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(GEORGE A. CUSTER.) Charles A. Varnum. Letter by the commander of Custer's scouts, praising the book "Glory Hunter." Autograph Letter Signed to A.H. Hepburn. 2 pages, 9 x 6 inches, on 2 sheets; mailing folds, minor toning and edge wear. San Francisco, CA, 13 November 1934
Charles Albert Varnum (1849-1936) was Custer's commander of scouts at Little Bighorn, surviving the fight alongside the Reno-Benteen detachment. He remained in the army and retired as a colonel at the end of World War One. By the time of his death, he was the last surviving officer from Little Bighorn. He wrote this letter in response to Frederic F. Van de Water's book "Glory-Hunter: A Life of General Custer" (see above), the first to examine Custer critically.
"I received the copy of 'Glory Hunter' in due time. . . . At my eighty-five years of age I am not always in condition to think or write. I . . . have read it & enjoyed it. I agree with the author's comments on the General's actions & his dividing his command. Had the Indians captured the pack train we would all have lost our lives. Saving that & uniting with Benteen saved us. What might have happened if Terry with Gibbon's command had not arrived on the scene, the good Lord only knows."