Civil war is a conflict fought among organized groups within the same state. The war may be fought for several reasons, which include the need to gain independence and it may also be fought so as to control a region, and change the government policies governing a country (Blight, 45).
Having read his brother’s bibliography, George Armstrong became interested in his life since he had been awarded two congressional medals for having fought and defeated the enemy nation during the civil war. Thomas Custer, a brother to Armstrong, was born in 1845, in Ohio. He was six years younger than Armstrong, but he envied his brother’s career as a military man. This made him anticipate joining the military forces (Hesseltine, 32).
Even though he was only sixteen years old when the American civil war erupted in 1861, he lied about his age and was taken in a private force where he volunteered to do military tasks. After experiencing the battle between the confederates and the southern state, which left the confederate states divided into two on the Mississippi River, Tom was appointed to escort brigadier general Negley a task he performed until the month of November that year.
He was later appointed as the escort for General Ulysses during the period of the battle of the Missionary Ridge. He delegated the task of escorting General Thomas due to this battle. Re enlisting was done on January the following year, but he remained in the escort duty, which was located in the western theater (McPherson, 24). During this period, his brother was in the East, and was promoted to become a brigadier general in charge of the six Michigan cavalry.
After the promotion, Armstrong demanded that Tom was to be transported to the unit that he controlled. Because of this, Tom was transferred from Ohio, where they were delegated to the position of the second lieutenant. He was also reassigned to the cavalry of Michigan. He reported to the assigned unit on 1964 November, and was assigned the task of becoming his brother’s aide-de-camp. Armstrong did not care about the perception of favoritism. This made Tom remark that “if anyone thought it was a soft thing to be a commanding officer's brother, and then the person misses the guess” (Hesseltine, 103).
During the Waynesboro battle, Tom led his team against the confederate forces, and successfully defeated them. He later led his forces against their enemy in Namozine church, where he managed to cease their flag, and capture more than 14 prisoners of war. Because of this, Tom was awarded his first medal of honor, issued to him in the year 1865. Three days later, after winning the Namonize battle and capturing the flag, he charged a northern state military man who had shot and injured him on the face (Hesseltine, 72). Despite the fact that he was injured, Tom fired back at the soldier killing him on the spot and captured the enemy’s flag.
His brother described the act as a heroic act. Armstrong goes further to describe the whole act that Tom did, and how he shot the color bearer of the opponent team. After being shot, Tom ran back to his brother shouting that even though the rebels have shot him, he had achieved what he wanted while handling the enemy’s banner to his brother. Armstrong ordered him to report to a surgeon, but he resisted. Interestingly, his brother orders that he should be arrested and taken to the stern. This gave him the second Medal of Honor. The bullet fired at him did not cause damage, and was successfully treated (Bierce, 27).
Both Armstrong and Tom were together in the battlefield fighting the Sioux Worrier at the clash of the Bighorn when they both lost their lives. Tom’s body lay close to his brother’s body, but it was badly mutilated. The body was buried, but it was later exhumed from the battlefield and later buried in the Leavenworth fort, which is a national cemetery.
Bierce, Ambrose. Civil War Stories. New York: Dover Publications, 1994. Print.
Blight, David W. Frederick Douglass' Civil War: Keeping Faith in Jubilee. Baton Rouge:
Louisiana State University Press, 1991. Print.
Hesseltine, William B. Civil War Prisons. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1962. Print.
McPherson, James M. Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era. New York: Oxford University
Press, 2011. Internet resource.