Sep 26, 2019 - Sale 2517

Sale 2517 - Lot 241

Price Realized: $ 4,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 2,000 - $ 3,000
(WEST.) Stuart, Alpheus. Two letters from a Dakota Territory cavalryman who died the following year at Little Bighorn. 2 Autograph Letters Signed to his soldier friend Charles "Paddy" Gill of the 8th Cavalry, stationed in Texas. each 4 pages, various sizes; long closed tear to January letter; one letter with original faintly postmarked envelope. With full transcriptions. Fort Abraham Lincoln, DT, November 1875 and January [1876]

Additional Details

Native New Yorker Alpheus Stuart (1842-1876) was a private on the western frontier in the doomed 7th United States Cavalry under George Armstrong Custer. He wrote these three long personal letters in the year before he met his demise at Little Bighorn.
The first of these letters was written on 20 November 1875 from Fort Abraham Lincoln in present-day North Dakota, describing his recent arrival from St. Louis: "When I first got here, we where out evrey too or three days after the Indians. They come in sight of the post, but soon skin out when they see soldiers after them." He expresses regret over leaving the 8th Cavalry: "There is no reg't like the old 8th . . . I cannot sleep at night for thinking what a fool I have been." He adds that "there is a little town near here (Bismark), theire is one or two women over theire and they only charge $10.00 a night. This is the worst place I ever struck."
The other letter was dated 24 January 1875, but from the context regarding Sitting Bull, we surmise that it was likely written in January 1876: "Theire is a great excitement here about the Black Hills. . . . They say that gold is plenty and that a man can get one dollar per hour for working. . . . we are getting ready for a winter campaign. . . . Just think of a campaign in this country, and it thirty degrees below zero the finest days, but I am affraid we will have to make a move. Old Sitting Bull is out and won't come in until he gets a good thrashing. . . . Custer's brother is captain of our company, and we live first-rate." He also decries the lack of women in remote Dakota Territory: "Theire is plenty of it in Rio Grande City, for theire was my first experiance in indulging in the favors of a Mexican senorita. Does Hockum still want to get married to the squaw? I would take her myself if she was out here."