Until the 1890s, the black regiments served almost entirely at remote western frontier posts. Comprised initially of mostly illiterate former slaves, they overcame their shortcomings and the army's initial tendency to supply them with cast‐off equipment. They also faced considerable racial hostility and occasional violence from white civilians throughout their frontier service.
All saw action against hostile Indians. Sergeant Emanuel Stance of the Ninth Cavalry was the first of eighteen black soldiers to receive the Medal of Honor during the Indian Wars between 1870 and 1890. Both cavalry regiments played prominent roles in the brutal Apache wars of 1877–81; they suffered more casualties than all the other frontier campaigns. They also fought in Cuba, in the Philippine War (1899–1902), and in Mexican border skirmishes (1915–16).
The sobriquet “Buffalo” Soldiers was applied first to the 10th Regiment around 1870. The term apparently originated with the Cheyenne Indians, who may have seen a similarity between the curly hair and the dark skin of the soldiers and the buffalo. Soon the Ninth's troopers also became known as buffalo soldiers, and ultimately the infantrymen too came to be considered buffalo soldiers. Many writers contend that the name reflected the Indians' respect for the soldiers, but Native American commentators disagree.
[See also African Americans in the Military; Army, U.S.: 1866–99; Plains Indians Wars.]
William H. Leckie , The Buffalo Soldiers: A Narrative of the Negro Cavalry in the West, 1967.
Arlen L. Fowler , The Black Infantry in the West 1869–1891, 1971.
Frank N. Schubert , On the Trail of the Buffalo Soldier: Biographies of African Americans in the U.S. Army, 1866–1917, 1995.
Frank N. Schubert
"“Buffalo” Soldiers." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 17, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/buffalo-soldiers
"“Buffalo” Soldiers." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Retrieved October 17, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/buffalo-soldiers
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.