The mustering officer at New Orleans was directed to take temporary charge of
the recruiting, and shortly afterwards it was transferred to Major Francis
Moore, 65th US Colored Infantry. The men obtained by Major Moore formed the
nucleus of the enlisted strength, and were principally obtained from New
Orleans and its vicinity. A little later in the autumn recruiting was
established in Kentucky, and all the men for the new regiment were obtained
from that State and Louisiana. The horses were obtained at St. Louis, and
proved to be an excellent mount.
About the middle of September all recruits were assembled in New Orleans, and preparations made for organization. Empty cotton presses were used as barracks and the ration was cooked over open fires. An epidemic of cholera, in September, caused the camp to be moved to Greenville, and later, for other reasons, it was moved to Carrollton, both of which places are suburbs of New Orleans.
Later in the fall, a second office was opened in Louisville, Kentucky. In addition to Louisiana, the majority of original recruits came from such states as Virginia, South Carolina, Kentucky and Texas, and were veterans of the Civil War. Enlistment was for five years, with recruits receiving thirteen dollars a month, plus room, board and clothing. These benefits were considered a golden opportunity, knowing the alternative was trying to advance in a society all but closed to them. The soldiers of the 9th Cavalry worked hard at discipline and organization throughout the winter of 1866 after their organization in August of that year. They joined in such numbers that there was not enough officers to train them.
During the winter of 1866-67, every effort was made to bring about an orderly
state of drill, discipline and organization. The orders regarding stables and
the performance of that duty were especially strict. Few officers had as yet
joined, and the number on duty with the regiment was so small, that a scheme
of squadron organization was resorted to so that at least one officer might be
present with each squadron for every drill or other duty.
The camp near San Antonio was continued for some three months, and the time spent there was profitably employed in completing and perfecting the organization and drill, already well under way from the efforts of the preceding winter. The officers of the regiment were now nearly all appointed, and during the summer of 1867 they were as follows:
By June 1867, the regiment was deemed sufficiently well organized, equipped
and disciplined, to be sent to the extreme frontier extending from Fort Clark
to El Paso, and from the Rio Grande to the Concho. By this time the regiment
was capable of undergoing the long and trying march into the wild and
unsettled country that lay before it.
In early July 1867, Headquarters and Companies "A", "B", "E" and "K", with Colonel Hatch commanding, were dispatched to re-activate Fort Stockton, Texas which had been abandoned by the Northern Armies during the Civil War. The old fort was in such a state of disrepair that a new base of operations had to be co-located allowing a new fort to be constructed on 960 acres, leased from civilian landowners, one-half mile northeast of the original site. The primary mission of the new post was to protect travelers of the westward migration on the numerous roads and trails that crossed the rugged lands and made use of the abundant water supply of Comanche Springs in West Texas.
Other duties of the command in western Texas was to open up and protect the mail and stage route from San Antonio to El Paso; to establish law and order in the country contiguous to the Rio Grande frontier, which had been sadly interfered with by Mexicans as well as Indians during the Civil War; to prevent marauding by Indians and to capture and confine to their reservations all roving bands; in fact, to help pave the way for the western advance of civilization, and to add their part in the great work of opening to settlement the vast resources of the great West.
In the same month, Companies "C", "D", "F", "G", "H" and "I", with Lt. Colonel
Wesley Merritt commanding, were dispatched to Fort Davis, Texas. This remote
and sparsely settled portion of West Texas had been long a haunt for a number
of Indian tribes. For many years the Mescaleo Apaches had swept down from the
Guadalupe Mountains to prey upon cattle herds, stages, wagon trains and unwary
travelers. Kiowa and Comanche warriors came from the North, spreading terror
from the Red River to the Rio Grande and for hundreds of miles into Mexico.
Indian raiding was not a one-way traffic. Vengeful Mexican Kickapoos along
with the Lipans carried on unrelenting warfare north of the Rio Grande well
into the territory of Texas. Troops "L" and "M" had previously been sent to
The mission of the troops stationed at Fort Davis was varied. They scouted and mapped the surrounding territory and guarded rail-road surveyors. Other duties included escorting the mail and protecting the stagecoaches and wagon trains traveling on the San Antonio-El Paso road. The Fort also provided security and protection to settlers from attack by hostile Camache and Apache Indians who fought to maintain control of the area. For the most part, the scout missions were only successful in checking Indian activities, as their tracks were often the only visual signs the troops had of the Indian presence in the area.
