George Armstrong Custer: Broadside Printing of Custer's An...
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DescriptionGeorge Armstrong Custer: Broadside Printing of Custer's Announcement of the Surrender of General Lee at Appomattox and Farewell to His Troops. Single sheet, 5" x 8", Headquarters Third Cavalry Division, Appomattox Court House, Virginia; dated April 9, 1865 (printed circa April 15, 1865). A rare printing of Custer's letter to the soldiers of the Third Cavalry Division informing them of the surrender of Confederate General Robert E. Lee's Army and thanking them for their outstanding service, courage, and accomplishments during the Civil War. Custer signed the letter as "Brevet Major General Commanding".
"With profound gratitude toward the God of battles, by whose blessings our enemies have been humbled and our arms rendered triumphant, your commanding General avails himself of this first opportunity to express to you his admiration of the heroic manner in which you have passed through the series of battles which to-day resulted in the surrender of the enemy's entire army... Let us hope that our work is done, and that, blessed with the comforts of peace, we may be permitted to enjoy the pleasures of home and friends. For our comrades who have fallen, let us ever cherish a grateful remembrance. To the wounded, and those who languish in Southern prisons, let our heartfelt sympathy be tendered.
And now, speaking for myself alone, when the war is ended and the task of the historian begins - when those deeds of daring, which have rendered the name and fame of the Third Cavalry Division imperishable, are inscribed upon the bright pages of our country's history, I only ask that my name may be written as that of the Commander of the Third Cavalry Division."
Custer (1839-1876) was at Appomattox when General Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant. After his lines were broken, Lee retreated to Appomattox Court House, pursued by the Union cavalry. Custer's Third Cavalry Division blocked Lee's retreat on its final day and received the first flag of truce from the Confederate force. The table upon which Lee's surrender was signed was presented to Custer as a gift for his wife by General Philip Sheridan, who included a note to her praising Custer's gallantry.
This is one of possibly two rare printed versions of the broadside known to exist. There is another version that was printed by Gustavus A. Sykes in Petersburg, Virginia; it is not known who printed the version presented here. This broadside probably was printed either on April 9, 1865 or very soon thereafter. It was probably issued to be circulated to the troops soon after General Lee's surrender at Appomattox. The peice has a light water stain which detracts minimally. It is in overall fine condition.
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