Tom Custer Chronology

Compiled by Carl Day and Brian Pohanka

(with additions by Rosemary Pardoe and Mike Freidel)

First Lieutenant Tom Custer, 7th US Cavalry, wearing his Medals of Honor, c.1873.

TWC: Thomas Ward Custer
GAC: George Armstrong Custer
EBC: Elizabeth Bacon Custer



15 March: TWC is born at New Rumley, Ohio.



Custer family moves to a farm north of town.



TWC attends the Creal School.



Custer family moves to Tontogany, Wood County, Ohio.



August: Nevin Custer joins the Union Army, and is discharged.
2 September: TWC joins Company H of the 21st Ohio Volunteer Infantry as a private.
19 September: TWC is mustered in at Findlay, OH.
October: The 21st Ohio joins in the invasion of Kentucky; arrives in Lexington mid-month.
29 October: TWC with his regiment in camp near Hazel Green, KY.



January - early February: TWC in camp at Bacon Creek, KY.
21st Ohio in the advance on and occupation of Bowling Green, KY. Joins in the invasion of Tennessee.
March - early April: 21st Ohio near Murfreesboro, TN, rebuilding bridges.
April - May: 21st Ohio in the advance on and occupation of Huntsville, AL. Regiment on duty as guard to the city's Provost Marshal.
May 26: 21st Ohio leaves Huntsville for Athens, AL.
June - July: Company H of the 21st detached to Elk River, TN; duties include clearing the railroad.
Mid July: Company H returns to Athens.
Late August: 21st Ohio leaves Athens and takes part in the advance on Nashville, TN.
September - early December: 21st Ohio on garrison duty in Nashville (the Siege of Nashville).
Mid December: 21st Ohio marches towards Murfreesboro.
31 December: TWC participates in the Battle of Stone's River (Murfreesboro), TN.



2 January: Battle of Stone's River continues.
January - April: In camp at Murfreesboro, TN.
20 April: TWC detailed as an escort for Gen. James Negley.
19-20 September: Battle of Chickamauga, TN.
November - December: TWC escort for Gen. George Thomas and Gen. U.S. Grant.
24-25 November: Battles of Missionary Ridge, TN.



1 January: TWC re-enlists as a corporal.
9 February: TWC in Monroe, Michigan, for the wedding of GAC and EBC.
June - August:
Escort for Gen. John Palmer.
27 June: Battle of Kenesaw Mountain, GA.
1 September: Battle of Jonesboro, GA.
September: Escort for Gen. George Thomas.(?)
23 October: Gaylesville, Alabama. TWC mustered out of service to accept a commission as 2nd lieutenant with the 6th Michigan Cavalry, Company B.
8 November: TWC arrives in Winchester, Virginia, and is assigned to the staff of GAC.
19 December: TWC with the Third Cavalry Division moves up the Shenandoah Valley towards Staunton, VA.
21 December: Battle of Lacey Springs, VA.
25 December: TWC spends Christmas in Winchester, VA.



January: TWC granted leave of absence.
27 February: TWC with Third Cavalry Division moves up the valley to begin Sheridan's spring campaign.
1 March: Skirmish at Mount Crawford, VA.
2 March: Battle of Waynesboro, VA.
3 March: TWC enters Charlottesville, VA.
18 March: Return to White House Landing, VA, and the Army of the Potomac.
29 March: The start of the final campaign of the Army of the Potomac. Union cavalry begins movement to the extreme left of the Union flank to draw out the Confederate Army.
31 March: Battle of Dinwiddie Court House, VA.
1 April: Battle of Five Forks, VA. TWC has horse shot from under him.
3 April: Battle of Namozine Church, VA. TWC captures flag and wins his first medal of honor.
6 April: Battle of Sailor's Creek, VA. TWC captures flag and wins his second medal of honor, but is shot in the face.
9 April: At field hospital, Burkesville, VA.
11 April: Admitted to Cavalry Corps Hospital, City Point, VA.
24 April: TWC receives his first medal of honor from the Secretary of War.
Late April - mid May: TWC on furlough home, at Monroe, MI.
22 May: Receives his second medal of honor.
23 May: Grand Review of the Army of the Potomac in Washington DC.
24 May: TWC, GAC and EBC depart for New Orleans, LA.
18 June: TWC arrives in New Orleans.
Late June - early August: At Alexandria, LA.
Late August - late October: At Hempstead, TX.
22 August: TWC is appointed brevet major.
14 October: TWC appointed brevet 1st lieutenant, captain, major.
24 November: TWC mustered out of service without his knowledge.



31 January: TWC receives notification of his discharge from the service. He leaves for home.
February: TWC in Monroe, MI.
23 February: TWC assigned as 2nd lieutenant in the 1st US Infantry. This assignment made later and post-dated.
24 April: TWC at Detroit, MI, to be officially mustered out of service.
20 May: TWC at Detroit, MI.
28 July: TWC assigned as 1st lieutenant, 7th US Cavalry.
22 October: TWC in Washington DC, to take Army board exams.
23 November: 7th Cavalry at Fort Riley, Kansas.
3 December - 10 March 1867: TWC assigned as Regimental Quartermaster.
11 December: TWC ill with malaria or rheumatism.



