Buffalo Soldiers - Moses Williams Pacific Northwest Chapter                                                                              


Buffalo Soldiers - a Rich History

Over 180,000 African-Americans served in the Union Army during the Civil War. Of these, more than 33,000 died. After the war, the future of African-Americans in the U.S. Army was in doubt However, in July of 1866, Congress passed legislation establishing two cavalry and four infantry regiments (later consolidated to two) whose enlisted composition was to be made up of African-Americans.

The majority were  the new recruits that had served in all Black units during the war. The mounted regiments were the 9th and 10th Cavalry, soon nicknamed Buffalo Soldiers by the Cheyenne and Comanche Indians. Until the early 1890's, they constituted 20 percent of all cavalry forces on the American frontier.

The 9th and 10th Cavalry's service in the subduing Mexican revolutionaries, hostile 
Native Americans, outlaws, comancheros, and rustlers was as invaluable as it was unrecognized. It was also accomplished over some of the most rugged and inhospitable country in North America.

A list of their adversaries - Geronimo, Sitting Bull, Victorio, Lone Wolf, Billy the Kid, and Pancho Villa - reads like a "Who's Who" of the American West. Lesser known, but equally important, the Buffalo Soldiers explored and mapped vast areas of the southwest and strung hundreds of miles of telegraph lines. They built and repaired frontier outposts around which future towns and cities sprang to life.

Without the protection provided by the 9th and lOth Cavalry, crews building the ever 
expanding railroads were at the mercy of outlaws and hostile Indians. The Buffalo Soldiers consistently received some of the worst assignments the Army had to offer. They also faced fierce prejudice in both the colors of their Union uniforms and their ski
by many of the citizens of the post-war frontier towns. Despite this, the troopers of the 9th and lOth Cavalry developed into two of the most distinguished fighting units in the U.S. Army.

Contact the Buffalo Soldiers - Moses Williams Pacific Northwest Chapter                                                
Phone: (503) 756-4304 / (503) 490-1109