tv Buffalo Soldier Regiments CSPAN May 7, 2017 10:00am-11:06am EDT
century when, in the early 1900s, there were maybe only two or three businesses left in shasta. staff recently visited redding, california. learn more about writing and other stops at the span.org/citi estour. next on "american history tv," historian john langellier discusses his book "fighting for uncle sam, buffalo soldiers in the frontier army." we will hear about the all black u.s. army regiments ordered to to defend the western frontier, following the civil war. the consequences for native american and african-american soldiers, and the buffalo soldier experience through colorado. this hour-long event was his to raid -- recorded at the history center in denver. >> tonight, we are gathered to hear dr. john langellier bring
new vitality to a strange subject, emphasizing the role of the buffalo soldiers in opening the west. we are so fortunate to have him here from our neighbor to the southwest arizona. ,dr. langellier earned his ba in history and historical archaeology, his ma in history with a concentration on the american west and spanish borderlands, as well as a emphasis on film history from second the university of san diego. he later went on to earn his phd in military history from kansas state university. career in public history he retired to tucson in , 2015. he is the author of dozens of books, including "fighting for uncle sam, blacks in the frontier army," which is for sale in the gift shop following the lecture. we are excited to welcome dr. john langellier.
join me in a round of applause as we welcome him to the podium. [applause] john langellier: i feel like a telemarketer. [laughter] john langellier: i will send you every month a book that i have written that no one wants if you sign up now. [laughter] john langellier: hi, i am nancy. at any rate, thank you for allowing me to be here. it is a wonderful opportunity to come back to what we at kansas state call western kansas. some of you call it colorado. [laughter] been angellier: it has pure pleasure. shawn and the crew have been wonderful. this is a magnificent facility. we certainly want you, if you are not members, before you leave tonight the doors will not , be unlocked until you join. that is just a small, there is no such thing as a free lunch. but with that theoretically i am going to attempt to make 21st-century technology work for a fellow still lives in the 19th century.
my topic indeed tonight is about the buffalo soldiers. but the bus -- the emphasis is on the buffalo soldier experience here in colorado. "do you think i will make a soldier?" was an opening line ofm one of the litany spirituals during enslavement in the odious institution, slavery. when the song had its birth is unknown, but the lyrics raised a long-standing question. because although blacks in africa, and later in what became the united states, had a place in bearing arms, their place was never really secure in the american military. in fact, soon after assuming command of the continental army, and this is appropriate because today is the 20th of february, 2017, which is president's day -- george washington, a virginia
slaveholder ordered that no , blacks should be permitted into the continental military. he supported this position by a consul of war and a committee of congress in which none of the representatives of supposedly more open-minded colonies of rhode island, connecticut, and massachusetts concurred with the idea that blacks should not be allowed. at this the war begins to go on. point,and washington finds that this was, along with many of his colleagues a very poor decision , on numerous levels, not the least of which the black manpower was quite necessary. black forces would serve later in the war as part of the continental army, including some units from rhode island, who had one of the battles in their native colonial area would fight the hessians, kind of the shock troops of the british army, the missionaries -- mercenaries that they brought over.
indeed, they were part of the line that held and pushed back this incredible onslaught of the hessians. normally at this time however, when blacks were brought in an institutionalized, segregation was set up. black troops would ultimately serve not in the main, as segregated units usually under the command of white officers. at the end of the war, many a black who had fought for freedom, for the promise all men were created equal, would find that this was purely a promise on paper, that the parchment wasn't worth what was written on it. many of them would return to slavery after the war after the concluded thes fighting between the crown and the colonies. again in 1812, in many respects, the second american revolution against the british. the unjust, hypocritical treatment would be criticized,
and again, blacks would serve against the british in that several-year war. some of that war, as you will recall from your days in school, began because of the fact that seamen were being impressed into the british navy from american ships. many of those seamen were black. they were taken prisoner as the british came aboard and either forced into service as part of his majesty's navy or locked into dank prisons in great britain. well some states like new york , would pass laws authorizing the formation of regiments of black soldiers. and many of those soldiers served with distinction, including at perhaps the most famous battle of that war, the battle of new orleans, which was ironically fought after the war concluded. at least with those of us from the 1960's, we had a great folk song about it. so how can you complain? the war is over, the status quo goes back. blacks are disallowed to carry
arms. on one hand, blacks are looking at people who are very incapable of doing anything, so we can't have them in the military. on the other hand we fear them every night as we go to bed as a slaveowner in the south. will they take up arms and murder us in our beds? so this whole dichotomy is existing at the time. this scenario continues well into the 1860's when, enter another president of the united states abraham lincoln follows , the same tune as his predecessor george washington. he says no blacks will not serve , in the u.s. union forces those breakaway rebellion states in the south. and as such he disallows the use , of blacks in the forces on land. again, the u.s. navy at this time still has blacks serving as able-bodied seaman. -- seamen. the navy at least is a separate
spirit until the turn of the end of the 19th century. some individuals believe that this is not only counter to the reason why the war is going to be fought, but also again a very myopic view. we need as many men under arms as possible to fight against the rebels. and so people like john charles vermont, the great pathfinder who often got lost, as we all know, but still one of my heroes because he was a short frenchman who had a bad temper, and i am one of the same. he came to the conclusion that blacks should be allowed to be emancipated at the very least. and some of his colleagues in kansas, such as the governor, brought blacks into the union forces in those states of the missouri-kansas area. this was not well-received by lincoln's administration but , ultimately it was determined for both political and higher
reasons that blacks should be allowed into the american military forces, the union forces. so ultimately, 180,000 or more blacks would serve, earning emancipation, buying their freedom in blood, not just accepting it as a stroke of the pen of the chief executive abraham lincoln. after the war, lincoln's death creates chaos. but the radical republicans knew one thing, and this you should put in your diary. the congress of the united states actually made a decent decision, something important to know. on july 28, 1866, the congress established six regiments of african-american men under white officers to serve in four regiments of infantry and two of calvary in the main, ultimately to be sent to the trans-mississippi west.