In September 1868, a detachment from Fort Davis composed of troopers from Companies "C", "F" and "K", 9th Cavalry, under the command of 1st, Lieutenant Patrick Cusack, met with more success. In pursuit: of a band of about 200 Apaches, who had been raiding near Fort Stockton, the lieutenant and his men came upon the Indians just north of present day Big Bend National Park. Two of Cusack's men were wounded in the attack. Indian casualties numbered between 20 and 25 warriors with as many wounded. The soldiers captured over 200 head of stock and all of the Indians' provisions and equipment.
When not on scouting patrols, the Buffalo Soldiers were assigned to sentry detail, endless drills, inspections, caring for and guarding the indispensable horses. Although on the rough frontier, a dress parade, complete with the post band, was held each evening except for Saturdays.
In 1869, Colonel Edward Hatch, 9th Cavalry replaced Merritt as post commander of Fort Davis. During his brief stay at the post, he ordered three separate expeditions against the Mescalero Apaches in the Guadalupe Mountains. All three expeditions involved 9th Cavalry troopers from Fort Davis. Lieutenant In the summer of 1871, Colonel William Shafter, led three companies of the 9th Cavalry from the post on an expedition which led them into the previously unscouted region of the southern Staked Plains. Although Shafter failed to encounter any Indians, he did capture a Mescalero squaw who, through an interpreter, gave much valuable information on Indian activities in the area. In addition, he proved that the Army could successfully survive in an area that was almost void of surface water. In October of the same year, Shafter again, committed to the thesis that the Indians would not stay in a threatened area, led an expedition of 9th Cavalry troops into the Big Bend. Again no Indians were confronted, but the knowledge gained of area terrain proved invaluable to subsequent patrols and scouts.
Over the next five years, at the two stations of Fort Davis and Fort Stockton in Texas, the regiment was thrust into what had been a 300-year struggle to subdue the fiercely independent Apaches. In the face of responsibilities of regional control, the 9th was forced to contend with other problems that compounded the difficulties of their task. Many Texans felt that they were being subjected to a particularly harsh form of post-war reconstruction by Washington. Despite prejudice and the almost impossible task of maintaining some semblance of order from the Staked Plains to El Paso to Brownsville, the 9th established themselves as one of the most effective fighting forces in the Army. The regiment remained in Texas for eight years, spending their greater portion of the time in the field, patrolling the vast stretches of prairie, scouting and gradually freeing the settlers from hostile environments.
In 1874, - sparked by pressure from greedy contractors supplying the
reservations, and by cattlemen, lumber men and settlers hungry for Apache
land - Washington approved a policy of concentrating the Apaches on a select
few reservations. During the winter of 1875, and spring of 1876, the 9th was
transferred to the District of New Mexico under command of Colonel Edward
Hatch. Two companies were stationed at Fort Bayard, one at Fort McRae, two at
Fort Wingate, three at Fort Stanton, one at Fort Union, two at Fort Selden and
one at Fort Garland.
On 24 January 1877, a scouting party from Fort Bayard commanded by Lt. Henry Wright, with six men of Company "C" and three Navajo scouts, was surrounded by a party of 40 to 50 Chiricahuas in the Florida Mountains, near Deming, New Mexico. Weapons were fired and then used as clubs. In the center of the melee Corporal Clifton Greaves fought like a cornered lion and managed to shoot and bash a gap through the swarming Apaches, permitting his companions to break free. For this heroic action, Corporal Greaves was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
On 18 September 1879, troopers from Companies "B", "C", "E" and "G" of the
9th Cavalry were ambushed by Victorio, War Chief of the Warm Springs Apaches,
at Las Animas Creek in the Black Range of New Mexico. Conflicting reports put
the number of troopers killed at either five or six, along with either two or
three Navjo scouts. Several troopers were awarded Congressional Medals of
Honor, having saved the wounded troopers.
In the following year, on 26 August 1886, Major Frederick Benteen, riding at the head of "B" and "E" Troops halted at a preselected fort site in eastern Utah Territory, near the confluence of the Du Chesne and Uinta rivers. Benteen and the troops had traveled a total of 650 miles, part of the distance by train, the rest on horseback, from Fort McKinney, Wyoming Territory, to help build and garrison a new Army post to be called Fort Du Chesne. Following the construction of the new fort, they were transferred between Fort Du Chesne, Utah, Fort Robinson and Fort Niobrara, Nebraska where they provided protection for work crews building the ever expanding railroads who were at the mercy of outlaws and hostile Indians.
