Buffalo Soldiers of History
African Americans have served in the United States Army since the Revolutionary War. They were, however, segregated in all black units until the Korean War.
In 1866, Congress approved legislation creating six all African-American Army regiments: two cavalry (the 9th and 10th) and four infantry (the 38th, 39th, 40th and 41st). These units represented the first African-American professional soldiers in a peace-time army. Some of the recruits for the new units were formerly slaves. Many others served in the Union Army during the Civil War.
Another reorganization of the Army a short time later led to the merger of the four infantry regiments into two units: the 24th and 25th.
The nickname “Buffalo Soldiers” was originally given to the 10th Cavalry by Cheyenne warriors out of respect for their fierce fighting in 1867. The Native-American term used was actually “Wild Buffaloes”, which was translated to “Buffalo Soldiers.” In time, all African-American Soldiers became known as “Buffalo Soldiers.” Despite second-class treatment these soldiers made up first-rate regiments of the highest caliber and had the lowest desertion rate in the Army.
In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, these units were consistently assigned to the harshest and most desolate posts. They were sent to subdue Mexican revolutionaries, outlaws, comancheros, rustlers, and hostile Native Americans; to explore and map the Southwest; to string telegraph lines; and to establish frontier outposts around which future towns and cities grew.
All four units fought in the Indian Wars of the American West and were, in part, responsible for the defeat of Geronimo, the notorious Apache leader Victorio, William “Billy the Kid” Bonner and Mexican bandit Francisco “Pancho” Villa. During the Spanish American War of 1898, it was the 9th and 10th Cavalry Corps which drew the fire that led to the decisive and successful charge up Kettle Hill, and San Juan Heights in Cuba.
The Buffalo Soldier legacy continued into the 20th Century. They served in the Philippines and China. Units also fought in WWI and WWII.
“The 9th Regiment of Cavalry”
The 9th Cavalry first came into existence by an Act of Congress on July 28, 1866. To the six regular cavalry regiments then in service, this Act added four new ones, “two of which shall be composed of colored men, having the same organization as is now provided by law for cavalry regiments.” The organization of the African-American regiments was modified by including a regimental chaplain, whose duties were enlarged to include the instruction of the enlisted men. Up to this time all chaplains had been appointed in the army, designated to posts, and known as post chaplains.
Service in the Civil War left an impact on the officer corps for the new Unit. Men for the position of first and second lieutenant were to be filled by selection from among the officers and soldiers of volunteer cavalry; two-thirds of the original vacancies in the higher grades by selection from among the officers of volunteer cavalry; and one-third from among officers of the regular army. It was also decided that to be eligible for selection, an active service of two years in the field during the War of the Rebellion was necessary; also that applicants should have been distinguished for capacity and good conduct.
Another enactment considerably affecting the composition of the regiment, and which, because its requirements have been so enlarged by recent legislation as to embrace nearly the entire commissioned force of the regular army, may be deemed of particular interest, is that referring to the examination of officers prior to appointment. It directed that no person should be commissioned in any of the regiments authorized by the Act, until he had passed a satisfactory examination before a board to be composed of officers of the arm of the service in which the applicant was to serve. This board was to be convened by the Secretary of War, and was to inspire into the service rendered during the war by the applicant, as well as into his capacity and qualifications for a commission in the regular forces. Appointments were to be made without reference to previous rank but solely by a consideration of present qualifications and past meritorious services.
On August 3, 1866, Major General Philip H. Sheridan, then commanding the Military Division of the Gulf, at New Orleans, Louisiana, was authorized to raise, among others, one regiment of colored cavalry to be designated the 9th Regiment of U. S. Cavalry. Men serving in volunteer colored regiments who desired to enlist in regular regiments were discharged from the volunteer organizations. This class of men was desired and many took advantage of the opportunity to join the regular army, and later proved of value as non- commissioned officers.
The mustering officer at New Orleans was directed to take temporary charge of the recruiting, and shortly afterwards it was transferred to Major Francis Moore, 65th U.S. Colored Infantry. The men transferred by Major Moore formed the nucleus of the enlisted strength, and were principally obtained from New Orleans and its vicinity. A little later in the autumn recruiting was established in Kentucky, and all the men for the new regiment were obtained from that State and Louisiana. The horses were obtained at St. Louis and proved to be excellent mounts.
About the middle of September all recruits were assembled in New Orleans, and preparations made for organization. Empty cotton presses were used as barracks and the ration was cooked over open fires. In the latter part of September an epidemic of cholera caused the camp to be moved to Greenville, and later, for other reasons, it was moved to Carrollton, both of which places are suburbs of New Orleans.
During the winter of 1866-67, every effort was made to bring about an efficient state of drill, discipline and organization. The orders regarding stables and the performance of that duty were especially strict. Few officers had as yet joined, and the number on duty with the regiment was so small, that a scheme of squadron organization was resorted to so that at least one officer might be present with each squadron for every drill or other duty. The entire enlisted strength was woefully ignorant, entirely helpless, and though willing enough to learn, was difficult to teach. Hard work and constant drilling made much headway, however, and by the end of March 1867, the troop was ready for duty. The middle of this month found the regiment with nearly its full strength, the return at that time showing a total of 885 enlisted men or an average of over 70 to a troop.
The regiment now practically organized yet still far from being in anything approaching full strength, was ordered to San Antonio, where it arrived early in April and formed a camp of instruction. Troops L and M, however, proceeded directly to Brownsville, Texas, near the mouth of the Rio Grande, where they remained several years. This command was under 1st Lieutenant J.M. Hamilton, formerly an officer in the 9th U.S. Colored Infantry. Hamilton was one of a number of volunteer officers who had been temporarily continued in their volunteer commissions for the purpose of helping organize the new regiments until the arrival of the regularly appointed officers. These officers had a heavy workload during the winter of 1866-67, as the regular officers arrived slowly until after the camp at San Antonio was established.
The 9th made camp near San Antonio for some three months, and the time spent there was used in completing and perfecting the organization and drill. The officers of the regiment were now nearly all appointed, and during the summer of 1867 they were as follows: Colonel Edward Hatch, Lieutenant Colonel Wesley Merritt, Majors James F. Wade, George A. Forsyth, and Albert P. Morrow, Chaplain John C. Jocobi, Captains J.S. Brisbin, Wm. Bayard, G.A. Purington, J.M. Bacon, G.H. Gamble, Henry Carroll, A.E. Hooker, W.T. Frobock, J.C. De Gress, T.A. Boice, F.S. Dodge, and E.M. Heyl. First Lieutenants Michael Cooney, I.F. Moffatt, J.G. Birney, Charles Parker, J.L. Humfreville, Francis Moore, F.W. Smith, L.H. Rucker, Byron Dawson, J.S. Loud, Patrick Cusack, F.S. Davidson, D.H Cortelyou, G.B. Bosworth, and W.B. Brunton. Second Lieutenants I. W. Trask, F.R. Vincent, I.M. Starr, F.P. Gross, E.D. Dimmick, W.W. Tyler, G.W. Budd, T.C. Barden, and J.C. Edgar.
It is difficult to fully appreciate all the work undertaken by the officers in those early days. The men knew nothing, and the non-commissioned officers but little more. From the very circumstances of their preceding life it could not be otherwise. It was a serious crime to teach an African-American to read or write before and during the Civil War. According to a report filed at the time about the new recruits, “They had no independence, no self-reliance, not a thought except for the present, and were filled with superstition. To make soldiers of such material was considered more of an experiment than as a fixed principle.” The Government depended upon the officers of those early days to solve the problem of the colored soldier.
The colonel of the regiment was Edward Hatch, a young man full of energy and enthusiasm. He went right to work, determined to succeed, and in this his officers ably seconded him. They were all equally enthusiastic in proving the ability of colored soldiers, and in forcing the issue to a successful solution. The officers were compelled, not only to attend to the duties that naturally attach to the office of a troop commander and his lieutenants, but, in the endeavor to make finished individual soldiers of the black man and to feel that the troop, taken as a unit, was an independent fighting force, well drilled, well clothed, well fed, suitably armed and equipped, and thoroughly able to take care of itself in garrison or campaign. Unlike other cavalry regiments the officers of the 9th were forced to enter into the minutest details of military administration, and personally to assume nearly all the duties of the non-commissioned officer. The process of molding non-commissioned officers into a responsible and self-reliant class was a slow one. Troop officers were in fact squad commanders, and it took both time and patience to teach the men how to care for themselves.
The amount of writing that fell to the officers during the earlier years of the regiment is not to be passed over lightly. Fully to appreciate this, it must be borne in mind that the enlisted men were totally uneducated; few indeed could read and scarcely any were able to write even their own names. It is related that but one man in the entire regiment was found able to write sufficiently well to act as sergeant-major. (This was probably Emanuel Stance.) It was not an uncommon thing for a captain to assist his first sergeant in calling the roll, and an officer prepared every record, from the morning report to the monthly return. In time the simpler reports were mastered, but it is only in later years that troop clerks are found.
Early in June the regiment was ordered into western and southwestern Texas to assist in opening up once more that vast territory, extending from Fort Clark to El Paso, and from the Rio Grande to the Concho, River. By this time the regiment was deemed sufficiently well organized, equipped and disciplined, to be sent to the extreme frontier, and capable of undergoing the long and trying march into the wild and unsettled country that lay before it.
The regiment was distributed as follows: Headquarters and Troops A, B, E and K, Colonel Hatch commanding, at Fort Stockton; Troops C, D, F, G, H and I, Lieutenant Colonel Merritt commanding, at Fort Davis. Troops L and M had previously been sent to Brownsville.
The principal duty of the command in western Texas was to open up and protect the mail and stage route from San Antonio to El Paso; to establish law and order in the country contiguous to the Rio Grande frontier, which had been sadly interfered with by Mexicans as well as Indians during the Civil War; to prevent marauding by Indians and to capture and confine to their reservations all roving bands; in fact, to help pave the way for the western advance of civilization, and to add their part in the great work of opening to settlement the vast resources of the great West.
