Between 1867 and 1875, George Armstrong Custer contributed fifteen letters under the apt pseudonym Nomad to the New York-based sportsman's journal Turf, Field and Farm. Previously available only in a collector's typescript edition, the Nomad letters offer valuable insight into the character of the Boy General as he gives expression to his abiding love for hunting, horses, and hounds.
Vivid accounts of days in the field after buffalo and deer alternate with letters that attest to Custer's passion for Kentucky thoroughbreds and trotters and his devotion to his favorite hunting dogs. Moreover, the letters show Custer as a student of literature who constandy alluded to works of fiction and drama and who loved to quote poetry as he self-consciously honed his skills as a writer.
The Nomad letters also open the way to controversy since three of the letters written in 1867, as Brian Dippie's careful annotations make clear, offer a strikingly different account of Custer's ill-starred induction into Indian fighting than the accepted version recorded five years later in his memoirs, My Life on the Plains. Composed only a few months after the abortive Hancock Expedition that led to Custer's court-martial and suspension from rank and pay for one year, the Nomad letters are full of a passion and venom absent from My Life on the Plains. They provide an immediate response to the events of 1867 that will interest all students of the Western Indian wars and of Custer's fascinating career.