Custer’s National Cemetery

War is known for its many casualties. When a soldier died on the battlefield – they were buried right then and there. However, during the Civil War the way in which soldiers were buried changed simply due to the fact that there was a plethora of American soldier corpses that the armies were incapable of dealing with. Families on both sides did not know whether their family members were alive or dead demanding that the government become involved. They asked for identification and proper burial of those who lost their lives due to war. In 1867, Congress passed the Nationa Cemetery Act which provided funds to help the government buy land for where the national cemetery would sit.

As per tradition, after battles, many of the killed soldiers at Fort Custer were buried on the surrounding area between the years of 1877 and 1881. Only official officers were identified. In 1879 in order to protect the graves, General William Tecumseh Sherman designated the area as a National Cemetery. There was an effort in 1881 to rebury the bodies but some of the bones found are still labeled as unknown. It wasn’t until December 1886 when President Grover Cleveland reconfirmed Sherman’s order with the War Department of General Orders and established National Cemetery of Custer’s Battlefield Reservation.

FDR issues executive order 8428 in July of 1940 to decree that the cemetery’s management would be placed in the hands of the Department of Interior rather than the War Department. As of 1978, there are currently no more reservations accepted however, there are 100 remaining plots designated to veterans and their spouses. There are an estimated 5,090 memorials currently on site. Several noteworthy army men are buried in this cemetery along with other Native Americans that were involved in The Battle of Little Bighorn.