At Custer's Side: The Civil War Writings of James Harvey Kidd

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Kent State University Press, 2001 - 140 pages

During the Civil War, James Harvey Kidd fought alongside General George Armstrong Custer as a member of the 6th Michigan Cavalry--the Wolverines. After the war, Kidd served as brigadier general in the Michigan National Guard and, upon returning to his civilian career as a newspaperman, published two newspapers in his hometown.

Eric J. Wittenberg presents many of this newspaperman's captivating writings in their original form. Kidd wrote eloquently about his Civil War experiences, especially his service with Custer. His speech given at the dedication of the Custer monument in Monroe, Michigan is particularly important, as it provides readers with one of the first revisionist views of the tragedy that befell Custer at Little Big Horn.

Much like Wittenberg's first book of Kidd's writings, this latest collection offers insightful, articulate, and entertaining commentary on what it was like to serve in the Civil War and with "the boy general."

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Contents

Address of General James H Kidd at the Dedication of Michigan Monuments Upon the Battle Field of Gettysburg June 12 1889
1
A Paper Read Before the Michigan Commandery of the Loyal Legion
35
Charge of the First Cavalry Division at Winchester
50
Memorial Address Delivered in the Park at Ionia May 30 1885
59
Historical Sketch of General Custer
71
Operations of Our Cavalry The Michigan Cavalry Brigade
113
Gen George A Custers Lost Report of the Battle on the East Cavalry Field Gettysburg July 3 1863
129
Bibliographic Essay
135
Index
138
Copyright

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Page 61 - I know, I know I should not see The season's glorious show, Nor would its brightness shine for me, Nor its wild music flow ; But if, around my place of sleep, The friends I love should come to weep, They might not haste to go. JUNE. Soft airs, and song, and light, and bloom, Should keep them lingering by my tomb.
Page 132 - I cannot find language to express my high appreciation of the gallantry and daring displayed by the officers and men of the First Michigan cavalry. They advanced to the charge of a vastly superior force with as much order and precision as if going upon parade ; and I challenge the annals of warfare to produce a more brilliant or successful charge of cavalry than the one just recounted.
Page 68 - Then out spake brave Horatius, The Captain of the gate : 'To every man upon this earth Death cometh soon or late; And how can man die better Than facing fearful odds, For the ashes of his fathers And the temples of his Gods...
Page 61 - I should not see The season's glorious show, Nor would its brightness shine for me, Nor its wild music flow; But if, around my place of sleep, The friends I love should come to weep, They might not haste to go. Soft airs, and song, and light, and bloom Should keep them lingering by my tomb.
Page 62 - These to their softened hearts should bear The thought of what has been, And speak of one who cannot share The gladness of the scene ; Whose part in all the pomp that fills The circuit of the summer hills, Is that his grave is green ! And deeply would their hearts rejoice To hear again his living voice.
Page 131 - Michigan Cavalry, is, in my estimation, the most effective fire-arm that our cavalry can adopt. Colonel Alger held his ground until his men had exhausted their ammunition, when he was compelled to fall back on the main body. The beginning of this movement was the signal for the enemy to charge, which they did with two regiments, mounted and dismounted. I at once ordered the 7th Michigan Cavalry, Colonel Mann, to charge the advancing column of the enemy.
Page 13 - Agreeably to the above instructions, my column was formed and moved out on the road designated, when a staff officer of Brigadier General Gregg, commanding 2d division, ordered me to take my command and place it in position on the pike leading from York to Gettysburg, which position formed the extreme right of our line of battle on that day. Upon arriving at the point designated,!
Page 132 - The ground over which we had to pass was very unfavorable for the maneuvering of cavalry, but, despite all obstacles, this regiment advanced boldly to the assault, which was executed in splendid style, the enemy being driven from field to field until our advance reached a high and unbroken fence, behind which the enemy were strongly posted. Nothing daunted, Colonel Mann, followed by the main body of his regiment, bravely rode up to the fence and discharged their revolvers in the very face of the...
Page 130 - Everything remained quiet till 10 AM, when the enemy appeared on my right flank and opened upon me with a battery of six guns. Leaving two guns and a regiment to hold my first position and cover the road leading to Gettysburg, I shifted the remaining portion of my command, forming a new line of battle at right angles to my former line. The enemy had obtained correct range of my new position, and were pouring solid shot and shell into my command with great accuracy. Placing two sections of Battery...

About the author (2001)

Eric J. Wittenberg is a lifelong Philadelphia Phillies fan and native of southeastern Pennsylvania. Having grown up in the early 1970s, he understands losing baseball teams. He is a lawyer in pri- vate practice and an award-winning Civil War historian. He and his wife Susan reside in Columbus, Ohio, where he struggles to follow his beloved Phillies.

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