Custer's 'Last Flag' Sold for $2.2 Million   Leave a comment

Since 1895, the 7th U.S. Cavalry flag—known as a “guidon” for its swallow-tailed shape—had been the property of the Detroit Institute of Arts, which paid just $54 for it.

Custer and more than 200 troopers were massacred by Lakota Sioux and Northern Cheyenne warriors in the infamous 1876 battle. Of the five guidons carried by Custer’s battalion only one was immediately recovered, from beneath the body of a fallen trooper.

And while Custer’s reputation has risen and fallen over the years—once considered a hero, he’s regarded by some contemporary scholars as an inept leader and savage American Indian killer—the guidon has emerged as the stuff of legend.

“It’s more than just a museum object or textile. It’s a piece of Americana,” said John Doerner, Chief Historian at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument in southeastern Montana.

The other flags were believed captured by the victorious Indians.

The recovered flag later became known as the Culbertson Guidon, after the member of the burial party who recovered it, Sgt. Ferdinand Culbertson. Made of silk, it measures 33 inches by 27 inches, and features 34 gold stars.

Posted December 11, 2010 by dmacc502 in Uncategorized

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