but some would be retained in the south. because this period of the 1860's through the early 1870's is reconstruction. and in order to establish some of the concepts of the various parts of the constitution, the amendments of the constitution, to allow blacks to vote and other issues, and also to ensure that blacks had the ability to be elected to office and be treated in some respects more fairly than they had in the hundreds of years prior to the war. some of the blacks actually served as reconstruction occupational forces, for want of a better term, including in such places as texas, which is well known to its open-mindedness for race situations. many of these troops are stationed again texas, oklahoma, kansas, and also
mentally -- ultimately had often a long trail or railroad-type situation that would become the roads to the west as we return to the status quo antebellum, that is the westward expansion in the post-civil war. so they are regarding the new union pacific railroad. they are regarding the freighters coming to the west. they are guarding the stagecoaches. they may ride on the top of the stagecoach to protect the whites inside the stagecoach but as , soon as they get to the destination wherever they are going as the protective forces against whoever might be there to interdict their transportation, they are told to get off the stage coast -- stagecoach and march back to wherever they come from. this is still not an equal time. so what we find in the soldiers again are mainly in texas and oklahoma, then known as indian territory, and parts of kansas. that will be the case well into
the first decade of the operations of the troops, and they are scattered in the longer-term of black soldiers in the west from the canadian border to the mexican border from california all the way to missouri. so truly virtually every state , and territory and union, at one time or another, will have black troops posted to them. well enter another group of individuals under a fellow by the name of george forsyth. with the consent of a group of frontiersmen all armed with spencer repeating rifles. seven rounds repeating rifle, this is a somewhat new invention that allows these guys to fire rapidly against any foe they may face. they are also carrying 140 rounds. they are really packing heat as we might say today. they are caring colt revolvers -- carrying colt revolvers with 30 rounds of ammunition. these guys are well-armed shock
troops. they head into colorado in quest of stabilizing what would be eastern colorado and the cheyenne. well, the problem is they will arrive thinking they are armed to the teeth, ready to take anybody on, when they run into cheyenne who are the finest light calvary in the world. and at a place that is remote and isolated, named beecher island, not unlike the remote dia airport that we have today, which is also near the kansas border it seems, forsyth and his men are attacked. when they go under attack, they are besieged at beecher's island, so named for forsyth's second in command, a second lieutenant of infantry, frederick beecher third u.s. , infantry. despite their rounds or superioritylogical
in firearms, they are facing upwards of 600 cheyenne warriors, who are a fierce foe. they are led by a man known in english as roman nose. despite being killed in battle, his successor rose to continue to mount attack after attack against ms. men who are hunkering down on the island who are expecting this to be their last day on earth. not so however because on september 27, after a hard right of over 200 miles -- you have to understand 25 miles a day was a pretty good pace to set. 40 miles you could make, but when you got there, your horse was pretty much played out, and one part of your anatomy as a cavalry soldier was pretty much played out. at any rate the captain, h l carpenter, and one other officer with 17 scouts, a supply train -- because the army always had to march with all of its
equipment -- and enlisted men h and company i of the black infantry, came to lift the siege. carpenter's after action report some of the the sad state that he found what he arrived. as indicated, the army doctor with them "exerted himself to the utmost in his efforts to relieve the suffering of the wounded, as did every officer and soldier of the command." while waiting for further reinforcements, they weren't sure that the indians had left at this time. the cheyenne were determined to drive these soldiers, white or black, from their traditional lands. they would eventually find that reinforcements came, and they would be finally relieved. in the meantime, prior to this attack, as carpenter was waiting
and as the forsyth command was waiting, another detachment from captain george graham had been bloodied at a place called big sandy creek. on september 15 while on a scout at the denver road, ending near east colfax and broadway, and the northern branch down 6th avenue to larimer and park avenue, graham's men would be on the trail, patrolling to keep these trails open. and he and 36 soldiers encountered an estimated 1000 cheyenne dog soldiers. now the cheyennes were excellent fighters, but their dog soldiers were like the special forces of their people. they faced these men who came to attack at close quarters. a fight ensued. and one reference said the troops themselves handled
themselves handsomely, even though this was their first time in battle for most of these men, fighting like cornered wildcats. with nightfall, the fray ended. theorses lost, and cavalryman without a horse is like an infantryman. that is bad for the calvary men. for the cheyenne, the calvary's were approximately 11 killed and 14 wounded. with the army at this point, they only had about 25,000 men. that is still a small force by any standards today, but in the 19th century, the 1860's, it is still fairly sizable. every cheyenne man was a son, father, brother, and there would would be a lodge that would go into mourning and maybe not have food or shelter when their loved did not return. oneafter these two dramatic
