Even casual students of history know Custer died at the Battle of Little Bighorn along with his two brothers and more than half of the Seventh Cavalry Regiment. What many people don’t know is what a true soldiering badass he was. He was Rambo, Sgt. York, and Audie Murphy rolled together in a blue uniform.
Custer won the Medal of Honor.
He was barely 20 years old when he earned them.
The awards were earned four days apart.
Not that Custer, I’m talking about his younger brother, Thomas.
He was the first man to win the MOH twice and one of only 19 to ever do it. He was shot in the face earning the second award and had to be sent to the rear for treatment under threat of arrest.
Unlike his publicity-hound brother, Thomas Custer seems to have gone about his business quietly. He joined the Union Army at 16 and only in the last year of the war joined his more famous brother’s command. He followed George in assignments throughout Reconstruction and the Indian wars thereafter.
Captain Thomas Custer commanded Company C of the Seventh on that fateful day in the Montana Territory on June 25, 1876. He was 31.
Legend has it Chief Rain-in the-Face sought out Tom Custer’s body after the battle and ate his heart in revenge for a past incident. The body was so mutilated it was impossible to know. Tomas Custer’s remains were only identified by a tattoo on his arm. He was buried on the battlefield and later reinterred with the rest of the Battle’s fallen at Fort Leavenworth.