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.
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.