I opened this discussion because there is so much history to know about the Buffalo Soldier's, I learn something new everytime I talk to someone. Some accurate some not so much but it is fun to research and discuss.
Note: I found a period newspaper where First Lieutenant Charles Cooper wrote about his experience that I will post, later, if you want....
Snippet from a 1967 TX newspaper
"Nolan's Lost Outfit"
Big Springs TX Herald--2/5/1967
July 4, 1877, Lt. Nicholas Nolan cantered Company A, from Ft Concho (San Angelo), trailed north to the Colorado, where Lake J. B. Thomas sprawls near Gail.
Nolan left a guard on Bull Creek, just up from Muchakooaga's lookout. With 40 troopers and 22 buffalo hunters, on July 19th smoky morning, he swept west, then north, hunting Indians.
Changeless, empty horizons, those Buffaloes jogged 10 days, camping waterholes, mud or gyp...half, then quartered rationed. But, "ready and forward!" The Comanche hid somewhere over that heat shimmered end of the world.
You find it hard to realize, the rich green now there, that they circled 300 miles of what was then the Great American Desert. For water, they finally made for Double Lakes near today's Tahoka. They missed.
They killed a downed horse, eating its stringy meat for strength and its blood for drink. Then without water or food for the last 86 hours, they killed 22 horses, left five heat-crazed men dead...kept on and on. Nothing gained---no Comanches: just supply camp under Muchakooaga's.
It was a hard march for Buffalo's pride and heart---Nolan's lost outfit.
But they got the last word, it was the Tenth, sometimes spending 70 miles a day in the saddle, that--within three years drove Victorio's Apaches, beaten, to Mexico; and thus, cleared our southwest.
And for the record they stayed the Tenth Cavalry, buffalo headed, ready and forward right into World War II when they merged with the Second Cavalry Division in North Africa.
Here's to the Tenth; May we have more such American Black horse troops.
I'm a history interpreter at Ft Sill, and belong to a group that interprets the role of US Deputy Marshals and the post guardhouse. There were civilian contractors at Ft Sill providing wood and hay to the Army in the 1870-90's time period. The guardhouse was the only jail for 90-100 miles and although the guardhouse was intended to hold Army prisoners it also housed civilians until they could be transported to the proper civilian court. While researching the guardhouse logs from 1874 we discovered something that I think contradicts the common thinking of the role of Buffalo Soldiers of that era. A company of the 10th Cavalary was assigned to Ft Sill as well as a company of the 5th Cav, and two companies of white Infantry. The guard detail for the guardhouse served a 24 hour shift and was composed of approximately 25 soldiers commanded by a Lieutenant, a Sgt of the guard, two corporals of the guard, and about 20 privates. The guard detail was made up of soldiers from each Cav and Infantry company. A surprise to myself and the others researching the logs was that on 2 or 3 days a week the sergeant of the guard was a member of the 10th Cavalary. A Buffalo Soldier was second in command and the senior enlisted soldier over 15 or so white soldiers. I had never heard of black soldiers supervising white soldiers as early as 1874.
This is very interesting to me as well, This is what I love! new information arrises all the time about these soldiers. I have not heard of Black soldiers being in a position to supervise white soldiers prior to to 1877 when Henry O. Flipper (first black graduate) graduated west point.
He came out of West Point a Lieutenant and did not last long in the ranks before he was court martialed. Needless to say, he was not welcomed into his new found rank with open arms by other white officeers, especially those with equal commission and NCO's.
A decade or so ago, I wrote a paper on Flipper for class. His family reopened his case, and to make a really long story really short, he ended up with a posthumous honorable discharge. His family had his remains removed from Atlanta and re-buried with full military honors in Thomasville, Georgia, his birthplace. If I recall correctly, he led an impressive life despite his original dishonorable discharge. Hmmm...I wonder where that paper is...
Ft Sill had a marshy area that was believed to contribute to sickness on the post. Flipper designed a ditch to drain the marsh. Most of "Flippers ditch" as it is called is still present today. It is lined with rock. Lt Flipper also supervised the installation of telegraph poles and wire south from Ft Sill to the Red River and Texas state line, about 50 miles.
I am currently working on a book about the Buffalo Soldiers starting with civil war and black militia's moving forward to the indian wars. I love to hear things like this, it is sometimes hard to find detailed info when researching.