Skip to comments.The FReeper Foxhole Remembers The 9th and 10th Cavalry - Feb. 21st, 2003
Posted on 02/21/2003 5:34:44 AM PST by SAMWolf
are acknowledged, affirmed and commemorated.
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The 10th Cavalry was formed at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in 1866. Very high standards of recruitment were set by the regimental commander and Civil War hero Benjamin Grierson. As a result, recruitment and organization of the unit required slightly over one year. By the end of July 1867 eight companies of enlisted men had been recruited from the Departments of Missouri, Arkansas, and the Platte.
Life at Leavenworth was not pleasant for the 10th. The Fort's commander, who was admittedly opposed to African- Americans serving in the regular army, made life as difficult as he could on the new troopers. Grierson sought to have his regiment transferred, and subsequently received orders moving the regiment to Fort Riley, Kansas later that summer. Within two months of the transfer, the final four companies were in place.
For the next eight years, the 10th was stationed at numerous forts throughout Kansas and Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). They provided guards for workers of the Kansas and Pacific Railroad, strung miles of new telegraph lines, and to a large extent built Fort Sill. Throughout this period, they were constantly patrolling the reservations in an attempt to prevent Indian raids into Texas. In 1867 and 68, the 10th participated in Gen. Sherman's winter campaigns against the Cheyennes, Arapahos, and Comanches. Units of the 10th prevented the Cheyenne from fleeing to the northwest, thus allowing Custer and the 7th Cavalry to defeat them at the decisive battle near Fort Cobb, Indian Territory.
In 1875, the 10th Cavalry moved its headquarters to Fort Concho in west Texas. Other companies were assigned to various forts throughout the area. The regiment's mission in Texas was to protect mail and travel routes, control Indian movements, provide protection from Mexican revolutionaries and outlaws, and to gain a knowledge of the areas terrain. The regiment proved highly successful in completing their mission. The 10th scouted 34,420 miles of uncharted terrain, opened more than 300 miles of new roads, and laid over 200 miles of telegraph lines. The scouting activities took the troops through some of the harshest and most desolate terrain in the nation. These excursions allowed the preparation of excellent maps detailing scarce water holes, mountain passes, and grazing areas that would later allow for settlement of the area. These feats were accomplished while having to be constantly on the alert for hit-and-run raids from the Apaches. The stay in west Texas produced tough soldiers, who became accustomed to surviving in an area that offered few comforts and no luxuries.
The 10th Cavalry played an important role in the 1879-80 campaign against Chief Victorio and his renegade band of Apaches. Victorio and his followers escaped from their New Mexico reservation and wreaked havoc throughout the southwest on their way to Mexico. Col. Grierson and the 10th attempted to prevent Victorio's return to the U.S., and particularly his reaching New Mexico where he could cause additional problems with the Apaches still on the reservations. Grierson, realizing the importance of water in the harsh region, decided the best way to intercept Victorio was to take control of potential water holes along his route.
The campaign called for the biggest military concentration ever assembled in the Trans-Pecos area. Six troops of the 10th Cavalry were assigned to patrol the area from the Van Horn Mountains west to the Quitman Mountains, and north to the Sierra Diablo and Delaware Mountains. Encounters with the Indians usually resulted in skirmishes, however the 10th engaged in major confrontations at Tinaja de las Palmas (a water hole south of Sierra Blanca) and at Rattlesnake Springs (north of Van Horn). These two engagements halted Victorio and forced him to retreat to Mexico. Although Victorio and his band were not captured, the campaign conducted by the 10th was successful in preventing them from reaching New Mexico. The 10th's efforts at containment exhausted the Apaches. Soon after they crossed the border, Victorio and many of his warriors were killed by Mexican troops on October 14, 1880.
The Vittorio episode formed a key part of the TV drama Buffalo Soldiers. We have to tell you that the final scene where Danny Glover deliberately allowed Vittorio and his band to escape to Mexico is not a historical fact. The 10th Cavalry would never let an adversary get away.
In 1885, the regiment was transferred to the Department of Arizona. Once again the 10th was involved in the arduous pursuit of renegade Apaches under the leadership of Geronimo, Mangus, and the Apache Kid.
After twenty years of service in some of the most undesirable posts in the southwest, the regiment, now under the command of Colonel John K. Mizner, was transferred to the Department of Dakota in 1891. The regiment served at various posts in Montana and Dakotas until 1898.
During the Spanish-American the four regiments served in Cuba and fought along side Teddy Roosevelt's "Rough Riders" and other units. While Teddy Roosevelt and his highly political volunteers got more press attention, the 10th Cavalry commanded by Col. John J. Pershing was instrumental in taking San Juan Hill. Many white officers refused to command black units thinking it would hurt their careers. Col. Pershing was given the nickname "Black Jack" because of his loyalty to the 10th and its troopers. It could hardly have hurt his career since he went on to command the American Expeditionary Forces in France in WWI and became the most famous American general of the first half of this century.
