The cemetery is located on the Crow Indian Reservation, inside the Little
Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.
The battlefield name was changed by congress in 1991 from Custer Battlefield
National Monument to Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. The
National Cemetery retained the name Custer National Cemetery. It is
also referred to as Custer Battlefield Cemetery at times.
The National Cemetery is within Little Bighorn Battlefield National
Monument and is administered and maintained by the National Park
Service. Custer National Cemetery, established
in 1886, was offically closed to further non-reservation interments
in 1978. Within it there are approximately 4,900 interments, with about
100 reserved spaces for veterans or their spouses, who have burial plots.
Cremains are still accepted for scattering in the cemetery, however
these do not have markers.
Some casualties (many unknown) were found by staff over the years and
recent archeological surveys, and reinterrered in several special plots
in the National Cemetery. The rest of Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer's
command killed in action here in 1876 were buried where they fell. Most
of the officer's including Custer were transferred to Eastern cemeteries
in 1877. Custer is buried at the West Point Military Academy Cemetery.
A national cemetery here was authorized by General Orders No. 78 of
1879 to protect the graves of Seventh Cavalrymen who were killed in
action during the Battle of the Little Bighorn 25 June 1876. The first
abandoned military post cemetery transfer here was in 1888 when the
remains from Fort Phil Kearny, WY were reinterred on Last Stand Hill.
In 1892 additional abandoned post cemetery interments were transferred
to the Section A & B of the present site of Custer National Cemetery.
The Fort Phil Kearny interments that had been buried on Last Stand
Hill, were reinterred in Section B in 1926. The Fort Keogh interments
were transferred to Section A, Custer National Cemetery in 1924. Remember
that we have 25 abandoned military post interments here too! These are
all in Section A & B.
The interments in the national cemetery are military soldiers and sailors
killed in action or veterans and their spouses that served in the U.S.
Military during the Indian Wars, Spanish American War, World War One,
World War Two, Korean War, and Vietnam.
In July 1881, the army reinterred the rest of the command in a mass
grave on Last Stand Hill where they lie
today, marked by a large granite monument erected at that time.
In 1890 the army erected white marble government headstones to preserve
the locations of the original 7th Cavalry casualty sites. The new Indian
Memorial was dedicated on June 25, 2003.
I have transcribed this file from the Custer National Cemetery Register,
Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. It is the most current
record at this time, and was a monumental in-house effort, according
to John A Doerner, chief historian. Please direct inquires to: Chief
Historian, Little Bighorn Battlefield NM, P.O. Box 39, Crow Agency,
- Maggie Rail