Buffalo Soldiers-Painting By Don Stivers
Troop A Tenth Cavalry led by Captain Nicholas A. Nolan at the Battle of Rattlesnake Springs,Texas August 6, 1880. Rattlesnake Springs is 40 miles north of present day Van Horn, Texas.
Troopers of the 9th and 10th Cavalry served with honor and distinction in the protection of settlers and stage coaches, stringing of telegraph lines and the mapping and exploration of Texas.
When the Plains Indians first saw the men of the 10th Cavalry wearing with their dark skins, curly hair and wearing fur overcoats they referred to them as “Buffalo Soldiers.” The nickname “Buffalo Soldiers” was originally given to the 10th Cavalry by Cheyenne warriors out of respect for their fierce fighting in 1867. The Cheyenne Native American term used was actually “Wild Buffaloes”, which was translated to “Buffalo Soldiers.” In time, all African American Soldiers became known as “Buffalo Soldiers.” Despite second-class treatment these soldiers made up first-rate regiments of the highest caliber and had the lowest desertion rate in the Army.
The 10th U.s. Cavalry was organized by Colonel Benjamin Grierson of Jacksonville, Illinois. After the Civil War, Grierson decided to remain in the Regular Army after the war and received the rank of colonel. His lack of West Point credentials made him suspect to many fellow officers. He organized the 10th U.S. Cavalry, one of two mounted regiments composed of black enlisted men and white officers, called the Buffalo Soldiers. This assignment also made him unpopular with other officers, including his superior, General Philip Henry Sheridan, because of his support for and trust in his troops. His sympathy and courtesy to Native American tribes also led to questions about his judgment.
"The only White officer who supports the unit is Regimental Commanding Officer Colonel Benjamin Grierson. Ostracized by other officers for his enthusiastic command of the African-American troops, Grierson believes in the abilities, dedication, and record of performance of the Buffalo Soldiers and declines offers to lead at any other post. General Pike offers to relieve Grierson 'of this self-imposed exile and have him commanding a real cavalry regiment within a month,' but Grierson refuses" — Turner Network Television's documentary, "Buffalo Soldiers".
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