Marks of History: Campsite of General Custer’s Expedition
PIERRE, S.D. – Located two miles east of Custer is an open valley where history was made. This area served as the main base camp for General George Armstrong Custer’s expedition to find gold in the Black Hills. Their stay at the “Golden Valley,” as General Custer called it, lasted five days, the longest of any stop made during the trip.
The expedition that settled here is said to have been the largest and best equipped military exploration group ever assembled up to that point in time. Thousands of men and horses, hundreds of cattle and wagons, and many scouts, guides, miners and other personnel scattered their tents and equipment throughout the entire valley.
It was from this site that General Custer sent out a scout messenger to inform Ft. Laramie that gold had been discovered on French Creek. This single act led to a flood of gold hungry travelers, pushing their way into the sacred, and then forbidden, Black Hills.
The Marks of History series is a project of the South Dakota Office of Tourism designed to highlight historical markers all across South Dakota. Click on the special “Marks of History” link at www.MediaSD.com to access the complete list of articles.
The Marks of History series is part of Goal 1 of the 2010 Initiative to double visitor spending in South Dakota and Goal 4 to enhance history and arts as a tool for economic development and cultural tourism in South Dakota. The Office of Tourism serves under the direction of Richard Benda, Secretary of the Department of Tourism and State Development.
- Information for this release was obtained from “Brevet’s South Dakota Historical Markers”.
- The South Dakota Office of Tourism is not responsible for the text included on these markers. Some of the language used at the time of production may not be appropriate by today’s standards. Please view the markers at your own discretion.