General Custer Leads Grand Duke Alexis on Buffalo Hunt

General Custer Leads Grand Duke Alexis on Buffalo Hunt

General Custer, General Sheridan, Buffalo Bill, and others went on a buffalo hunt in January 1872 to entertain the Grand Duke of Russia, Alexis. They left Denver and arrived at Kit Carson by a special train of Pullman palace cars with about 150 people, (Rocky Mountain News Weekly, January 24, 1872). The hunt took place between Sand Creek and Rush Creek, and some say they went to the battleground site, (Otero, My Life on the Frontier). General Custer led Alexis on this hunt, and it makes sense he would want to see the location of Black Kettle’s village at Sand Creek. Four years earlier in 1868, Custer led the Battle of Washita where Black Kettle was killed.

The following is from the Rocky Mountain News Weekly, January 24, 1872: 

Buffalo Hunt near Kit Carson 1872 with General Custer and Grand Duke Alexis.

KIT CARSON, Colorado, January 20,— The Grand Duke Alexis and suite, with General Sheridan and staff, arrived here at 8 o’clock this morning in their special train of Pullman palace cars. They are accompanied by General Custer, General Forsyth, Frank Thomson, their manager of transportation, and General E. S. Bowen, Colonel C. W. Fisher and T. F. Oakes, officers of the Kansas Pacific railway, and Dan Casement, of the Union Pacific. 

For the buffalo hunt previous arrangements had been fully made. Cavalry horses had been ordered and arrived last night from Fort Wallace, and a large number of the citizens of the place had prepared horses, ambulances, wagons, etc., to participate in the hunt. 

General Custer and Grand Duke Alexis

The morning was cold and cloudy and threatened snow, but about 10 a.m. the clouds cleared away and the day has been as fine as could be desired. Within a few miles of Carson the train had passed a large herd of buffalo. Upon their arrival the buffalo were in sight of town and the grand duke was impatient for the chase. At 11 a.m. everything was in readiness and the grand duke, General Sheridan, General Custar (Custer), and some thirty other, on horses, made an eager, and rapid start for the main buffalo range, and were followed by a number of ambulances and wagons loaded with men armed for the hunt. The grand duke was dressed in grey, and Custar (Custer) in a complete suit of buckskin. 

The duke took the lead in the chase. Alexis makes a magnificent appearance on horseback, General Custer says he never knew a man of the grand duke’s proportions to be so fine a horse man as he is. 

The buffalo were soon reached, when Alexis, in great excitement, pronged into the midst of them in advance of the whole party, and shot down the first buffalo—an enormous bull. He immediately dismounted and General Custer was at his side instantly. The grand duke cheered, and in his great delight clasped his arms around General Custer and kissed him. The chase was at once resumed and continued some hours. About fifty buffalo in all were killed. Alexis shot five, General Custer three, and General Sheridan two. 

Returning, the party arrived here at 6 p.m. all in the highest spirits after the greatest enjoyment of a glorious day’s hunt. The imperial buffalo hunt was a grand success. 

The party leave here to-morrow morning, and will reach Topeka Monday at 10 a.m. and be entertained by the governor and legislature of Kansas and the citizens of Topeka. 

Share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *