 and 4 Oct. These were huge sums of money in the 1870s; about 20-25% of an army captain or major's yearly pay. Wonder if they were gambling debts?
For some reason, this link will not work. But you can just do a google search on J E Bangs. His obit mentions his position as Secretary of the Boundary Commission. He was an 1867 Columbia grad; law degree and got a position on the the 1870 Census; which may have led to his gig with the survey in 1873. In later years he served in a civilian capacity at the Army Quartermaster depot in Denver. His father and he were well known among Washington D. C. high society.