Webster and Albee
W. H. Illingworth
Title: Custer's Expedition.
Credit Line: Gift of Dr. Charles F. Abell Jr. and Mrs. Genevieve Abell
Accession Number: 2013.0003.0370
Inscriptions:was guaranteed to the tribesmen by treaty would be but a minor consideration to gold hungry prospectors, In this rather fluid situtaion, the government felt that a throrough survey of the Black Hills was in order. Col. Custer was given the job; his task: to explore and map the Black Hills, locate a suitable site for the fort, and check out the rumors of mineraal wealth. Thus, on July 2, 1874, a long column left Fort LIncoln and headed south across the plains. Custer had assembled more than 1000 men - calvarrymen of the Seventh, two companies of infantry, and the numerous other assorted individuals necessary to a well-equiped reconnaissance party. Among the latter was W.H. Illingworth, a photographer from St. Paul, Minn. Although at times the expedition took on the appearance of a vast pleasure excursion, steady progress was made. For more than a month the party explored Black HIolls, the engineers mapping the region and Custer bestowing the names of expedition member (and his imediate superiors) on various natural features; even Illingworth shared in the glory, having a valley named after him (which he dutifully recorded in stereo).
Illingworth preserved a significant moment in the Amercan history for the Custer ZBlack HIlls Expedition was pivotal to the events that followed. Even before the expedition returned to Fort LIncoln, the news spread to the country that the rumors had been confirmed- gold had been found in the Black Hills. From that moment a clash with the tribes was inevitable. Newspapers exploited the gold excitement(indeed, several of Illingworth's stereographs refer to it) and the army proved incapable of dealing with the swarms of goldseekers. In less that two years, Custer and his men would die in a war they helped to create.
Description: hundreds of people in the distance, on an open field traveling towards the viewer