The Battle of Trevilian Station exhibit at the Monroe County Historical Museum is – you could say – a homecoming of sorts. The collection contains General George Armstrong Custer’s personal effects captured on June 11, 1864 by Confederates at Trevilian Station, Virginia.
Eric J. Wittenberg calls this battle “Custer’s First Last Stand: The Battle of Trevilian Station” in an excellent article published at the Civil War Preservation Trust website. Also, read about the Trevilian Station preservation opportunity featuring battle details and maps.
Custer and his men fought hard, but his pack wagon was captured. Belongings seized included the dress coat worn by Custer when he married Elizabeth Bacon (Libbie) on February 9, 1864 at Monroe, Michigan’s First Presbyterian Church as well as the 1860 silver Tiffany presentation sword given to him by the 5th Michigan Cavalry. Custer would never see these belongings again. Neither would anyone else for over 135 years!
It’s believed James F. Blair, a Confederate Texas Cavalryman, was one of the captors of Custer’s wagon. Blair purportedly took the items home to Texas as a souvenir and stashed them under his bed – where they remained until discovered 135 years later.
In 2000, Custer’s belongings were auctioned to the public and purchased by a group of Idaho antiques collectors.
Now, for a limited time only, Custer’s personal items have returned to his adopted hometown of Monroe, Michigan and are displayed in one of the largest Custer exhibits in the nation. Stop by and see this exhibit and special collection before it’s too late.
*The First Presbyterian Church of Monroe, where the Custers were married in 1864, is the oldest Presbyterian and Protestant church in Michigan.