The sun sets on markers in Custer National Cemetery which is part of Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument near Crow Agency Montana. Like many other national cemeteries, Custer National Cemetery was created after those killed in battle were already buried there. The first buried here were men of the 7th US Calvary killed in the battle of Little Bighorn in 1876. Between 1877 and 1881, troops garrisoned at nearby Fort Custer (modern-day town of Hardin, Montana) regularly gathered remains for reburial, recovered graves, and policed the battlefield for exposed bones. The first of these details disinterred and collected all identified officers, except Lieutenant John Crittenden. The Lieutenant was left where he fell at the request of his family until 1932. General Custer was reinterred at West Point while most of the others were shipped to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and other private cemeteries back east at the request of their families. The enlisted men remain buried here,
In order to protect these graves, General William Tecumseh Sherman designated part of the battlefield as a national cemetery. In 1881, a memorial was erected in honor of the Seventh US Cavalrymen who perished on the battlefield. Prior to installment of the monument, a trench was dug around the base into which all of the bodies that could be found to that date were placed. Though an attempt was made to rebury all of these individuals, bones discovered since have been buried in the National Cemetery as “Unknowns."
Interments from abandoned military posts like Fort Phil Kearney in Wyoming were moved here in the 1880s. The cemetery hosts the graves of Medal of Honor recipients, Army scouts including Crow scouts and others soldiers both those killed in action and veterans of the Indian Campaigns. The interments in tis national cemetery also include military member killed in action in the Spanish American War, WWi; WWII; Korean War and Vietnam War. Veterans and their spouses from these wars are also buried here, The Cemetery stopped taking reservation in 1978 but some of the reservations are still outstanding.
Posted in honor of Veterans Day Nov 11, 2021.
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