Resolved to fight against a much larger cavalry force, Custer thwarted Stuart at Gettysburg on 3 July, 1863 with a magnificent plan – and stopped the Confederate Cavalry from penetrating the back of the Union Fishhook while Picket simultaneously charged from the front. Lee’s grand pincer strategy failed and Custer was part of the reason why.
Custer and the Union Cavalry knew Stuart was coming, but what many don’t realize is that Custer was outnumbered 10 to 1. As was his custom, Custer had prepared by reconnoitering the battlefield well ahead of time – with a view to charging from concealed woods and positioning dismounted rifle cavalry in defensive spots to fend off Stuart’s Ploy. Mounted or dismounted, Custer’s terrain-shielded men with repeating Spencer rifles helped win the engagement. Spencer rifles could out-fire slower firearms at a rate of up to 8 to 1, greatly evening the odds.
Some hold that this Gettysburg Action on what is now known as the East Cavalry Field was possibly Custer’s finest contribution to American History, and that he deserves greater acclaim. Had Custer also planned as well in 1876 against the much larger Sioux force at the Little Big Horn 13 years later the outcome might have been different.
But for Custer at Gettysburg; Well Done – Well Planned – Well Won.
The simple pencil portrait was completed from three period photographs and eyewitness accounts.
Time Of Execution: 20 Hours
Technique / Media: Graphite Rendering, Prismacolor, Gouache on Light Gray-Green Paper.
Size: 11″ x 14″