In August 1862, nineteen-year-old Edward G. Granger joined the 5th Michigan Cavalry Regiment as a second lieutenant. On August 20, 1863, the newly promoted Brig. Gen. George Armstrong Custer appointed Granger as one of his aides, a position Granger would hold until his death in August 1864. Many of the forty-four letters the young lieutenant wrote home during those two years, introduced and annotated here by leading Custer scholar Sandy Barnard, provide a unique look into the words and actions of his legendary commander. At the same time, Granger’s correspondence offers an intimate picture of life on the picket lines of the Army of the Potomac and a staff officer’s experiences in the field.

As Custer’s aide-de-camp, Lieutenant Granger was in an ideal position to record the inner workings of the Michigan Brigade’s command echelon. Riding at Custer’s side, he could closely observe one of America’s most celebrated and controversial military figures during the very days that cemented his fame. With a keen eye and occasional humor, Granger describes the brigade’s operations, including numerous battles and skirmishes. His letters also show the evolution of the Army of the Potomac’s Cavalry Corps from the laughingstock of the Eastern Theater to an increasingly potent, well-led force. By the time of Granger’s death at the Battle of Crooked Run, he and his comrades were on the verge of wresting mounted supremacy from their Confederate opponents.

Amply illustrated with maps and photographs, An Aide to Custer gives readers an unprecedented view of the Civil War and one of its most important commanders, and unusual insight into the experience of a staff officer who served alongside him.

About The Author

Sandy Barnard is an independent scholar and author of numerous books on Custer and the Little Big Horn, including Photographing Custer’s Battlefield: The Images of Kenneth F. Roahen.

Thomas E. Singelyn, a retired dentist and collector of Civil War artifacts, compiled the letters in this volume.

Reviews & Praise
“This collection of letters from an officer on Custer’s staff during the Civil War provides what good primary sources do: it humanizes the Boy General by showing his boyish side through pranks and mishaps while establishing the regard in which he was held for his inspiring leadership. Sandy Barnard’s expert editing adds the context necessary to fully appreciate Lieutenant Edward G. Granger and a correspondence made poignant by his own untimely death in battle.”—Brian W. Dippie, author of Custer’s Last Stand: The Anatomy of an American Myth


“Lieutenant Edward Granger was a sharp observer and an eloquent writer, and his letters home document, in thrilling detail, some of the hardest fighting of the Civil War, from Gettysburg to Trevilian Station and beyond. Combined with Sandy Barnard’s excellent and fulsome commentary, this is a valuable and entertaining addition to the literature of the war.”—James Donovan, author of A Terrible Glory: Custer and the Little Bighorn—The Last Great Battle of the American West

Book Information
38 b&w illus., 10 maps
320 Pages
Hardcover 978-0-8061-6018-4
Kindle 978-0-8061-6163-1
e-pub 978-0-8061-6164-8
Published June 2018
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