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Civil War History - May 12, 2017

Thomas Ward Custer was one of George Armstrong Custer's younger brothers and perished with him at the Battle of Little Bighorn in the Montana Territory.

Q: The Medal of Honor is the nation's highest military award. A soldier buried at Fort Leavenworth was awarded not one - but two - Medals of Honor for bravery during the American Civil War. What's his name?


 
A: Thomas Ward Custer (one of General George Armstrong Custer's younger brothers)
 
Thomas Ward Custer was a U.S. Army officer and two-time recipient of the Medal of Honor for bravery during the American Civil War. He was one of George Armstrong Custer's younger brothers and perished with him at the Battle of Little Bighorn in the Montana Territory. Thomas Custer enlisted in the Union Army when he was just 16. 
 
By the time the war ended, he was barely 20 and had already received the nation's highest military honor, twice. Both actions that earned Custer the Medal of Honor involved capturing Confederate regimental flags. The flag symbolized the honor of a regiment and its loss was considered a disgrace.  
 
Following the war, Custer served in the 7th Cavalry (which was formed at Fort Riley). By 1875, he'd been promoted to captain. During the 1876 Little Bighorn campaign of the Black Hills War, he served as aide-de-camp to his brother, Lt. Colonel George A. Custer and died with him on June 25, 1876. George and Thomas' younger brother, Boston Custer, also died in the fighting, as did other Custer relatives and friends. 
 
Thomas Custer's remains were identified by a recognizable tattoo of his initials on his arm. He was initially buried on the battlefield but exhumed the next year and reburied at Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery. He was just 31 years old.

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