duels fought at big sandy and beecher island, their brothers in arms from the ninth infantry report for duty here to colorado. this regiment had informed in louisiana under orders in 1866 with general sheridan then , commanding in new orleans. sheridan was authorized to muster within his commands the men to form the regimen. he particularly looked to men serving in volunteer regiments. i mentioned about 180,000 black s serving in the war. many of the blacks were not released after the war. there were many black volunteer regiments somewhat akin to what the national guard would be today in the american military. they were allowed to be discharged early from their investment in those units if they wanted to join the ninth calvary.
this class of men was highly desired because of several things not the least of which , these men had had military service and would make good soldiers and as importantly could become the noncommissioned officers. why would you worry about that? noncommissioned officers of this time period, like noncommissioned officers of the modern time, have a great deal to do besides marshall duties. the army usually buries itself in the biggest battle, usually paperwork, not fighting an enemy. most of these men, because of the law of the south, making it a punishment, sometimes up to a capital punishment to be able to read and write could not read and write. and as a consequence having , prior knowledge of the military allowed them to cut some quarters -- corners of not having the literacy level they might ultimately have. at least they could come in with o.j. t as we might say
on-the-job training and know , what to do. going back to the civil war, the army had found that they would have chaplains in all the black regiments that were regimental chaplains. in the post-civil war era, the idea of regimental chaplains went away, and there would be a post chaplain would go to which institution that would go to a four in texas or -- fort in texas or arizona. the black regimen all had regimental chaplains. not only were they to be the spiritual leader of their group, but they were in charge of education. the idea was to train these soldiers in the three r's. to bring them up in a way that we would call cooperation bootstraps in another time to , learn to read and write, to be literate, and at a later date -- years as a matter of fact, one of those black chaplains went so far as to go on recruiting duty as opposed to just being a chaplain. bring blacks in that he thought
had promise, try to train them within the timeframe that they were enlisted, and go back into the civilian population to serve as role models and community leaders for hopefully raising the black community. sorry, too far ahead. technology here. -- backwards,e is john. backwards. ever backwards. so we have big sandy creek. colonel hatch is the commander of the ninth cavalry as is formed. he will stay at the helm for many years along with many other numerous capable officers who will go on to distinguished careers in a number of instances. well in due course, these troops , had originally been assigned
to texas would move on. they would find themselves in new mexico. and from new mexico, which they were involved in the lincoln county wars and the infamous situation with billy the kid in some cases would finally in 1876, company i of the ninth cavalry would come to southern colorado from new mexico. and they would garrison fort garland. fort garland, as many of you know, is part of the colorado historical society. it has a fantastic museum. one of the great places to go in the spring and the summer and have a picnic, enjoy the view of colorado, and learn about its history. because much of the four still remains today in pristine condition. these troops were sent to this area at a strategic crossroads. in the four corners area where numerous tribal groups claimed that this area was their traditional land.
so from the navajo, to the ute, to the cheyenne and others, this had long been a crossroads for native peoples. we find that the fort is described by none other than helen hunt jackson, one of the earliest authors to deal with indian-white conflict in the west. she talks about the fort in a way that would speak to an eastern-based audience, and probably to more modern-taste audiences, who thought a fort was a palisade surrounded by high walls, guard towers, and john wayne guarding against two -- whoever was ever coming in. she sensed this was no bastion indeed. it had no stereotypical area that was a stockade. it looked like a spanish or mexican village around a central plaza. the only real type of defenses were a, the garrison. small -- b, a couple of
howitzers that fired small projectiles, and later on, the first version if you will of the machine gun, the gatlin gun. that was it. hunt likewise indicated the defenders included the black troopers of the ninth. these enlisted men mostly single and lived in open bay spartan barracks, like the barracks that still exist at fort garland. there was kind of a philosophy in the victorian army. if the army wanted you to have a wife, they would have issued you one. somewhat of the same. most of the men are going to be bachelor soldiers going about their daily lives cooking and serving meals and scores of other housekeeping chores, as well as drilling, parading, cleaning their equipment, and other martial pursuits. fortunately, a few had families, but that privilege was usually
enjoyed by officers such as captain john convline who had a convoluted, compelling story, which if i don't do a bad job showing it, let me come back next year because i could regale you for a year and not finish his story. the officers at this point are all white with three exceptions. there will be three black west point graduates starting with the class of 1877. under henry o flipper. all other officers will be officers who are white. many of whom has served at least in the early years as officers with black units during the civil war. and this was not considered to be a really great posting. onewhen the army went from million men in the civil war union forces to 25,000 men by the late finding a job in the 1860's, army is very difficult, and so many soldiers put aside their privileges, -- their prejudice, at least the officers, to serve in black units as commanders.
