" He Rode with Custer:
Edward G. Granger "
In late August 1862, a 19-year-old Detroit youth signed up as a second lieutenant with the 5th Michigan Cavalry. During the next two years, Lt. Edward G. Granger, the subject of Sandy Barnard’s talk, would see action in virtually all of his regiment’s engagements, including such storied fights as Yellow Tavern and Brandy Station. During his last 12 months of service, he served with distinction as a highly valued staff aide to Brig. Gen. George Armstrong Custer, commanding the Michigan Cavalry Brigade. On Aug. 16, 1864, Granger carried orders from his commander directing the final charge by two of the Brigade’s regiments against the enemy at the Battle of Crooked Run, Front Royal, Va. Unfortunately, riding between the two regiments, Granger went missing at the front. Several months later, it was confirmed that he had been killed in action.
In the wake of Granger’s disappearance, General Custer wrote to his uncle a highly personal, heartfelt letter of condolence that said, in part:
“I sincerely regret even his temporary loss, as no officer of my command has been more faithful and attentive in the discharge of his duties than Lieutenant Granger. In addition to this, the personal relations existing between us from our being members of the same military family, are the most intimate and unreserved. Please convey to Mrs. Granger, to Miss Mollie and to all his relations, my heartfelt sympathy and assure his mother and sister that no effort will be spared by me to learn the exact condition and fate of the son and brother.”
Fortunately, at least 43 letters written by the young soldier to his family members at home in Michigan have survived. They offer considerable insights not only into Army life in camp and on the field of battle, but also uniquely into General Custer himself and his fellow soldiers.
Barnard, a journalist and non-fiction writer for more than 45 years,
specializes in researching the Civil War and the Plains Indian wars. He is
especially well-known for his research and writing on the Battle of the Little
Big Horn, the career of Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer, and the men of the
7th U.S. Cavalry who served with him or followed him. Barnard is recognized for
his expertise on newspaper reporter Mark H. Kellogg, killed with Custer at the
Little Big Horn; First Sgt. John Ryan, a prominent Little Big Horn survivor;
and Major Joel H. Elliott, a key 7th Cavalry officer in the 1860s. In the
1980s, Barnard assisted the National Park Service with media relations during
archeological projects at then-Custer Battlefield National Monument.
most recent book is A Hoosier Quaker Goes to War, The Life & Death of Major
Joel H. Elliott, published in 2010. His earlier publications include Where
Custer Fell, Photographs of the Little Bighorn, a study of historic photographs
of the Little Big Horn Battlefield in collaboration with James S. Brust and the
late Brian C. Pohanka, published in 2005, and Ten Years with Custer, a 7th
Cavalryman’s Memoirs, published in 2002. All three books received the John M.
Carroll Book of the Year Award from the Little Big Horn Associates for their
respective years of publication. His 1996 biography of 7th U.S. Cavalryman,
Custer’s First Sergeant John Ryan, also won the 2012 Jay Smith Award from the
Little Big Horn Associates. Perhaps his most popular book remains his third
edition of Digging Into Custer’s Last Stand, whose first edition appeared in
other books include:
with the Irish Brigade: Pvt. John Ryan, 28th Massachusetts;
Go With Custer, The Life and Death of Reporter Mark Kellogg;
& Speculation, Archeologists Hunt Custer;
early 2016, what will be his 14th book, Photographing Custer’s Battlefield,
will be published by the University of Oklahoma Press. A continuation of Where
Custer Fell, this book will focus on the 45 years of battlefield photographic
work by Kenneth F. Roahen, a U.S. Fish & Game Service agent and a
well-known freelance photographer. Currently, Barnard is editing the Civil War
letters of Lt. Edward G. Granger, 5th Michigan Cavalry, who served as a staff
aide to Brig. Gen. George Armstrong Custer while he commanded the Michigan
Cavalry Brigade. The manuscript is also under contract with the University of
nearly 25 years, Barnard served as editor of the annual Greasy Grass magazine
published by the Custer Battlefield Historical & Museum Association. A U.S.
Army veteran who received the Bronze Star Medal while serving as an
intelligence officer in Vietnam in 1968-1969, Barnard holds degrees from Boston
College and the University of Missouri School of Journalism. A former newspaper
reporter in Missouri and North Carolina as well as a freelance writer, Barnard
is a retired journalism professor from Indiana State University. Today, he
lives in Wake Forest, N.C., where he operates AST Press and Indianwarbooks.com.
He writes and speaks frequently about the Indian wars and Civil War.
Join us for a Friendly & Fun Evening of Civil War History!
We meet at:
ROYALE ORLEANS BANQUET CENTER
2801 South Telegraph Road
Mehlville (St Louis), MO 63125
Doors open at 5:30
Meal served at 6:30
Presentation at 7:30
Use the map below and if you need directions,
click on the Get Directions tab below the map
and follow the instructions.
Please note: as of August 7 2014, MapQuest will not longer allow us to show Mehlville as the town but now uses St. Louis.
every so often MapQuest does not show the correct map and will revert
to showing downtown St. Louis. This appears to correct itself after 24
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