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As head of a preparatory academy for aspiring West Point cadets, this hero of Custer's 7th Cavalry signs an autograph letter to the grandfather of a candidate (1901).
Autograph Letter signed: "Charles Braden", 1 page, 8½x11. Highland Falls, N.Y., 1901 April 4. To "Dear Mr. Shippen", in full: "I have just returned from a visit to Cuba, and find your letters. If the War Department rules as it did last year, your grandson will not be required to pass another examination in June if Mr. Jones fails to pass the Medical Board. It will be well to write to the Secretary of War and get an official decision. It may be of interest to Mr. West to know that only three out of my class of fifty-one, failed to pass the mental examination. Yours very sincerely". Charles Braden (1847-1919), a West Point graduate (1869), served with the US Seventh Cavalry under General George Custer, in the campaign against the Sioux. Nearly three years before Custer and the soldiers he commanded died at the Little Big Horn, Braden was severely wounded in a successful defensive action of the same campaign. Braden was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (1919). The Presidential citation praised Braden "for extraordinary heroism while serving with 7th Cavalry, in action near the mouth of the Big Horn River, Montana, 11 August 1873. Lt. Braden, with 20 men, having been attacked by nearly 200 Indians, although severely wounded in the encounter, by his personal gallantry and splendid leadership so inspired his small command as to enable it to repulse the attack by overwhelmingly superior numbers." Braden's thigh was shattered in this battle; he had to endure a painful journey and prolonged convalescence afterwards. Crippled for life, Braden was brevetted to captain and honorably discharged, but he remained in service to his army and country. In 1880, Braden began three decades as Secretary of the Association of Graduates, US Military Academy. In 1890, he founded the National Preparatory Academy in Cornwall, N.Y., 5 miles from West Point, designed to prepare aspiring military officers, and especially those intent upon admission to the US Military Academy and Naval Academy. Braden's academy was the forerunner of the Stanton Military Academy. It was in his capacity as leader of the Academy that Braden wrote to Mr. Shippen. Shippen's grandson, William W. West, Jr., was accepted to West Point, graduated in the Class of 1905, and went on to a distinguished military career, serving in France during World War I, retiring as a colonel in 1919, and playing for the US polo team in the 1920 Olympic Games. Horizontal and vertical folds. Lightly creased. Lightly toned. Otherwise, fine condition.

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Born: November 23, 1847 in Detroit, Michigan
Died: January 15, 1919 in Highland Falls, New York

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