likewise, company i's role went back long before their arrival into the area of colorado. it had to do with the complex saga of the ute's who in their own tong referred to themselves as our people. many of us know that is a fairly broad situation in many groups of native people. people, those are the people. no, apache, -- navajo, apache, those are the people. each group would refer to themselves as the people in their own tongue. we would give them other names and misnomers, calling them indians, which none of them were. at any rate, the people lived here in colorado and had a vast area. not only in colorado, but parts of wyoming and initially into utah. well, that would change because while these were the traditional hunting grounds and the
traditional cultural areas for the utes, westward expansion's crush would begin to press in on then. their traditional areas would be further forced by whites seeking ute lands for minerals, lumber and farms. , the expansionist had a different idea for the land which the utes had utilized. and so we have a conflict between two very distinct cultures with different views of what colorado meant to them. amongst these confrontational episodes were supposedly a series of burnings that took place. and colorado governor frederick pitkin contended the utes have burned more timber these past two weeks than white settlers have cut in 20 years. you know a politician is never going to tell a lie, so it must be true. in response to these
allegations, governor pitkin called on the local military commander, a civil war veteran, to quell what was conceived as an uprising. in response, during the summer of 1879, he ordered our colleagues company i, the ninth , calvary from fort garland, 115 miles southwest of the garrison, to investigate the fires in middle park and northpark, and to arrest two indians who local whites charged with burning the house of a local indian agent. the troops are dispatched. they are out there. they actually find nothing. enter another player. several months later on september 10, 1879, the latest in a string of indian agents , nathan maker added further , fuel to the smoldering situation in the form of an exaggerated inflammatory telegram. "i have been assaulted by a leading chief, johnson, forced
out of my house and injured badly, but was rescued by my employees. life of self family and , employees not safe. want protection immediately. have asked the governor to confer with governor pope." you know, a civil servant would never lie either, so this must have been a bad situation. despite the ute leaders saying they would maintain peace based on various treaties, and night -- 1879, this long smoldering fire storm was about to unite. -- ignite. civil war veteran thomas p. thornburg led a contingent from a fort in wyoming, fort steele, north of the ute reservation based in great part on beaker's -- meeker's request for 100 soldiers to bolster his position at the agency. 29th, on september the
not long after reaching millcreek, not much above the reservation, and within striking distance, he encountered a ute leader who was without weapons and approached troops. soon after however a weapon from source wasnknown discharged, and the utes rained down weapons on the whites. thornburg recognize the development and deployed his troops to avoid the encirclement. he thought, all right. we can handle the situation. unfortunately soon afterwards he was failed by a fatal slug to the skull. the routed whites, true with their dead and wounded in tow and put up a primitive defense put up a primitive defense that was put together with whatever they could make in a makeshift way to defend themselves from
this onslaught. while hellfire rained down on the trapped troopers, the entire fight continued to worsen. meanwhile, meeker, back at the agency with eight other agency workers and two teamsters, who had been unfortunate enough to deliver some supplies to the agency at that time, were caught in this crossfire. meeker and these individuals were killed. meeker's wife, their daughter, and another woman and her two daughters were spared but taken captive. amidst the chaos, the survivors of thornburg's ill-fated command, now under the next highest ranking officer, managed to send a career out with a poignant plea that help that simply read "thornburg killed. his men in peril. rush to their assistance." the message, miraculously, was
found on the trail by captain francis dodge and his good soldiers and reliable men of ninth u.s.f the cavalry. riding hard for 70 miles, that is an incredible hard ride in a period.hreee day two fellow officers and 35 troopers appeared to witness the devastation. according to peter decker, "if not for the assistance of the buffalo soldiers, pain and his exhausted troops would have met the same fate as custer's troops little bighorn. " the black troops immediately took up positions within the barricade and displayed superb discipline and bravery as they held out for four days awaiting the arrival of an even larger relief column. sergeant henry johnson of the ninth calvary would receive the medal of honor.