Having landed the regiment in this far away part of the country, a word or two of everyday garrison life during those early days, when the nearest railroad was six hundred miles distant, may be of interest. In many respects the everyday life of the men in garrison was difficult at best. There was drill, stables and parade duty; there were logging teams for the saw-mill and special details for the garden; men mixing mud for adobe bricks and burnishing brasses for orderly duty; but guard duty, though no more tedious than ever, was spiced with an element of danger which added zest to life. Strict orders prohibited all persons from leaving the immediate limits of a garrison, except in small parties, and they were enjoined always to carry their carbines. Heavy herd guards were detailed, and lookouts were posted on high ground during grazing hours.
The appliances for the personal comfort of the soldiers were few. Ashen slats on bunk irons and a bedsack filled with straw made a very good bed for the fortunate possessor, while the less favored ones were often at their wits’ end to improvise a comfortable resting place out of two blankets. Sheets, pillows, white shirts, linen collars and barrack shoes, were not dreamed of, and bath tubs were unknown, for the water system was limited to a huge tank on wheels, with eight mules, and a surly driver.
The stomachs of the men, even more than their bodies, were subject to a Spartan simplicity. The commissary kept only the component parts of the regular ration, and the pound of fresh vegetables was not a part of it.
The banishment from the gentler influences of settled communities and separation from the varied society of large cities was keenly felt by officers, and the exiles’ life they were forced to lead caused a few to give up in disgust and resign; but the majority continued in service, fighting bravely against the hardships surrounding them. Of luxuries they had none, of comforts, few; but the canvas homes and outdoor life furnished good digestions and hearty appetites for the limited bills of fare presented at the mess. Nearly all were bachelors, with the careless habits this class of army officers are noted for, though the presence of an occasional lady served to check in part the familiarity engendered by lack of privacy and constant association, – serious objections to any long continued camp.
Horseback riding on pleasant days was almost the only outdoor amusement, but the danger from Indians so contracted the safety limits, that all ground was soon visited, and only the hope of a shot at a stray wolf or coyote, or the rare advent of some visitor to be entertained, kept up interest in this hind of outing. A great event was the distribution of the mail, and whether weekly, semi-weekly, or daily, the hour of its arrival was looked forward to by all, and, as the cloud of dust in the distance heralded its approach, the entire garrison, from the commanding officer to the latest recruit, hastened to the post office where they formed an eager crowd, anxious for the latest news from the States, or in happy anticipation of the expected letter from sweetheart, wife, or mother.
The regiment remained in Texas for eight years, spending greater portion of the time in the field, patrolling the vast stretches of prairie in innumerable scouts after depredating Indians, and gradually freeing the country from this scourge of settlers. There is not space to describe minutely even the more important of these expeditions, and I shall only summarize the following:
9th Cavalry Timeline
October 1, near Howard’s Wells, Texas, two men killed while escorting the mail; December 5, Eagle Springs, Texas, one man killed; December 26, Camp Lancaster, Texas, Troop K persistently attacked for two days by a large force of Indians who were finally driven off, three men killed.
January, Fort Quitman, Troop F attacked sixteen times by a large band; August, Fort Quitman, Troop H attacked, Indians driven off without loss; September 12, Horsehead Hills, Texas, Lieutenant Cusack with 60 men surprised a large party of Indians, killing 25 and capturing all their horses, ponies and supplies. But one man was wounded in this affair, which was reported as a very brilliant and successful coup against the wandering bands.
June 5, Johnson’s River, Texas, Troop L, no loss; June 7, on Pecos River, Texas, 32 men of Troop G under Captain Bacon; September 15, on the Brazos River, Troops F and M under Captain Carroll, had a skirmish, and again on the 20th and 21st, the same command being augmented by detachments from Troops B and M, engaged the same band of Indians; October 28 and 29, Troops B, E, F, G, L and M had a running fight of 40 miles at the head waters of the Brazos River, killing a number of Indians. This is the affair to which the late General Sherman so often referred with his quizzical inquiry as to which way Bacon ran: November 29, head of Llanos River, Texas, Troops L and M under Captain E. M. Heyl had a desperate fight and this officer was seriously wounded; December 25, five men of Troop E defeated a band of 20 Indians which attempted to surprise the mail coach.
January 6, Guadaloupe Mountains, Texas, Troop H; January 11, Lower Pecos River, Troop L; January 16, Troop G and detachment of L, under Captain Bacon, surprised an entire village, capturing 83 head of stock and all supplies; January 21, a command of Troops C, D, I and K, under Captain Dodge engaged in a skirmish in the Guadaloupe Mountains; April 3, 15 men of Troop H, under a non-commissioned officer, ran into some Indians near San Matrin’s Springs, killing one; April 25, Crow Springs, Texas, 50 men from Troops C and K, under Major Morrow, captured 30 horses and the supplies of a village; May 19 and 20, at Kickapoo Springs, Texas, Sergeant Emanuel Stance with five men of Troop F, surprised and attacked a small village, wounding four Indians and capturing two white boy prisoners and 15 horses; May 29, Bosaler Canon, Texas, Troop I.
April 20, Howard’s Wells, Troops A and H, Lieutenant Vincent killed.
Mentioned are situations in which an actual engagement took place. The many scouts, long marches, the weeks and months spent in campaign are omitted, but during the eight years of duty in Texas, as well as afterwards and until the regiment was sent to the Department of the Platte, more time was spent in campaign that in garrison, and the troops covered thousands of square miles of territory.
In the latter part of 1875 the regiment was transferred into New Mexico, with headquarters an Santa Fe, and the troops scattered all over that territory and even beyond. The general duty was about the same as in Texas, and during the time the regiment remained there, various troops and detachments were employed in capturing and returning to their reservations innumerable roving bands of the wily and treacherous Apache tribes, the more important of which were those headed by Nana and Victorio. During the five years spent in this section the more important affairs were as follows:
April 15, in the Florida Mountains, Troop F, one Indian killed and 11 horses captured; September 2, in the Cuchillo Negro Mountains, detachment of Troop C and E, under Lieutenant Wright, small camp captured and number of lodges destroyed
January 23, Florida Mountains, nine men under Lieutenant Wright killed 5 Indians and captured 6 horses; January 28, Sierra Boca Grande Mountains, Mexico, detachment of Troops C and A captured a small camp
August 6, Dog Canon, N. M., Troop H was engaged
January 15, Troop A under Lieutenant Day, was engaged and captured a number of horses and mules; March 8 Ojo Caliente, Troop I; May 28, in the Black Range, Troops C and I under Captain Beyer captured a camp and 16 horses, losing one man killed and 2 wounded; September 4, Ojo Caliente, four men were killed; September 8, West Las Animas River, 24 men of Troop G under Lieutenant Hugo were engaged losing one man; September 18, Las Animas River, Troops A, B and C, one man killed and 2 wounded; September 29 and 30, on the Cuchillo Negro River, parts of Troops B, C, E and L, under Major Morrow, 2 men killed; October 2 and 3, at Milk River, Colorado, Troop D went to the relief of Thornburg’s command and succeeded in reaching it, losing all its horses; October 27, in the Guzman Mountains, Mexico, Troops B, C, G, and H, under Major Morrow were engaged, losing one man and one scout
January 12, on the Rio Percho, Troops B, C, D, F, H and M, under Major Morrow, were again engaged, losing one man.
January 17, in the San Mateo Mountains, Troops B, C, F, H and M, under Major Morrow, were again engaged, losing one officer (Lieutenant French) killed, and one man wounded; January 30, in Caballo Mountains, detachment of Troops B and M, under Captain Rucker, loss 3 men wounded; February 3, in the San Andreas Mountains, Troops B, C, F, H and M, under Major Morrow, were engaged, losing 4 men wounded; February 28 and again on April 5, in the San Andreas Mountains, Lieutenant Confine with Troop A was engaged, losing one man and one citizen wounded; April 6, in the mountains, Troops A, D, F and G, under Captain Carroll, were engaged, Captain Carroll and 6 men being severely wounded; April 7, Major Morrow with Troops H and L continued this affair; May 14, near old Fort Tolerosa, Sergeant Jordan with 25 men repulsed a force of more than a hundred Indians under Victoria; June 5, Cook’s Canon, Troop L, loss 2 men; May, in the San Francisco Mountains, Troop C and detachment scouts, 2 men killed and one wounded; June 11 and 12, near Fort Cummings, Troop B; September 1, in the Sacramento Mountains, 11 men of Troop G, 2 men wounded.
In February and again in April, a detachment under Lieutenant Maney, 15th Infantry, was engaged in southern New Mexico, one man wounded; July 25 at White Sands, July 26 in the San Andreas, and August 3 at Santa Minica, 20 men of Troop L were engaged.
In August there were a number of engagements – in Carizo Canon, 19 men of Troop K, under Captain Parker, 2 men killed; in the San Mateo Mountains, detachments of Troops B and H, under Lieutenant Taylor; in Cuchillo Negro Mountains, Troop I, Lieutenant Valois, 2 men wounded; in Cavilare Pass, detachment of Troops B and H, Lieutenant Smith, 3 men and one citizen killed, 3 men wounded.
October 4, in the Dragoon Mountains, Troops F and H, 3 men wounded.
November 5, Crow Agency, Montana, Troops D and H.
December 30, Troop D, under Captain Loud, was attacked while escorting a wagon train near Pine Ridge Agency, South Dakota, losing one man killed. Later in the same day Troops D, F, I and K, under Major Henry, were engaged near the Drexel Mission, South Dakota, no casualties.
In June 1881, the regiment was moved from New Mexico to Kansas and Indian Territory, where it remained until 1885. Most of these years were spent in garrison, though the intruders upon the Oklahoma Territory which at that time was not open for settlement, kept a number of troops busy moving over that country and patrolling the northern portion of Indian Territory and southern Kansas.
In the summer of 1885 the regiment was moved to the Department of the Platte, where it enjoyed a well-earned rest after the many scouts and campaigns of the preceding eighteen years. The only campaign worthy of mention is that of 1890-91, during the uprising of the Sioux, when the regiment was the first in the field in November, and the last to leave late in the following March, after spending the winter, the latter part of which was terrible in its severity, under canvas. The 9th was sent to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation after the 7th Cavalry Regiment’s engagement on Wounded Knee Creak. The duty was difficult since the men of the 7th seemed intent on taking their revenge for the Sioux’s devastating victory on the Little Bighorn River in 1876.
