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Lot 0016
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1872 General George Armstrong Custer Signed Check as Custer’s 7th Cavalry Were Stationed in Louisville, KY.
GEORGE ARMSTRONG CUSTER, (1839-1876). Historic Civil War Union Brigadier General at age 23, he fought in nearly every battle of the Army of the Potomac, including Gettysburg, later to be killed and his troops annihilated by Sioux and Cheyenne warriors led by Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse at Little Bighorn.
October 5, 1872-Dated Indian Wars Period, Partly-Printed Document Signed, “G A Custer,” 1 page, measuring 8” x 3”, Louisville, KY., Fine. This Check apparently issued while Custer and his 7th Cavalry were stationed in Louisville, Kentucky, where they were tasked with restraining the Ku Klux Klan and roaming bands of bushwhackers. This Bank Check is printed in green, has two small typical splindle holes and nicely engrossed by Custer from the “Planters National Bank” in the large amount of “Four hundred & fifty” dollars, made out to “Cash J.H. Fullton & Co. or order” some minor ink show-through at center from the endorsements written on the blank reverse side. An unusual Bank Check in that Custer changes the name and city of the Bank the check is drawn upon. The printed city of Nashville is corrected to read “Louisville, Ky” and First is changed by hand to read “Planters” National Bank. There is paper loss from a corner tear at the lower right of the signature, just clear of the “r” in Custer’s signature which is written in rich brown ink and measures a large 3.5” long. We note that by 1874, Custer had acquired newly printed bank checks directly payable on the Planter’s National Bank. A nice example of that later “Planter’s” check, issued and signed by Custer in 1873, sold in a major auction venue at $11,250 in June of 2016 it being the most recent example for comparison we could locate.
See: GREAT PLAINS INDIAN WARS: Treaty of Fort Laramie (1851), Treaty of Fort Wise, Dakota War of 1862, Sand Creek Massacre, Colorado War, Powder River Expedition (1865), Red Cloud's War, Great Sioux War of 1876–77, Battle of the Little Bighorn, and Wounded Knee Massacre.

U.S. Army General Sheridan attempted to approve the conditions of the military outpost and the Indians on the plains through a peace-oriented strategy. Toward the beginning of his command members of the Cheyenne and Arapaho followed him on his travels from Fort Larned to Fort Dodge where he spoke to them. They brought their problems to Sheridan’s ear and explained how the supplies they were promised by the commissioners were not being delivered. In response Sheridan gave the starving Natives a generous supply of rations.

Shortly after the Saline Valley settlements were attacked and were followed by other violent raids and kidnappings in the region. Sheridan wanted to respond in force by was constrained by the government’s peace police and the lack of well supplied mounted troops. Since he could not deploy official military units, Sheridan commissioned a group of 47 frontiersmen and sharpshooters called Solomon’s Avengers. They investigated the recent raids near Arickaree Creek and where attacked by Native Indians on September 17 of 1868.

The battle now known as Beecher’s Island saw the Avengers under siege for eight days by some seven hundred Indian warriors. Using their Spencer repeaters they were able to keep them at bay until military units arrived to help. The Avengers lost six men and another 15 were wounded. Due to the increase of violent attacks like Beecher’s Island and Saline Valley, Sherman gave Sheridan authority to respond in force to these threats.

During his lifetime Sheridan was known as a fierce enemy of the Indians, and his approach to the Indians were encapsulated when he is thought to have said "The only good Indian is a dead Indian", although he himself denied having said this when criticized by his political opponents.

Sheridan believed that his soldiers would be unable to contend or chase the horses of the Natives during the summer months and decided to use them as a defensive force the remainder of September and October. His forces were better fed and clothed than the natives and in the winter months when they were constricted to winter camps, his forces could launch a successful campaign.

His Winter Campaign of 1868 would start with the 19th Kansas from Custer’s 7th Cavalry along with 5 battalions of infantry under Major John H Page setting out from Fort Dodge on November 5. A few days later a force from the East consisting of units of the 5th Cavalry along with two companies of infantry moved from Fort Bascom to Fort Cobb where they would meet up with units from the 3rd Cavalry leaving from Fort Lyon. Sheridan Directed the opening month of the campaign from Camp Supply. The Units from the 5th and 3rd Cavalry would meet at Fort Cobb without any sign of the 19th Kansas, but they had a lead on a band of Indians nearby and Custer would lead a force after them.

The coming attack by Custer on the Cheyenne Indians and Black Kettle would come to be known as the Battle of Washita River. During Custer’s attack it is estimated over 100 Indians were killed and over 50 taken prisoner. For Custer’s forces two officers and nineteen men were killed, two officers and eleven men wounded, and a unit under Major Elliott’s command had gone missing. After the battle Custer would execute 675 ponies which were imperative to the native’s survival on the plains. At this time the 19th Kansas were found and made their way into Camp Supply.

Immediately following the battle, Sheridan received large amounts of backlash from Washington politicians who defended Black Kettle as a peace-loving Indian. This began the controversy arose as to whether the event was best described as a military victory or as a massacre. This discussion endures among historians to this day.

Following Washita, Sheridan oversaw the refitting of the 19th Kansas and personally led them down the Washita River toward the Wichita Mountains. During this expedition, Sheridan met with Custer along the Washita River and the two searched for the missing unit of Major Elliott. They found the bodies of the missing unit and during this expedition also found the bodies of Mrs. Blynn and her child who had been taken by natives the previous summer near Fort Lyon.

The defeat at Washita had scared many of the tribes and through force and threats Sheridan was able to round up the majority of the Kiowa and Comanche people at Fort Cobb in December and get them to agree to living on reservations. Shortly following this Sheridan began negotiations with Little Robe (chief of the Cheyenne) and Yellow Bear about agreeing to living on the reservations.

Sheridan then began the construction of Camp Sill, later called Fort Sill which would be named after General Sill who died at Stone River. During this time the Cheyenne would flee and Custer would chase after them. By late march Custer found them and Sheridan got them and the other tribes to agree to live on reservations under the watch of military outposts.

With his successful campaign coming to a close Sheridan was called back to Washington following the election of President Grant. He was informed on his promotion to Lieutenant General of the army and reassigned from the Department. With his campaign yet complete Sheridan protested and was allowed to stay in Missouri with the rank of Lieutenant General. The last remnants of Indian resistance came from Tall Bull Dog Soldiers and elements of the Sioux and Northern Cheyenne tribes. The 5th Cavalry from Fort McPherson were sent to handle the Situation on the Platte River in Nebraska.

In May the two forces collided at Summit Springs and the Natives were pursued out of the region. This brought the end to Sheridan’s campaign as the Indians had successfully been removed from the Platte and Arkansas and the majority of those in Kansas had been settled onto reservations. Sheridan would leave in 1869 to take command of the Army and was replaced by Major General Schofield. This was not the end of the wars but the beginning of a war of attrition.

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1872 General GEORGE ARMSTRONG CUSTER Signed Check

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Estimate $3,500 - $6,500
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