George Custer Collage

Presented is a collage featuring a Civil War note signed by George Custer. A photo of the imposing military figure is framed just above the note completing the work. The note is written in another hand reading, “Headquarters … Cav. Div. / November 25th 1864 / Respectfully forwarded approved and recommended” and then signed “G. A. Custer” in slightly lighter colored ink.

Custer was born in Ohio, 1839. He entered West Point in 1857 and upon graduation in 1861, he was assigned to duty as an aide to Gen. George McClellan. Next he drew a cavalry assignment, and his boldness in battle brought rapid promotions. He fought in the First Battle of Bull Run, and served with panache and distinction in the Virginia and Gettysburg campaigns. His fearless aggression in battle earned him the respect of his commanding generals and increasingly put him in the public eye. At 23, he was the youngest brevet brigadier general in the Union army. 

Custer was sent to the Northern Plains in 1873, where he soon participated in a few small skirmishes with the Lakota in the Yellowstone area. The following year, he lead a 1,200 person expedition to the Black Hills, whose possession the United States had guaranteed the Lakota just six years before. The original plan for defeating the Lakota called for the three forces under the command of Crook, Gibbon, and Custer to trap the bulk of the Lakota and Cheyenne population between them and deal them a crushing defeat. However Custer and his men advanced too quickly, arriving before the support of Gibbon’s infantry brigades. The attack was one the greatest fiascos of the United States Army, as thousands of Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors forced Custer's unit back onto a long, dusty ridge parallel to the Little Bighorn, surrounded them, and killed all 210 of them. The Battle of Little Bighorn became commonly known as "Custer's Last Stand”. Custer's blunders cost him his life but gained him everlasting fame. His defeat at the Little Bighorn made the life of what would have been an obscure 19th century military figure into the subject of countless songs, books and paintings. This signed message from 1864 was sent before the nation could have guessed his eventual fame.

CONDITION:

Overall very good condition. The signed message is written in clear, dark ink with Custer’s signature in lighter gray ink. The signed note has some wear along the edge as expected but has no other notable damage. The reproduction photo of Custer is like new. All elements are matted and framed together in a custom-built frame according to the highest archival standards.




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