In February, 1895 the regiment was commanded by Colonel James Biddle and eight troops garrison the post of Fort Robinson, Neb. Troops B and F, under Major Randlett, are at Fort Duchesne, Utah; while Troops L and M are continued with a skeleton organization.
Ten years later, in 1898, the 9th took part in the charge up Kettle Hill and San Juan Heights in Cuban during the Spanish American war. They fought side-by-side with Teddy Roosevelt’s RoughRiders. Their key role in the attack is often overlooked, but never the less without their presence, the charge would have been much more difficult, if not impossible. They also hunted rebels in the Philippines.
During WWI the 9th was scattered across the Western United States. Some men served in California as the first park rangers, other patrolled the border with Mexico from California to Texas. The unit was basically fragmented during WWII. Men were offered the opportunity to volunteer for combat duty under the condition that they give up all rank. Many did and fought in the 92nd Infantry Division in Italy, and Germany.
In the early 1960’s the unit, now fully integrated, served in Vietnam. As an Air Cavalry, Airmobile outfit, the 9th received various decorations for service from 1965 to 1972, including four Presidential Unit Citations.
“The Formation of the 10th Cavalry”
Congress created the 10th Cavalry in law in 1866, but the first step towards creating the regiment were in fact taken by Lieutenant-General Sherman, commanding the Military Division of the Mississippi. His order from his headquarters, dated St. Louis, Missouri, August 9, 1866, reads:
General Order No. 6.
I. Commanders of military departments within this division in which colored troops are serving, will proceed at once to enlist men for two regiments of colored regulars, under the Act of Congress approved July 28, 1866, entitled “An Act to increase and fix the military peace establishment of the United States;” one of cavalry, to be entitled the 10th Regiment United States Cavalry, and one of infantry to be entitled the 38th Regiment United States Infantry.
II. Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, is hereby named as the headquarters and rendezvous of the 10th Cavalry, and Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, the headquarters and rendezvous of the 38th Infantry.
III. Commanding-generals of the Departments of the Missouri, Arkansas, and Platte, will detail one or more officers of the Regular Army, who will proceed to canvass the regiments of colored troops now serving in their respective departments, and enlist men for the new regiments above named, the cavalry for five years and the infantry for three years. The men so enlisted will be discharged from their present obligation and grouped into companies under officers to be selected by the colonels or regimental commanders hereafter to be appointed, but will be retained for the present at or near their present station. The number of privates allowed to a company is sixty-four. The men of existing colored regiments not willing to enlist in the new organizations will, for the present, be consolidated into companies under the direction of their immediate commanders, and held to service until the new army is sufficiently organized to replace them.
IV. The field officers of these regiments will, on arrival at these headquarters, proceed to the posts herein named and organize their new regiments according to law and regulations, but will not withdraw the new companies from their present stations without consent of department commanders, or orders from these headquarters.
V. Blanks will at once be sent from these headquarters, to which all reports will be made until the regular field officers are announced and recruitment organized under them. By order, etc.
The first regimental return was sent on the 30th of September, 1866. It showed the strength of the regiment, present and absent, to consist of two officers,—Colonel Benjamin H. Grierson, and Lieutenant-Colonel Charles C. Walcutt,—and gave the number of recruits required as 1092. Colonel Grierson was reported present with the regiment, and Colonel Walcutt absent on regimental recruiting service.
The first commander of the 10th Cavalry, Benjamin Henry Grierson, was known by reputation to most people of his day. His raid through Mississippi in 1863 is the historic operation on which his reputation chiefly rests. (See Grierson in the Biography section of this site). It has placed him among the foremost cavalry leaders of the Civil War. Lieutenant-Colonel Walcutt never joined the regiment, and resigned shortly after his appointment. The recruiting for the regiment was in the main regimental, that is, by officers of the regiment detailed to recruit for it. At the end of 1866, the 10th Cavalry consisted of two field officers, one company officer, and 64 unassigned recruits. It was still without a staff or a single organized company. For seven months of the new year the headquarters of the regiment remained at Fort Leavenworth. The work of filling up the regiment went on but continued to make slow progress. This was due in the main to two causes, the want of clerical assistance at recruiting stations, ad the high standard fixed for the recruits by the regimental commander. Recruiting officers were not allowed to hire clerks and had extreme difficulty in securing any among their recruits or the members of their recruiting parties. It took the 10th longer to get to full man power, mainly because Grierson was very specific about the men he wanted for the unit. The Civil War veteran was painfully aware of the attitude of the army toward minority recruits. He demanded that his cavalry regiment be called the United States 10th Cavalry, not 10th Colored Cavalry as was a custom during the Civil War.
Grierson also tangled with the commanding officer of Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas where the 10th was trained. The commander ordered the 10th to make camp in a swampy area about a mile south of the permanent barracks. He also ordered Grierson to keep his “colored men away from other army units on the parade ground and at all other times.” Grierson was angered and the next time all units were assembled on the post parade grounds he ordered his men to take their positions the same distance as other regiments. He even ordered the 10th to join in the inspection parade past the post commanding officer. Grierson was reprimanded for his actions.
With the racist attitude of the command at Ft. Leavenworth very obvious, Grierson made the decision to form and outfit companies of men as quickly as possible and then send them to Ft. Riley, Kansas for further training. This worked well and, in record time, the 10th was in the field. On the 6th of August, 1867, the headquarters of the regiment left Fort Leavenworth for Fort Riley, Kansas, where they were established on the 7th.
The command of the 10th was composed as follows: Colonel, B. H. Grierson; Lieutenant-Colonel, J. W. Davidson; Majors, J. W. Forsyth and M. H. Kidd; Chaplain, W. M. Grimes; Adjutant, H. E. Alvord.
The regiment comprises eight troops. Their designation, date of organization, original composition and color of horses are as below:
Troop A. – Color, bay. Organized February 18, 1867. Captain Nicholas Nolan; Lieutenants G. W. Graham and G. F. Raulston.
Troop B. – Color, bay. Organized April 1, 1867. Captain J. B. Vande Wiele; Lieutenants J. D. Myrick and J. W. Myers.
Troop C. – Color, bay. Organized May 15, 1867. Captain Edward Byrne; Lieutenants T. C. Lebo and T. J. Spencer.
Troop D. – Color, bay. Organized June 1, 1867. Captain J. W. Walsh; Lieutenants Robert Gray and R. H. Pratt.
Troop E. – Color, bay. Organized June 15, 1867. Captain G. T. Robinson; Lieutenant J. T. Morrison.
Troop F. – Color, gray. Organized June 21, 1867. Captain G. A. Armes; Lieutenants P. L. Lee and J. A. Bodamer.
Troop G. – Color, bay. Organized July 5, 1867. Captain H. T. Davis; Lieutenants W. B. Kennedy and M. J. Amick.
Troop H. – Color, black. Organized July 2 1, 1867. Captain L. H. Carpenter; Lieutenants T. J. Spencer and L. H. Orleman.
These troops were posted at Fort Hays, Fort Harker, and other points along the Smokey River, Kansas, on the line of the Kansas Pacific Railroad, then in course of construction. They had been put in the field to protect the railroad as fast as they were organized. The strength of the regiment, present and absent, amounts to 25 officers and 702 enlisted men.
The first engagement in which any part of the regiment participated occurred a few days before the regimental headquarters left Fort Leavenworth. Troop I, under Captain Armes, numbering 34 men and two officers, fought a party of 300 Indians near Saline River, 40 miles northeast of Fort Hays. The engagement lasted six hours and resulted in the troops being forced to retreat with the loss of Sergeant W. Christy, killed, and Captain Armes, wounded. On the twenty-first of the same month Captain Armes had another fight, the second on record in the regiment. Forty men of his troop, together with 90 men of the 18th Kansas Volunteers, engaged about 500 Indians northeast of Fort Hays. The losses in this fight were one soldier killed and scalped, and 13 wounded; fifteen men of the volunteers and two guides wounded, twelve horses killed and three wounded.
Troops I, K, L and M, were organized from the new headquarters at Fort Riley as here indicated:
Troop I. – Color, bay. Organized August 15, 1867. Captain G. W. Graham; Lieutenant Silas Pepoon.
Troop K. – Color, bay. Organized September 1, 1867. Captain C. G. Cox; Lieutenants R. G. Smither and B. F. Bell.
Troop L. – Color, sorrel. Organized September 21. 1867. Captain R. Gray; Lieutenant C. E. Nordstrom.
Troop M. – Color, mixed.* Organized October 15, 1867. Captain H. E. Alvord; Lieutenants P. L. Lee and W. R. Harmon.
Troop M got all the horses that would not match any other troop and was called the “calico” troop.
The nickname “Buffalo Soldiers” was originally bestowed on the 10th Cavalry by Cheyenne warriors out of respect for their fierce fighting in 1867. It was probably in 1867. The Indians literally called their opponents “Wild Buffaloes.” That name quickly got back to the soldiers and officers.
The 10th Cavalry was nicknamed Buffalo Soldiers in 1867. Several companies were engaged in a fight with the Cheyenne in Kansas in August and September. The Indians called their opponents “Wild Buffaloes.” It was a reference to the appearance of the African-American soldiers as well as a tribute to their fighting spirit. The name got back to the soldiers and quickly spread. Eventually all African-American soldiers were called Buffaloes or Buffalo Soldiers.
One of the officers involved in this early fight was a captain and Civil War veteran named George Washington Graham. During the War Between the States he had commanded a special unit from North Carolina. The unit was made up of “galvanized soldiers.” These were confederate troops who had been captured in battle or deserted and were given the chance to serve on the Union side. As part of the regular army in the west, Captain Graham commanded a troop of the 10th Cavalry in Kansas in 1867. Graham was typical of the officers that found a home with the Buffalo Soldiers. His experience commanding a unique unit in the Civil War was easily translated into the unique demands of leading men who were discriminated against and generally treated as second class even by the army.
There is no doubt that the men of the 10th who fought the Cheyenne made a lasting impression. The Native’s who lined up against the “Wild Buffaloes” were impressed with the courage and ability of their opponents. In a short time all African-American troops were known as Buffalo Soldiers.
Graham had a solid career going with the 10th. In September of 1868 he was promoted to the rank of brevet major for gallantry and meritorious service in a battle with Natives at Big Sandy Creek in Colorado Territory.
