Capt. Custer of the 5th Cavalry
With Lt. Washington, a prisoner and classmate
This image of Custer was taken on May 31, 1862 by James Gibson. At this time Custer was not yet a national name, but still was flamboyant enough to be pursued by photographers. This was the first image I worked on that both the left and right sides existed on the same glass plate. My first attempt to mount this as a stereo card failed since I had both sides backwards! Fortunately I resolved this prior to any sales and my personal copy has been banished.
George Custer was scheduled to graduate from West Point in 1862. With the onset of war, he was part of a distinct group which graduated a year early, shortly after the regular 1861 graduating class. Graduating Thirty Fourth out of Thirty Four in his class would have marked him for obscure assignments had not the needs of the war been so pressing. One year later, in 1862, this picture was taken with Lt. James B. Washington (relative of George Washington). Lt. Washington had been a classmate of Custer's, but left to join the Confederacy. There were many instances of individuals that had been friends, classmates and had fought together before fighting each other.