GDG- Custer, Merritt, & Farnsworth

Tom Ryan pennmardel at
Wed Jan 25 15:44:55 CST 2012


This is very little in the record explaining why Pleasonton pushed for
Custer and Merritt to be jumped from the rank of captain to BG other than
the fact that both men have served effectively and faithfully as members of
Pleasonton's staff.  He apparently liked their pluck and dash, especially
Custer.  Both of these men were in some ways cut from the same mold as
Pleasonton himself.

Given that Pleasonton was assertive in manner and aggressive in fighting
style, he may well have wanted these young turks to lead his brigades,
rather than the older more settled officers -- and especially not officers
of foreign birth since Pleasonton exhibited rabid xenophobia.

John Farnsworth's case was different, because Pleasonton used the promise of
young Farnsworth's promotion as an incentive (read bribe) for his uncle,
also named John Farnsworth, who was serving as a congressman to expedite two
of Pleasonton's requests.

One was to have MG Julius Stahel relieved from command of the cavalry
division attached to the Department of Washington, and the second was to
lobby for Pleasonton's promotion from BG to MG.  In a letter to the
congressman, Pleasonton allowed that he was planning to promote nephew John
to a BG (that would be the quid pro quo).

In fact, before long both of Pleasonton's desires came about.  Stahel was
reassigned, and the MG promotion came through.  In return, Capt. Farnsworth
soon became a BG, and put in command of a brigade in Kilpatrick's
division -- Kilpatrick having replaced Stahel and the division detached from
the Department of Washington and reassigned to the AoP.

Pleasonton spent his entire career inflating his own accomplishments, and
undermining anyone who he perceived blocking the path to his achieving
higher rank.  In addition, his ego often got in the way of common sense
actions, which led to repeated blunders while in command at various levels.

These characteristics were frequently in evidence during the long Gettysburg

Regards, Tom Ryan

P.S. Not sure what you mean by "the Cav mtn campaigns before Gtysbg."
Please explain  Also, if you have never been to the Loudoun Valley area, you
should go.  Much of it still looks like it did in 1863.  However, creeping
development is starting to change the landscape.


Subject: Re: GDG- Custer, Merritt, & Farnsworth

Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
Woops.  Stupid fingers.

So what did they do to get promoted?

And specifically what did they do and where were they during  the Cav mtn
campaigns before Gtysbg?

I wish I had the time to wander the Loudon and see this  stuff.

A  Loyal Neo-Anti Unionist,

In a message dated 1/23/2012 7:39:58 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
pennmardel at writes:

Esteemed  GDG Member Contributes:

Post your question again about these  three.  I will take a shot at trying

Regards, Tom  Ryan


I have repeatedly  asked ?s in here about the promotions  of Farnsworth,
Merritt, &  Custer in here and no one has addresed the   issue.

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