soon after the fray, with all the horses killed in the command, the men would return eastward, heading to denver, where they would come in by train to denver's union station, where they received a hero's welcome by the predominantly white community, which is very significant, because this is at a time that racial tensions are not always but often high between black communities and white communities, or blacks living within or near those communities. and so they would receive a hero's welcome, marched down 16th street to the ymca, and enjoyed festivities hosted by the good townsmen of denver. as an aside, there was a message that meeker sent on september 22 , 1879 before he met his maker that the agitated agents said "there are soldiers coming.
by the way, the soldiers are negroes, and it is sufficient that this race, once so despised, shall compel the civilization of the indians." be careful of course of what you wish for, because he never lived to see that day happen. well in the aftermath by 1879, of peace commission consisting of the chief a former white river , indian agent, and colonel hatch met at the agency under a heavy guard of troops and ute police so that they could bring about the long road to peace with another treaty that would ultimately be a lasting treaty, but alas, many of the lands ultimately that the utes had called home in colorado would be taken away from them. they would move on, in many cases, to the utah area. i will say we oftentimes think
about american indians in past tense. but we have to remember, in such places like this fantastic museum, the colorado story gallery the ute people, the , original people to inhabit this state, still are with us. some of their stories are still being told in this institution. well the history of the buffalo , soldiers did not end with peace coming about. there are other forts besides fort garland that are important. those forts happen to be in areas scattered around the state such as fort lewis. which no, it was not originally a college. you could not go to matriculate. you could as a ninth century soldier between 1881 and 1892, , you would serve at this post, and at one point in time in the ute outbreak, the regimental headquarters were located there. likewise, fort lyon was garrisoned briefly in 1860 by
troopers of the 10th u.s. cavalry, the sister regiment, -- sister regiment of the ninth cavalry, although in this case, unlike the citizens of denver, who had embraced the heroes of er's debacle, would find conflict between black soldiers who lived in the local and the white people who lived in the local town. -- and the white people who lived in the local town. as a consequence, there would be a series of violence, ultimately leading to the first legal execution in colorado after its statehood of a 23-year-old 10th cavalryman by the name of james jimmy miller. miller went into an area, felt he had the right of a person serving his flag his government , to intermix in something that was going on in the town. there was an altercation, he went out, came back in, there
was a firefight. at the end of the fight a white , lay dead. quite -- two soldiers were brought to court. miller was hanged, the other given an extended sentence. so the racial tensions between blacks and whites and american indians and white, black and american indians was very complex. there was no melting pot. the whole denver we embrace today and rightly so was something that would come in later generations, but not something that would necessarily wyoming, andrado, the western states of the 1870's. lyon and fort lewis, nearby fort logan would become the home between october 1898 and september 1900 of men of the 25th in full retreat -- infantry regiment.
the companions of the ninth and 10th cavalry, the horsemen. these soldiers had returned from what had been styled by a contemporary the splendid little war. the army was mobilized to go to cuba and ultimately puerto rico and to the philippines. the first of units essentially sent out to be deployed overseas were the four black units because they were some of the highly trained units in the army. and to give you somewhat of a bit of a back story, in the post-civil war army, desertion and alcoholism were twin evils. in some cases, 20%, 30%, or 40% of the men in the white regiments such as custer's seventh cavalry might desert from the 1860's to the early 1890's, which was quite a time for the paper to stay with the
military. not so with the black regiments, who tended for most of the entire quarter century after the civil war to have the highest reenlistment rates with some men serving four, five, six, seven, up to eight times in enlistment, i.e. 40 years in uniform, meaning that this was not a job of work as an immigrant might see it jumping off the boat from europe. who says i can't find better, i , will join the army. this was a professional arms. they also tended to have the lowest desertion rates for the entire u.s. army during this period. these were trusted soldiers who went up san juan hill, all four regiments alongside teddy roosevelt who would become president of the united states and receive the medal of honor. possibly he would not have made that charge and that great leap to become commander in chief without those four regiments of
regulars helping bring him up to the san juan hill battle during those dramatic battles. at fort logan, there was also an individual who i might say was the buffalo soldier's buffalo soldier, a sergeant by the name of jeremiah jones. jones had spent all his adult life for all intents and purposes as a black soldier in uniform. he had risen through the ranks as high as you could go as an enlisted man to become the sergeant major of the ninth cavalry, and ultimately became a specialist, an ordinance specialist. the man in charge of firearms, ammunition, all the things soldiers need in battle. he would serve his last post here at fort logan, dying march 20, 1906, virtually unremembered, and yet one of the great men of the time. so this is part of the colorado
story that is just a microcosm of the larger story of buffalo soldiers in the american west. but i challenge you, no one has written the definitive story on not only the black soldier in the west, very much like monro billington's excellent work on buffalo soldiers in new mexico, but the larger story of the interaction between blacks and whites and the indian community in this incredible state. with that, i am at the end of my tale, and we will open up to questions. we will keep them to a minimum, and my colleagues will be passing amongst you with a microphone. they won't let me pick out who is in the audience because they don't trust me, and i don't blame them, but also because we need to stay on time. i will be happy at the end of the series tonight to speak to you at the museum store. thank you so much. [applause]
>> ok. so as he said, thank you dr. , langellier. please raise your hand, and we will get things started here. yes, back here. >> i have seen a couple of essays on the black soldiers serving in the indian period as well as in world war ii, but i have never seen any extensive writings on the white officers who commanded those units and often wondered how it affected their career, because they seemed to be putting out a lot of courage in recognizing the accomplishments of their men and also getting them decorations when it was deserved. so is there any essays or pieces about those men?
