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    George Armstrong Custer: The Original Telegram from General Sheridan, delivered to Custer, Asking Him to Join Sheridan and Grand Duke Alexei for Their Legendary Buffalo Hunt. Other than Little Big Horn itself, probably no other episode in his life is more familiar to Custer aficionados than this epic adventure.

    Alexei was the fifth son of Russian Czar Alexander II. As such he enjoyed considerable free time, and so in the fall of 1872 he began and extended a highly publicized tour of the United States. Feted by President Grant, he eventually made his way west. The honored guest expressed the desire to go on a hunt, and Sheridan took charge by inviting Custer-always one of his favorites-to serve as Grand Marshal of the hunt.

    The party arrived at Fort McPherson on January 13, 1872 on a special train provided by the Pennsylvania Railroad. A cheering crowd led by "Buffalo Bill" Cody gave them a spirited welcome, and after appropriate speeches the party embarked on their hunt. Sheridan and the Duke rode in an open carriage, escorted by Cody with a train of wagons (including three for "champagne and royal spirits"). After a 30 mile trip they made camp, where they were entertained by the 2nd Cavalry Band. The Grand Duke's tent sported a wood floor covered with oriental carpets and stoves to combat the winter cold.

    Cody had arranged with Lakota Chief Spotted Tail for a grand entertainment by 600 braves who fought a mock battle and gave demonstrations of horsemanship, lance throwing, and arrow shooting. For their trouble the Indians received 25 wagon loads of provisions and tobacco, and Alexie lavishly distributed ivory handled hunting knives, silver dollars, and colorful blankets. The following day, Cody led the party to a nearby buffalo herd, where the Grand Duke brought down an animal and the party killed in all several dozen buffalo.

    On the trip Custer and Alexei became fast friends, and Custer accompanied him as his entourage went on to St. Louis, New Orleans, and eventually Florida. When the party stopped in Topeka one of the most famous photographs of Custer was taken, with both he and the Grand Duke dressed in buckskins. The buffalo hunt left such an impression on Alexei that every year thereafter he staged a grand re-enactment in Russia, and he and Custer continued to correspond until the general's death.

    Offered here is the telegram from Sheridan to Custer which set it all in motion, including the original envelope in which it was delivered, truly a most evocative Custer artifact. Excellent condition.


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    Auction Dates
    October, 2015
    25th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 12
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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