Despite his professional successes Graham developed a reputation for hard drinking and womanizing and could not stay within the bounds of conduct for an officer and in the summer of 1870 he was court martialed and “cashiered,” or stripped of all rank and responsibility and discharged, for disciplinary reasons. His life continued down hill. Over the next five years he became an outlaw and often wound up on the receiving side of cavalry gunfire. His end came in October of 1875, but this Buffalo Soldier turned outlaw left his mark on history.
Meanwhile the men of the African-American regiments apparently took pride in the nickname. Since the 10th Cavalry was the first to be named, it eventually adopted the Buffalo as a unit symbol and made it part of their crest. Years later the 92nd Infantry Division also used a Buffalo as a crest. They were called “the Buffaloes” as they faced fierce combat duty in Italy during the Second World War.
In September, 1867, the field officers were increased in number to their full complement by the appointment of Major J. E. Yard. In the same month the position of regimental quartermaster was taken by Lieutenant W. H. Beck. Thus were filled the last of the original vacancies in the field and staff.
The headquarters remained at Fort Riley until April 17, 1868. The troops were about evenly distributed between Kansas and Indian Territory and were employed in the perfection of their drill and discipline, and in the protection of the Union Pacific Railroad and exposed settlements. The only engagement of this period took place about 45 miles west of Fort Hays. Sergeant Davis and nine men of Troop G were attacked by fifty or sixty Cheyennes. They drove the Indians off in confusion losing one private wounded.
From Fort Riley the headquarters of the regiment went to Fort Gibson, Indian Territory. At this time General Sheridan was in the field directing military operations. The Indians had brought on a war by their characteristic restlessness and deviltry. They were attached to agencies to which they came in from time to time for supplies, but they were not confined to any reservations. General Sheridan determined to put them and keep them on reservations, or, if that could not be done, to show them that winter weather would not give them either rest or impunity. The consequence was the winter campaign of 1867-68, which resulted in the destruction of Black Kettle’s band of Cheyennes, the worst lot of Indians in the territory. The 10th Cavalry was in the field and came in for a good share of hard marching and fighting.
On the 15th of September, 1868, Troop I, Captain Graham, was attacked by about 100 Indians. It fought until dark, losing ten horses killed and captured, and killing seven Indians.
On the 17th of this month Lieut.-Colonel G. A. Forsyth, A. D. C. to General Sheridan, with a party of white scouts, was attacked and “corralled” by a force of about 700 Indians on an island in the Republican River. Two of Forsyth’s scouts stole through the Indian lines and brought word of the perilous situation of the command to Fort Wallace. Parties were soon on the way to its relief. First and last the following troops were started towards it from different points. Captain Bankhead with about 100 men of the 5th Infantry, Captain Carpenter with Troop H and Captain Baldwin with Troop I, of the 10th Cavalry, and two troops of the 2d Cavalry under Major Brisbin.
Captain Carpenter’s troop was the first of these commands to arrive upon the scene. It found Forsyth’s command out of rations, living on horse-flesh without salt or pepper. All its officers had been killed or wounded. Every horse and mule too, had been killed. Forsyth, who had been twice wounded, was lying in a square hole scooped out in the sand, within a few feet of a line of dead horses which half encircled the hole and impregnated the air with a terrible stench. Captain Carpenter immediately pitched a number of tents in a suitable place near by, had the wounded men carried to them, and the rest removed to a more salubrious air. Twenty-six hours later Captain Bankhead arrived bringing with him the two troops of the 2d Cavalry.
On the 14th of the following month, two weeks after he had returned to Fort Wallace with the wounded of Forsyth’s command, Captain Carpenter was ordered to take his own troop and I Troop of the 10th Cavalry and escort Major Carr, of the 5th Cavalry, to his command, supposed to be on Beaver Creek. On the march he was attacked by a force of about 500 Indians. After proceeding, regardless of the enemy’s firing and yelling, far enough to gain a suitable position, he halted his command, had the wagons corralled close together and rushed his men inside at a gallop. He had them dismount, tie their horses to the wagons, and form on the outside around the corral. Then followed a volley of Spencers which drove the Indians back as though they were thrown from a cannon. A number of warriors, showing more bravery than the others, undertook to stand their ground. Nearly all of these, together with their ponies, were killed. Three dead warriors lay within fifty yards of the wagons. The Indians were so demoralized by these results that they did not renew the attack and the troops accomplished their march without further molestation. They were back at Fort Wallace on the 21st, having travelled 230 miles in about seven days. For their gallantry in the fight, which took place on Beaver Creek, the officers and men were thanked by General Sheridan in a general field order, and Captain Carpenter was breveted Colonel.
Regimental headquarters remained at Fort Gibson until March 31, 1869, when they were moved to Camp Wichita, I. T., where they arrived on the 12th of April. Camp Wichita, an old Indian village, was selected by General Sheridan as a site for a military post and the 10th Cavalry was ordered there to establish and build it. Some time in the following month of August the post was given the name of Fort Sill (and remains the Army’s Artillery Training Post today).
The military duty of the regiment was now that of an army of occupation, to hold the country from which the Indians had been expelled and to keep the Indians within the bounds of reservations assigned them. This gave rise to frequent scouting for trespassers and marauders and occasional reconnaissance and demonstration in considerable force. More than once the garrison of Fort Sill had to apprehend an attack upon the post.
On the 11th of June Camp Supply was alarmed by a party of Comanches charging through it, shooting and yelling, with the object of stampeding the horses on the picket line, and they succeeded in stampeding a few. These were pursued by Troops A, F, H, I and K, 10th Cavalry, and Companies B, E and F, 3rd Infantry, commanded by Lieut.-Colonel Nelson, 3rd Infantry. The Indians turned on their pursuers and attacked them, wounding three soldiers and killing two horses. Six Indians were killed and ten wounded.
During the 22nd and 23rd of August the Wichita Agency was subjected to a fierce attack by the Kiowa and Naconee Indians. The Agency was defended by Troops C, E, H and L, 10th Cavalry, commanded by Lieut.-Colonel Davidson. The main object of the attack, as expressed in the vigorous language of the hostiles, was to “wipe out” the buildings and settlement. Attempts were made to do so by setting fire to the prairie at different points, but the tireless and well-directed efforts of the defenders succeeded in extinguishing the flames and saving the buildings. Repeated assaults were made by the Indians in numbers ranging from 50 to 500, at different points of the line, all of which were repulsed with the infliction of heavy losses and great disorder upon the assailants. The decisive feature of the engagement was a charge made by Captain Carpenter’s troop. His men routed a body of over 150 warriors, who were about to take up a commanding position in rear of the troops. Only four men were wounded. Indian casualties was quite large, but owing to their well-known custom of carrying off their dead and wounded could not be definitely ascertained.
From Fort Sill the regimental headquarters moved back to Fort Gibson. They left Fort Sill on the 5th of June, 1872. During the three years and two months of their stay at that station a majority of the regiment—for a time there were eleven troops—was constantly at headquarters. The monthly rate of desertion fell from 7 to 3; the rate of discharge by court-martial from 2.5 to 1.5. In fact, the deportment of the regiment attested the advantage to discipline of large commands and varied and interesting occupation for the troops.
Among the stations other than Fort Sill, held by troops of the 10th Cavalry, were Forts Dodge, Gibson and Arbuckle, Camp Supply and Cheyenne Agency. Having remained at Fort Gibson until April 23, 1873 the regimental headquarters then returned to Fort Sill. In the meantime there had been a few skirmishes unattended by any casualties.
A movement of troops was now under way looking to a transfer of the regiment to the Department of Texas, and the end of April found Troops E, I and L at Fort Richardson, Texas; and Troops C, D and F en route, the two former for Fort Griffin, the latter for Fort Concho, Texas. The headquarters were reestablished at Fort Sill on the 4th of May, 1873, and remained there until the 27th of March, 1875. During this time the regiment continued serving partly in Texas and partly in the Indian Territory. The troops that were serving in the Indian Territory took part in the campaign of 1874-75 against the Kiowas and Comanches. This campaign was but a continuation of the campaign of 1867-68, and, like the latter, was directed by General Sheridan. There were four columns in the field operating separately under the following commanders:
Lieut.-Colonel Neill, 6th Cavalry; Colonel N. A. Miles, 5th Infantry; Lieut.-Colonel Davidson, 10th Cavalry; Colonel R. S. Mackenzie, 4th Cavalry.
The first capture of the campaign was made by a portion of Davidson’s column. On the 25th of October, 1874, Troops B and M, 10th Cavalry, and one company of the 11th Infantry, under command of Major Schofield, while in pursuit of Indians near Elk Creek, pressed them so hard that the whole band surrendered. They numbered 68 warriors, 276 squaws and children, and about 1500 ponies. These prisoners, and others taken subsequently, were put in camp at Fort Sill, the more dangerous bucks being closely confined. At the close of the campaign the ringleaders were sent to Fort Marion, Florida, under charge of Captain Pratt. This officer never returned to the regiment. He is now justly distinguished for his work as an educator of Indians, especially in the superintendence of the Carlisle Indian School.
On the 6th of April, 1875, Black Horse, one of the Cheyenne ringleaders who was billeted for Fort Marion, broke from his guard at Cheyenne Agency and ran towards the camp of his people near by. He was pursued by Captain Bennett, 5th Infantry, with the guard, who fired upon Black Horse and killed him. Several shots passed beyond him and wounded some people in the camp. After firing a volley of bullets and arrows at the guard, about one-half of the Cheyenne tribe abandoned their camp and fled to a group of sand-hills on the south side of the Canadian River opposite the Cheyenne Agency. They were followed by a company of the 5th Infantry, a troop of the 6th Cavalry, and Troops D and M of the 10th Cavalry, all under command of Lieut.-Colonel Neill, 6th Cavalry. Being well armed and well posted, the Indians held their ground until nightfall and then stole away. The troops took up the trail and followed it about ten days, at the end of which time it was covered up by rains. Troops from other posts were ordered to assist in the pursuit and eventually most of the fugitives gave themselves up. In the fight at the Agency the Indians lost eight killed. The 10th Cavalry lost 12 men wounded, one mortally.
