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Lot 2279
Brass field glasses purported to have been carried by G.A. Custer during his campaigns in the Civil War. They were captured by General Wade Hampton's brigade at the Battle of Trevilian Station (newspaper articles, confused, called it Brandywine). It is a well documented fact that Custer lost all his possessions except that which were on his immediate person. When Custer had time to count his losses after the engagement, his personal baggage was among them. The Confederates had captured a treasure that included everything from Custer's African-American cook, Eliza Brown, to love letters that Libbie Custer, his wife of four months, had sent him in the field. The general wrote to Libbie a few days later to report on the battle: "'Would you like to know what they have captured from me?' he asked. 'Everything except my toothbrush.'" Custer's other items from this baggage have surfaced over the years on the collector market, but not his field glasses. After the war, Gen. Hampton returned them to Mrs. Custer. Given to Mr. Melvin J. Nichols of New Jersey by Mrs. Custer along with one of Custer's iconic red cravat ties in the 1920's. After Mr. Nichols death in 1976, the glasses were purchased by R.N. Wathen Jr., a dealer in Custeriana and historic Americana from the Nichols estate. CONDITION: Very good. PROVENANCE: Included in this lot is the original newspaper clipping detailing the facts of the capture and return of the glasses to Mrs. Custer and a letter from the executrix of Mr. Nichols estate stating that Mrs. Custer gave them to Mr. Nichols. Also included is the original letter from R.N. Wathen dated March 10, 1979 attesting to the aforementioned story and a letter from Wathen to Dr. Frank Wagner further attesting to selling them to noted Custer author and historian John Carroll, as well as a 1975 catalog of the Melvin Nichols collection where Nichol's relationship with Libby Custer is detailed. They were subsequently purchased from Carroll by Dr. Frank Wagner for his cavalry museum collection. Paperwork: Book, letters Condition: (Very Good). Dimensions:

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Estimate $6,000 - $8,000Jun 13