Who Was First Buried in Custer's Grave?

WEST POINT, N.Y. — It's no riddle that Gen. Ulysses S. Grant is the man buried in Grant's Tomb. But there is a mystery behind who is buried in the grave of the man Grant sent to fight the Indians.

It may not be Gen. George Armstrong Custer, who died in 1876 along with his 267 soldiers at the hands of Sioux and Cheyenne Indians at the Little Bighorn in Montana. Instead, Custer's grave at the U.S. Military Academy might be the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, historians and anthropologists say.

It's possible that in West Point's cemetery, under the noses of America's top military instructors, an enlisted man is impersonating an officer.

"It would be ironic if some buck private were buried up there at West Point," said forensic anthropologist Clyde Snow, who examined newly found bones at Little Bighorn in 1985. Especially ironic, since Custer's wife, Elizabeth, was buried alongside in 1933.

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