The letter was addressed to John S. Hiley, a member of Custer’s massacred 7th Cavalry Regiment in the Great Sioux War. There weren’t too many niceties in those days. Somebody wrote, “Dead,” on the envelope and returned it to the sender. Spink Shreve is selling the cover at its August Collectors auction. It’s expected to fetch between $15,00 and $20,000.
Update: the cover sold above estimates for $28,000.
On the reverse side of the envelope, in another hand, somebody explained to the sender: “John S. Hiley was killed on Little Bighorn Mountain on June 25, 1876.” Reportedly, Hiley’s body was found only a few feet from General Custer.
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