In 1891, the 9th was called on to assist in subduing the Sioux in what later became known as the Ghost Dance Campaign. Once rulers of the northern plains, the Sioux were desolate and poverty stricken on their North and South Dakota reservations. In 1889 word spread of a messiah - a Paiute named Wovoka - who had seen through a vision that the ghosts of Plains Indians would return, bringing with them the buffalo herds slaughtered by the whites. The new "religion" swept through the Indians, alarming Dr. D. F. Royer, the newly appointed agent at the Pine Ridge reservation. Royer over-reacted, pleading for troops to protect him and his staff. By the end of November, one-half of the US Army was concentrated on or near the reservations. The show of force by the Army was intended to scare the Sioux into submission. However, many Indians, fearing a massacre, bolted from the reservations and fled into the Badlands. The subsequent actions of the Army to pacify and return the Sioux to their reservations culminated in the massacre of 146 men, women, and children at Wounded Knee on 29 December. The 9th played no role in the battle. This was to be their last campaign on the frontier.
In May 1895, the Adjutant of the 9th Cavalry Regiment, Lt. Grote Hutcheson in
reflecting on the past performance and expectations of the regiment, wrote;
"Every effort is made to keep the regiment in a high state of efficiency,
and with nearly all its officers present for duty, - with the ranks filled to
the authorized strength, - with an excellent and ample mount, - the Ninth
Cavalry stands ready today for any service it may be called upon to perform,
filled with a just pride in its past achievements and anxious again to seek
'the bubble reputation even in the cannon's mouth'." The potential of the
regiment was known to Lt. Hutcheson, but only the experiences of the years to
come would reveal the level of performance, dedication and honors to be
attained by the 9th Regiment.
With the end of the Spanish American War, the regiment was called again to another trouble spot; the Philippines, which had been acquired as part of the treaty agreements with the Spanish. During the Philippine Insurrection, the 9th Cavalry continued its hard fighting tradition by conducting several successful campaigns against the Moro tribesmen; earning the respect of the Military Governor of the Philippines, General Arthur MacArthur, whose son, Douglas A. MacArthur, would lead them in future wars.
There is a remarkable historic link between the 9th Cavalry Regiment and the
Presidio of San Francisco and the National Park Service. The Presidio was used
as a gateway for regular army regiments on their way to the Philippines or
other western posts or forts, others stayed at the Presidio for longer periods
of time. Several Troops of the 9th Cavalry remained and became part of the
permanent garrison of the Presidio.
The 9th Cavalry troops were also assigned to patrol the national parks in California, including Yosemite, General Grant, and Sequoia. Captain Charles Young, a West Point graduate stationed with the 9th Cavalry at the Persidio, was named Acting Superintendent of Sequoia National Park for the summer of 1903. The Army patrolled the parks until the National Park Service was created in 1916.
In 1907, a detachment of the 9th Cavalry was assigned to West Point to assist in Cadet riding instruction and mounted drill, which was conducted on the ground now called Buffalo Soldier Field, formerly known as the Cavalry Plain. In addition to giving riding instruction, the soldiers performed guard duty for the post, "harvested" ice from Lusk Reservoir, provided labor details and served as quartermaster support personnel.
Following their assignment in the Philippines the 9th Cavalry Regiment returned to the United States to fight once again; this time with General John J. "BlackJack" Pershing in his Punitive Expedition against the Mexican rebel Pancho Villa who had expanded his operations of rustling cattle, robbing banks and killing into the United States. It was there that the regiment along with the 7th Cavalry Regiment, took part in the last "Cavalry Charge" of the modern era conducted against an armed enemy.
The year 1916 began another five year tour of duty in the Philippines. Arriving and disembarking at Mariveles, Philippines Islands, the regiment moved to their permanent station at Stotsenburg to begin a rigorous training program. Returning to the states in 1922, the regiment moved by rail to Fort Riley. Kansas.
On 01 March 1933, the 9th Cavalry Regiment was assigned to the 3rd Cavalry
Division. The early missions of the regiment, under the 3rd Cavalry Division,
was largely a saga of rough riding, patrolling the Mexican border and constant
training. Operating from horseback, the cavalry was the only force capable of
piercing the harsh terrain of the desert to halt the band of smugglers that
operated along the desolate Mexican border.
On 10 October 1940, the 9th Cavalry Regiment was relieved from the 3rd Cavalry
Division and reassigned to the 2nd Cavalry Division. In preparation for
possible deployment overseas, the regiment participated in the Arkansas
Maneuvers from August to October 1941. Upon completion of the exercises, they
returned to Camp Funston, KS. for assignment to garrison and continuing field
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