Following the Guidon

Following the Guidon

Following the Guidon

Following the Guidon

Excerpt

Early on the morning of July 6, 1876, Elizabeth Bacon Custer learned that her husband, Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer, and five companies of the Seventh Cavalry had been killed on the Little Bighorn River. Their deaths had occurred during an engagement with the Sioux Indians and their Northern Cheyenne allies. Shivering despite the heat, Elizabeth donned a shawl as she accompanied Fort Abraham Lincoln's interim commander, the post surgeon, and another officer while they informed the other newly-widowed women of their losses. Later she comforted soldiers, wounded during Major Marcus Reno's attack in the same battle that had taken her husband's life.

Thus, despite losses that included her husband's brothers, Thomas and Boston, his nephew Autie Reed, brother-in-law James Calhoun, and close associates, Libbie, as friends knew her, was already displaying the resiliency that would enable her to rebuild her life. She needed it, for at thirty-four she had no immediate family save her stepmother, Rhoda Bacon. Elizabeth had lost her three siblings and her mother, Eleanor Sophia Page Bacon, before her thirteenth birthday. Her father, Judge Daniel Bacon of Monroe, Michigan, had died in 1866.

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