Brigadier General Joseph William Hoffman

William Hoffman Prisoners

Joseph William Hoffman was an otherwise good match for the South's General John H. Winder. For Hoffman, prison man-agement was a matter of efficiency, reducing the human component of men behind bars and walls to an accountant's sort of calculation on food and fuel per man ratios. Proudly at war's end he turned back to the War Department hundreds of thousands of dollars that he had saved at the expense of the health, nourishment, and comfort of his prisoners. Like Winder, Hoffman was a regular brigadier general in the volunteer service, and he wore the standard uniform of his rank, with no insignia or other markings to indicate the special nature or responsibilities of his service.

For some reason, both sides picked dour, parsimonious types of men to command their prison camp organizations. He was neither inept nor dictatorial, but Brigadier General

George Custer Wife

Left: George Armstrong Custer seated with his wife. In attendance is believed to be his younger brother, Thomas, twice-decorated with the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions during the war.

Korean War Joseph Hoffman

Left: George Armstrong Custer seated with his wife. In attendance is believed to be his younger brother, Thomas, twice-decorated with the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions during the war.

Major General G. A. Custer

The "Boy General" they called him, though there were a few brigadier generals on either side actually younger than George Armstrong Custer. Still, when he became a major general in 1865 at the age of twenty-five, he set a record yet to be broken. Custer was well known in the Army, and could hardly be mistaken thanks to his theatrically flamboyant manner and dress. He is quoted as having said, "Clothes really do make the man; that's why I wear velvet bought with my own money." He virtually designed his own uniform, which consisted of a dark blue short jacket, with a blue sailor-collar shirt underneath, a red cravat at the neck, blue trousers tucked into oversized cavalier-style black riding boots, and a wide-brimmed hat with his insignia of rank. Easiest of all to recognize was his long, curly blond hair. As a lowly captain, Custer did not stand out from the crowd of officers, but with his rise to prominence, he became steadily more theatrical and ostentatious in dress and manner, facts, however, that could not detract from his leadership qualities.

General Custer Uniforms
Artifacts courtesy uf West Point Museum, West Point, N Y

1859 Pattern Officer's McClellan Saddle of Major General John Sedgwick

John Sedgwick began his Civil War career during the 1862 Peninsula Campaign and was known as a fearless and talented commander. He was promoted to major general the same year, but was then wounded at Antietam, although he recovered in time to command the VI Corps during the Fredericksburg Campaign. His command was in reserve during Gettysburg but fought later at Rappahannock Bridge. In 1864 Sedgwick led his corps at the Wilderness and Spotsylvania, and it was during the latter battle that he met his death in a tragic and ironic manner on May 9, 1864. He was with the forward troops and had just reassured the soldiers near him that the Confederate sharpshooters opposite "couldn't hit an elephant from that distance" when he was shot in the head and died instantly. The saddle shown here was presented to him by the officers of the 2nd Division, 2nd Army Corps.

1 Pair of saddle revolver holsters mounted in front of the saddle pommel

2 Martingale or breast strap with brass presentation plaque

3 Saddle valise for stowage of personal items and additional articles of clothing

4 Saddle bags for the stowage of various additional items of clothing and equipment

5 General officer's shrabraque or saddle covering, with the insignia of a maior general

6 Sweat leathers to prevent soiling of the rider's uniform

7 Stirrups and hoods for the protection of the rider's feet

Below: George H. Thomas, who became known as "The Rock of Chickamauga."

George Thomas Horse Gimp

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