john langellier: first of all, an excellent question, and thank you. the officer corps at this time within the entire army was like an old spaghetti western, the good, the bad, and the ugly. and as a consequence you had , people who you can read about such as colonel benjamin grierson, who, from 1866 to 1886 and beyond commanded, the 10th cavalry regiment. he is a former schoolteacher, taught music before the civil war. and some of you may remember the old john wayne movie with four -- movie the horse soldiers based loosely on his rating in , the south. he will be an excellent commander. he and his wife support the troops, and there are numerous publications about not only grierson but about his wife allison, a colonel's lady, and a very modern woman in the victorian era. that was very outspoken. there is not a lot of the
officer corps itself. you can read -- there are some materials. we will go through them after. i will show you them in my bibliography. the ninth cavalry talks about the officers. it could be detrimental to your career, it could be helpful to your career. but it is what you made of it in numerous cases. but there are instances where goicers would be willing to to another regiment but would , oftentimes in the literature of the time, the army, navy if tolist, they would say a black regiment they expected some kind of fiscal incentive if they were going to transfer from a white unit, so they definitely was that -- there was also the issue of posting -- black troops tended to be posted in texas not only because it was a hotbed in the 1860's and 1870's. not only because they needed the troops on the firing line, but
they also wanted to keep these black soldiers away from white communities, to not have that thisem that they had at place and other places in the west. so their postings were often off the edge of their planet in their mind. and so that was, even though it might not have been detrimental to their career, it certainly was not conducive to raising a family in some of the nicer places like a fort that might be in denver, fort leavenworth or wherever. it is a mixed bag, but no one work has covered that today. right now i am working on an autobiography of a totally unemployment -- unimportant black or white officer who was a medal of honor recipient from louisiana whose father had been a confederate officer that that -- that said he would serve with no other but black troops if he had his way.
by serving side-by-side with these men some of these officers , began to change racial racial stereotypes, and indeed some of the local communities began to change as they had contact with these highly professional soldiers. but maybe dr. hunt will do a book on that later on, not that he has nothing to do, right? [laughter] yes, sir. >> go ahead michael. , >> just related to that, pershing, the world war i commander, got the name blackjack -- i am not sure which one. it did not hurt his career. he is the most famous general between grant and sherman. john langellier: excellent point. he was the quartermaster. he counted uniforms and did all of those things. he was at san juan. did get the nickname not only because he had served with black
soldiers but because he was -- and i can't say this because we are on public tv. but his name he was a black , hearted individual. when he went back to west point as a tactical officer. if you were a young cadet, you found every way to avoid that man. at 100 yards he could spot a missing button on a coat. it did not hurt pershing's career, but i found in the montana historical society, this letter when he was stationed at the fort on the can take -- the montana-canadian border, he tried to transfer out of the 10th cavalry to get a desk job in the quartermaster corps, which meant he would have never become a four-star general, general of the army commanded the avf. it also did not hurt he married the daughter of one of the most powerful senators in the u.s. senate at the time who controlled in essence the purse strings to the u.s. army.
