Lt. Charles DeRudio: A Rare Inscribed and Signed Carte de Visite from One of Little Big Horn's Best-known Survivors. A Count by birth, he was born Carlo di Rudio into an aristocratic Italian family. As a youth he joined in the 1848 revolution that spread across Europe, and later was part of the famous Orsini Plot which sought to assassinate Napoleon III with a bomb. Orsini and two others were hanged, but Di Rudio was sentenced to Devil's Island, where he became one of the few prisoners to escape its horror. He made his way to the U.S., anglicized his name to Charles DeRudio, and served with distinction in the Civil War. He was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant in the 7th Cavalry in 1869, initially serving under Capt. Frederick Benteen, who nicknamed him "Count No Account" for his haughty and boastful manner. But DeRudio was an effective officer and in 1875 was promoted to 1st lieutenant and given command of Company E. However, at the outset of the Little Big Horn campaign, Custer gave Company E to his friend Algernon Smith and assigned DeRudio to command Company A. As a result, Smith died with Custer while DeRudio was in Reno's command and survived the battle. During Reno's withdrawal he lost his horse, got separated, and was forced to hide in the timber on the west bank of the river for thirty-six hours, watching Lakota women ritually mutilating his dead comrades, until he was able to sneak away under cover of darkness to join Reno and Benteen on the bluffs. After the battle he was given command of the reconstituted Company E, which assisted the 2nd Cavalry in the 1877 Nez Perce campaign.

    The CDV is signed and inscribed on verso: "To Capt. Swey 2nd U.S.C.S. [?] in prove [sic]of high respect. Your ever obedient C.C. DeRudio lt.2nd U.S.C.S. [?]" Excellent condition with a hint of minor soiling on photo.

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2014
    14th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 7
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