When moved for the second time from Fort Sill the regimental headquarters were transferred to Fort Concho, Texas, where they were established on the 17th of April, 1875. The 1st of May found the troops of the regiment located in Texas and Indian Territory as follows: Troops A, F, G, I and L, at Fort Concho; B and E at Fort Griffin; C and K at Fort McKavett; H at Fort Davis; D and M in the field at Buffalo Springs, I. T. During the month of May, troops D and M moved from the Indian Territory, the former to Fort Concho, the latter to Fort Stockton.
In the course of the next two years the disposition of the troops was modified so as to scatter the regiment over the length and breadth of Western Texas. Its headquarters, however, were destined to remain at Fort Concho for more than seven years. During this period the regiment continued with some variation its past experience in Indian fighting. Its campaigning consisted mainly in pursuing small bands of marauding Apaches. This carried the troops,—now across the border into the unknown territory of the “Gringo”-hating Mexicans,—now over the scorching wastes of the Staked Plains (near the present day city of Andrews in West Texas),—now up and down the rocky fastnesses of the Guadalupe Mountains and the bad lands bordering the upper Rio Grande.
Over the next several years the men of the 10th remained in the forefront of the action in West Texas. In July, 1876, Troops B, E and K crossed into Mexico as part of a column commanded by Lieut.-Colonel Shafter, 24th Infantry. A detachment of this command, made up of twenty picked men of Troop B under Lieutenant Evans, and twenty Seminole scouts, all under command of Lieutenant Bullis, 24th Infantry, made a march of 110 miles in twenty-five hours and thereby succeeded in surprising a camp of twenty-three lodges of hostile Lipans and Kickapoos near Saragossa, Mexico. They killed ten Indians and captured four, and also captured about 200 horses. They then made a bonfire of the camp material and with their prisoners and captured stock rejoined the main column as fast as their jaded horses would carry them.
On the 10th of July, 1877, Troop A left Fort Concho under command of Captain Nolan for a scout on the Staked Plains (near present-day Andrews, Texas). The command got lost, and, as a consequence, Captain Nolan, Lieutenant Cooper, Sergeant Jackson and about ten privates were ninety-six hours without water. Four of the men died. Other parties were from twenty-four to thirty-eight hours without water. The command was found and brought back to Fort Concho by a party sent out from there to search for it.
In 1880 the regiment was engaged in what is known as the Victorio campaign, a series of operations direct against the Mescalero Apache chief Victorio, who, with his Whole band, had escaped from the military authorities in New Mexico. On the 30th of July Colonel Grierson, with a party of only six men, was attacked by this band between Quitman and Eagle Springs. Lieutenant Finley with fifteen men of Troop G came up, engaged the Indians, and held them in check until the arrival of Captains Viele and Nolan with Troops C and A. In an engagement, which lasted four hours, seven Indians were killed and a number wounded. On the side of the troops one soldier was killed and Lieutenant Colladay wounded. The hostiles were driven off and pursued to the Rio Grande. In the course of the pursuit a running fight of at least fifteen miles was maintained near the Alamo by a detachment under Corporal Asa Weaver of Troop H. Private Tockes, Troop C, was killed. His horse went to bucking and then ran directly into the Indians. When last seen alive this devoted trooper had dropped his reins, drawn his carbine, and was firing to right and left. His skeleton was found months afterwards. For his gallant conduct in this affair Corporal Weaver was promoted to a sergeant on the ground. The same day Captain Lebo, with Troop K, followed an Indian trail to the top of the Sierra Diabola, captured Victorio’s supply camp of twenty-five head of cattle, and a large quantity of beef and other provisions on pack animals.
The decisive blow of the campaign was struck a few days later by Colonel Grierson. On the trail of Victorio, heading northward through the Carriso Mountains, Grierson switched off to his right, and, by a forced march of sixty-five miles, swung around the flank of the unsuspecting Apaches and struck them in front, forcing them southward across the frontier and into Mexico, a march that exhausted the entire party. Victorio never went raiding again on American soil. He was subsequently killed by the Mexican troops near Lake Guzman, Mexico.
In July, 1882, regimental headquarters were moved from Fort Concho to Fort Davis, where they remained until March 30,1885. During this time the regiment saw little active field service.
Spring, 1885, saw the Regiment moved into the Department of Arizona, where Geronimo, The Apache Kid, Mangus, Cochise, Alchise, Aklenni, Natsin, Eskiltie and many other Apaches had dotted the landscape with the graves of settlers. General Crook, Indian fighter and administrator, headed the Department.
En-route to stations troops of the Regiment marched along the tracks of the Southern Pacific Railroad. At Camp Rice they were joined by Troop I, and for the first time the Tenth Cavalry was assembled as a unit. The twelve troops, Headquarters and band held together until Camp Bowie, where they split up and scattered over the territory. They took station as follows: Headquarters and Troop B, Whipple Barracks; A, Fort Apache; C, F and G, Fort Thomas; D, E, H, K and L, Fort Grant; I and M, Fort Verde. Lieutenant Colonel Wade took station at Apache; Major Mills at Thomas; Major McClellan at Verde, and Major Van Vliet went to Grant. The chaplain served at Apache. Troops D, E, H and K immediately entered the field under Major Van Vliet in pursuit of Geronimo.
They rode the Mongollon Mountains as far east as Fort Bayard, New Mexico, in vain. All troops of the Regiment were called out in this campaign. Eager young officers used influence to become attached to parties of Indian scouts. Thus it was that Lieutenant Shipp accompanied Captain Crawford into Mexico, and Lieutenant Finley was with Captain Lawton, Fourth Cavalry, when he defeated Geronimo.
Lieutenant Powhattan H. Clarke was the second man of the Tenth awarded the Medal of Honor (See Clarke in the Biography section of this site). While accompanying Captain Lebo’s Troop K from Calabasas into Mexico, after a 200-mile march, the troop met Geronimo’s band in the Pinto Mountains on May 3, 1886. A desperate battle occurred, and the Apaches made good use of the cliffs and gorges. Wounded and lying exposed to enemy fire, was Corporal Winfield Scott. Without hesitation, Lieutenant Clarke ran to Scott’s aid and carried him to safety.
Troop H, Captain Cooper, commanding, ran down and defeated Chief Mangus in the White Mountains east of Fort Apache in October.
About half of the Regiment turned out in pursuit of The Kid, a dangerous disciple of Geronimo, in 1887. The Kid was never caught, but Lieutenant Carter P. Johnson gained commendation for the skill, energy and endurance with which his men followed the chase.
In July, 1886, Headquarters moved to Fort Grant, thence to Santa Fe, New Mexico, in November of the same year. A general order of October 7, 1886, ending the Indian Campaign, read in part:
“In the early days of April last, the hostiles, then in Sonora, Mexico, began their depredations, and on the 27th of that month invaded the territory of Arizona. They at once met active opposition; Captain T. C. Lebo, Tenth Cavalry, true to his reputation as a gallant and successful cavalry leader, moving first against them. He followed the hostiles rapidly for over two hundred miles, and finally, on May 3rd, forced them to an encounter. During this spirited engagement the officers and men evinced great bravery, contending against an enemy on ground of their own choosing, among rugged cliffs, almost inaccessible. During the engagement Corporal Scott, a brave soldier, lay disabled with a serious wound, exposed to the enemy’s fire, and Lieut. P. H. Clarke, Tenth Cavalry, rushed to his assistance, carrying him to a place of safety. Such acts of heroism are worthy of great praise. After the engagement the hostiles continued their flight, and for nearly a fortnight the troops, under Lieut. Benson, Captains Lebo and Lawton, continued the pursuit without cessation.
“Subsequently the trail of the hostiles was taken up by several other detachments acting in concert, each commanded by energetic and capable officers, until Captain J. T. Morrison, Tenth Cavalry, hear Fort Apache, captured all their horses, and they took flight on foot, south, and were driven across the Mexican Border. The other band, meanwhile, had been pursued by other commands over the Santa Rita Ridge, Whetstone, Santa Catalina and Rincon Mountains, were surrounded and much of their stock and equipment captured by Lieut. R. D. Wash, Fourth Cavalry.
“The march of Lebo’s troop! 20 miles in two hours; Benson’s ride of 90 miles in 19 hours, and Dr. Wood’s skill and remarkable marches with a detachment of Infantry, are worthy of mention.”
Colonel Grierson was promoted to Brigadier General and was selected to relieve General Nelson A. Miles in command of the Department of Arizona. Colonel Grierson in farewell to the Regiment, said:
“In pursance of General Orders No. 97, current series, Headquarters of the Army, announcing his assignment to the command of the Department of Arizona, the undersigned relinquishes command of the Tenth U. S. Cavalry.
“In doing so he desires to express his deep regret at being thus separated from the Regiment he organized and has so long commanded, but he is gratified to be able, at this time, to refer even briefly to its splendid record of nearly twenty-two years service to the Government, while under his command: rendered, as it has been in the field and at the most isolated posts on the frontier; always in the vanguard of civilization and in contact with the most warlike and savage Indians of the plains.
“The officers and enlisted men have cheerfully endured many hardships and privations, and in the midst of great dangers steadfastly maintained a most gallant and zealous devotion to duty, and they may well be proud of the records made, and rest assured that the hard work undergone in the accomplishment of such important and valuable service to their country is well understood and appreciated, and that it cannot fail, sooner or later to meet with due recognition and reward.
“That the high standard of excellence gained by the Regiment for discipline and efficiency in the past will be fully sustained in the future; that the most signal success will ever attend the officers and soldiers of the Tenth Cavalry in all their noble efforts and undertakings, official or otherwise, is the heartfelt wish of their old commander.”
Next to command the Tenth Cavalry was Colonel J. K. Mizner, who joined at Fort Apache in August, 1890. Lieutenant Colonel George C. Hunt had commanded during the interval. The field and staff then included: Majors C. B. McClellan, Van Vliet and Norvell; First Lieutenant T. W. Jones, Adjutant; First Lieutenant L. Finley, Quartermaster, and F. H. Weaver, Chaplain.
The Indians in Arizona had settled down to a peaceful life. Lieutenant Clarke and a detachment of picked men had a roving commission to run down the few free hostiles. Two expeditions went out to the Moki country in 1891, and General Corbin accompanied the second, which included Troops B and E.
