Thomas Mcdougall Swords & Artifacts Pictured in Glenn Swanson’s G.A. Custer His Life & Times

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August 29, 2023

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Thomas Mcdougall Swords & Artifacts Pictured in Glenn Swanson’s G.A. Custer His Life & Times


Captain Thomas Mower McDougall, Custer’s 7th Cavalry was bringing up pack train in rear of battle on that eventful June 1876 at Little Big Horn. McDougall is among the most famous of survivors of Battle of Little Big Horn. Much has been written about the battle and him. Thomas went on to complete a long military career retiring in 1904. He had a wall of his Indian War memorabilia including the officer’s saber and Indian decorated sheath. That wall is shown in photograph with an aged McDougall.

Thomas Mower McDougall (1845-1909) had a long family history of military service. Thomas entered service in Civil War at 17 years old. When he turned 18 in 1864, he was commissioned Lieutenant in the 10th US Louisiana Volunteers of African Descent, later the 48th US Colored Infantry. He stayed in service having many posts in the west. In 1870 his unit was sent to South Carolina to deal with the Ku Klux Klan, he met his wife to be and was married in Charleston in 1872. He was soon to return to Fort Abraham Lincoln, home to the 7th US Cavalry where he was stationed till well after Little Big Horn. This archive pictured in Glenn Swanson’s collection book: “G.A. Custer his Life and Times” on pages 108-109 & 260.

Rarely do original artifacts with good provenance related to Custer’s 7th Cavalry come to market and this is wonderful archive cherished by Glen Mattox.

1) Model 1872 cavalry officer saber. He is pictured wearing it in “Barry” cabinet card also in this lot. The saber has deeply etched 33″ blade with patriotic motifs highlighted in gold, distinctive floral decorated branches to hilt, shark skin grip with twisted brass wire wrap. Steel scabbard is brass mounted, each mount is florally engraved.

2) 1860 Cavalry saber, 1864 dated Mansfield & Lamb, 35″ blade. This is a standard Civil War enlisted cavalry saber. Note that General Custer is only photographed in Civil War with standard enlisted cavalry saber, and his was 1864 dated Roby.

3) Native American fringed and beaded sheath. Sheath is shown in the “memorial wall” photograph with McDougal. 41″ overall with 10″ rawhide fringe, beaded decoration is sinew sewn with red, green, gold beads in holly & berry design.

4) M1872 gold washed helmet chinstrap and crossed saber button attachments. He is wearing his helmet in original circa 1880 Barry photo accompanying this archive

5) McDougall’s “Russian knot” 7th Cavalry epaulet with captain’s insignia. He is shown wearing in portrait on his “memorial wall” and in original Barry photo accompanying this archive.

6) Barry cabinet card circa 1880 showing a gallantly posed McDougall wearing 1872 cavalry helmet with Russian knot epaulets, his 1872 cavalry officer’s saber all part of this archive. 6″ x 4″ photo was archivally framed in 1991, 10×13″ frame.

7) 9.25×7.25″ Highly detailed photograph showing McDougall circa 1900 with his “memorial wall” of artifacts including portraits of famous native Americans, cavalry officer’s saber, portrait of him at Indian Fighting prime, and many souvenirs including the beaded sheath which is part of this lot. Inscribed on verso “From Uncle Tom 1904”.

8) 2.5×5.5″ Barry photograph of McDougall in dress uniform in side view, wearing Russian knot epaulets, aiguillettes, saber belt, and gauntlets. Mounted on 5×8.5″ card with inscription on verso “For my dear nephew Howard Hastings Cummings from Uncle Tom, December 25, 1905”.

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