Monday, March 27, 2017

American Civil War Monuments
East Cavalry Field
Gettysburg National Military Park

 Photos and text by LCWRT member Charlie Moore
The Michigan Cavalry Brigade at Gettysburg consisted of the 1st, 5th, 6th and 7th Michigan regiments under the command of Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer.  When Gen.Meade was given command of the Army of the Potomac on June 28th he was told he could promote those he deemed worthy without regard to their rank or time in grade.  Custer was one of 3 cavalry captains who were jumped by Meade to Brigadier General. Custer and his men were pitted against the brigade of Confederate Brigadier General Wade Hampton composed of the 1st North Carolina and the 1st and 2nd South Carolina cavalry regiments. This is where the Custer legend began, when he rode to the front of his brigade and shouted out “Come on you Wolverines!”.  He always led from the front and his men loved him for it. This cavalry battle was pretty much a draw but it did stymie the Confederate plans to hit the Army of the Potomac in the rear while the Pickett, Pettigrew, Trimble charge took place along Cemetery Ridge. The monument was erected in 1889 and is topped with a statue of BG Custer, and there is also a plaque on one side of the monument with a likeness of him.  Though he had met his end at Little Big Horn 13 years earlier, his Civil War troopers still loved and respected his memory.

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