In 1998 troops of the 10th, under the command of West Point Graduate, Lt. John J. Pershing played a critical role in the war against Spain in Cuba. The future General Pershing was nick-named “Black Jack” because of his service with the 10th. Just before WWI Pershing deployed the 10th as the first boarder patrol along the boarder of Arizona, New Mexico and Mexico. Their goal was to keep “Pancho” Villa and his followers out of the small boarder towns where dozens of innocent American citizens were killed or wounded. The were part of the Punitive Expedition into Mexico in 1916 and 1917 and was commanded by Lt. Colonel Charles Young, The third African-American West Point Graduate.
The companies of the 10th were stationed at West Point in the early 1930’s and as tensions grew in Europe training began in earnest for a possible combat campaign. A group of the 10th was cadred to form a new 28th Cavalry. This too was an all African-American unit since the Army remained segregated.
The 10th Cavalry was sent to Northern Africa and disbanded in March of 1944. The proud Cavalry Troopers had to volunteer for combat assignments with infantry units in Italy. All African-American soldiers were forced to give up corporate or sergeants stripes when they volunteered. Most earned their stripes back, but at the time it was a bitter pill to swallow.
In 1948 President Harry S Truman abolished segregation in the armed services. In the 1950’s the cavalry horse gave way to the tank and the 10th became an armored cavalry division. An integrated 10th saw action in Vietnam and was decorated for service from 1967 to 1973.
“The 24th Infantry Regiment”
Under the Act of July 28, 1866, the 38th and 41st Regiments of Infantry were organized both to consist of colored men. All of the officers in both regiments except the chaplains had seen service during the Civil War either with the regular or volunteer forces, and all but one had been breveted for services performed under perilous or other entitling conditions. Of the 38th Infantry, Brevet Major General Wm. B. Hazen was colonel, Brevet Major General Cuvier Grover, lieutenant colonel, and Brevet Colonel Henry C. Merriam, major.
The 41st Infantry was commanded by Brevet Major General Ranald S. Mackenzie, with Brevet Brigadier General Wm. R. Shafter, lieutenant colonel, and Brevet Brigadier General George W. Schofield, major.
The 38th was distributed along the transcontinental railroads then building, and in New Mexico, and the 41st was in Louisiana and Texas during the same period. The work performed by these regiments is a part of the history of the departments in which they served.
Under the Act of March 3, 1869, the 38th and 41st Regiments were consolidated and became the 24th Infantry. Under this reorganization Ranald S. Mackenzie became colonel, William R. Shafter, lieutenant colonel, and Henry C. Merriam, major. A few of the enlisted men who served in the War of the Rebellion or in the 38th Of 41st Regiments were still be in its ranks.
The regiment was in Texas from 1869 to 1880 and at some time during that period the several companies were stationed at all or nearly all of the many posts and permanent camps in that great State.
The duties of the 24th were many. There were expeditions against Indians over the staked plains (near present day Andrews, Texas) and other sections. The men served as a supply unit for various cavalry units in Texas and New Mexico. There was also duty guarding strategic points, building roads and forts, and hunting horse thieves. It was arduous service which brought no fame, but required of its officers and men constant vigilance, discretion and care in the performance of the service. The 24th Infantry was instrumental in clearing western Texas of Indians, and opening the country to settlers.
On December 15, 1870, Gen. Mackenzie was assigned to the 4th Cavalry and Bvt. Maj.-Gen. Abner Doubleday (generally associated with developing baseball) succeeded him as colonel, remaining, in that position until December 1873, when he retired.
In the autumn of 1880 the regiment changed to Indian Territory and the several companies were stationed at Forts Supply, Reno, Sill, Cantonment on the north fork of the Canadian River, and again a part of it in Texas at Fort Elliot. During this time no campaign service fell to its lot.
In April, 1886, Col. Potter having been appointed a brigadier general, Col. Zenas R. Bliss succeeded him.
In June, 1888, the regiment moved to the Department of Arizona with headquarters and three companies at Fort Bayard, N. M., and the remainder of the companies distributed in Arizona at San Carlos, Fort Grant and Fort Thomas. For nearly four years, they performed all the infantry duty at these posts. The duty at San Carlos was particularly trying under circumstances of danger and discomfort, but no serious trouble with the Indians occurred to require unusual work. The only incident of note was the fight of Paymaster Wham’s escort, composed of men of the 24th Infantry and 10th Cavalry, who when attacked by a gang of robbers made a brave stand for which medals of honor or certificates of merit were given according to rank.
The companies of the regiment that had been distributed at the before-mentioned posts were in 1892 sent to Fort Huachuca, and as two companies had in the meantime been skeletonized, the regiment now became equally divided, with headquarters, D, E, F and G, at Fort Bayard, N. M., and Companies A, B, C and H at Huachuca.
The 24th took part in the War with Spain, fighting in Santiago. From Cuba the unit was assigned to the Philippines fighting rebels at San Isidro and Luzon.
During WWII, the 24th was attached to the Americal Division. They saw action in the Western Pacific. The unit also saw action in Korea, receiving a Republic of Korea Presidential Citation.
The 24th Infantry was inactivated October 1, 1951 at Pusan, Korea.
“The 25th Infantry Regiment”
The Act of July 28, 1866 added to the 19 regiments of infantry then in service, “Eight new regiments of ten companies each, four regiments of which shall be composed of colored men.” Accordingly, the 38th, 39th, 40th and 41st were so composed, while the 42nd, 43rd, 44th and 45th were designated Veteran Reserves. The 18 regiments between the 19th and 38th were provided by erecting the second and third battalions of each of the three-battalion regiments (11th and 19th, inclusive) into separate regiments. The same Act contained the following provision, which has not since been modified: “The President may, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoint a chaplain for each regiment of colored troops.”
The Act of March 3, 1869 provided for the consolidation of the 45 regiments into 25, and also that “the enlisted men of two regiments of infantry shall be composed of colored men.” General Orders issued from Army Headquarters in May, 1869 directed the “Twenty-fifth Infantry (colored), to be composed of the 39th and 40th Regiments,” and ordered “The 39th, now in North Carolina, will be relieved as soon as possible and will proceed to New Orleans, there to be consolidated with the 40th, now in the Department of Louisiana. The field officers will be: Joseph A. Mower, colonel; Edward W. Hinks, lieutenant colonel; Zenas R. Bliss, major.”
By the end of April 1869, the organization of the regiment had been completed and the special return shows a full complement of officers and 1045 men. Colonel (and Bvt. Major-General) Mower was commanding the Department of Louisiana with headquarters at New Orleans; Lieutenant-Colonel (and Bvt. Brigadier General) Hinks commanded the regiment with headquarters, Companies D, G and K, at Jackson Barracks, La, Major (and Bvt. Lieut.Col.) Bliss with Companies E, F and I garrisoned Ship Island, Miss.; Company A was at Fort Pike, La.; Companies B and H at Fort Jackson, La.; Company C at Fort St. Philip, La. By the end of the year, 532 men had been discharged by expiration of service alone, and as little recruiting was done, the effective had fallen to about 500 men.
General Mower died at New Orleans January 6, 1870, and was succeeded by Colonel (and Bvt. Major-General) J. J. Reynolds who was placed in command of the Department of Texas the following April, without having joined the regiment. In May 1870, the regiment was on its way to that department, going by steamer to Indianola, Texas, thence marching to San Antonio. Colonel Bliss with Companies B, C and G arrived at the latter place on June 3 and encamped at San Pedro Springs where they were joined by the rest of the regiment, under General Hinks, on the 9th. The march to stations began June 22d. The main body took the Fort Clark road, while Companies C and H diverged on the road to Fort McKavett. At Rio Frio, Companies E and I marched for Fort Duncan, under Colonel Bliss. July found Headquarters, Companies D and F established at Fort Clark; Company K at Fort Stockton; Companies A and G at Fort Davis; Company B did not reach its distant station, Fort Quitman, until August.
Native Americans called these infantrymen, “Walks-a-heaps,” since they spent much of their tour of duty on foot. The men also rode horses when available, and occasionally traveled in wagons.
In December 1870, General Reynolds transferred to the 3d Cavalry and General Hinks retired from active service; they were succeeded by Colonel John D. Stevenson and Lieut.Col. George L. Andrews; the latter becoming colonel of the regiment January 1, 1871, when Stevenson resigned. Colonel Andrews joined the regiment at Fort Clark June 19, 1871. In May 1872, the regiment marched to Western Texas and established its headquarters at Fort Davis. Company I, Captain Lawson commanding, participated in the engagement with Indians at Wichita Indian Agency, Indian Territory, Aug. 22 and 23, 1873, having one man wounded. Company B, Captain Bentzoni commanding, was with General Mackenzie’s expedition into Mexico in June 1878.
Elements of the 25th were also deployed to the Pine Ridge reservation in 1891. The men were sent to the Sioux reservation after the massacre at Wounded Knee Creek. Many survivors of Wounded Knee left the reservation and raided supply trains for food. With the 9th Cavalry the men of the 25th rounded up these natives and then paraded, in full force with the 9th and 7th Cavalry regiments to discourage further hostile actions.
Of the original officers of the regiment there were now but six on the rolls, viz.: Captains John W. French, Charles Bentzoni (Bvt. Lieut.-Col.), and Gaines Lawson (Bvt. Lieut.-Col.), and 2 Lieutenants (now captains) David B. Wilson, Owen J. Sweet and Henry P. Ritzius. It may also be interesting to note that Colonel Andrews, who was colonel of the regiment for over twenty years, the only colonel who ever commanded it; that during its first 22 years of existence, the whole regiment has been together but fourteen days, and that but one captain (Van Valzah) has attained his majority by regular promotion.
