George Armstrong Custer Original Historic Letters and Documents

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Topic

Human Aspect

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Manuscripts (11)

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Custer:

Autograph Letter Signed

3 pages

SMC 126

General Custer writes to his friend, Judge Christiancy, to share with him a secret: He will be returning to Monroe, Michigan in a few months to be married. Inadvertently foreshadowing his death and Libbie's misfortune, Custer jokingly tells Christiancy that Libbie, who would "unite her destinies" with Custer's, is "fortunate, or unfortunate."
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General Custer Gives an Order to His Loyal Adjutant Cooke, Who Would Die Next to Him at Little Bighorn

Autograph Letter Signed

2 pages

SMC 289

This order to Cooke concerns another 7th Cavalry regular who also rode with Custer – though not as a friend. Major Lewis Merrill, with whom Custer had numerous run-ins, is alleged here to have taken some instruments belonging to the 7th Cavalry band: Cooke is tasked with making sense of what happened.
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Libbie Custer Makes a Secret Plea to Aid the Widows of Captain Yates, Lt. Calhoun, and Enlisted Men

Autograph Letter Signed

3 pages

SMC 291

In order to maintain their dignity, Libbie Custer secretly petitions for funds for the widows and children of fallen soldiers at Little Bighorn.
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Custer's Aide, Frederick Benteen, Takes the Oath of Office as Captain in the 7th Calvary

Document Signed

2 pages

SMC 303

Here Benteen, infamous for coming to Custer's aide too slowly at the Battle of Little Bighorn, steps into history, taking the Oath of Office as Captain in the 7th Cavalry.
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General Custer Signs Off on the Tobacco Allotment for Enlisted Men Who Died With Him at Little Bighorn

Document Signed

2 pages

SMC 390

Here, General Custer certifies that four non-commissioned officers of the 7th Cavalry have taken possession of a pound of tobacco each.
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Signature of Young Officer, J.J. Crittenden, Killed With Custer at the Battle of Little Bighorn

Signature

1 page

SMC 671

Signature of John Jordan Crittenden III, whose father, Thomas Leonidas Crittenden was a Lieutenant Colonel who secured for his son an army commission after the latter failed out of West Point. The frail, one-eyed Lieutenant met his end at Little Bighorn with General Custer.
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Signature of Second Lieutenant Henry Moore Harrington, Killed With General Custer at Little Bighorn

Signature

2 pages

SMC 674

Signature of Second Lieutenant Henry Moore Harrington, who was killed with Custer at Little Bighorn. His was one of three bodies to not have been identified.
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Signature of James Calhoun, Custer's Brother-in-Law, Killed With Him at the Battle of Little Bighorn

Signature

2 pages

SMC 1157

Rare signature of Lieutenant James Calhoun, Custer's brother-in-law, who died with him at Little Bighorn on what would come to be known as Calhoun Hill.
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John Wild Bets the Black Hills Gold Rush - Set Off by Custer's Discovery of Gold There in 1864 - is a Bust

Autograph Letter Signed

2 pages

SMC 1752

John Wild is willing to bet that those flocking to find fortune in the Black Hills "will be disappointed by going there."
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While

Autograph Letter Signed

2 pages

SMC 1822

General Custer writes to his old classmates from Hopedale Normal College - which he attended before West Point - to tell them of the potential of a serious fortune made from their collaboration in mining in the Bighorn country.
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General Custer Wants Brother Who Would Die With Him at Little Bighorn Appointed a Second Lieutenant

Autograph Letter Signed

3 pages

SMC 2054

General Custer unsuccessfully requests that his youngest brother, Boston, be appointed second lieutenant in the Seventh Cavalry. Boston was not even admitted to the US army, due to his frail health. Custer ensured his brother was with him, and ultimately died with him, by appointing him as a scout.
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