Primary Source Spotlight: Buffalo Soldiers

Buffalo soldiers of the 25th Infantry, some wearing buffalo robes, Ft. Keogh, Montana

On June 28, 1866, the U.S. Congress passed An Act to Increase and Fix the Military Peace Establishment of the United States, which established four segregated African American infantry regiments and two cavalry regiments: the Ninth Cavalry, the Tenth Cavalry, the Thirty-eighth Infantry, the Thirty-ninth Infantry, the Fortieth Infantry, and the Forty-first Infantry. According to the National Park Service the regiments, which became known as the Buffalo Soldier regiments, “were tasked with maintaining peace in the South during Reconstruction (1865-1877), building roads and telegraph lines, escorting U.S. Mail carriers, and protecting homesteaders as well as American Indians on their lands.” The Buffalo Soldier regiments went on to serve the U.S. Army with distinction and honor for close to 90 years.

An Act to Increase and Fix the Military Peace Establishment of the United States 39th Congress, Session 1, Chapter 299 , p. 332 (PDF p. 364), United States Statutes at Large, Volume 14

Modern U.S. legislation related to the Buffalo Soldiers

Buffalo Soldier Photographs

Maj. Chas. Young 1916

Major Charles Young and Capt. John R. Barber 1916

Buffalo Soldiers historical newspaper coverage

Buffalo Soldiers National Museum web archive

Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument National Park Service

The Proud Legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture

African Americans and the Formation of National Parks: The Story of Charles Young Teaching with the Library

Buffalo Soldiers: The 92nd in Italy oral histories