Buffalo Soldier

Buffalo Soldier

Buffalo Soldiers is a nickname originally applied to the members of the U.S. 10th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army by the Native American tribes they fought. It was formed on September 21, 1866 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The term eventually encompassed these units:
*9th Cavalry Regiment
*10th Cavalry Regiment
*24th Infantry Regiment
*25th Infantry Regiment
*27th Cavalry RegimentCitation
title = Historic California Posts: Camp Lockett
url = http://www.militarymuseum.org/CpLockett.html
accessdate = 2008-01-17
*28th Cavalry Regiment [ Citation
title = Defending the Border: The Cavalry at Camp Lockett
url = http://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/93spring/border.htm
accessdate = 2008-01-17

Although several African-American regiments were raised during the Civil War to fight alongside the Union Army (including the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry and the many United States Colored Troops Regiments), the "Buffalo Soldiers" were established by Congress as the first peacetime all-black regiments in the regular U.S. Army.

On September 6, 2005, Mark Matthews, who was the oldest living Buffalo Soldier, died at the age of 111. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.Citation
last = Shaughnessy
first = Larry
title = Oldest Buffalo Soldier to be Buried at Arlington
date = September 19, 2005
year = 2005
url = http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/09/17/buffalo.soldier/index.html
accessdate = 2007-04-24


Sources disagree on how the nickname "Buffalo Soldiers" began. According to the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, the name originated with the Cheyenne warriors in 1867, the actual Cheyenne translation being "Wild Buffalo." However, writer Walter Hill documented the account of Colonel Benjamin Grierson, who founded the 10th Cavalry regiment, recalling an 1871 campaign against the Comanche tribe. Hill attributed the origin of the name to the Comanche due to Grierson's assertions. There is some controversy as to where the name originated. Some sources assert that the nickname was given out of respect for the fierce fighting ability of the 10th cavalry.Citation
title = Brief History (Buffalo Soldiers National Museum)
year = 2007
url = http://www.buffalosoldiermuseum.com/history.html
accessdate = 2007-04-24
] Other sources assert that Native Americans called the black cavalry troops "buffalo soldiers" because of their dark curly hair, which resembled a buffalo's coat.Citation
title = Buffalo Soldiers
last = National Park Service
url = http://www.nps.gov/archive/goga/maps/bulletins/sb-buffalo.pdf
accessdate = 2007-05-01
] Still other sources point to a combination of both legends.Citation
title = The Price of Freedom: Printable Exhibition
last = The Smithsonian Institution
url = http://americanhistory.si.edu/militaryhistory/printable/section.asp?id=6
accessdate = 2007-05-01
] The term "Buffalo Soldiers" became a generic term for all African-American soldiers. It is now used for U.S. Army units that trace their direct lineage back to the 9th and 10th Cavalry, units whose bravery earned them an honored place in U.S. history.

Their service

During the American Civil War, the U.S. government formed regiments known as the United States Colored Troops, composed of black soldiers led by white officers. After the war, Congress reorganized the Army and authorized the formation of two regiments of black cavalry with the designations 9th and 10th U.S. Cavalry, and four regiments of black infantry, designated the 38th, 39th, 40th and 41st Infantry Regiments (Colored). The 38th and 41st were reorganized as the 25th Infantry Regiment, with headquarters in Jackson Barracks in New Orleans, Louisiana, in November 1869. The 39th and 40th were reorganized as the 24th Infantry Regiment, with headquarters at Fort Clark, Texas, in April 1869. All of these units were composed of black enlisted men commanded by white officers such as Benjamin Grierson and Ranald S. Mackenzie and, occasionally, black officers such as Henry O. Flipper.

From 1866 to the early 1890s, these regiments served at a variety of posts in the Southwestern United States (Apache Wars) and Great Plains regions. They participated in most of the military campaigns in these areas and earned a distinguished record. Thirteen enlisted men and six officers from these four regiments earned the Medal of Honor during the Indian Wars. In addition to the military campaigns, the "Buffalo Soldiers" served a variety of roles along the frontier from building roads to escorting the U.S. mail.After the Indian Wars ended in the 1890s, the regiments continued to serve and participated in the Spanish-American War (including the Battle of San Juan Hill), where five more Medals of Honor were earned. They took part in the 1916 Punitive Expedition into Mexico and in the Philippine-American War.

A lesser known action was the 9th Cavalry's participation in the fabled Johnson County War, an 1892 land war in Johnson County, Wyoming between small farmers and large, wealthy ranchers. It culminated in a lengthy shootout between local farmers, a band of hired killers, and a sheriff's posse. The 6th Cavalry was ordered in by President Benjamin Harrison to quell the violence and capture the band of hired killers. Soon afterward, however, the 9th Cavalry was specifically called on to replace the 6th. The 6th Cavalry was swaying under the local political and social pressures and were unable to keep the peace in the tense environment.

