Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

    Description

    Colonel Elmer I. Otis: The Wood Trunk of the Man Who Replaced Custer as Commander of the 7th Cavalry after Little Bighorn and Who Served as one of the Seven Officers Who Rendered the Verdict on Major Marcus Reno at his Court Martial. This large trunk with original bluish-gray paint was used by Otis between 1883 and 1889, when he commanded the 8th Cavalry in the Western Theater. The worn stenciling in the front is still legible: "Col. Elmer Otis 8th CAV". When a number of George Armstrong Custer's personal effects were sold at Butterfield's in the mid-1990s, that offering included a Custer wooden trunk very similar to this one.

    This is a standard U.S. Army Indian Wars period footlocker which would have been invaluable to an officer such as Otis, who was always on the move. It measures 37" x 18.5" x 20.5". Overall condition is relatively good, considering that it was being used to store feed on the front porch of a Kansas farm house. There is minor, really inconsequential damage and some slight separation of the wood, and the hinges for the lid are loose, but present. One original leather handle is still attached on one end and is in surprisingly good condition.

    Elmer Otis was a most interesting character in post-Little Bighorn history. He is recognized as the officer who rebuilt the 7th Cavalry after its catastrophic defeat over the public objections of Major Reno, with whom he apparently had a long-standing feud. Imagine Reno's consternation when Otis was named to be one of his judges when he was brought up on charges stemming from the battle. Later, Otis would be one of the two judges who refused to sign an appeal to President Benjamin Harrison requesting clemency for Reno.

    His army trunk, with its charming weathered patina, is a most appealing artifact from this ever-fascinating chapter in the history of the West. An inch-thick dossier of research on Otis's military career accompanies this lot.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2012
    10th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,656

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Shipping, Taxes, Terms and Bidding
    This item cannot be shipped using standard methods. Please contact us for more information. Sales Tax information

    Important information concerning Sales Tax and Resale Certificates. Learn More

    Terms and Conditions  |  Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments |  Glossary of Terms

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    VIEW BENEFITS
    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
      winnings 
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2021 May 19 Manuscripts Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    The resulting auction of my property overwhelmed me. I want to thank Tom Slater and the Heritage team for a very satisfactory experience and profitable result with my historical consignment.
    Henry L.,
    Lexington, KY
    View More Testimonials

    HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: Similarweb.com)

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search