so if all else goes wrong, very -- marry well i guess is the moral of that story. took, i will come over here the professor here. >> i am the other professor hunt. what about meredith's kid who was with the 10th? john langellier: meredith's kid, i don't have enough background on meredith. and what i am finding is that every time i go to one of these sessions, somebody brings up something that i wish i had done 40 years ago to put in the book. but the officers again and their wives -- i will you answer your questions since you have an answer. why the term buffalo soldiers? we don't know. frances roe, an army officer's thes serving in oklahoma,
indian territory at the time said in her book that the , indians called in buffalo -- called them buffalo soldiers because in essence they reminded them with the hair and dark complexions of buffalo, of bison. the problem with that is that book was written in 1919. no one has ever found the so-called 1871-1872 letters. but as of last week, one of two definitive scholars on the topic, dr. tom phillips, found a newspaper article from 1872 that uses the term and indeed says the same thing. it is simply based on some of the indians saying they look to us like bison, buffalo. no connotation of heroism, no connotation of anything. just a descriptive thing, but native americans also called them the black white man. they also unfortunately used the n word on more than one occasion. and the utes who left here and
ended up on the reservation in utah absolutely went ballistic when they found black soldiers were coming to build the fort next to the reservation. they did not want blacks. they hated blacks, and once again, they used the n-word. so racism is something that can be taught. it is not embedded in culture. so this was not a rainbow coalition. move forward 1870's, we see that use of the term buffalo soldier. again, no quantification, no description of why it, whatever, called in thatt or simply just saying buffalo soldier. a fellow by the name of frederick remington, a yale dropout -- so it is ok sometimes to drop out of school -- goes west and begins to hone his career of his thousands of images. he will portray black soldiers
over times. 200 and one of the big newspapers of the day, national newspapers, he will write an article, scout with buffalo soldiers, as the title. and he will not tell us in there widely used the term. so it had been by that beginning to ratchet up. more commonly used within the white community, no anywhere until 1920 or 1932 do we find a black soldier using the term for themselves. it is always the white soldiers, the white officers, the white press. the insignia of the buffalo comes in in world war i. it is the 92nd division patch with the divisional shoulder sleeve patch, but those are designed by white officers, and the 10th cavalry's insignia is also designed in the 1920's i
-- also by white officers. do you want to answer your own question, because i want to know. [laughter] [indiscernible] [laughter] john langellier: that is the best thing i have ever heard. >> ok, michael in the back there. yeah. >> a minute to tell us about lieutenant flipper and what happened to him? john langellier: yes, sir. west point would finally open up andhe post-civil war certain other area to a very small number of cadet candidates who passed the exam. every cadet prior to henry o. flipper, class of 1877, as with henry o. flipper recent chilly ostracized by their fellow cadets. they lived in their own room, which is not a bad thing. some of us have had roommates in college we wished we did not have, but they were spoken to officially in command when they
were in the unit, falling in for formation, or in classrooms. they would translate a latin verse or to come to the board for trigonometry or something. so flipper will graduate as the first of three black candidates who will become cadets and then actually receive their commission at west point. he will be sent to the 10th cavalry ultimately in texas and serve at fort davis, texas. he is a second lieutenant. we all know if you have been in the military, they are like a nice hat, -- pet, but you have to care and feed them, because they might go feral. at any rate as a second lieutenant, he is charged with a lot of nonmilitary duties that have to do with keeping the books for the commissary and other things. he messes up. he tries to cover it up. he is found out. he is brought up on charges of conduct unbecoming an officer and otherleman
specifications. he is put under arrest. the norm in the victorian military is you are an officer and gentlemen by an act of god, congress, and your tailor. he cannot stay in his quarters. he is placed in the guardhouse, which is unheard of. no other officer would have gone with the same. the long and the short of it is he is tried and convicted, found guilty, and he was guilty. he made some errors. gee, no one in this room has ever done that, but he did. unlike many officers who had done more shall we say devious deeds including george custer, who, some of his men died because of some of his cavalier attitudes and was placed on one-year suspension without pay. clipper was dismissed from the service. in the 1970's alternately flipper was reinstituted under
some congressional legislation to allow him to have his dishonorable discharge changed to honorable, and as of next month in the small town in the south of georgia where he is interned, they are putting down finally a new headstone. >> ok, we have a question up front i believe. yep. >> i was wondering, i did not hear anything about glorietta pass. john langellier: gloria was not in the civil war, and there are no black soldiers serving west of the civil war until 1866 with the exception of a unit in fort leavenworth that was created prior to the emancipation proclamation and created some turmoil within the hierarchy of the administration at the time. that is strictly union forces from colorado and new mexico and texas forces. >> michael, in the back.
