school's design was to cultivate not only the mind, but the taste and heart to make a "Woman what she should be, . . . educated, and at the same time refined, and ready for every good work that becomes her.."
Libbie was growing up, although she told her father that she liked being a little girl, she dreaded being a young lady. She liked acting free and girl like, not being prim and particular about what she said.
Like it or not, she was becoming a young lady and by some accounts, one of the prettiest in Monroe.
When Libbie was 17 her father remarried. He wed Rhoda Pitts of Tecumseh. With this union Libbie and her father were reunited and all three lived in the Bacon home. Both Libbie and her father were glad to be home again. Libbie and Rhoda got along just fine and became close.
Soon the Civil War broke out and Judge Bacon predicted the rebellion would take "time, lives and treasure to put down."
Meanwhile, classes, church, and scrutinized her social dance.
Libbie's time was spent attending
With the war came enlistments and Monroe's male population dwindled. Libbie remarked in her journal that "to see a young gentleman" was a rarity.
Meanwhile, George Armstrong Custer was attending West Point. Graduating #34 out of a class of 34, his course of study was shortened by a year due to the outbreak of the Civil War. Upon graduation he left for the Army of the Potomac. He participated in the Battle of Bull Run and so impressed General McClellan he was made an aide of the General's and became a captain. McClellan was relieved of his command when it was felt that he became overcautious. His staff was dissolved and Custer returned to Monroe to await a new assignment.
At a Thanksgiving party held at the Young Ladies' Seminary in 1862 Libbie and George were officially
introduced to each other.
remembered their he was smitten by
her. He set out to conquer which would as his family was Democratic Methodists
soon began attending the Presbyterian attention might be considered stalking
because it seemed whenever He walked or rode up and frequently each day. All too his unit.
Libbie left home, he was nearby. down the street past her home soon however, Custer returned to
Returning to Monroe the following year, Custer again showed up wherever Libbie happened to be. Soon he became her escort. Judge Bacon heard of their relationship and he was against it wholeheartedly. He was afraid Custer would come home from the war maimed or not come home at all, leaving
heartbroken. Judge Bacon forbid
through Libbie's friend, Nettie Humphrey.
Nettie wrote to Custer whatever Libbie was thinking and he wrote back to Nettie who shared the letters with Libbie. In this way their romance bloomed.
Meanwhile, on the war front, Custer was making a name for himself and became a general at the age of 23. Judge Bacon followed his career through newspaper articles. Eventually Custer began a correspondence with Judge Bacon, who seemed to be the only man on earth he feared, telling him of war news and hinting about his feelings for Libbie while making a case for himself as a suitor. Bacon gave in and allowed the two to correspond, knowing it would lead to matrimony.
Custer and Libbie were married February 9, 1864 in the First Presbyterian Church of Monroe. Their good friends, Nettie Humphrey and Jacob Greene in attendance as part of the wedding party. These two would be wed in 1865.
After the wedding, Libbie left Monroe and followed Custer and his troops to the front lines. She refused to be separated from her Autie. You have to remember that officers often took over homes in the area where they were fighting so she wasn't out sleeping on the open ground, although sometimes in a tent. Also, when Custer left his headquarters to fight on extended campaigns, Libbie went to Washington, D. C.
She referred to Washington as the "saddest city on earth" with long trains of ambulances, wagons stacked with coffins, men on crutches, men missing an arm or a leg, and
widows in black.
Here she began visiting
hospitals, especially those endeared her to his men.
soldiers in the husband. This
In D. C. she also became acquainted with Senators, Congressmen and she met President Lincoln. Libbie became a
reputation of her boy general husband and
the well-known her own pleasant
personality had many wanting to meet her.
On April 9, 1865, the Civil War ended when Rebel troops surrendered at Appomattox Court House. Shortly after the surrender, Libbie received the table at which General Grant sat. The table was accompanied by a note from General Sheridan that read, "I respectfully present to you the small writing table on which the conditions for the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia were written by General Grant - and permit me to say, Madam, that there is scarcely an individual in our service who has contributed more to bring about this desirable result than your gallant husband."
With the end of the war came a cutback of the armed forces and Custer's brevet general rank was reduced to captain. Custer was assigned to Texas as part of the occupation forces. He also went to Louisiana and then Kansas. Here Custer