Buffalo Soldiers

buffaloIn 1866 Congress approved legislation creating all-Black Regiments of the Army, however, with white officers.. The two Cavalry units were the 9th and 10th and the two infantry units were the 24th and 25th. The 10th Cavalry in the west earned the name “Buffalo Soldiers” from Native Americans, as a term of respect, describing not only their tenacity, but their hair, said to resemble the color and texture of the hair between the horns of the buffalo. Eventually all of the Black regiments were called Buffalo Soldiers.

The 9th and 10th Cavalry were stationed at Fort Reno beginning in 1874 through the 1880’s. The Infantry units were present by the early 1900’s, then transferred to New Mexico and Arizona Territories.

The Buffalo Soldiers have the reputation for effective and consistent fighting against the lawless whites, Mexicans and Indians. The Ninth and Tenth United States Cavalry were designated as the black regiments. Companies from both units passed through Fort Reno. The Fort Reno Post Cemetery is the resting place for one of the 10th Cavalry soldier, six soldiers of the 9th Cavalry and seven “Walk-A-Heaps” from the 25th Infantry. Along with the white troops stationed at Fort Reno, the Buffalo Soldiers played an important role in several ejections of David Payne’s Boomers from Indian Territory and preventing cattle drovers, outlaws, and “Sooners” from entering the territory prior to the land rush, as shown in historic photographs.