Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
George W. Hunt Papers, 1864-1907

James S. Schoff Civil War Collection

Finding aid created by
Manuscripts Division Staff

Summary Information
Title: George W. Hunt papers
Creator: Hunt, George W., b. 1844
Inclusive dates: 1864-1907
Bulk dates: 1864-1865
Extent: 2 journals; memoir; carte de visite album; miscellaneous items
The George Hunt papers include two pocket diaries kept by Hunt during his service in the 15th New York Cavalry, 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, and a pocket-sized carte de visite album containing photographs of Hunt and fellow cavalry members.
Language: The material is in English.
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1982. M-1984.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open to research.


Copyright status is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

George W. Hunt Papers, James S. Schoff Civil War Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Hunt, George W., b. 1844

Rank : Private?

Regiment : 15th New York Cavalry Regiment. Co. K (1863-1865)

Service : 1863 October 15-1865 June 17 (when consolidated with the 6th New York Cavalry)

Late in the summer, 1863, George W. Hunt enlisted in Company K of the 15th New York Cavalry Regiment, a company raised in Syracuse, Ithaca, and Utica. Within a few days of mustering into the U.S. service in October, Hunt was bound for western Virginia, where his regiment would be attached to the 2nd Brigade, West Virginia Cavalry, and later to the 3rd Cavalry Division of the Army of the Shenandoah. The "Red Neck Ties" served much of their two years under arms in and near the Shenandoah Valley, commanded after October 1864 by George Armstrong Custer. They participated in a large number of skirmishes and were present for Sheridan's Shenandoah Campaign of 1864, and the battles of Tom's Brook, Five Forks, Appomatox Station and Appomatox Court House.

On June 17, 1863, the 15th Cavalry were consolidated with the remnants of the 6th Cavalry and redesignated the 2nd Provisional Cavalry. They were mustered out of the service later in the summer. After the war, Hunt returned home to Aurora, N.Y., and worked for the Post Office. He was very active in veterans' organizations for many years.

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.

Subject Terms

    • United States. Army. New York Cavalry Regiment, 15th (1863-1865)
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Cavalry operations.
    • Custer, George Armstrong, 1839-1876.
    • Appomattox Campaign, 1865.
    • Five Forks, Battle of, Va., 1865.
    • Rosser, Thomas Lafayette, 1836-1910.
    • Shenandoah Valley Campaign, 1864 (August-November)
    Subjects - Visual Materials:
    • Hunt, George W., b. 1844.
    • Grant, Ulysses S. (Ulysses Simpson), 1822-1885.
    • Sheridan, Philip Henry, 1831-1888.
    • United States. Army. New York Cavalry Regiment, 15th (1863-1865)
    Genre Terms:
    • Cartes-de-visite (card photographs)
    • Clippings (information artifacts)
    • Notebooks.
    • Photograph albums.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    George W. Hunt papers,  1864-1907 [series]
    Volume   1  
    Diary,  1864 February 29-December 23
    Volume   2  
    Diary,  1865 January 1-August 24
    Volume   3  
    Pocket New Testament
    Notebook,  1907
    Newspaper clippings regarding reunions,  1908, undated
    Volume   4  
    Memoir, "Custer and his Red Necks,"  undated
    Volume   : Graphics Division (A.5.2.6)  
    Carte de visite album,  ca. 1864
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Alternate Locations

    Hunt's carte de visite album is housed in the Graphics Division of the Clements Library.


    Norton, Chauncey S., "The Red Neck Ties," or History of the 15th New York Volunteer Cavalry (Ithaca, N.Y.: Journal book and job printing house, 1891.