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Petersburg Medals of Honor: Rewarded Twice



First Lieutenant Thomas W. Custer, of Company B, Sixth Michigan Cavalry, distinguished himself at Namozine Church, April 2d [sic, April 3rd], and at Sailor’s Creek, Va., April 6th, by the capture of a battle-flag at each place.

At Sailor’s Creek Lieutenant Custer leaped his horse over the enemy’s line of works and fearlessly dashed up to the rebel colors. When close to the color-bearer he received a shot in the face which knocked him backward on his horse, but in a moment he was again upright in his saddle and fired at the color-bearer, hitting him and causing him to reel. Immediately Custer reached out and grasped the flag, wrenching the standard from the color-bearer as he fell, and dashed back to his lines. Here he met his brother, General G[eorge]. A. Custer, and called out to him: “The rebels have shot me, but I’ve got their flag.” Instantly he set spurs to his horse to charge again, but the general, realizing the severity of his brother’s wound, checked him, and told him to go to the rear and have it dressed. This the lieutenant refused to do, whereupon General Custer ordered him under arrest and to the rear, where it was found that the bullet had entered his cheek and passed out behind the ear.


Read about even more Medal of Honor winners at the Siege of Petersburg:


  1. Beyer, Walter F. and Keydel, Oscar F. Deeds of Valor: How America’s Heroes Won the Medal of Honor…, Volume 1 (The Perrien – Keydel  Company: 1901), p. 517
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