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    [Indian Wars]. Frederick Van Vliet Archive consisting of three letters, one copy of orders, one stock certificate, and one carte de visite spanning the years 1876 through 1891. Frederick Van Vliet, the brother of Union General Stewart Van Vliet, served in the Union army during the Civil War. After the war, he accompanied his regiment to the New Mexico and Arizona Territories. He transferred north sometime with the U.S. 3rd Cavalry and participated in the Black Hills and Yellowstone Campaigns during the 1870s.

    Writing home to his wife from camp near the Tongue River in Montana on June 9, 1876, he says: "I had been sent in advance to meet a body of Crow Indians who were to accompany the Command as Trailers & Scouts...our march has been without particular interest...It's a matter of conjecture what has become of the Indians who have occupied this section of country. We have not seen any sign, and no Indians. On the night of the 7 a few of them came on the Bluff opposite our Camp, and had a talk with a half-breed tracker...they went away without firing into Camp. They were probably Sioux...I do not anticipate any fighting of consequence, though if we strike a large village there may be some. I should not wonder if all the...Indians went into the British Posessions [sic]..." Eight days later, he and his troops wound engage a force of Lakota and Cheyenne at the Battle of the Rosebud.

    One month later, while on picket duty near Goose Creek in Wyoming Territory on July 12, 1876, he wrote home again, confirming rumors of Custer's defeat at the Little Bighorn a few weeks earlier: "Men came in from Ferry on the Yellowstone...They confirm the bad report we had received of Custer's disaster, and death. I suppose by the time [illegible] Command's are massacred they will begin to believe the Sioux nation a be despised. Here we are fighting the whole Sioux nation & allies, with less than 3000 men. It make[s] a fellow despise a Republican form of Govt. and takes the patriotism out of line rapidly. It's the last Indian Campaign they will get me on." Regarding his part in the Battle of the Rosebud the month before, he states: "I was in the advance...and if they had not ordered us turned back, there would not have been a man of my squadron left, as there was 4000 Indians...waiting for us." He makes mention of a supply train of wagons coming "...over the ground where Fetterman & party were massacred. Or Mr. S. Bull [Sitting Bull] may be...coming to wipe us from the face of the Earth."

    Following his time on the plains, he transferred to Texas where he remained for many years. He died in 1891. Also included are a letter from the Smithsonian Institute regarding a "...bird you sent me for identification..," a 9.5" x 7" Long Island Transportation Company Stock certificate, dated April 3, 1889, and a 2.5" x 4.25" carte de visite of a young woman, and Orders No. 11 from the headquarters of the 10th Cavalry announcing the death of Van Vliet, dated March 14, 1891.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2013
    11th Thursday
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