January - March: TWC ill.
2 March: TWC is appointed to the brevet rank of captain, major, lieutenant-colonel.
Late May: TWC leaves Fort Riley to join troops in the field.
31 May: TWC in temporary command of Company H.
Spring - Summer: Hancock Expedition.
1 June: GAC, TWC and six companies of the 7th Cavalry leave Old Fort Hays, KS, on scouting expedition.
22 June: TWC is given the brevet rank of 1st lieutenant for gallantry at Waynesboro, 2 March 1865. TWC given the brevet rank of captain for gallantry at Namozine Church, 3 April 1865. TWC given the brevet rank of major for gallantry at Sailor's Creek, 6 April 1865.
24 June: As officer of the day, TWC alerts the troops to a dawn attempt by Indians to stampede the horses. TWC in command of one of the detachments sent to pursue the Indians.
7 July: TWC is in the party sent out to pursue and bring back deserters.
15 July: TWC in detail which leaves Fort Wallace, KS, with GAC.
18 July: TWC and Lieutenant Cooke accompany GAC from Fort Hays to Fort Harker, KS (arriving 19 July).
22 July: After the arrest of GAC, TWC is among those who return with supplies to Fort Wallace.
7 August: On detached service at Fort Harker.
12 August - 29 October: TWC at Fort Leavenworth, KS, to attend the Court Martial of GAC.
15 September: GAC's Court Martial begins.
25 September, 7 October & 8 October: TWC testifies at the Court Martial.
11 October: Court Martial ends.
29 October: TWC returns to Company H.
28 November: TWC appointed captain by brevet.



11 February: TWC stationed at Fort Leavenworth, KS.
2 March: TWC escorts Rebecca Richmond to Planter's Hotel, Leavenworth.
10 April: TWC with Company A leaves Fort Leavenworth with Major Elliott.
29 April:
TWC in temporary command of Company D.
16 June: Relieved of duty.
28 June - July: TWC commanding officer of Company A.
18 July: TWC arrives at Fort Larned, KS, with Captain Hamilton and Troop A.
31 August: TWC with Company A leaves Fort Dodge, KS, with the Sully Expedition.
5 November: TWC accepts commission by brevet as captain, major and lieutenant-colonel.
12 November: The 7th Cavalry leaves for Indian Territory on the Washita Campaign.
27 November: At the Battle of the Washita, TWC is wounded in the hand. TWC assumes command of Company A.
3 December: TWC is pall bearer at the burial of Captain Hamilton (killed at the Washita).



13 January: TWC almost drowns in Medicine Bluff Creek.
17 January:
TWC relieved of command of Company A.
22 January: TWC part of a detachment which leaves Fort Sill, Indian Territory, to accompany GAC on an expedition to track and parley with the Cheyenne and Arapaho.
8 February: The detachment returns to Fort Sill.
2 March: The 7th Cavalry leaves Fort Sill to track the Cheyennes; two captive white women are retrieved.
30 March - 4 April: TWC in command of Company A.
Summer: 7th Cavalry moves to Fort Hays, KS.
24 May: TWC on special duty as commanding officer of Company M.
19-28 May: TWC on duty as member of General Court Martial at Fort Hays.
16-28 June: Leave of absence. TWC accompanies GAC to visit Colonel Sturgis at Fort Leavenworth.
16 July: TWC on detached service as commanding officer of Company M.
11 August: Continuance as commanding officer of Company M.
21 August: TWC requests transfer from Company A to M.
8 September: TWC is transferred to Company M.
20 November: TWC as commanding officer of Company M.
3 December: Receives leave of absence of twenty days.
16 December: Leave of absence extended to three months.



23 March: TWC returns from leave of absence and assumes command of Company M.
2 May: Leaves for Camp Sturgis, KS, near Fort Hays.
11 June: TWC, Lieutenant McIntosh and 33 men of Troop M join Captain Keogh on railroad protection duty.
13 June: Returns to Camp Sturgis.
14 June: TWC at Fort Hays.
July: Commanding officer of Company M.
10 July: TWC at Camp Sturgis.
17 July: Drunken 7th Cavalry troopers fight with Wild Bill Hickok in Hays City, KS. Contrary to later accounts, TWC does not seem to have been involved in the fight or in planned reprisals.
8 August: Company K and M under Captain Owen Hale leave to scout upper Solomon and Republican Rivers.
16 August: TWC loses horse while on scout.
21 August: Scout returns to Camp Sturgis.
5 October: M Troop leaves to replace G Troop on the Solomon River.
24 October: M Troop returns to Fort Hays for winter quarters.



January - 15 February: Commanding officer of Company M.
8 February: TWC receives ten days leave of absence.
18 February: Leave of absence extended by five days.
1 March: TWC returns from leave and is assigned to Fort Hays.
30 March: Seven days leave of absence.
6 April: TWC returns from leave.
23 May: Company M, with G, H and L, leaves Fort Hays for Louisville, KY.
28 May: Arrives in Louisville.
14 June: Arrives in Darlington, South Carolina.
7 November: Company M arrives in Union, SC.