In 1916 Black Jack Pershing was given the assignment of leading a campaign into Mexico to capture Pancho Villa. Pershing requested that the 10th Cavalry accompany him. The year spent chasing Villa proved to be the 10th Cavalry's toughest assignment. Finding Pancho Villa was like trying to catch a rat in a cornfield. Villa always seemed to stay ahead of the Army and avoid capture.
America's leaders soon lost interest in the Campaign and focused their attention on World War I which was raging in Europe. However the Europeans had been unable to find a use for the Cavalry troops which were already in the theater. The 10th Cavalry spent the war in the United States.
In World War II a similar thing happened to the cavalrymen. The 10th Cavalry was relegated to caretaker duties at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Then in 1944 the 9th and 10th Cavalry were deactivated.
But in 1958 the Ninth and Tenth Regiments were reactivated, and today, the First and Second Tank Battalions of the Tenth Cavalry at Fort Knox, Kentucky wear the Buffalo symbol. The Ninth Cavalry has a helicopter battalion in the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas.
NOTE: These units made up of black enlisted personnel and white officers were not the first of such units to serve on the Western Frontier. During late 1865 or early 1866 companies from the 57th United States Colored Infantry Regiment (Arkansas) and the 125th United States Colored Infantry Regiment (Kentucky) were assigned to posts in New Mexico to provide protection for white settlers in the area, and escort those going further west. Some of the companies served as mounted infantry.
Col. Edward Hatch was selected to command the new regiment. Hatch, who was a brevet Major General by the close of the Civil War, was an able and ambitious officer. He served admirably in this position until his death in 1889.
Recruitment of White officers proved to be a serious problem for both the 9th and 10th Cavalries. Despite enticements of fast promotion, many officers, including George Armstrong Custer and Frederick Benteen, refused commissions with African-American units. The following advertisement from the Army and Navy Journal illustrates the dilemma:
"A first Lieutenant of Infantry (white) stationed at a very desirable post.....desires a transfer with an officer of the same grade, on equal terms if in a white regiment; but if in a colored regiment, a reasonable bonus would be expected."
The 9th Cavalry was ordered to Texas in June of 1867. There it was charged with protecting stage and mail routes, building and maintaining forts, and establishing law and order in a vast area full of outlaws, Mexican revolutionaries, and raiding Comanches, Cheyennes, Kiowas, and Apaches. To compound their problems, many Texans felt that they were being subjected to a particularly harsh form of post-war reconstruction by Washington, and saw the assignment of the Black troopers as a deliberate attempt by the Union to further humiliate them. As such, the relationship between the troopers and locals was often at or near the boiling point. Despite prejudice and the almost impossible task of maintaining some semblance of order from the Staked Plains to El Paso to Brownsville, the 9th established themselves as one of the most effective fighting forces in the Army.
The 9th was transferred to the District of New Mexico during the winter and spring of 1875 and 76. Over the next six years they were thrust into what had been a 300-year struggle to subdue the fiercely independent Apaches. In 1874 - sparked by pressure from greedy contractors supplying the reservations, and by cattlemen, lumber men, and settlers hungry for Apache land - Washington approved a policy of concentrating the Apaches on a select few reservations.
That November the headquarters of the 9th was transferred to Fort Riley, Kansas, with portions of the regiment assigned to Fort Sill, Fort Supply, and Fort Reno in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). Over the next four years, the troopers were primarily concerned with the unpleasant task of evicting white settlers known as "Boomers," who were attempting to settle on Indian land. The 9th's unpopular duty continued until the regiment was transferred to Wyoming in June of 1885. From here companies were stationed at Fort Robinson and Fort Niobrara, Nebraska, and Fort Duchesne, Utah.
In 1891 the 9th was called on to assist in subduing the Sioux in what became known as the Ghost Dance Campaign. Once rulers of the northern plains, the Sioux were desolate and poverty stricken on their North and South Dakota reservations. In 1889 word spread of a messiah - a Paiute named Wovoka - who had seen through a vision that the ghosts of Plains Indians would return, bringing with them the buffalo herds slaughtered by the whites. The new "religion" swept through the Indians, alarming Dr. D. F. Royer, the newly appointed agent at the Pine Ridge reservation. Royer over-reacted, pleading for troops to protect him and his staff. By the end of November, one-half of the U.S. Army was concentrated on or near the reservations. The Army's show of force was intended to scare the Sioux into submission. However, many Indians, fearing a massacre, bolted from the reservations and fled into the Badlands. The subsequent actions of the Army to pacify and return the Sioux to their reservations culminated in the massacre of 146 men, women, and children at Wounded Knee on December 29th. The 9th played no role in the slaughter. This was to be their last campaign on the frontier.
| 'They had marched about 1,000 miles, over two hundred of which was through country never explored by troops, drove the Indians from every rancheria...destroyed immense amounts of...food, robes, skins, utensils and material and captured forty horses and mules. I cannot speak too highly of the conduct of the officers and men under my command, always cheerful and ready, braving the severest hardships with short rations and no water without a murmur. The negro troops are particularly adapted to hunting Indians knowing no fear and capable of great endurance.'
