Custer and the Front Royal Executions of 1864

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About the Book

For nearly a century and a half most historians of the Civil War have accepted the claim by Confederate Colonel John S. Mosby that George Armstrong Custer bears all of the guilt associated with the summary executions of six of Mosby’s Rangers at Front Royal, Virginia on September 23, 1864. This book challenges that view through a comprehensive look at the events of the day and a history of the persons involved, contending that Custer was not responsible for these executions, being neither present on the scene nor the initiating officer.

About the Author(s)

Journalist Jay W. Simson is a member of the Western Ohio Civil War Roundtable, and has previously written on naval strategies of the Civil War. He lives in Van Wert, Ohio.

Bibliographic Details

Jay W. Simson

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 211
Bibliographic Info: 13 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3973-7
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5265-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction: Custer at Front Royal      1

1. Incident at Front Royal      11
2. The Battle of Fisher’s Hill      20
3. What Sheridan Intended      33
4. With Torbert in the Luray Valley      44
5. Mosby’s Story      53
6. Where Was Custer?      63
7. Who Gave the Orders?      74
8. Mosby’s Revenge      86
9. How Did Mosby Get It Wrong?      95
10. Why They Never Said a Word      104
11. A Question of Character      115

Postscript: Custer Exonerated?      133
Appendix I. George Armstrong Custer: Hero or Goat?      151
Appendix II. Autie and Libbie: Romance or Sham?      159
Appendix III. Custer’s Second Atrocity: The Washita      176
Chapter Notes      191
Bibliography      195
Index      199

Book Reviews & Awards

“Simson’s study hopefully will put to rest any further discussion of [the Front Royal Executions] and exonerate Custer. Well conceived and written…a valuable addition”—Civil War News.