The Other Custer

When you think of the name “Custer,” most people automatically think of General George Armstrong Custer and his death at Little Bighorn. But there was another Custer in the Army at the time, George’s younger brother Thomas Ward Custer. And he was pretty impressive. Here is what his more famous brother George had to say about him:

“If you want to know what I think of him, all I can say is Tom ought to have been the general and I the captain.”

Captain Thomas Ward Custer, two-time Medal of Honor recipient. Image Credit:

Before I go any further, I feel I should mention that a third Custer brother was serving in the Army at the same time as George and Thomas. His name was Boston, and he died while fighting alongside his brothers at Little Bighorn.

Thomas Custer enlisted in the Union Army in September of 1861 at 16. He fought in many early campaigns of the American Civil War as a private in the 21st Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Working his way up the ranks, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in Company B of the 6th Michigan Cavalry, where he became aide-de-camp to his brother George. Thomas accompanied his brother in this capacity for the remainder of the war.