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    Capt. Thomas Mower McDougall: Ensemble of Personal Mementos. Supposedly Captain McDougall's "B" Company was meant to be part of Custer's battalion on June 25th. But because McDougall overslept and missed the strategy meeting, he and his company were "exiled" to guarding Lt. Mathey's pack train. "Custer's luck" ran out; McDougall's luck was to spare him and most of his men to fight another day.

    Whatever turn their careers might have taken after Little Bighorn, the 7th Cavalry officers who were there that day found their lives and their memory defined by the event. It wore hard on some. Because he had become so physically unfit, McDougall (1845-1909) was forced to retire from the Army in 1890. As the photograph accompanying this lot seems to show, he settled back in his corpulence among mementos of his career. Despite the dour face, he was good-natured and generous-spirited. Notice that he sits among a halo of Indian photographs- above his head is Curly, Custer's Crow scout. To his left are Sitting Bull, Gall, and others. Late in life, he was quoted as saying of those warrior peoples he had warred against and who had killed his 7th Cavalry confreres: "poor human fellows, they did what all of us would have done, so I long ago forgave them from the bottom of my heart."

    McDougall clung to a few items of particular significance to him. His Indian Wars medal (also in this auction), photographs of friends, a few documents, letters, and the relics of his campaigns, including Little Bighorn. Among the items in this special group is his presentation saber with white sharkskin handle wrapped in gold thread and brass ornamented scabbard. This saber and scabbard were at one time protected in this beautiful Indian-made fringed and beaded doe-skin sheath that can be seen in the photograph hanging on the wall beneath the "Dunlallie" sign. McDougall's model 1860 service saber, which can also be identified in the photograph hanging on the wall directly behind McDougall's head. He also kept the decorative gilded chain and cavalry buttons from his dress helmet. Finally, and perhaps most important, McDougall kept his emblem of regiment and rank, his bullion shoulder knot with sterling captains bars and "7" embroidered on the field, a faded cavalry-yellow in color.

    A sentimental but important grouping from one of the significant participants in the Battle of the Little Bighorn, see Swanson, G. A. Custer: His Life and Times, pages 108-109 and 260.
    From the Glenwood Swanson Collection.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2018
    9th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,051

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