Texas Buffalo Soldiers
"We can, we will"
Motto of the Ninth U.S. Cavalry
This is a lasting tribute to the Black Soldiers of the 9th & 10th U.S. Cavalry and the 24th & 25th U.S. Infantry Regiments for their Outstanding Acts of Valor during the Indian Wars Campaign.
Who are the Buffalo Soldiers
In 1867, soon after the Civil War, Congress organized the Ninth and Tenth Cavalry and the Twenty-Fourth and Twenty-Fifth Infantry Regiments for service on the western frontier. Although black slaves and freedmen had served as volunteers in pervious conflicts, they were not allowed to serve in times of peace. This was the first time they served as citizens and professional soldiers in the peace-time Army.
Buffalo soldiers were stationed at frontier military posts from Texas to the Dakota territories to help with the westward expansion of the United States. In addition to the protection they offered, they helped build roads, telegraphs lines, and the forts they served at. They even became some of the first Park Rangers in our National Parks. In later years, Buffalo Soldiers served in the Spanish-American War as well as both World Wars.
But why are they known as the Buffalo Soldiers? They were known by many different names, many derogatory, but "Buffalo Soldier" was the name that remained. There were many different stories of its origins, but the most common was because of the black soldier's hair. When Native Americans first encountered the Tenth Cavalry in the 1870s, they noticed the similarities between the hair of the black soldier and that of the bison and slowly the name came to represent all black American servicemen.
Separating units by race came to an end in 1948 under President Truman. Today, men and women of all races who serve in those historic regiments view "Buffalo Soldier" as a badge of honor for the strength, courage, and determination they display in service to their country.
For more information on the Texas Buffalo Soldiers, visit the State and National Historical Sites and landmarks around the state.