The Buffalo Soldiers responded within about two weeks from Nebraska, and moved the men to the rail town of Suggs, Wyoming, creating "Camp Bettens" despite a racist and hostile local population. One soldier was killed and two wounded in gun battles with locals. Nevertheless, the 9th Cavalry remained in Wyoming for nearly a year to quell tensions in the area. [ Fields, Elizibeth Arnett. " [https://www.denix.osd.mil/denix/Public/ES-Programs/Conservation/Legacy/AAME/aame2.html Historic Contexts for the American Military Experience] " ] [ Schubert, Frank N. " [http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0043-3810(197301)4%3A1%3C57%3ATSATBC%3E2.0.CO%3B2-L The Suggs Affray: The Black Cavalry in the Johnson County War] " The Western Historical Quarterly, Vol. 4, No. 1 (Jan., 1973), pp. 57-68 ]

Another little-known contribution of the buffalo soldiers involved eight troops of the 9th Cavalry Regiment and one company of the 24th Infantry Regiment who served in California's Sierra Nevada as some of the first national park rangers. In 1899, Buffalo Soldiers from Company H, 24th Infantry Regiment briefly served in Yosemite National Park, Sequoia National Park and General Grant (Kings Canyon) National Parks. [Johnson, Shelton [http://www.cr.nps.gov/history/hisnps/NPShistorians/invisiblemen2.pdf Invisible Men: Buffalo Soldiers of the Sierra Nevada] Park Histories: Sequoia NP (and Kings Canyon NP), National Parks Service. Retrieved: 2007-05-18.]

U.S. Army regiments had been serving in these national parks since 1891, but until 1899 the soldiers serving were white. Beginning in 1899, and continuing in 1903 and 1904, African-American regiments served during the summer months in the second and third oldest national parks in the United States (Sequoia and Yosemite). Because these soldiers served before the National Park Service was created (1916), they were "park rangers" before the term was coined.One particular Buffalo Soldier stands out in history: Captain Charles Young who served with Troop "I", 9th Cavalry Regiment in Sequoia National Park during the summer of 1903. Charles Young was the third African American to graduate from the United States Military Academy. At the time of his death, he was the highest ranking African American in the U.S. military. He made history in Sequoia National Park in 1903 by becoming Acting Military Superintendent of Sequoia and General Grant National Parks. Charles Young was also the first African-American superintendent of a national park. During Young's tenure in the park, he named a Giant Sequoia for Booker T. Washington. Recently, another Giant Sequoia in Giant Forest was named in Captain Young's honor. Some of Young's descendants were in attendance at the ceremony.cite book | author=Leckie, William H.| title=The Buffalo Soldiers: A Narrative of the Negro Cavalry in the West | location=Norman, OK| publisher=University of Oklahoma Press | year=1967 | id=LCCN 67-15571]

Other park contributions

In 1903, 9th Cavalrymen in Sequoia built the first trail to the top of Mount Whitney, the highest mountain in the contiguous United States. They also built the first wagon road into Sequoia's Giant Forest, the most famous grove of Giant Sequoia trees in Sequoia National Park.

In 1904, 9th Cavalrymen in Yosemite built an arboretum on the South Fork of the Merced in the southern section of Yosemite National Park. This arboretum had pathways and benches, and some plants were identified in both English and Latin. Yosemite's arboretum is considered to be the first museum in the national park system.

In the Sierra Nevada, the Buffalo Soldiers regularly endured long days in the saddle, slim rations, racism, and separation from family and friends. As military stewards, the African-American cavalry and infantry regiments protected the national parks from illegal grazing, poaching, timber thieves, and forest fires. Yosemite Park Ranger Shelton Johnson researched and interpreted the history in an attempt to recover and celebrate the contributions of the Buffalo Soldiers of the Sierra Nevada. [Citation
last = Johnson
first = Shelton
title = Shadows in the Range of Light
url = http://shadowsoldier.wilderness.net
accessdate = 2007-04-24

In total, 23 "Buffalo Soldiers" received the Medal of Honor, the most of any United States military unit.

ystemic prejudice

The "Buffalo Soldiers" were often confronted with racial prejudice from other members of the U.S. Army. Civilians in the areas where the soldiers were stationed occasionally reacted to them with violence. Buffalo Soldiers were attacked in racial disturbances in:
*Rio Grande City, Texas in 1899Citation
last = Christian
first = Garna
title = Handbook of Texas Online: Rio Grande City, Texas
date = August 17, 2001
year = 2001
url = http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/RR/hfr5.html
accessdate = 2007-04-24
*Brownsville, Texas in 1906Citation
last = Christian
first = Garna
title = Handbook of Texas Online: Brownsville, Texas
date = February 17, 2005
year = 2005
url = http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/BB/pkb6.html
accessdate = 2007-04-24
*Houston, Texas in 1917Citation
last = Haynes
first = Robert
title = Handbook of Texas Online: Houston, Texas
date = April 6, 2004
year = 2004
url = http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/HH/jch4.html
accessdate = 2007-04-24
] Citation
title = The Officer Down Memorial Page (Police Officer Rufus E. Daniels)
url = http://www.odmp.org/officer.php?oid=3793
accessdate = 2007-04-24

