Officers buried in Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery, Kansas
“Celebrate your success and stand strong when adversity hits, for when the storm clouds come in, the eagles soar while the small birds take cover”
JAMES CALHOUN First Lieutenant, Company L, 7th US Cavalry. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of a merchant, he lived a comfortable life. He spent the first half of the Civil War traveling in Europe. After his return to the United States, he enlisted in Company D, 23rd Ohio Infantry in January of 1864. He was appointed First Sergeant on Feb. 1, 1865. Promoted to 2nd Lt, 32nd Infantry, on July 31, 1876 at Camp Warner, Oregon. He served in Arizona and at Camp Grant until July 1869. He was assigned to the 7th Cavalry on Jan. 1, 1871, following a reorganization of the Army. He was appointed 1st Lt on Jan. 9, 1871.
On March 7, 1872, he married Margaret Emma Custer, sister of George Custer, Thomas, and Boston Custer, in Monroe, Michigan. They had no children together. His career with the 7th included the 1873 Yellowstone Expedition, and the 1874 Black Hills Expedition. During the Battle of the Little Big Horn, he was assigned to command Company L. He was killed on Custer Hill with his two brothers-in-law, George and Tom.
THOMAS WARD CUSTER, Double Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. Born Thomas Ward Custer, the fifth son of Emanuel Custer and Maria Ward Kirkpatrick, in New Rumley, Ohio. At the age of 16, after one failed attempt, he lied about his age and joined the 21st Regiment of Ohio Volunteer Infantry in 1861. Two weeks later he was mustered in as a private in Company H. They saw several small skirmishes and took parting the Battle of Stone's River, Murfreesboro on December 31. In April 1863 he was assigned to escort duty on the staff of the 21st Ohio's division commander. He then served at Missionary Ridge and Chattanooga on the staff of Major General U.S. Grant, and then saw duty with the staff of the Fourteenth Corps at the rank of corporal. By the summer of 1864, his elder brother, George Armstrong, obtained for him a commission in the 6th Michigan Cavalry and a position as his aide-de-camp. During the 1865 campaign they saw action at Waynesboro, Dinwiddie Court House, and Five Forks. At the battle at Namozine Church he earned the first of his medals with the capture of enemy colors.
The Citation read: "Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, Company B, 6th Michigan Cavalry. Place and date: At Namozine Church, Va. Date of issue: 3 May 1865. Citation: Capture of flag on 10 May 1863." Several days later at Sailor's Creek, he charged the breastworks and snatched at the enemy colors, demanding surrender. He was shot in the face but refused to give up his prize. He shot the standard bearer and rode off with the colors. He second Citation read: "Place and date: At Sailor Creek, Va, April 1865. Date of issue: 26 May 1865. Citation: 2d Lt. Custer leaped his horse over the enemy's works and captured 2 stands of colors, having his horse shot from under him and receiving a severe wound."
He had to be threatened with arrest to stop him from returning to the battle before reporting to the surgeon. He continued to serve as his brother's aide-de-camp until January 1866 when he mustered out of the 6th Michigan and received a commission in the regular army joining the 7th Cavalry as a first lieutenant. He was wounded at Washita in 1868, served in the Yellowstone Expedition of 1873, and the Black Hills Expedition of 1874.
He was promoted to Captain in 1875 and was given command of Company C of the 7th Cavalry. On June 25, 1876, five companies of the 7th Cavalry were wiped out in action against the Sioux and Cheyenne at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. The three Custer brothers, George, Thomas, and Boston were found within yards of one another.
ALGERNON EMORY SMITH United States Army Officer. Prior to the Civil War, he attended Hamilton College in New York. He enlisted in June 1862 in Company K, 7th United States Regular Infantry. Appointed 2nd Lieutenant, 117th New York Volunteer Infantry on August 20, 1862, and 1st Lieutenant, on September 20, 1862. Commanded Company G, February 1863 to October 1863, when he was made aide-de-camp to Major General Alfred Terry. Fought at Suffolk, in the Siege of Charleston, Morris Island, Fort Wagner (July 1863), Cold Harbor, Petersburg (1864-65), Drury's Farm (1864), and Fort Fisher (January 1865) where he was severely wounded.
Brevetted Major, US Volunteers on March 13, 1865. Mustered out on May 15, 1865. Appointed 2nd Lieutenant, 7th United States Cavalry, on Aug 9, 1867. Married Nettie B. Bowen on October 10, 1867 at her home in Newport, New York. Served in the 1868 Washita Campaign. Promoted to First Lieutenant on December 5, 1868. Fought tn the 1873 Yellowstone campaign and served as Assistant Quartermaster in the 1874 Black Hills expedition. Assigned to Company A, he was made commander of Company E, 7th Cavalry, and assigned to Custer's column during the 1876 Sioux campaign. He was killed with his entire command during the Battle of the Little Big Horn. Originally buried on the battlefield, he was reinterred in 1877 at Fort Leavenworth.
GEORGE WILHEMUS MANCIUS YATES United States Army Officer. He served as Captain and commander ofCompany F, 7th United States Cavalry, during the Battle of the Little Big Horn. Killed in action while commanding sub-battalion comprised of Companies E and F, near Custer hill. The son of Richard and Margaret Mancius Yates. Enlisted 20 June 1861 in Company A, 4th Michigan Infantry at Geneva NY. In the First Battle of Bull Run and Seven Days Battle. Appointed First Lieutenant on 26 Sept 1862. Fought at Beverly Ford, Sharpsburg, Antietam, and was wounded at Fredericksburg. Appointed to staff of General Alfred Pleasanton in summer of 1863. Fought at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg.
Mustered out on 28 June 1864. Rejoined as First Lt, 45th US Missouri Infantry, on 24 Aug 1864. Brevetted Major, USV, on 13 March 1865, and Brevet Lt. Col, USV, for valor at Gettysburg. Appointed 2nd Lt, 2nd Cavalry, on 26 March 1866, at Fort McPherson, Nebraska. Divorced Lucretia Beaumont Irwin (whom he had married on 5 Jan 1865) in St. Louis, Mo. on 31 Jan 1867. Assigned to 7th Cavalry on 12 June 1867. Married Annie Gibson Roberts on 12 Feb 1872 in New York City (Annie's father was Milnor Roberts, Chief Engineer for Northern Pacific Railroad).
Three children: 2 boys and a girl. In the 1874 Black Hills Expedition. During the Battle of the Little Big Horn, Custer split his Battalion into two pieces, giving Captain Yates command of 2 companies; all of Custer's Battalion was wiped out, including Yates' companies.
Officers buried in Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery, Kansas