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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, George Custer was actually a Lieutenant Colonel at this time and was no higher rank at the time he served with the 7th Cavalry, but he had been Brevetted to the rank of Major General during the Civil War.  (Perhaps Mark can explain this a little better than I can.)  It was common practice to refer to someone by their Brevet rank.


The other fella is Archduke Alexandrovith Romanov of Russia on a good will trip to the US.  General Phil Sheridan arranged a buffalo hunting trip in south-west Newbrassky with several troops of the 7th Cavalry some Lakota under Spotted Tail and William F. Cody as guide.



Custer's rifle is a trapdoor Springfield "officers" model, a custom job by The Springfield Armoury.  Caliber 50-70.  The 50-70 trapdoors were build partly out of new parts and partly out of leftover muzzle-loading muskets left from the Civil War.

A couple links on both men.  I checked the facts on these and Wikapedia is right on with the commonly accepted facts on these two men.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_George_Armstrong_Custer

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Duke_Alexei_Alexandrovich_of_Russia
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Almost forgot, picture B-697 from the Denver Public Library Collection. The picture was a painted backdrop and was taken in 1872 in St. Louis by a fella named Scholter, seems his first name has been lost.

BTW it will be sometime next week before we have another historical picture, I am leaving tommorow for Ft. Hartstuff out in the Newbrassky Sandhills to cook for a GAF Muster. "Spossed to be a bit cold and maybe snow tommorow. Never fear, I get the restored infanty barracks and a wood burin' stove for sleeping. ;D
 
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The use of "brevet" rank was common at that point in history. It was a way to rapidly fill positions with "qualified" junior officers when the need existed. For example, in time of war such as during the Civil War or the Indian Wars, new units were created rapidly and there weren't enough existing officers at the right rank to command the units. The practice was to "brevet" junior officers for the position. They were referred to at the brevet rank - like MG George Custer - and paid at the lower rank. In most cases, when the need for the breveted rank disappeared - say the war ended and the units were disbanded - the officer would revert back to his official rank.

Breveting is no longer used. We have a similar process in place called "frocking." :D And I have been personally "frocked" twice - with no kisses. :D In this case, when an officer has been selected for promotion to the next rank but has not been officially promoted (Promotions now are based on federal law that governs the number of officers that can be serving at any given rank at any given time) and is going to a position where the "authority" of the higher rank is needed, the officer is frocked to the higher rank. As with breveting, you get to wear the rank and have the authority that comes with it, but you are still paid at the lower rank.

The difference between the two is that with frocking, the officer must be already on a standing promotion list to be frocked. That was not the case with breveting. Back then, the promotion process was less centrally managed and frought with political influence. Breveting led to some amazing successes...and some terrible failures.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks Mark, I understand it, but can't explain it as well. After the Civil War, there were two many officers some regular army, some from volunteer units. Custer was reduced back to captain. He was offered full Colonel in the 9th (black unit) but turn it down. He accepted Lt. Colonel with the 7th which made him second in command. Colonel Sturgis however was on detached duty most of the time, this made Custer the field commander.
 
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