Skip to main content
  1. Life
  2. Society & Culture
  3. Social Issues

West Virginia soldier was friend of General George Custer

See also

James Barroll Washington, who lived at Beall Air in Charlestown, VA (now Charles Town, WV) was a friend and classmate at West Point with General George Armstrong Custer, of Civil War fame and beyond.

Ironically, Washington, the son of Lewis Washington, great grand-nephew of George Washington, was captured by the Union Army at Seven Pines, Virginia on May 31, 1862.

When then Capt. Custer arrived at the prison camp and saw his friend, they spent some time together. It was photographer James Gibson who saw the opportunity to take the enclosed photograph which he thought was symbolic of the entire war. Gibson titled it “both sides and the cause” adding the Negro child to tie the two friends together. The photograph, which appeared as a woodcut in the Harpers Weekly newspaper, became an iconic photograph of the war.

Gibson was a lesser known name of the photographers employed by Mathew Brady. It was Brady’s studio. Brady got the name recognition. But often it was field photographers such as Gibson who actually took the photograph.

In the spring of 1864, when the Union army under General Phil Sheridan invaded Hanover County, Virginia, Washington’s step mother, Ella Bassett Washington, appealed to Custer for help. Her family’s plantation at Clover Lea had been under siege, with Union soldiers stealing chickens and turkeys and striking fear into those who lived there, Miss Ella wrote twice to Custer for assistance, as she realized the General knew her stepson.

General Custer told Miss Ella that he had sent help, but men assigned to offer assistance got lost and never arrived. The general apologized for their ineptness.

Custer, most famous for his Custer’s Last Stand at the Battle of Bighorn in 1876, is also known for his long flowing red hair and for having graduated last in his graduating class of 1861.

If you are interested in the Civil War, please subscribe to my posts by clicking on the “subscribe” button. Subscribing is free. You will receive an e-mail each time I post another article. Or “like” my articles on your Facebook/Twitter account.

Advertisement

Life

  • Transgender cop
    A transgender police officer is stepping down from her position to run for office
    Video
    Political Office
  • Easter eggs
    Craft delicate, hand-painted eggs with flowers and other designs celebrating spring
    Camera
    Easter Eggs
  • Subway message
    Subway customer finds 'Big Mama' written on her order
    Video
    Subway Message
  • Working from home
    Working from home can be an exciting venture. Get tips to ensure productivity
    Camera
    Get Tips
  • Limes
    Rising cost of limes could be putting the squeeze on your favorite restaurant
    Expensive Limes
  • Pope Francis
    Religion: Pope Francis instructs how to fight against Satan
    Morning Mass

User login

Log in
Sign in with your email and password. Or reset your password.
Write for us
Interested in becoming an Examiner and sharing your experience and passion? We're always looking for quality writers. Find out more about Examiner.com and apply today!