By William H. Leckie
A story of the Negro Cavalry within the West. 290 pp., illus., maps, softcover, in shrinkwrap.
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Additional resources for The buffalo soldiers: a narrative of the Negro cavalry in the West
Six regiments of Negro troops were authorized, two of cavalry and four of infantry. 14 Since the use of Negro troops in the peacetime army was regarded as something of an experiment, the authorizing act contained some unusual provisions. Chaplains were normally assigned to a particular post or station, but in the case of the Negro units the chaplain was assigned directly to a regiment with both spiritual and educational duties, for he was to instruct the soldiers in the rudiments of reading, writing, and arithmetic.
Swiftly then the United States reverted to its traditional policy of a small peacetime army. 13 This was the situation in the face of a savage Indian war in the West and conditions approaching anarchy along the Mexican border. Congress, meanwhile, had cleared up some of the uncertainty surrounding the future of the Negro in the armed forces, and, in so doing, altered the face of military tradition. By an act passed on July 28, 1866, provisions were made for the Negro to serve in the regular peacetime army.
Rumors of impending service on the frontier were circulating among the men, and officers noted that some of their neophyte troopers were becoming surly and unruly. Rumor became fact in March when Hatch received orders transferring the regiment to Texas. Two companies, L and M, were to take station at Brownsville on the Río Grande while the remaining ten companies were to encamp near San Antonio and undergo further training. Marching orders had come much too soon. Hatch had little more than an ill-disciplined mob on his hands and the stage was set for violence and tragedy.
The buffalo soldiers: a narrative of the Negro cavalry in the West by William H. Leckie