In 1897 one of the most unusual experiments of the army involved the 25th. It was the heyday of the bicycle and a young lieutenant, James Moss, was charged with organizing a bicycle corps. The effort was put to an extreme test. On June 14, 1897 20 men of the bicycle corps left Fort Missoula in Montana. Their goal was to ride to St. Louis some 1,900 miles away. When a civilian asked one of the men, “Where are you going today?” the riders quickly shot back their answer, “The Lord only knows. We’re following the Lieutenant.” By early July the temperature was 110 degrees. Most of the men suffered from the heat, but all peddled on. It took 40 days in all and the group averaged 50 miles a day. The bicycle corps was met in St. Louis by a large enthusiastic crowd, some on bicycles, and escorted to the city center where a large celebration was held. It was a great surprise for the men. They had dealt with dozens and dozens of blown tires, dust caked gears and chains and very few roads. In the end lieutenant Moss thought the only uses for soldiers on bicycles was as messengers or scouts to compliment the cavalry and infantry, but he saw little point in continuing the exercise since horses were plentiful and roads and trails so poor in the west. The army agreed with Moss (who became a Colonel in time) and no further bicycle units were put on the trail.
The 25th served in Cuba during the Spanish American War and in the Philippines in 1899 and 1900.
The 25th was cadred into the 93rd Infantry Division at Ft. Huachuca in 1943 for service in WWII. The 93rd Infantry “Blue Helmets” saw action in the Pacific Theater of War.
“The 27th Cavalry”
The War Department decided in the fall of 1942 to reactivate its 2nd Cavalry Division as an all black division. This led to the 27th Cavalry being constituted on November 10, 1942.
With the impending activation of the 2nd Cavalry Division in 1943, new units had to be organized to provide the division with its full complement of units: the 27th and 28th Cavalry regiments were two of these units. The 9th Cavalry was stationed at Fort Clark, Texas where a cadre was used to form the 27th.
The unit’s history is short. After training in West Texas and transport to Northern Africa, the 27th was relieved from the 2nd Cavalry Division and inactivated at Oran, Algeria on March 27, 1944. Soldiers had the choice of duty with service units or volunteering for combat with the loss of all rank. The unit was disbanded on December 12, 1951
“The 28th Cavalry: The U.S. Army’s Last Horse Cavalry Regiment”
The War Department decided in the fall of 1942 to reactivate its 2nd Cavalry Division as an all African-American division. This led to the 28th Cavalry being one of two black cavalry regiments constituted in the Army on November 11, 1942.
With the impending activation of the 2nd Cavalry Division in 1943, new units had to be organized to provide the division with its full complement of units: the 27th and 28th Cavalry regiments were two of these units. The 4th Cavalry Brigade and its 10th Cavalry were stationed at Camp Lockett, California (about 50 miles east of San Diego) while its 9th Cavalry was stationed at Fort Clark, Texas. A group of men from the 10th Cavalry was cadred to form the 28th. With them went the legacy of the original Buffalo Soldiers.
Upon activation of the division, each of the cavalry brigades would have one veteran Regular Army cavalry regiment and one of the new wartime regiments assigned to it. At Camp Lockett, the 28th Cavalry was to be activated and assigned to the 4th cavalry Brigade. While stationed in Southern California the 28th trained and did doubled duty acting as the boarder patrol along hundreds of miles of rugged terrain.
Command of this yet-to-be-activated regiment was given to 47-year-old Colonel Edwin M. Burnett, a veteran cavalry officer who served in World War I. Colonel Burnett, who had been promoted to colonel in June 1942, had commanded the Horsemanship department of the Cavalry Center at Fort Riley. From the brigade’s 10th Cavalry, he received a cadre of 153 noncommissioned officers; the remainder of his regiment came from Selective Service men (draftees).
The War Department’s decision not to consolidate the entire 2nd Cavalry division in Texas when the division was activated at Fort, Clark in early 1943 meant that a dual construction program was undertaken at both posts.
A new cantonment area and stables were Constructed at Camp Lockett one mile north of the main camp. Theater of operations construction was used as opposed to Mobilization construction that had been used when Camp Lockett was built in 1541.
These buildings were built cheaply with a width of almost a standard 20 feel and lengths varied according to use. They were covered with plywood siding and green rolled roofing. The troop areas were clustered together in their respective squadron areas.
On February 25, 1943, the 28th Cavalry, was activated at Camp Lockett while the 2nd Cavalry division was activated at Fort Clark that same day. Colonel Burnett’s executive officer, both of his squadron commanders and their executive officers plus several company grade officers were attending the 2nd Cavalry Division Course (January 11 -April 1) at Fort Riley.
Manpower for the 28th Cavalry was drawn directly from eastern and Midwestern reception centers. The Selective Service men received their basic training in the regiment. This was the same way the “old” 2nd Cavalry Division had been filled at Fort Riley in 1941.
The regiment received 300 men from the 2nd Service Command: New Jersey, Delaware and New York, 600 from the 5th Service Command: Ohio, West Virginia Indiana and Kentucky: and 327 men from the 6th Service Command: Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. Colonel Burnett greeted his new troopers on March 26 and their basic training started March 29.
While his regiment was taking basic training at Camp Lockett, Colonel Burnett went to Fort Bliss, Texas, where he selected 369 horses from those turned in by the 1st Cavalry Division when it was dismounted in February 1943. They arrived at Camp Lockett on April 25. From Fort Robinson (Nebraska) Remount Station, 1,080 horses were shipped to the camp. Some- of these horses contracted influenza, however, and 28 died in one day.
The 28th Cavalry had its first dismounted review retreat May 21. Lieutenant Colonel Edward I. Drinkert, the regimental executive office, reviewed the troops. On June 11 the regiment held a 21-event field day. Soldiers competed in baseball, volleyball, track, platoon drills, kitchen layout and obstacle races. Weapons Troop won the competition; C Troop came in second.
Basic training was completed June 26. Teams from its parent 4th Cavalry Brigade inspected each troop. The results of the brigade’s inspection were excellent and the 28th Cavalry proceeded to unit training — the next; phase of its activation training.
General Thoburn K. Brown, commanding general. 4th Cavalry Brigade, called for a full mounted review July 24. For the 28th Cavalry, it was the regiment’s first mounted review; for the 4th Cavalry Brigade, it marked the first time the entire brigade had been together as one unit.
During August and September, the regiment tested! Its proficiency in pistol and rifle marksmanship, utilizing ranges at Camp Lockett and Camp Callan, 2 coast artillery training center at La Jolla. Camp Matthews, the Marine Corps Rifle Range at La Jolla, was used to fire M-1 rifles for record. Range firing ended September 6 with approximately 95% of the regiment qualifying on the M-1 rifles.
During a regimental review October 7, awards for range proficiency were presented by General Brown. Awards were given to Corporal Edward Lewis, B Troop, high shot in rifle marksmanship as a selected: First Sergeant Lee Thomas, high shot of all regimental first sergeants in rifle marksmanship Staff Sergeant John Buller, 3rd platoon leader, B Troop, the platoon with the highest average qualification in rifle marksmanship: and Staff Sergeant Nolan Duncan, 1st Platoon leader, e Troop, the platoon with the highest average qualification in pistol marksmanship.
Activity within the 28th Cavalry was governed by bugle calls. A bugler ascended a large rock to sound his calls. Bugler’s Rock, as this location was known, was across Custer Road from regimental headquarters.
Summer 1943 was a very bad fire season in San Diego County. The 28th Cavalry was called upon to fight both brush and forest fires.
Not all the men’s time was spent in military duties. The 28th Cavalry utilized the main post facilities for recreation. The officers club was located next, to Highway 94, the main entrance to the camp, in the two story Campo Hotel that the Army had taken over in 1941. Motion pictures were shown in the camp theater. In the 28th Cavalry area, the regiment had its own post exchange, chapel and swimming pool. Lieutenant William Bell, the regiment’s special services officer, put together several shows that were held in the natural amphitheater behind regimental headquarters. Regular post entertainment was put on in Merritt Bowl The Camp Lockett Fall Horse Show was held October 23, 1943, in the 28th Cavalry’s horse show ring.
The Army’s XVII Corps examined the 28th Cavalry to see how the regiment stood in its training compared to other Army Ground Force units. The results were satisfactory, and the 28th Cavalry was allowed to continue with its next phase of training.
By December 1943, decisions were being made by the War Department in Washington D.C., that would have a major impact on the 2nd Cavalry division. The division was considered a candidate for deactivation, using its units to form service units that the Army felt it needed more than a cavalry division., he department, however, was ignoring the fact that when the 1st Cavalry
Division had been dismounted in early 1943 suitable employment for that division had been found in the Pacific. Instead, the Army decided to ship the 2nd Cavalry Division to North Africa where the division would be broken up and used to form service units. About January 12, 1944, the 28th Cavalry was alerted for movement Measures at Camp Lockett were initiated in order that the 28th Cavalry would be prepared to move on ready day – Clothing and equipment was drawn. The inspector general from III Corps, under which the regiment had been transferred prior to alert day, made a lull inspection of the regiment’s administration and found it in good condition. All this lime the regiment was dismounted.
Within two weeks of its first anniversary, the 28th Cavalry entrained from Camp Lockett on February 10, 1944 The three trains arrived at Camp Patrick Henry Virginia, on February 15. The regiment was physically processed, its equipment was brought up to combat serviceability and the troops were brought up to strength per current table of organization with the addition of 243 replacements from Fort Huachuca, Arizona.
On March 2, 1944, the 28th Cavalry moved from Camp Patrick Henry to Newport News, Virginia. The next day the regiment sailed to North Africa on the maiden voyage of the USS General William Mitchell, arriving at Casablanca, Morocco, March 12. The regiment was moved to Camp Don B. Passage, a debarkation staging area on the outskirts of Casablanca, then departed by train for Oran, Algeria, a two-day journey to the east.
The 28th Cavalry’s final review was conducted by Colonel Burnett, then 2nd Cavalry Division’s acting division commander. This retreat parade, led by Lieutenant Colonel Drinkert on March 24,1944, marked the end of the regiment. One week later, the 28th Cavalry was inactivated at Assi-Ben-Okba, Algeria.
At the time of its inactivation, the 28th Cavalry was the last horse cavalry regiment in the United States Army. On December 12,1951 the 28th Cavalry was disbanded.
“The Tuskegee Airmen”
In the face of strong resistance from the military establishment and most officials in the War Department, a relentless effort was carried on by a number of Black organizations and individuals, including sympathetic Whites, to persuade the government to accept Blacks for training by the Air Corps in military aviation. After considerable debate on the subject, the government agreed to establish a program in which African American applicants would be trained in all aspects of military aviation and sent into combat as a segregated unit.
