Cornerstones of Black History--Buffalo Soldiers

Buffalo Soldiers
Buffalo Soldiers

As Fort Stewart and Hunter troops, as well as the Beaufort Marines, are deploying to the Middle East to protect our freedom, we must take time to honor those who answered the call long ago. In 1866, Congress passed a law to authorize six regiments of black troops for the peacetime Army.

They came from all parts of the country to join. The Buffalo Soldiers quickly won the respect of their opponents. In 1867, less than one year after the units were formed, fewer than 70 of the raw recruits held off an estimated 900 warriors and Mexican bandits.

The Indians nicknamed the troops Buffalo Soldiers because of the similarity between their hair and the coat of the buffalo. They were also compared with the buffalo's strength and tenacity. The Buffalo Soldiers protected and helped expand the West, in a time when the color of their skin was still cause for great discrimination, even in the armed forces. Therefore, the troops had to work harder to earn the respect given to white soldiers. In spite of that, the desertion rate for Buffalo Soldiers was the lowest in the Army.

Reported by: Dawn Baker,