Matt’s Book Blog reviewed A Calvaryman With Custer by James Harvey Kidd for the U.S. Civil War Reading Challenge 2011. Here’s an excerpt:
At the age of only 22, James H. Kidd (1840 – 1913) fought as a Union cavalryman commander under Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer. Kidd thought the official histories did not grant enough credit to the Michigan Cavalry Brigade. So in order to document the accomplishments of the mounted forces, he worked on these memoirs over the course of 22 years, while he worked a day-job writing editorials for a newspaper he owned in Ionia, Michigan.
Kidd makes the case for regarding the Michigan mounted force as the finest and the most dogged of its size in the Union army. For instance, Custer and his Wolverines were the first Northern troopers to undermine the awe-struck perception of the invincibility of Jeb Stuart’s cavalry. Four regiments of his troopers broke Stuart’s assault four miles east of Gettysburg on July 3, 1863. Kidd details Custer’s ability in lesser known battles such as Yellow Tavern, Haw’s Shop, Trevilian Station and Tom’s Brook. He describes the cavalry charges at the Third Battle of Winchester and Cedar Creek. Kidd served with Custer under Sheridan in his Army of the Shenandoah in 1864, which is to say he and his men inflicted – regretfully, he insists – suffering on civilians.
Read the full review.
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