June 24, 1876

My dear Elizabeth,

Forgive my tardiness in responding to your last letter. Tomorrow we shall engage the Indian hordes and I’m busy with the preparations for battle. I must tell you, dear, that though I’m loath to underestimate our task, I doubt very seriously that we’ll suffer any casualties at all.

I mean, let’s be honest: they’re Indians.

So confident am I of victory that yesterday I canceled my eye appointment with the army physician to receive new spectacles. And though it is difficult for me to read a map, navigate a battlefield, or respond coherently to any visual sensory stimuli, I am still 100 percent sure of our inevitable victory.

It’s true, a lot of my men are underfed. They’re in poor physical condition. Many of them can’t walk without crutches. But you know who doesn’t know that? The Indians. So that’s one more for our side.

My soldiers, ever-reluctant to test their mettle in battle, keep asking for intelligence. “How many Indians are we facing?” they ask. “With what are they armed?” I say, “Who gives a crap?” It’s true we don’t have the best weapons available to us, but most of my men can load and fire their rifles 10 to 12 times a minute. You’ve gotta like those numbers. And, if the Indians get too close, my soldiers can use their bayonets. They are like sharp knives on the ends of the rifles (very sharp!).

To be honest, I’ve been spending the majority of my time attempting to compose a rousing hymn to lead us into battle but am finding it exceedingly difficult to rhyme anything with “Indian.” The closest I’ve come is “Shmindian.” Please let me know if you have any ideas on this subject.

Let me put your mind at ease, darling. Even if my entire army were drunk and dressed in the provocative costumes of loose women, even if the Indians were reinforced by the gods and monsters of their queer and obviously made-up religion, even if their perverse dreams—suddenly, miraculously, brought to life—led them into battle, I still believe we would suffer only minimal casualties.

The creator of God Almighty could not lead the Indians to victory tomorrow. Even the creator of the creator of God Almighty could not even expect anything approaching 50-50 odds. I AM CUSTER! SON OF A BITCH! I AM CUSTER!

Also, how is your lumbago?