-- Major Albert Morrow
'The cavalry particularly are constant at work, and it is a kind of work too that disheartens, as there is little to show for it. Yet their zeal is untiring, and if they do not always achieve success they always deserve it. I have never seen troops more constantly employed.'
-- General Augur
Something wrong with your eyes?
Would not be the company would it?
You are gonna miss me when I go!!!
Agreed. Although highly fictionalized, "They Died With Their Boots On," was pretty good too.
Henry Ossian Flipper was born in Thomasville, Georgia, on March 21, 1856, into slavery and spent his formative years in Georgia. Following the Civil War, he attended the American Missionary Association Schools in his home state. In 1873 Flipper was appointed to the U.S. Military Academy, and in 1877 he became the first African-American to graduate from the institution. He was commissioned a second lieutenant and assigned to the 10th Cavalry. From 1878 until 1880 Lieutenant Flipper served on frontier duty in various installations in the southwest, including Fort Sill, Oklahoma. His duties included scouting, as well as serving as post engineer surveyor and construction supervisor, post adjutant, acting assistant and post quartermaster, and commissary officer.
In 1881 Lieutenant Flipper's commanding officer accused him of "embezzling funds and of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman." As a result of these charges, he was court-martialed. He was acquitted of the embezzlement charge but was found guilty, by general court martial, of conduct unbecoming an officer. On June 30, 1882, he was dismissed from the Army as required by this conviction.
As a civilian, Henry Flipper went on to distinguish himself in a variety of governmental and private engineering positions. These included serving as surveyor, civil and military engineer, author, translator, special agent of the Justice Department, special assistant to the Secretary of the Interior with the Alaskan Engineering Commission, aide to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, as well as an authority on Mexican land and mining law.
He wrote and published several works. His first publication was an autobiography, The Colored Cadet at West Point ( New York: Lee, 1878; reprint, New York: Arno, 1898). His memoirs, Black Frontiersman: The Memoirs of Henry O. Flipper, first Black Graduate of West Point (Fort Worth, Texas: Texas Christian University Press, 1997) were compiled and edited with introduction and notes by Theodore D. Harris. His other works included Spanish and Mexican Land Laws: New Spain and Mexico for the Department of Justice in 1895.
Throughout the balance of his life, Henry Flipper maintained that he was innocent of the charges that resulted in his court-martial and dismissal from the Army and made numerous attempts to have his conviction reversed. He died in Georgia in 1940.
In 1976 descendants and supporters applied to the Army Board for the Correction of Military Records on behalf of Lieutenant Flipper. The Board, after stating that it did not have the authority to overturn his court-martial convictions, concluded the conviction and punishment were "unduly harsh and unjust" and recommended that Lieutenant Flippers dismissal commuted to a good conduct discharge. The Assistant Secretary of the Army (Manpower and Reserve Affairs) and The Adjutant General approved the Board's findings, conclusions and recommendations and directed that the Department of the Army issue Lieutenant Flipper a Certificate of Honorable Discharge, dated 30 June 1882, in lieu of his dismissal on the same date.
On October 21, 1997, a private law firm filed an application of pardon with the Secretary of the Army on Lieutenant Flipper's behalf. Seven months later, the application was forwarded by the Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army (Manpower and Reserve Affairs) to the Office of the Pardon Attorney, Department of Justice, with a recommendation that the pardon be approved. President William Jefferson Clinton pardoned Lieutenant Henry O. Flipper on February 19, 1999. In pardoning this officer, the President recognized an error and acknowledged the lifetime accomplishments of this American soldier.
Squadron of the 9th Cavalry at Fort Robinson, Nebraska, 1889.
Don't ask my why it's called a Squadron, that's the title under the picture, as far as I know Cavalry has always been called a Troop.
Today's classic warship, USS Duluth (CL-87)
Cleveland class light cruiser
Displacement: 10,000 t.
Speed: 33 k.
Armament: 12 6; 12 5; 28 40mm; 10 20mm; 4 Aircraft
USS DULUTH (CL-87) was launched 13 January 1944 by Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Portsmouth, Va.; sponsored by Mrs. E. H. Hatch, wife of the Mayor of Duluth, Minn.; and commissioned l8 September 1944, Captain D. R. Osborn, Jr., in command.
