Captain William Fetterman: An Extremely Rare Signature of this Officer Killed with 80 of His Men by a Plains Indians War Party Reputed to Include Rain-in-the-Face. The battle occurred on December 21, 1866 during what came to be known as Red Cloud's War. Up to that time it was the worst Indian Wars military disaster, and led to the withdrawal of the Army and an eventual peace with Red Cloud.

    The Army had suffered numerous Indian raids during the construction of Fort Kearney, and upon arrival there Fetterman-who had no experience fighting Indians-contemptuously declared, "Give me 80 men and I can ride through the whole Sioux nation."

    The Indians had tried on various occasions without success to lure a force of troopers into an ambush, but finally succeeded when Fetterman led a relief party to aid a group of workers sent several miles from the Fort to cut timber. A decoy force including a young Crazy Horse led Fetterman into a pursuit-in violation of strict orders-whereupon they were attacked by upwards of 1000 Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors and massacred. The bodies were found naked, scalped, and mutilated.

    The disaster soured the Army and the public on defending the Bozeman Trail, and Fort Kearney was abandoned in 1868. In December of that year a great treaty was signed with Red Cloud giving the Plains tribes dominion over the Powder River country. The peace would last but eight years before the treaty was broken by the Army.

    Offered here is a Civil War court martial document boldly signed by Captain William Fetterman as a member of the court. Fetterman's autograph is among the most elusive of important figure of the Indian Wars era. 7.5" x 7.5" and in excellent condition.

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2015
    25th Sunday
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