The "Buffalo Soldiers" did not participate as organized units during World War I, but experienced non-commissioned officers were provided to other segregated black units for combat service — such as the [http://www.tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil/Eng/317EngineerBattalion.htm 317th Engineer Battalion] .

Early in the 20th century, the "Buffalo Soldiers" found themselves being used more as laborers and service troops rather than as active combat units. During World War II the 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments were disbanded, and the soldiers were moved into service-oriented units, along with the entire 2nd Cavalry Division. One of the infantry regiments, the 24th Infantry Regiment, served in combat in the Pacific theater. Another was the 92nd Infantry Division, aka the Buffalo Soldiers Division, which served in combat during the Italian Campaign in the Mediterranean theater. Another was the U.S. 93rd Infantry Division — including the 25th Infantry Regiment — which served in the Pacific theater.cite book | author=Hargrove, Hondon B. | title=Buffalo Soldiers in Italy: Black Americans in World War II | location=Jefferson, NC| publisher=McFarland & Company | year=1985 | isbn=0-89950-116-8]

Despite some official resistance and administrative barriers, black airmen were trained and played a part in the air war in Europe, gaining a reputation for skill and bravery (see Tuskegee Airmen). In early 1945, after the Battle of the Bulge, American forces in Europe experienced a shortage of combat troops. The embargo on using black soldiers in combat units was relaxed. The American Military History says::"Faced with a shortage of infantry replacements during the enemy's counteroffensive, General Eisenhower offered Negro soldiers in service units an opportunity to volunteer for duty with the infantry. More than 4,500 responded, many taking reductions in grade in order to meet specified requirements. The 6th Army Group formed these men into provisional companies, while the 12th Army Group employed them as an additional platoon in existing rifle companies. The excellent record established by these volunteers, particularly those serving as platoons, presaged major postwar changes in the traditional approach to employing Negro troops."

Korean War and integration

The 24th Infantry Regiment saw combat during the Korean War and was the last segregated regiment to engage in combat. The 24th was deactivated in 1951, and its soldiers were integrated into other units in Korea. On December 12, 1951, the last Buffalo Soldier units, the 27th Cavalry and the 28th (Horse) Cavalry, were disbanded. The 28th Cavalry was inactivated at Assi-Okba, Algeria in April 1944 in North Africa, and marked the end of the regiment.Citation
title = The 28th Cavalry: The U.S. Army's Last Horse Cavalry Regiment
url = http://www.buffalosoldiers-lawtonftsill.org/28-cav.htm
accessdate = 2007-04-24

There are monuments to the Buffalo Soldiers in Kansas at Fort Leavenworth and Junction City.Citation
title = Services - Buffalo Soldier Monument
url = http://garrison.leavenworth.army.mil/sites/about/Buffalo.asp
accessdate = 2007-04-24
] Then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell was guest speaker for the unveiling of the Fort Leavenworth monument in July 1992.


In recent years, the employment of the Buffalo Soldiers by the United States Army in the Indian Wars has led to modern critical reappraisal of the regiment, or revisionist history depending on one's political view, by cultural historians as being mere shock troops or accessories to the alleged forcefully-expansionist ideals of the U.S. government at the expense of the Native Americans.Citation
title = The shame of the Buffalo Soldiers
url = http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/45a/389.html
accessdate = 2007-07-24
] Citation
title = The Buffalo Soldier of the West and the Elimination of the Native American Race
url = http://debate.uvm.edu/dreadlibrary/mullin.html
accessdate = 2007-07-24
] This is seen as a far cry from the historical cultural upholding of the Buffalo Soldiers as being a rare exception to the discriminatory socioeconomic environment.

Cultural references


*The song "Buffalo Soldier", co-written by Bob Marley and King Sporty, first appeared on the 1983 album "Confrontation". Many Jamaicans, especially Rastafarians like Marley, identified with the "Buffalo Soldiers" as an example of prominent black men who performed with courage, honor and distinction in a field that was dominated by whites, and persevered despite endemic racism and prejudice.


