Lot 318

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Custer On Soldier "At Gettysburg" Wounded "while defending the colors of his regiment" and fought in "the most important battles of the war." Great Civil War Content!

Civil War Dated Autograph Endorsement, 6.5" x 7.75", Headquarters, 3rd Division, dated May 7, 1865, also bearing an Autograph Endorsement signed by Gen. Wesley Merritt. General Custer endorses a future Captain who was severely wounded and played a pivotal role in the Battle of Gettysburg on behalf of Custer's unit where Custer's iconic rallying cry, “Come on, you Wolverines,” led them against Confederate forces. Custer writes 24 lines in his hand where he mentions Gettysburg, the most important battles of the war, defending the colors of his regiment, and boldly signs the note as “GA Custer.” This is the best Custer/Civil War content we have handled in many many years! In fine condition, with expected folds from mailing and boldly signed. Encapsulated by PSA to an overall size of 9.75" x 13.25".

In full: 

"Captain Birney served under my command for more than a year participating in several of the most important battles of the war. I can endorse the enclosed recommendation of Genl Devin having always found Capt Birney truthful, prompt, and energetic in the discharge of his duties. At Gettysburg he was severely wounded while defending the colors of his regiment. He is in every respect well qualified to fill the position asked for.

GA Custer


Commanding 3rd div.."

The endorsements appear in support of James G. Birney IV. Birney, eager to defend the Union, enlisted in the Civil War at 18, drawing on his family's abolitionist and political heritage. He quickly distinguished himself in the 7th Michigan Cavalry under Brig. Gen. George A. Custer, particularly at the Battle of Gettysburg. Birney played a pivotal role during a critical cavalry charge where Custer's rallying cry, “Come on, you Wolverines,” led them against Confederate forces. Despite being wounded and briefly captured, Birney escaped and rejoined the fight, demonstrating remarkable valor. This engagement saw significant casualties, with 13 men killed, 48 wounded, and 39 missing from their ranks, underscoring the battle's intensity and Birney's courage. His actions, particularly at Gettysburg, earned him a commemorative sword from Custer, a token of his bravery and a highlight of his military career.


Ex. Phillip Sang Collection / Sotheby's in 1985.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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February 21, 2024 10:30 AM EST
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