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Accession number 1995.017
Catalog Number 1995.017
Collection Pearce Civil War Collection
Object Name Letter
Title Custer (George A.) Papers, 1863
Creator Custer (George A.)
Date November 28, 1863
Dates of Creation November 28, 1863
Scope & Content This signed note, written in pencil to Colonel C. Ross Smith, General Meade's chief of staff, is dated November 28, 1863 from Morton's Ford, Virginia. Custer has been given his first Divisional Command and is reporting to Meade on the troop entrenchments of the Confederate army.

The following is a full transcription:

"Headquarters 3rd Div. Cavalry
Mortons ford 6:30 AM
Nov 28th /63

"Col C Ross Smith
Chief of Staff

While the enemy has a line of rifle pits extending along the river before this point, their main line of earthworks makes an angle at this point running back from the river in the direction of The Plank road. prisoners state that this line extends back five miles from the river. I have reason to believe this statement as I sent a regiment one mile and a half in that direction yesterday P.M. the officer in command of which refutes the existence of a strong line on entrenchments. From personal examination I am able to report that the earthworks are of the most formidable character. A strong abattis is in front of the entire line. in some reports there are no lines of abattis, the ditch in front of the works is five feet deep, the principle works are revetted along the interior crest, also the embrasures.

I am about to ascertain whether he enemy is in force on my front or not.

Very Respectfully
G A Custer
Brig Genl"

In this note, Custer describes the positions of the abattis and embrasures. Abattis are lines of defense consisting of barriers of felled or live trees with branches (sharpened or with barbed wire entwined) toward the enemy. Embrasures are openings for guns in walls or parapets.
Finding Aids Available in the archives or online at
People Custer, George Armstrong
Smith, C. Ross
Meade, George Gordon
Search Terms 3rd Division Cavalry
Military Strategy
Credit line Pearce Civil War Collection
Copyrights The copyright of these materials is managed by the Navarro College Archives on behalf of the Navarro College Foundation, 3100 W. Collin St., Corsicana, Texas 75110 Phone: 903-875-7438. Internet:

Reproductions of original materials and transcriptions may be available. Please contact the archivist for further information.
Physical characteristics 1 item