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Legacies: Collecting America's History at the Smithsonian, by Steven Lubar and Kathleen M. Kendrick
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George Armstrong Custer's buckskin coat, about 1875George Armstrong Custer's buckskin coat, about 1875

On June 25, 1876, Custer and many of his men were killed by an alliance of Sioux and Cheyenne at the Battle of Little Bighorn in Montana. The media painted him as a martyr, although many saw Custer's decision to attack a massive Indian encampment with his outnumbered regiment as a foolhardy rather than valiant maneuver. Years later, in 1912, Custer's widow, Elizabeth, donated this buckskin coat to the Smithsonian as a tribute to her husband. She also donated the uniform coat he wore at their wedding, saying, "I know how anything with sentiment attracts the young whom I am so anxious to gain as admirers of the general."

See also: Clothing, Military History

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