Boots and Saddles cover

Boots and Saddles

Elizabeth Bacon Custer (1842-1933)

1. Dedication, Preface, Change of Station
2. A Blizzard
3. Western Hospitality
4. Cavalry on the March
5. Camping Among the Sioux
6. A Visit to the Village of Two Bears
7. Adventures During the Last Days of the March
8. Separation and Reunion
9. Our New Home at Fort Lincoln
10. Incidents of Everyday Life
11. The Burning of Our Quarters; Carrying the Mail
12. Perplexities and Pleasures of Domestic Life
13. A "Strong Heart" Dance
14. Garrison Life
15. General Custer's Literary Work
16. Indian Depredations
17. A Day of Anxiety and Terror
18. Improvements at the Post, and Gardening
19. General Custer's Library
20. The Summer of the Black Hills Expedition
21. Domestic Trials
22. Capture and Escape of Rain-in-the-Face
23. Garrison Amusements
24. An Indian Council
25. Breaking Up of the Missouri
26. Curious Characters and Excursionists Among Us
27. Religious Services; Leave of Absence
28. A Winter's Journey Across the Plain
29. Our Life's Last Chapter

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Elizabeth Custer has penned an engaging portrait of 1870’s life on a U.S. cavalry post in the Dakotas, just before her husband and his troops met their tragic deaths in the Battle of the Little Big Horn. “Our life,” she writes, “was often as separate from the rest of the world as if we had been living on an island in the ocean.” Her portrait of her husband, General George Armstrong Custer is laudatory—his intellect, his love of dogs (he kept a hunting pack of 40 at the post); but, Boots and Saddles is more than just a memorial. She observes with keen insight, the varied persons, from Indian scouts, to enlisted men, to officer’s wives, who make up the army “family,” on the post. Her sympathetic story about the regimental laundress and midwife, with its sad ending, should take a place in the army’s history of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”