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    Custer letter of recommendation for an officer who fought at Yellow Tavern

    George Armstrong Custer Autograph Letter Signed "G.A. Custer, Bt Maj Genl." Two pages with integral blank, 7.75" x 9.75", "Headquarters 7th US Cavalry. Near Fort Hays"; April 27, 1867. A letter of recommendation for an officer who fought at the Battle of Yellow Tavern, where J.E.B. Stuart was mortally wounded. Addressed to Edward M. Stanton, Secretary of War, for an appointment in the U.S. Cavalry. Custer writes:

    I take pleasure in recommending for appointment in one of the new Cavalry regiment TH Redfield late a Captain in the 1st Mich Cavalry and for a long period under my command. I know Captain Redfield personally and have seen him prove his gallantry in the face of the enemy, and on many battle fields. He led the squadron of his regiment that charged and captured Jeb Stuart's battery at Yellow Tavern, VA. Stuart himself receiving his death wound on that occasion, Captain Redfield has served his country well and faithfully and is well qualified both by experience and ability to fill a position in the line of our cavalry with credit.

    In this letter Custer recommends to Secretary of War Stanton the appointment of Thomas H. Redfield on one of the new cavalry regiments formed to protect Western settlers from Native American tribes. Redfield served as Captain of Company L in the 1st Michigan Cavalry under Custer's command during 1864-1865. It is not known if Stanton followed through with Custer's recommendation.

    After the Civil War, Custer (1839-1876) remained a major general in the U.S. Volunteers until they were mustered out in February 1866, and thus reverted to his permanent rank of captain and was appointed a lieutenant colonel in the 7th Cavalry Regiment in July of that year. He was dispatched to the West in 1867 to fight in the American Indian Wars. On August 12, 1868, over a year after the date of this letter, Custer was arrested, court martialed, and suspended from the army for being AWOL after leaving his post to see his wife. He was permitted to return to duty the following October. On June 25, 1876, while leading the 7th Cavalry Regiment at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in Montana Territory in which he and all of his detachment were killed. When he wrote this letter to Secretary of War Stanton, Custer was stationed at Fort Hays, Kansas where the 7th U.S. Calvary camped until they had accumulated adequate supplies and ammunition for a summer campaign against several Native American tribes.

    Condition: Usual mail folds, uneven toning mainly on second page. Some chipping and creasing at edges of folds, folds have been reinforced on verso with archival material. Light foxing and dampstaining on second page; does not affect Custer's letter. Boldly signed by Custer. Multiple dockets on verso of integral blank.


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    Auction Dates
    April, 2018
    18th Wednesday
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