Some inaccuracies about Buffalo Soldiers
The March 10 article on the Buffalo Soldiers had at least one inaccuracy, and was lacking in the full history of the men of the 9th and 10th Cavalries.
Mr. Hardwick Crawford states, “White officers who finished last in their class got assigned to the Buffalo Soldiers.” John J. Pershing, General of the Armies of the United States, second in rank only to General of the Armies George Washington, commanded the 10th Cavalry. He graduated 30th in a class of 77. Brigadier General Louis H. Carpenter, who dropped out of college to join the Army, was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, and commanded the 10th Cavalry. He did not have a class ranking. Col. Benjamin H. Grierson, who organized the 10th Cavalry, was not a West Point graduate, but a music teacher. He believed in the abilities, dedication and record of performance of the Buffalo Soldiers and refused to consider any other command. Brevet Major General Edward Hatch, was educated at the Norwich Military Academy in Vermont and volunteered as a private at the beginning of the Civil War. He was the first commander of the 9th Cavalry. Henry Ossian Flipper, the first African-American to graduate from West Point, led the soldiers of the 10th Cavalry. He finished 50th out of a class of 64.
The fact that many Americans do not know about the Buffalo Soldiers, may not be that they are ashamed as Crawford alleges, as how can you be ashamed about something you know nothing about? The Buffalo Soldiers’ service in the American west resulted in the mapping of thousands of square miles of uncharted territory, the installation of telegraph wires, construction of roads, and the discovery of passes and water sources that made further exploration possible.
In addition, Crawford failed to point out that during their history, the men of the 9th and 10th Cavalries, and the 24th Infantry, all Buffalo Soldiers, earned 23 Congressional Medals of Honor. African-Americans have participated in every war that we have had, and have been a part of what makes this country great.
Frederick G. Scott, M.Sgt., USAF, (Ret.), St. Charles