From 14 December 1944 to 2 March 1945, DULUTH served as a training cruiser at Newport, R. I. After brief overhaul at Norfolk, she sailed 7 April for the Pacific, arriving at Pearl Harbor 29 April. On 8 May, she got underway to join the 5th Fleet and rendezvoused with the fast carriers on 27 May. Severe structural damage to her bow suffered in a typhoon 5 June, forced her to return to Guam for repairs, but she rejoined TF 38 on 21 July to screen during the final air strikes on the Japanese homeland which continued until the end of the war.
From 24 August 1945 until she entered Tokyo Bay 16 September, DULUTH operated with TF 38 which was providing radar picket and combat air patrol for transport aircraft flying occupation forces into Japan. On 1 October, DULUTH sailed for the United States, arriving at Seattle 19 October for Navy Day celebrations.
Based at San Pedro, Calif., DULUTH served a tour of duty in the Far East between 3 January and 27 September 1946, and on 24 February 1947 sailed for an extended visit at Pearl Harbor. Between May and July, she visited Melbourne and Sydney, Australia, Truk, Guam, and Manila. She served again in the Far East, patrolling the China coast, between 22 September 1947 and 19 May 1948, when she returned to her new home port, Long Beach. She carried NROTC midshipmen on a training cruise to British Columbia in the summer of 1948, and in February 1949 joined in cold-weather operations off Kodiak, Alaska. She was placed out of commission in reserve 25 June 1949, and sold on 14 November 1960.
DULUTH received two battle stars for World War II service.
Click the Pic to visit the online Ft. Huachuca Museums, where you will find exhibits and images dedicated to the 9th and 10th Cavalry, the U.S. Army Signal Corps, and the U.S. Army Intelligence Corps.
There are several .PDF documents in the online museum that contain historical pictures, sketches, drawings, and paintings. Here's a Frederic Remington sketch as an example.
761st Black Panther Tank Battalion of WWII
Researched by James E. DuBose
Three Black American rank battalions were activated during World War II. They were the 758th, 761st and 784th. The 761st was the first of these to go into combat. The battalion was activated in April 1942 at Camp Clairborne, Louisiana. General J. McNair gave birth to the idea of utilizing Black soldiers in the Armored Force. Many were opposed to the idea. One such individual who was opposed was one of Americas most famous generals,- George S. Patton, Jr., tank commander of the Third Army. Orders were issued to organize the first Black tank battalion in our nations history - the 758th. A cadre from the 758the was then used to organize the 761st. Many thought it was enough to have Black men in the armored division. However, it became a battle to get into battle. During World War II, the army was segregated, but due to the tenacious efforts of Eleanor Roosevelt as well as prominent Black leaders and the Black press, the 761st was given the opportunity to go into combat. After nearly a year of intensive training at the Central Army Installation of Camp Hood, the 761st departed and following a brief stay at Camp Shanks, New York, were enroute to the European Theater of Operations. Ironically, General Patton had requested that the best remaining separate Tank Battalion be sent to him in Europe. He would then later tell the men that he had asked for them because he had heard that they were good, and that he had only the best in his third army. In October 1944, the 761st landed in France on the Normandy peninsula. True to their battle cry the courageous World War II Black Panthers came out fighting. During their first encounter with the enemy, the 761st had been in combat for less than two months, Major General M.S. Eddy, Commanding General of Headquarters XII Corps, issued a special memorandum to the commanding office of the 761st Tank Battalion Stating, I consider the 761st Tank Battalion to have entered combat with such conspicuous courage and success to warrant special commendation. The speed with which they adapted themselves to the frontline under the most adverse weather conditions, the gallantry with which they emerged from their recent engagement in the vicinity of Dieuze, Morville, Les Vic, and Gruebling entitle them surely to consider themselves the veteran 761st. It is a matter of record that, in the early battles in France and in countless others, the men of the 761st conducted themselves admirably under stress as well as under the relentless fire of the enemy. The fighting at Tillet, the heavy causalities sustained by both sides and finally, the retreat of the expert German 13th SS Panzer Division as the 761 pushed forward, turned the tide. The 761 Tank Battalion fought with valor in France, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Germany, and Austria as well as in the Battle of the Bulge. They even participated in the liberation of Holocaust victims held in Nazi concentration Camps. The 761st, with their M4 Sherman tanks, racked up more than 180 days of continuous combat - although the average lifespan of a separate tank battalion on the frontlines in Europe during World War II was only ten to fifteen days. In addition to receiving high praise from the War Department a total of almost 400 battle awards were bestowed upon the men of the 761st. It took years for the units soldiers to receive the decorations they deserved. A recommendation for a Presidential Unit Citation was submitted in 1945. President Jimmy Carter awarded it in 1978. A 761st Platoon Sergeant, Ruben Rivers, was one of 7 black soldiers who, after examining their war records, was awarded the Medal of Honor, 6 of them posthumously, by President Bill Clinton in 1997.