George W. Hunt papers  1864-1907 (bulk 1864-1865)
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The George Hunt papers include two pocket diaries kept by Hunt during his service in the 15th New York Cavalry and a memoir, "Custer and his Red Necks: A brief Sketch of incidents of the Civil War of 61 & 65," written at least a decade later. The diaries consist of terse entries that provide few details about battles and events.

In contrast, his memoir is fully fleshed out and filled with anecdotes and patriotic flourishes, suggesting that in writing this account, he may have relied as much on printed works as on his own notes and memory. "Custer and his Red Necks" has the earmarks of an address written for a veterans' reunion, and was clearly written after Custer's death. Slightly over half of the memoir concerns Custer's early life and military experience before Hunt's regiment were placed under his command. Hunt was enamored of the dashing figure cut by Custer, and the memoir is celebratory of the man and his achievements.

The collection also includes several other items, including Hunt's pocket-sized carte de visite album, containing photographs of Hunt, fellow members of the 15th New York Cavalry, and selected generals, including Grant and Sheridan; a pocket New Testament; an Ithaca Trust company notebook containing miscellaneous notes (1907); and a file of newspaper clippings relating to veterans' reunions.

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