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    Ft. McPherson, Nebraska & Ft. Randall, Dakota Territory: Five Letters by a Cavalry Lieutenant, One Referencing Buffalo Bill. Four complete letters and one partial from Lt. Edgar Steeven, Jr. to his father, dating from 1871-72. The last is a detailed six-page letter in which he describes in detail the relocation of his unit, in the company of "Buffalo Bill", from Ft. McPherson to Ft. Randall. Other letters focus on relations with the Indians, often stressing that the army was insufficient to deal with them. In one he writes: "one cannot travel just whenever he might desire for fear of being 'jumped' by the Redskins. One has to take advantage of guarded trains for protection." He writes of "being so situated as to be in the right place for action, in case of an Indian outbreak, for the Red Cloud agency is about 1½ miles from this post. Lt. Crawford and myself, with 23 men were sent to the agency last Friday week to quell a disturbance among the savages, who became unruly and quite hostile...We made a very narrow escape from total massacre, for there were at least, by actual count, 16 Indians to one of us..." In another he describes a visit to the post by Gen. Sheridan, an occasion for a buffalo hunt which is described in detail. He also describes in detail a visit to the famous old Sioux Chief Spotted Tail, describing the setting and details of the encounter. In another letter he describes the last year in which the Sioux were permitted to hunt buffalo for food and hides, "for according to their treaty they have agreed to give up buffalo hunting, as the government has agreed to feed them". The government's policy of slaughtering the buffalo herds and restricting the plains Indians from hunting them was part of a conscious effort to make it impossible for the Indians to maintain their traditional nomadic existence which made them hard for the army to keep track of and control. In the last letter, written in December 1874, he speculates about how Democratic Party gains in the recent off-year election may affect the government moves to cut back the army despite the dangerous situation in Indian Territory. In all, a total of twenty-three pages, with some great content. Very good to excellent condition, and all easily readable.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2014
    14th Saturday
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