* The 1960 western film "Sergeant Rutledge", starring Woody Strode, tells the story of the trial of a 19th-century black Army non-commissioned officer falsely accused of rape and murder. One of the characters narrates the history of the term "buffalo soldier".
* On November 22, 1968, an episode of the television series "The High Chaparral" titled [http://www.thehighchaparral.com/ep236.htm "The Buffalo Soldiers"] , starring Yaphet Kotto, paid tribute to the soldier's patriotic spirit.
* The 1970 television movie " [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0064135/ Carter's Army (also known as the Black Brigade)] ", starring Stephen Boyd, Rosey Grier and Richard Pryor, depicted a black unit during World War II, led by a white officer.
* The 1979 television movie " [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0408599/ Buffalo Soldiers] ", starring Stan Shaw and John Beck, depicted African-American cavalry soldiers and their actions in the West during the Indian Wars of the late 19th century.
* The 1997 television movie " [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118790/ Buffalo Soldiers] ", starring Danny Glover, drew attention to their role in the military history of the United States.
* The 2001 film "Buffalo Soldiers" attracted some attention. Based on a 1993 novel of the same name by Robert O'Connor, the plot depicted (white) American soldiers stationed in Germany during the Cold War who sold goods on the black market.
* The 2006 History Channel special "Honor Deferred" describe members of the Buffalo soldiers in WWII Italy.
* The film "Miracle at St. Anna", directed by Spike Lee, chronicles the Buffalo Soldiers who served in the invasion of Italy. It is based on the novel of the same name by James McBride.


* In the novel "The Sum of All Fears", by Tom Clancy, the 10th Cavalry Regiment is reactivated as an Armored Cavalry Regiment. It is deployed to Israel to serve both as a training center for the Israel Defense Forces and to show the commitment of the United States to guarantee the security of Israel following a general peace treaty in the Middle East. The 10th Cavalry Regiment also appears in his novel "Executive Orders", where it fights in an attempted invasion of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait by a new Islamic state formed by the union of Iran and Iraq.

ee also

* Black Seminoles ("Cimarrones")
* "Colonel" Charles Long
* List of African American Medal of Honor recipients
* Military history of African Americans
* Tuskegee Airmen
* United States Colored Troops
* 1st Louisiana Native Guard
* 2nd Cavalry Division
* 92nd Infantry Division
* 93rd Infantry Division
* 366th Infantry Regiment
* 761st Tank Battalion
* 784th Tank Battalion


External links

* [http://www.9thcavalry.com/ 9th Memorial Cavalry] Living History group - 9th US Cavalry
* [http://www.buffalosoldiersnational.org/ National Association of Buffalo Soldiers & Troopers Motorcycle Clubs] (Regarding the organization of the Buffalo Soldiers & Troopers Motorcycle Clubs (NABSTMC))
* [http://www.buffalosoldiers-lawtonftsill.org/history.htm Buffalo Soldiers History]
* [http://www.army.mil/africanamericans/ African Americans in the U.S. Army]
* [http://www.footnote.com/image/4346749 General Order #143 - May 27, 1863] (regarding the organization of African American troops)
* [http://www.army.mil/cmh/documents/spanam/BSSJH/BS-SJH.htm Buffalo Soldiers at San Juan Hill]
* [http://garrison.leavenworth.army.mil/sites/about/Buffalo.asp Buffalo Soldier Monument - Fort Leavenworth, Kansas]
* [http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/korea/b1.html American RadioWorks documentary: Korea, The Unfinished War] Interviews (transcripts and audio) with black soldiers from Korea, including the 24th infantry
* [http://www.buffalosoldiermuseum.com/ Buffalo Soldier National Museum]
* [http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/topics/afam/buffalo.htm Photograph Gallery of Buffalo Soldiers On the Eve of War (World War II)]
* [http://texashistory.unt.edu/permalink/meta-pth-14388 "History of Negro soldiers in the Spanish-American War, and other items of interest"] , by Edward Augustus Johnston, published 1899, hosted by the [http://texashistory.unt.edu/ Portal to Texas History.]
* [http://www.vq.com/overview_buffalosoldierhistory_25th_inf.htm The 25th Infantry Regiment]
* [http://buffalosoldier.net/ BuffaloSoldier.net]
* [http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/books/R&H/R&H-10CV.htm U.S. Army 10th Cavalry history]
* [http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/books/R&H/R&H-25IN.htm U.S. Army 25th Infantry history]
*Handbook of Texas|id=BB/qlb1|name=Buffalo Soldiers
* [http://shadowsoldier.wilderness.net shadowsoldier.wilderness.net] , a website devoted to remembering the contributions of the buffalo soldiers of the Sierra Nevada, by Park Ranger Shelton Johnson, Yosemite National Park
* [http://academics.utep.edu/Default.aspx?tabid=31441 the Warriors Project] , an ongoing research program of the University of Texas at El Paso, Arizona State University and the National Park Service's DSCESU program

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