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CUSTER, George Armstrong (1839-1876) – MICHAELIS, Otho E. (1843-1890) Autograph letter signed (“Otho”), to his wife, “Camp on the Little Big Horn,” 28 June 1876.
CUSTER, George Armstrong (1839-1876) – MICHAELIS, Otho E. (1843-1890) Autograph letter signed (“Otho”), to his wife, “Camp on the Little Big Horn,” 28 June 1876.
Books and Manuscipts Sale 14376 Lot 298
CUSTER, George Armstrong (1839-1876) – MICHAELIS, Otho E. (1843-1890) Autograph letter signed (“Otho”), to his wife, “Camp on the Little Big Horn,” 28 June 1876.
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CUSTER, George Armstrong (1839-1876) – MICHAELIS, Otho E. (1843-1890) Autograph letter signed (“Otho”), to his wife, “Camp on the Little Big Horn,” 28 June 1876.

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CUSTER, George Armstrong (1839-1876) – MICHAELIS, Otho E. (1843-1890) Autograph letter signed (“Otho”), to his wife, “Camp on the Little Big Horn,” 28 June 1876.

Four pages, 255 x 185mm, in pencil, (minor wear and losses to right margin do not affect text, partial fold separation to third and fourth pages). Matted and framed with a cabinet card photograph of Custer, 106 x 150 mm (minor loss and crack at bottom left).

Custer’s Last Stand: An on-the-spot report from the 7th Cavalry’s chief of ordnance, describing, in vivid detail, his discovery of Custer’s body: “The General’s body is untouched his expression is serene and peaceful... Bad generalship on Custer’s part the cause & do not like to say this but I do He divided his command and the five companies with him were butchered to a man.” An important letter from a close friend who places the blame for the debacle squarely on Custer. A vivid and emotional letter from Otho Michaelis, the chief of ordnance for the 7th Cavalry during the Little Big Horn campaign, to his wife describing the terrible scene he witnessed on his arrival at the battlefield on 28 June 1876: “Oh darling Sunshine, how can I ever write the horrible events of the past few days – The 7th Cav’y is all up - 300 hundred men and officers butchered[.] Three Custers, Cook, Yates, Dr DeWolf altogether 16 officers butchered. Sent a lock of the General’s hair off for his poor wife[.] His sister, Mrs. Calhoun loses on one day [a] husband, 3 brothers and a nephew... I do now know that we could have done much there were over 3000 well armed, well organized Indian warriors – better armed than our cavalry – We have 40 wounded on our hands, and we commenced a slow march back to the boat this Evening[.] I cannot describe the horrors I have seen. The General’s body is untouched – his expression serene and peaceful – of course perfectly naked... I do not know what will be done but dearly as I love my Sunshine and my babies – I do not want to see them again until we have done something – I feel 10 years older[.] The horror, the pity of it-- Bad generalship on Custer’s part the cause & do not like to say this – but I do – He divided his command and the five companies with him were butchered to a man. The balance suffered smaller loss but fortified themselves under Reno- and our coming drove the devils off – We can do nothing with our present force. We saw the Indian Columns – but could not attack them.”

[With:] The World. New York, 7 July 1876. Eight pages. folio (542 x 379mm). Newspaper features significant coverage of the Battle of Little Big Horn, mentioning Michaelis on the front page.

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