18 January: Company M at Union; TWC requests twenty days leave of absence.
6 February:
TWC requests twenty-seven days leave.
20 February: TWC requests extension of leave of absence for sixty days, from home of his fiancee, Lucia G. (Lulie) Burgess, in Jersey City.
March: TWC's leave extended for sixty days.
1 May: TWC returns from leave.
1 December: TWC receives seven days leave.
4 December: TWC's leave extended for thirty days.
24 December: During his leave, TWC's Company M departs Union for Oxford, Missouri.



7 January: TWC returns from leave.
March: Company M moves out to rejoin the rest of the 7th Cavalry.
10 June: TWC arrives with Company M at Fort Rice, Dakota Territory, and reunites with the rest of the regiment.
15 June: TWC arrested with Lieutenant Varnum for "neglect of duty".
19 June: TWC makes his will.
20 June: 7th Cavalry leaves Fort Rice on the Yellowstone Expedition.
21 July: TWC becomes commanding officer of Company B.
4 August: TWC is with GAC in a detachment unsuccessfully ambushed by the Sioux.
11 August: Battle of the Yellowstone. TWC commands Company B.
21 September: TWC arrives with the 7th Cavalry at Fort Abraham Lincoln, Dakota Territory.
18 October: TWC transferred to Company B.
1 November: TWC's transfer effective.
16 November: TWC welcomes GAC and EBC to Fort Lincoln.
5 December: TWC commanding officer of Company B.



1 January: TWC on duty with Company B at Fort Lincoln.
6 February:
The house of GAC and EBC at Fort Lincoln burns down and they move in with TWC while a new house is built.
8 March: TWC is temporary commander of Company L.
5 April: Relieved of duty with Company L.
7 April: TWC on leave of absence.
10 May: Leave of absence extended fifteen days.
28 May: Returns from leave and resumes command of Company L.
2 July: 7th Cavalry leaves Fort Lincoln on the Black Hills Expedition.
30 August: Regiment returns to Fort Lincoln.
29 September:
TWC on detached service commanding Company L.
12 December:
TWC, Captain Yates and 50 men from Companies L and F leave Fort Lincoln for the Standing Rock Reservation.
14 December: TWC arrests Rain-in-the-Face.



16 February: TWC's fiancee, Lulie Burgess, dies of consumption.
22 March:
TWC with Lieutenant Cooke, Major Garland and the Wadsworth sisters on leave in Bismarck, Dakota Territory; have their photographs taken at the Goff & Ford Photograph Gallery.
18 April:
Rain-in-the-Face escapes from Fort Lincoln.
28 April: TWC, Lieutenant Cooke, Lieutenant Edgerly and Lieutenant Harrington granted leave; TWC and Cooke spend theirs (thirteen days) in St Paul, Minnesota.
April - May: The Wadsworth sisters visit the Custers at Fort Lincoln.
3 July: TWC relieved of command of Company L.
3-24 July: Attached to Company L.
8 July: TWC on leave of absence.
15 July: Returns from leave of absence.
24 July: TWC transferred to Company L; transfer revoked.
1 August: TWC relieved of command of Company L.
7-24 August: TWC in command of a detachment of Indian scouts.
24 August: TWC on duty with Company L.
14 September:
TWC granted thirty-day leave of absence; travels to St Paul, Minnesota, with Lieutenant Cooke, General Merritt, and Lieutenant Edgerly. TWC and Cooke then go on, via Chicago, Monroe and Hamilton, Ontario, to join GAC and EBC in New York.
14 October: Leave of absence extended 30 days.
22 October: TWC at Hotel Brunswick, New York.
2 November: TWC applies for 30 day leave extension.
14 November: TWC absent without leave.
18 November: Third leave of absence denied.
27 November: TWC and Cooke arrive at Bismarck, D.T., from St Paul, Minnesota.
28 November: TWC and Cooke reach Fort Lincoln.
2 December: TWC is promoted to captain.
17 December: TWC becomes captain of Company C.



Early March: TWC retrieves GAC and EBC from a snow-bound train.
17 May: The 7th Cavalry leaves Fort Lincoln to take part in the Little Big Horn Campaign.
30 May: GAC with TWC and Companies C, D, F and M scout the Little Missouri River.
25 June: TWC killed at the Battle of the Little Big Horn; his body is found yards from GAC's, and he is buried alongside him on 28 June.
13 August: Memorial service in Monroe, MI.



July: TWC's remains removed from their original burial site on the Little Big Horn battlefield and sent to Fort Leavenworth for reinterrment.
3 August: TWC reinterred in grave 1488A at Fort Leavenworth.

Last altered July 3, 2004.
Copyright © 1999 Carl Day and Brian Pohanka.
Additions copyright © 1999-2004 Rosemary Pardoe and Mike Freidel.

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