>> is there any documentation of what became of some of the se became of some of the soldiers? -- what became of some of these soldiers? did any of them settle here that we know of? or their descendents, anyone who can trace their ancestry back? john langellier: that is the crux of what many of us have not really assimilated in our research. soldiers, first enlistment, you are a farmer, you are a clerk. second enlistment you are a , soldier. you are a soldier. they began to look at the military as a profession of arms, and that became their surrogate family, and some -- in some cases, those who have been enslaved prior to the civil war, they did not know their real name. they took on a name. as a matter of fact theoretically every president in , the united states had a buffalo soldier as a last name because many of these men took on the name of lincoln, jackson,
jefferson washington, because , they had no names given to them. they had to embrace that. many of the soldiers would move on with their unit and disband. some would stay. horse bivens was a long time resident of our neighboring montana to the north, and he would become a fixture within that state. in some cases, some individuals would stay, but usually they would scatter and go back to where they came from. which is dicey, because at the time, the buffalo soldiers are being formed and gaining their laurels, if you will and their , expertise, is a time of jim crow, slavery by another name, being adopted. so do you want to go back to the south? fruit hanging from a strange tree hanging, lynchings, , burnings? all these things are taking place, or do you want to stay in the military? and i somewhat argue that while we need to do that research, we also need to understand that the
black soldiers coming to the west is the beginning of a great migration that turns into a landslide in the 1920's as people begin to move to the north. that research needs to be done. and regrettably many families don't even realize the connectivity to the black soldiers, and while a fellow by the name of mickey schubert has brilliant bookt, called the trail of the buffalo soldiers, it is just a fraction of the black soldiers and what we can gleam. if we all look back to the national archives for a year, we could probably come up with some better answers, but it would always take a massive amount of people doing an infinite amount of work. >> how about you explain to us what happened to the buffalo soldiers during the 20th century as time went on? john langellier: 20th century, the black soldiers are the forerunners of the border patrol. there is no border patrol. there is no fence, believe it or
not. but there are regiments of black soldiers on the border who maintain a pretty steady peace. and this is not an easy time, and by the way in the early 20th century, one of the things they are stopping they are stopping , illicit drugs from mexico. they are doing it on horseback, $90 million worth of heavy-duty -- not in $90 million worth of heavy-duty equipment. they are on horseback, the mexican revolution is taking place. it is a very difficult time, and the black soldiers are serving with distinction. but they are left there on the border in 1917 when the first world war i comes. and black units that go under pershing in the 92nd division are oftentimes relegated to stevedores and people who are doing housekeeping, truck drivers unloading ships. there are some combat units, but none of the four highly
qualified veteran black regular army units go overseas. none of them for the most part to be a cadre of officers to train the black troops going overseas. in essence, setting the black soldiers up for failure. by world war ii and actually even before world war ii, because of the depression and money is difficult, congress has said we have to have a very small military, and we have the airplane, and we have the army air force. we find we need the slots, we only have x number of soldiers we can have in the military. let's get rid of the black soldiers so we can have the slots for white men to come in and be the pilots and mechanics for the army air force, because after all, blacks can't fly airplanes. tell that to a tuskegee airman. in 1937, no blacks had graduated
from west point since the 1880's, with young, charles young's graduation from west point. a fellow by the name of benjamin o. davis jr. would be the first graduate from west point. his father, benjamin o. davis has studied for exams under the tutelage of charles young, the last west point graduate in the 19th century. he became one of the first black officers to be promoted through the ranks and begin the first black general officer or in the navy, flag officer. >> ok, i think we have time for maybe one more question. ok. >> about two years ago or so, i went to a presentation out of fort logan by a buffalo soldier. his father had been stationed in
fort logan, was in charge of the horses and stuff. and his contention was they got the name because their hair looks like the buffalo and everything. but he was a descendent of somebody that had been i think a part of the black regiments or something like that. have you ever heard anything like that? unfortunately i don't remember his name. john langellier: yes, ma'am. the good news is there is a buffalo soldiers national organization consisting of veterans, black veterans, with interest in that. they have an annual meeting, and they met in houston where there is a buffalo soldier museum. and coincidentally they met in june of last year because june of last year was the 150th anniversary. that went completely without any government agency or any national institution
acknowledge and -- acknowledgment, so that is why i convinced my publisher to put on the book, which usually -- they are full of wonderful photographs aired many of those stories are finally coming up, and because of both black historians and black family members and a number of individuals within the academic community, and interested parties, they were finally getting that information. if i told you about the book when i first started working on the concept in the 1960's, you would have said soldiers that killed buffalos? because none of us would have known. how many hollywood epics are starting black -- staring black soldiers, except for woody strode the gentleman that did , the major john wayne movies. we hear about stuff from popular culture, and certainly we did not learn about them in any of our schools, high school or even college courses in the
1960's and 1970's. >> ok, i know we might have more questions, but we are just about out of time. i would like to thank dr. john langellier for a great presentation on the presentation on the buffalo soldiers. [applause] >> of course, he would be happy to answer any of your questions . he will be signing his book following the presentation, so please come up, ask him some more questions out there. we certainly thank you all for coming to the history of colorado center this evening and , we'll see you next month. john langellier: make sure you also understand there is a fantastic ute indian museum and fort garland museum that is a part of the colorado historical society. they have excellent publications and are worth field trips in this fine state. thank you so much. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] announcer 1: you are watching "american history tv," all
weekend, every weekend on c-span3. to join the conversation, like us on facebook at c-span history. announcer 1: on "lectures in history," townsend university akim reinhardt teaches a story about victorian culture in the u.s. in the last half of the 20th century. he describes the societal customs of the upper and emerging middle class and established gender norms for the time period. they talked about how the conventions created expectations that covered behavior, dress, work, and home life. his class is about an hour. akim reinhardt: all right, this is a picture of queen victoria, queen of england from 1837 until 1901. for a very long time, she was the longest reigning monarch in british history. she was only recently surpassed by queen elizabeth ii, who is 90 years old and has been on the throne since 1952.