October 31, 1848|
New Rumley, Ohio
|Died||June 25, 1876
Little Bighorn, Montana Territory
|Place of burial||Woodland Cemetery, Monroe, Michigan|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Unit||7th U.S. Cavalry, 1874 - 1876|
Boston Custer (October 31, 1848 – June 25, 1876) was the youngest brother of U.S. Army General George Armstrong Custer and two-time Medal of Honor recipient Captain Thomas Custer. He was killed at the Battle of the Little Bighorn along with his two brothers.
Boston Custer was born in New Rumley, Ohio, one of five children born to Emanuel Henry Custer and Maria Ward Kirkpatrick Custer. In 1863, the family left Ohio and moved to Monroe, Michigan. His older brother Nevin became a farmer due to asthma and rheumatism, while George and Tom became military officers in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Boston Custer had been unable to officially join the Army due to poor health.
A civilian contractor, he served as forage master for his brother's U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment in the 1874 Black Hills expedition. He was employed as a guide, forager, packer and scout for the regiment for the 1876 expedition against the Lakota Indians. On June 25, 1876, along with his 18-year-old nephew Henry Armstrong "Autie" Reed, Boston Custer was with the pack train at the rear of Custer's troops. Hearing from a messenger that Lt. Col. Custer had requested ammunition for an impending fight, they quickly left the pack train. The pair passed by Frederick Benteen's detachment and joined Custer's main column as it moved into position to attack a sprawling Indian village along the Little Big Horn River. Had he stayed with the pack train where he was assigned, Boston Custer might have survived the battle.
However, like his brothers and nephew, Boston was killed at the area known as "Last Stand Hill." A marble marker commemorates the approximate place where his body was found and identified. Though originally buried on the battlefield, Autie Reed's and Boston Custer's remains were exhumed, the only exceptions to the rule that only commissioned officers would be shipped home for reburial. They were reinterred January 8, 1878, at Woodland Cemetery in Monroe, Michigan, near today's Monroe County, Michigan Museum.
- Custer, Boston, and O'Neill, Thomas, editor, Letters from Boston Custer, Brooklyn, NY: Arrow and Trooper, 1993.
- George Custer Lobbies for Boston Custer Second Lieutenant Appointment, 1872 Shapell Manuscript Foundation
- A contemporary article on Boston Custer's burial
- "Boston Custer". Find a Grave. Retrieved 2008-02-20.
- Boston Custer's marker (not his headstone)