In January 1941, under the direction of the NAACP, a Howard University student, Yancey Williams, filed suit against the War Department to compel his admission to a pilot training center. Almost immediately following the filing of the suit, the War Department under pressure from northern congressmen, and with an order from the Commander-in-Chief, Franklin Roosevelt, announced that it would establish an aviation unit near Tuskegee Institute, Alabama, in cooperation with the institute for the training of Negro pilots for the Army. This unit was to be called the 99th Pursuit Squadron.
The First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, was a strong supporter of the Tuskegee Airmen. She even “inspected the troops” and took a ride with a recent graduate.
The first pilot class, completed the training and received their wings on March 7, 1942. The five graduates were: Captain Benjamin O. Davis, 2nd Lieutenant Lemuel R. Custis, 2nd Lieutenant Charles DeBow, 2nd Lieutenant George S. Roberts, and 2nd Lieutenant Mac Ross.
The Red Tails Enter Combat
The Tuskegee Airmen we nick-named “Red Tails” because of the distinctive red paint on their tails. Airplanes in Tuskegee, Alabama where the group trained were painted with red markings to identify students. When the unit moved to North Africa, replacement aircraft were often bare metal with no paint except for basic identification numbers. It was decided that the colors of the trainer aircraft of Tuskegee would carry over into combat. A simple “A” on the side of the fuselage would designate the 99th Pursuit Squadron, “B” the 100th, “C” the 301st, and “D” for the 302nd.
The Airmen had an illustrious record in combat. Over Italy in 1944, Lt. Gwynne Pierson, Lt. Windell Pruitt and four other Tuskegee Airmen, flying P-47’s, attacked a German Destroyer (TA-27) in Trieste Harbor. Accurate machine gun fire hit the powder magazine and sank the ship. Thus Pierson and Pruitt are credited with the destruction of an enemy ship using only machine gun fire.
The 450 Tuskegee Airmen assigned to the African/European Theater flew 1578 missions – 15,553 combat sorties while fighting the Germans, both in North Africa and Italy; the unequaled record of not having lost a single bomber, while they were escorting, due to enemy aircraft action. Bomber crews saw the “Red Tails” as a welcome sight.
The contributions of the 477th Bombardment Group and their struggle to achieve parity and recognition as competent military professionals, leading to the War Department’s evaluation of it’s racial policies and the ultimate desegregation of the military.
A total of 926 pilots graduated from Tuskegee Army Flying School over the years. Class 46-C was the last class to finish training at the school and graduated on June 29, 1946. Shortly thereafter the “Tuskegee Experience” ended with the closing of Tuskegee Army AirField.
Tuskegee set the tone for leadership in the newly formed Air Force. Excellence was expected and results were positive. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. would become a general and command several air wings as well as Air Force bases. He would lead a new generation of African-American’s who were professional soldiers and great leaders.
Another Tuskegee graduate was Daniel “Chappie” James, Jr., the first USAF African-American 4-star general. After he was promoted to 4-star grade on Sept. 1, 1975, James was assigned as Commander in Chief North American Air Defense Command and Aerospace Defense Command, a position he held until his retirement on Feb. 1, 1978. He died 24 days later. Chappie served in WWII as well as the wars in Korean and Vietnam.
Medal of Honor Winners
The Congressional Medal of Honor is awarded by the President in the name of Congress to a person who, while a member of the Armed Forces, distinguishes himself or herself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States; while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party. The deed performed must have been one of personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his comrades and must have involved risk of life. Incontestable proof of the performance of the service will be exacted and each recommendation for the award of this decoration will be considered on the standard of extraordinary merit.
The following Buffalo Soldiers and their officers were awarded the Medal of Honor for their service during the Indian Wars or the Spanish American War.
9th Cavalry Medal of Honor Winners
Sgt. Thomas Boyne, Indian Campaigns- for holding position on two occasions, May 19, 1879, in the Nimbres Mountains of New Mexico and September 27, 1879, at Cuchillo, New Mexico, in battles against Indians.
* Second Lieutenant, George R. Burnett Place and date: At Cuchillo Negro Mountains, N. Mex., 16 August 1881. Entered service at: Spring Mills, Pa. Birth. Lower Providence Township Pa. Date of issue: 23 July 1897. Citation. Saved the life of a dismounted soldier, who was in imminent danger of being cut off, by alone galloping quickly to his assistance under heavy fire and escorting him to a place of safety, his horse being twice shot in this action.
Second Lieutenant Matthias W. Day Place and date: At Las Animas Canyon, N. Mex., 18 September 1879. Entered service at: Oberlin, Ohio. Birth: Mansfield, Ohio. Date of issue: 7 May 1890. Citation: Advanced alone into the enemy’s lines and carried off a wounded soldier of his command under a hot fire and after he had been ordered to retreat.
Sgt. John Denny, Indian Campaigns- for carrying a wounded comrade to safety under fire at Las Animas Canyon, New Mexico, September 18, 1879
Second Lieutenant Robert Temple Emmet. Place and Date: At Las Animas Canyon, N. Mex, 18 Sep 1879. Inducted: New York, N.Y. Born: New York, N.Y. Date of issue 24 Aug 1899. Citation: Lt. Emmet was in G Troop which was sent to relieve a detachment of soldiers under attack by hostile Apaches During a flank attack on the Indian camp, made to divert the hostiles Lt. Emmet and 5 of his men became surrounded when the Indians returned to defend their camp. Finding that the Indians were making for a position from which they could direct their fire on the retreating troop, the Lt held his point with his party until the soldiers reached the safety of a canyon. Lt. Emmet then continued to hold his position while his party recovered their horses. The enemy force consisted of approximately 200.
Captain Francis S. Dodge, Troop D. Action: Near White River Agency, Colo., 29 September 1879. Entered service at: Danvers, Mass. Born: 11 September 1842, Danvers, Mass. Date of issue: 2 April 1898. Citation: With a force of 40 men rode all night to the relief of a command that had been defeated and was besieged by an overwhelming force of Indians, reached the field at daylight, joined in the action and fought for 3 days.
Cpl. Clinton Greaves, Indian Campaigns- for gallantry in hand-to-hand fighting with Indians at Florida Mountains, New Mexico, June 24, 1877
Sgt. Henry Johnson, Indian Campaigns- at Milk City, Colorado on October 2-5, 1879, “Sergeant Johnson voluntarily left the fortified shelter and under heavy fire at close range made the rounds of the pits to instruct the guards; fought his way to the creek and back to bring water to the wounded.”
Sgt. George Jordan, Indian Campaigns-twice recognized for unusual heroism: May 14, 1880 lead 25 man force which repulsed over 100 Indians at Carrizo Canyon, New Mexico and on August 12, 1881 held position against superior numbers of enemy.
Sgt. Thomas Shaw, Indian Campaigns- for heroism in action at Carrizo Canyon, New Mexico, August 12, 1881
Sgt. Emanuel Stance, Indian Campaigns- for gallantry displayed as an Indian Scout, May 20, 1870, Kickapoo Springs, Texas. Stance was the first African-American recipient of the Medal of Honor during the Indian War era.
Pvt. Agustus Walley, Indian Campaigns- for action in an engagement against Apaches, Cuchillo Negro Mountains, New Mexico August 16, 1881 (Recommendation for second MOH for service during Spanish-American War). Walley is buried near his hometown of Reisterstown. Maryland. 1st Sgt. Moses Williams, Co I, Action: At foothills of the Cuchillo Negro Mountains, N. Mex, 16 Aug 1881. Born: Carrollton, La. Issued: 12 Nov 1896. Citation: Rallied a detachment, skillfully conducted a running flght of 3 or 4 hours, and by his coolness, bravery, and unflinching devotion to duty in standing by his commanding officer in an exposed position under a heavy fire from a large party of Indians saved the lives of at least 3 of his comrades.
Cpl. William O. Wilson, Citation: for bravery during the Sioux campaign in 1890. Action: Sioux Campaign, 1890. Inducted: St. Paul, Minn. Born: Hagerstown, Md. Issued: 17 Sep 1891.
Sgt. Brent Wood, Co B, Action: New Mexico, 19 Aug 1881. Inducted: Louisville, Ky. Born: Pulaski County, Ky. Issued: 12 Jul 1894. Citation: Saved the lives of his comrades and citizens of the detachment.
Captain Louis H. Carpenter, Company H. Actions: At Indian campaigns in Kansas and Colorado, September October 1868. Entered service at: Philadelphia, Pa. Birth: Glassboro, N.J. Date of issue 8 April 1898. Citation: Was gallant and meritorious throughout the campaigns, especially in the combat of October 15 and in the forced March on September 23, 24 and 25 to the relief of Forsyth’s Scouts, who were known to be in danger of annihilation by largely superior forces of Indians.
Sgt Mjr Edward L. Baker, (later promoted to Second Lt.) Spanish-American War- for leaving cover, and under fire, rescued a wounded comrade from drowning, July 1, 1898
Second Lieutenant Powhattan H. Clarke, Company K Place and date: At Pinito Mountains, Sonora, Mex., 3 May 1886. Entered service at: Baltimore, Md. Birth: Alexandria, La. Date of issue: 12 March 1891. Citation: Rushed forward to the rescue of a soldier who was severely wounded and lay, disabled, exposed to the enemy’s fire, and carried him to a place of safety…
Pvt Dennis Bell, Spanish-American War- for voluntarily going ashore in Toyabacoa, Cuba, in the face of the enemy and rescuing wounded comrades, June 30, 1898
Pvt. Fitz Lee, Spanish-American War- for voluntarily going ashore in Toyabacoa, Cuba, in the face of the enemy and rescuing wounded comrades, June 30, 1898
Sgt. William McBryar, Indian Campaigns- for bravery in battle with Apache Indians in Arizona Territory, May 15, 1890
Sgt. William Tompkins, Spanish-American War- for voluntarily going ashore in Toyabacoa, Cuba, in the face of the enemy and rescuing wounded comrades, June 30, 1898
Pvt. George H. Wanton, Spanish-American War- for voluntarily going ashore in Toyabacoa, Cuba, in the face of the enemy and rescuing wounded comrades, June 30, 1898