Thomas Ward Custer (March 15, 1845 – June 25, 1876) was a United States Army officer and two-time recipient of the Medal of Honor for bravery during the American Civil War. He was a younger brother of George Armstrong Custer, perishing with him at Little Bighorn in the Montana Territory.
Tom Custer in Southern Victory
Thomas "Tom" Custer (1845-1881) was the brother of George Armstrong Custer and served as his right-hand man. After the War of Secession ended in defeat for the USA, Tom followed his brother chasing Indians.
By 1881, Tom was a proper Major in the US Fifth Cavalry, stationed at Fort Dodge, Kansas. When the Second Mexican War began, the regiment received two Gatling guns, which his brother George rebuffed as useless. Tom saw their potential and told his older brother of his plan, insisting that he come with George because he didn't want his brother to take the full blame should the plan fail. George agreed and the two of them rode down into the Indian Territory and lead some Kiowa Indians, and later, a trooper of Confederate Cavalry into an ambush.
Because of this victory, the Custers' cavalry regiment was transferred to the Utah Territory where they were responsible for helping to put down the Mormon uprising. Like his brother, Tom held little love for the Mormons, laughing at George's jokes at their expense, and even coming up with ones of his own.
When the British began to ratchet up the war against the US, a combined British and Canadian Army invaded the Montana Territory. When George was promoted to Brigadier General and transferred to the territory to take over all command, Tom followed.
Tom obeyed his brother's every command, and during a reckless charge at the Canadian Infantry, the 5th Cavalry was shot to pieces. George ordered a retreat, but during this, Tom was shot in the chest, dying instantly. When US Forces regrouped at the Teton River, George Custer disapproved of Colonel Henry Welton's defensive battle plan; Colonel Theodore Roosevelt backed Welton. Without his brother to back him up, George Custer was unable to get his way. A good thing in the end, as Welton was able to use the Gatling guns to chew up a British attack led by Charles George Gordon.
In the war's aftermath, George Custer took the loss of his brother extremely hard, blaming the Canadians for his death. He would hold that grudge until 1922, when he personally killed Arthur McGregor, thus satisfying his life long vendetta and putting Tom's soul at rest.