George Armstrong Custer Autograph Letter Signed "G.A. Custer. B. Maj. Genl. U.S.A." Two pages, 7.75" x 9.75", [Fort Lincoln, North Dakota], May 3, 1874. One of the most controversial figures in American history, George Armstrong Custer (1839-1876) had a tremendous military career, despite its inauspicious beginnings. Saved from a career ending court-martial because of a need for field officers in the Civil War, Custer would distinguish himself on the battlefield due to his bravery and seeming lack of fear, making him something of a celebrity. Following the war, he was sent west to the frontier and would become a leading figure in the Indian Wars against the Cheyenne and Lakota. Following his victory at the Battle of the Washita, he was placed in command of Fort Abraham Lincoln in the Dakota Territory in early 1873.

    One year into his tenure at Fort Lincoln, Custer received a telegram, a copy of which is found directly above Custer's letter, sent to him on May 2, 1874, which reads: "Considering all the circumstances of the case the Dept. Commander decides no change can be made in assignment of Dr. Hart; let him go on by first boat to Fort Shaw."

    After receiving the news, Custer, who had apparently tried to reverse the order, transmitted a copy of the telegram to Dr. Hart with the following letter: "Dr. Hart, The above telegram came last evening. I regret that no change could be made. As there will undoubtedly be other boats of the same line your passage[?] will be of service [illegible]. I cannot but think thus it was highly unsafe to make the proposed trip in the Fontanells [a paddleboat operating on the Missouri River]. In the meanwhile Mrs Custer & myself hope you & Mrs Hart will come over and make our house your home until your departure up the river." Uneven toning. Two small tears at the right edge; a third tear has been repaired on the verso.

    Less than two years after writing this letter, Custer met his end leading the Seventh Cavalry against a combined force of Lakota, Arapaho, and Northern Cheyenne at the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2013
    17th-18th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
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