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Eric von Schmidt Speaks

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Eric von Schmidt         

Addresses Friends' Members and Web Viewers

As I finish my next canvas, “The Ballad of Lewis and Clark”, I become increasingly aware of how BIG this country really is. And of how young and vigorous the people engaged in the actual events were!

My pal, and fellow historian Bob Reece; generously invited me to the Indian Memorial dedication at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument on June 25, 2003 and I regretfully must decline – as the distances have become insurmountable due to my present ill health.

I am reminded of Chief Old Bear’s village in the spring of 1876 so beautifully described by the young Cheyenne warrior, Wooden Leg following the March 17th Powder River attack by General George Crook and Reynolds that preceded that bloody summer. Everything in the village proceeded on foot – an amazing feat.

And, the simultaneous logistical movements, the following summer, of the various commands of soldiers under Gibbon, Crook and Terry as well as Custer’s 7th Cavalry – it was a dreadful season of moves and countermoves – all astounding because many did that on foot.

Even more astounding is President Thomas Jefferson’s tiny “Corp of Discovery” –a small group of men, including a young Shoshone woman and her infant son. All of them would be the first Americans to examine the wild, unexplored territory known as the Louisiana Purchase. It all simply astounds the mind.

Latter-day chroniclers, such as myself, are struck dumb that such feats were accomplished in all seasons and on foot!

So, if I may, I'd  like to take this opportunity to thank all of you that have and/or will purchase the print, “Here Fell Custer.” Your purchase helps the Little Bighorn Battlefield. I spent five years on foot, standing, climbing ladders and such before completing it. It seems ions ago. It’s good to see it back.

Take care,

Eric von Schmidt

March 2003

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