MAJOR GENERAL GEORGE ARMSTRONG CUSTER - THIRD PERSON AUTOGRAPH LETTER 06/05/1874 - HFSID 300026
Sale Price $11,687.50
GEORGE ARMSTRONG CUSTERHandwritten letter, signed in the text as "General Custer" (even though he had reverted to his pre-war rank), written in the Dakota Territory two years before his death at the Little Big Horn. Letter includes Custer's stab at poetry. Third Person Autograph Letter, 1 page, 7¾x6¼. Fort Lincoln, D.T. [Dakota Territory], 1874 June 5th. Unknown addressee. In full: "Gen Custers compliments his regrets likewise, in response to your kind invitation. His absence should never create surprise except from his own habitation. This being written his duty might end. With no fear of being called Alfred Tennyson. He simply desires, however to send you, the accompanying leg of venison." 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. Custer left military service briefly after the Civil War, dabbling in business and politics, but by 1867 he was back in uniform, battling Plains Indians. (June 25, 1876). Custer refers to himself as a general in this letter, as did his men, although like many Civil War veterans he had reverted to his permanent rank (lieutenant colonel) in the smaller post-war army. His premonition that "his duty might end" was accurate. Three days after he sent this letter, Custer received orders from General Alfred Terry to embark on a reconnaissance expedition in the Black Hills, a territory reserved for the Sioux by the Treaty of 1868 but flooded with miners and fortune seekers after the discovery of gold there. The resulting conflict would claim the life of Custer and his troopers two years later at the Little Big Horn (June 25, 1876). This letter is from the collection ofEdward Robert Goodman (1868-1949), the son of "Buffalo Bill" Cody's older sister Julia Cody Goodman. Goodman worked on Cody's Wild West Show for two years (1886-1888), leaving with a glowing letter of recommendation. Maintaining a lifelong friendship with Buffalo Bill and other members of the Show, including Annie Oakley, Goodman became a major collector of Western memorabilia. Goodman's meticulously preserved and documented collection remained in his family, and is only now being offered for sale. Lightly toned. Lightly worn. Lightly creased. Lightly soiled. Two horizontal and two vertical folds. Tape affixed on verso. Lightly frayed at left edge. Otherwise, fine condition.
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