7 pages, small 4to. Fine condition." />
18 December 2003
[CIVIL WAR]. SHERIDAN, Philip, Major General. Autograph letter signed ("Sheridan") to General E.O.C. Ord, Chicago, 17 May 1874. 7 pages, small 4to. Fine condition.
GEORGE CUSTER'S MOMENTOUS RECONNAISANCE TO THE BLACK HILLS. An unusually significant postwar letter of Sheridan, commenting on expected trouble with the Sioux on the frontier, Sherman's Presidential candidacy and Custer's famous expedition into the Black Hills: "...I have been unable to get any directions from Washington about the troops...on White River. I have serious fear of trouble along about the middle of June. Would it not be best to hold on to Gardner's Company...Custer will start for a reconnaisance to the Bell Fourche & Black Hills about the 13th of June. There is nothing new...except the change contemplated by Sherman [W.T. Sherman] which will be disastrous to himself & the army. He has already gotten the counsels of the Secretary & the President. I cannot yet tell if I can go to the Wind River as the Secretary [of War] has not yet decided on the Yellowstone trip. Sherman has gotten the insane idea of moving to St. Louis the most unfortunate thing that could happen to all of us." In a postcript he cautions that, in his opinion, the Red Cloud and Spilled Soil bands of Sioux "are already in your dept."
On May 15, Sheridan ordered Custer to "outfit an expedition to the Black Hills to investigate rumors of large gold deposits & survey area for possible establishment of military posts.' The reconnaisance amply confirmed the presence of gold and other mineral deposits, touching off a frenzied gold rush, and, in response, the plains Indian uprising in which Custer and the Seventh Cavalry were so memorably and utterly defeated.
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