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Important, Civil War-dated ALS, enthusiastically endorsing a new saber shield and urging that the US Cavalry be equipped with it
Autograph Letter signed: "G. A. Custer, Brig. Genl.", 1 page, 6¼x8. Washington, D.C., 1864 April 6. To Captain R. R. Moffatt, in full: "Having carefully examined your 'Sabre Shield,' and having considered its merits, as pertaining to my own branch of the service, I do not hesitate in pronouncing it a most invaluable acquisition to the cavalry arm of the service. I am firm in the belief that the possession of it by our cavalry would give confidence and increases courage to those wearing it. The trifling weight of the shield is such as to be almost unfelt by the wearer. I hope it will be adopted at once." George Armstrong Custer (1839-1876) graduated last in his class at West Point in 1858, but promptly redeemed himself through his brave and aggressive cavalry leadership during the Civil War. Earning the confidence of cavalry commanders Pleasanton and Sheridan, he rose swiftly to the rank of brevet major general by war's end. Custer had taken command of the 5th Michigan Cavalry shortly before Gettysburg and led it into battle repeatedly. Five weeks after this letter was sent, Custer's troopers slew Confederate cavalry commander J.E. B. at the Battle of Yellow Tavern. Custer left military service briefly after the Civil War, dabbling in business and politics, but by 1867 he was battling Plains Indians in a series of campaigns which would end with his disastrous defeat and death at the Little Bighorn (June 25, 1876). Understandably, Custer took a keen interest in cavalry equipment, and had himself developed a saber attachment of his own before the start of hostilities. For cavalry units of the Civil War, however, sabers were proving no match for pistols in close combat. Horizontal fold creases. Moisture stains causing minor ink runs. Lightly toned. Otherwise, fine condition.

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Born: December 5, 1839 in New Rumley, Ohio
Died: June 25, 1876 in Little Big Horn, Montana

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