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SOLD at 2013 Mar 11 @ 16:20UTC-4 : AST/EDT
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Hard cover ledger-size book contains original file copies of approximately 175 letters sent by the various commanders of Company L, Seventh U.S. Cavalry from May 1872 through January 1875. Company L was among the five troops personally commanded by Lt. Col. George A. Custer and was decimated at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Prior to the advent of the typewriter company clerks made duplicate copies of all correspondence by hand, entering them in chronological order in bound volumes such as this one, which formed the unitís permanent file. This book was formerly in the collection of the late John M. Carroll, well-known student and prolific publisher of Custeriana, and was subsequently in the Glen Swanson collection prior to coming into the hands of the consignor many years ago. The first several months of correspondence in this book was generated (with many letters actually signed) by First Lieutenant John Francis Weston, who commanded the company during Captain Michael V. Sheridanís long absence serving on the staff of his more famous brother, Lieutenant General Philip H. Sheridan. Weston was a capable, experienced officer, having served in the 4th Kentucky Cavalry throughout the Civil War. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions near Wetumpka, Alabama on April 13, 1865. Weston left the volunteer forces as a major shortly after the war, but secured a commission in the regular army in 1867 and served with the Seventh Cavalry until promoted to a staff position in 1875. He eventually rose to the rank of brigadier general and commissary general of the army. While with the Seventh Cavalry, Weston led Company L on both the 1873 Yellowstone Expedition and the 1874 Black Hills Expedition. The letters begin at the time the company was stationed in South Carolina on Reconstruction duty and continue through its subsequent assignments in Louisiana and Dakota Territory, where it was posted at Forts Rice and Abraham Lincoln. The letters concern non-commissioned officer promotions, enlistments in the company, pay, deserters, disciplinary actions, supplies, arrests, duty assignments, and deaths. In one noteworthy letter, Weston attempts to dodge responsibility for the loss of a government horse that had been assigned to none other than George Custer. Revealing the human aspect of the Seventh Cavalry, about a dozen of the letters name soldiers who later accompanied the regiment on the ill-fated 1876 campaign. Most of these men, including First Sergeant James Butler, were killed in action when the company was overrun by Sioux and Cheyenne warriors. In a letter dated in 1872, Blacksmith Edmund H. Burke requested and received a transfer to Company K, therefore he did not share the fate of his former comrades. Another letter reveals that Private Christian Reibold deserted in 1872, but was apprehended two years later. Because of Reiboldís otherwise good conduct, the charges were dropped and he was allowed to serve the remainder of his enlistment. Our research shows that his luck ran out when he was killed with Custer. CONDITION: The book measures approximately 8 º inches wide x 13 º inches, has heavy pasteboard covers, and is in excellent condition for its age. The letters are well preserved and quite legible, with only two pages missing (clipped out) from January 1874. Records like this from the company level of the army are extremely rare because they were disposed of after they were no longer of use. This is an unparalleled opportunity to own a truly significant piece of Indian Wars history directly associated with the legendary Seventh Cavalry Regiment during its days on the western frontier. 4-47773 DCM1