Gen Custer flag sells for $2.2m at Sotheby's auction

General Custer's flag The flag was found beneath a dead American soldier following the Battle of Little Bighorn

A flag carried by Lt Col George Armstrong Custer and his 7th Cavalry troops into their last stand at the Battle of Little Bighorn has been sold at auction for $2.2m (£1.4m).

The guidon is the only one not captured or lost during the 1876 battle in the state of Montana.

The flag, previously valued at $5m, was bought by a private US collector in the auction at Sotheby's in New York.

The former owner, Detroit Institute of Arts, paid $54 for the flag in 1895.

"We'll be using the proceeds to strengthen our collection of Native American art, which has a rather nice irony to it I think," said Graham Beal, director of the Detroit museum.

Lt Col Custer and all his soldiers - more than 200 in number - were killed by thousands of Lakota Sioux and Northern Cheyenne warriors during their attempt to reclaim the Black Hills region from the Lakota as part of a US government campaign.

The flag was found beneath a dead American soldier following the Battle of Little Bighorn - or the Battle of Greasy Grass Creek, as the victors of the battle named it.

The flag was renamed Culbertson Guidon after Sgt Ferdinand Culbertson, a member of the burial party who recovered it from the field.

Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse were among the Lakota leaders who fought in the battle.

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