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Custer’s Farewell


On this day, May 17, 1876, Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer and the 7th Cavalry set out from Fort Abraham Lincoln on the expedition that would meet its fateful end at the Little Bighorn.

Elizabeth Custer and her sister-in-law, Margaret, accompanied the regiment as far as the Heart River, returning to the fort the next day with the paymaster. It was the last time Libby saw her husband alive.

Of the farewell, Mrs. Custer wrote, “With my husband’s departure my last happy days in garrison were ended, as a premonition of disaster that I had never known before weighed me down. I could not shake off the baleful influence of depressing thoughts. This presentiment and suspense, such as I had never known, made me selfish, and I shut into my heart the most uncontrollable anxiety, and could lighten no one else’s burden.”

Written by Christina Sunwall


Custer, Elizabeth Bacon, Boots and Saddles: Or Life in Dakota With General Custer (Norman : University of Oklahoma Press; 1961)

Hatch, Thom. The Custer Companion: A Comprehensive Guide to the Life of George Armstrong Custer and the Plains Indian Wars (Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books; 2002)