9th & 10th Cavalry: Setting Our Sight on Fort Robinson

Fort Robinson 1892 10th Infantry

As a historian, genealogist and techie I place great value in utilizing Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to gain key insights and learning in the areas I am less familiar.

My search for the story of our mystery Buffalo Soldiers, G Troop and now L Troop, is no different. For 16 years I’ve researched African American and Slave Ancestry, but it’s only recently (almost 1 year to the day) I created Where Honor is Due to acknowledge my family’s men of service. And from time to time tackle the random unrelated #MilitaryMystery that peeked my interest.

Military research [and the unique terminology associated with it] are fairly new to me. But even a military history newbie like myself knew when seeing our 10 men of Company G, 9th Regiment for the first time we’d stumbled upon an amazing, historic find.

The journey’s been that and then some!:)

With the military history expertise of Colonel William Haenn and Colonel Sam Russell, and the constant support of researchers True Lewis (Army) and Bernita Allen (Air Force), we’ve begun to unfold who our men of Troop G and L were, and the magnitude of their military service.

If you haven’t already, follow this post and the very important contributions of the Colonels — their commentary is beyond fascinating! This will provide context to why our attentions have now turned to Fort Robinson Nebraska (pictured above) as the home of BOTH Troops G and L of the 9th and 10th Cavalry respectively. In fact, the posted image is of the 10th Cavalry taken at Fort Robinson in the late 1890s.

Observe the beam structure, window and door frame build. Is this the same build/structure captured in our Troop G image?

Below is a different Fort Robinson image of the same guardhouse. Is this the brick structure the same as that behind our Troop L baseball image?

Fort Robinson - Nebraska I

So what answers are we in search of today?

  • How can we confirm Fort Robinson as the home to our Buffalo Soldiers? Are there any preserved structures (or pictures of them) that can be identified?
  • Are there any Fort Robinson military rosters identifying Troops G and L by name?
  • Is there additional historic commentary from Lieutenant Grote Hutcheson providing insights about G Troop? To True’s question, did he name the troops?
  • Can we leverage widow pension records to learn more about our Buffalo Soldiers? Checkout the Indian Wars Pension Project via USGenWeb.

The nature of in depth, exhaustive historical research — the more mysteries we solve, the more questions they generate!:)

Sources:

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Was Fort Bayard New Mexico Home For Our Troop G?

Examine the two photos of Buffalo Soldiers below [click image to increase size]:

Troop L - 10th Cavalry

Troop L (9th Cavalry *) captured in their baseball uniforms. I spotted this image today while viewing the New Mexico PBS segment “MOMENTS IN TIME: The Buffalo Soldiers in New Mexico“. I believe this could be the image “Yvonne”, a TEMPO reader emailed us about, having seen it as part of a New Mexico History Museum exhibit last December.

I believe this image was taken while the men were in ACTIVE service. Attached NMHM metadata indicates it was taken in 1899 at Fort Wingate.

Military-Mystery---Taos-News-I

Troop G (9th Cavalry) our original mystery Buffalo Soldiers held post at Fort Bayard from 1875-1899, according to this “Units Posted at Fort Bayard” record. General consensus is we’re looking at a REUNION photo taken sometime after their service.

We believe the dog present in both pictures is the same. He looks older in the Troop G photo but that would make sense if the image was taken AFTER their active duty. Also note the framework of the doors, columns and steps. Though the painting differs, the build structure looks similar to the Troop L image.

Lastly, email comments from “Cecilia” of the Fort Bayard Historic Preservation Society

“Although I can not be for certain, I have seen other Ft Bayard buildings and photos that suggest this might be Fort Bayard. Fort Selden and Fort Cummings were nearly all constructed of adobe. Yes, Fort Bayard had many regiments of the 9th Cavalry.”

Though we can’t confirm 100% Fort Bayard was home for our Troop G, it does appear we’re on the right track to doing so; along with a new possibility the regiment held post at Fort Wingate.

According to Buffalo Soldiers (Zianet):

“In 1875-76, the 9th Cavalry Regiment was transferred to the New Mexico District, 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, one at Fort Selden, and one at Fort Garland.”

So Stay tuned! Clearly these Soldiers have returned home with MUCH to say!:)

Luckie

RESOURCES:

02.23.15 FOOTNOTE: Troop L details provided by Hannah Abelbeck, Photo Archivist NM History Museum

  • We have the group and location noted as 9th Cavalry at Fort Wingate. I’d have to look into the source and see if I can figure out when and why that metadata got assigned. Sometimes information comes to us on the photo; sometimes it is assigned later. Maybe our info is incorrect and Fort Bayard is another option; maybe it is perfectly correct already. Or maybe the two different units are somehow interrelated (changed names, consolidated, split, etc). Here’s our online record: http://econtent.unm.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/acpa/id/5049/rec/1
  • The photo came to us from a dealer circa 1981. In the same accession were two other photos, identified as: 9th Cavalry, Troop H also from Fort Wingate circa 1899-1900, and the NCOs of 9th Cavalry, Troop L, at Fort Wingate, circa 1899.
  • The notes on all three images are from the same hand—seems likely that they are from the dealer. There is a chance that they came from the same estate, but we have no information on their provenance. The baseball photo seems to have two names written on it, perhaps, but the writing is not good: it might say “Capt. Day” and “Lt. Pritchard” or something that kind of looks like those names.
    Both of the Troop L images are made by the Imperial Photo Gallery and are on the same type and size of mount. Looking closer, the buildings captured in both of those images look to be from the same architectural style—adobe brick. They also both have horizontal multi-paned glass windows over the doors. They are not, however, exactly the same side of the same building—the arrangement of doors and windows, the supports, and the size of the porch are different.  These are both different than the image you have, which has clearly discernible siding.
    The units in our photos mostly seem to have been identified by their troop flags (or baseball jerseys).
    There were many buildings at both forts, and many structures at Wingate were damaged in fire in the 1890s. So while we have photos of both Forts, they aren’t systematic enough (individual buildings are photographed erratically, groups of buildings are shot from too far away to differentiate between subtle architectural details), so I’m unable to venture confirming or excluding either site for your photo.
    Interestingly, the hat style for both K and H at this time (1899) seems to have been the western-style Cavalry hat. Also on the topic of hats, I’ve attached a detail from the 9th Cavalry band photo (Santa Fe Plaza circa 1880) where you can see men in the band wearing the regular cap, but with two different insignias. The hat style changes again after 1910, and the troops up north (like, Troop K, Wyoming) in the 1890s seem wear yet another style of hat.
    I didn’t see any men in any of our photos that seemed obvious matches for the men in your photos, but I was not doing detailed comparisons. And, as far as we know, these were different units and they may not even have served concurrently.

Are Our Soldiers Wearing GAR Medals? #BuffaloSoldier

The mystery continues! Compare the medal worn by one of our Mystery Soldiers and the featured Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) medal. Are they one in the same? And if yes, what does this tell us about their military service?

9th G Troop - Taos News

GAR Medal - Taos News

Now consider the medal (below) worn by this distinguished Buffalo Solider from Company A, 25th United States Infantry Regiment. Are we looking at the same medal and if so, what does that tell us?

Officer of Company A, 25th United States Infantry Regiment

Questions of the day:

  • Did our Soldiers serve in the Civil or Indian War? Could they have served in both?
  • Are the medals worn in fact GAR medals awarded for Marksmanship?
  • Would soldiers in the Civil and Indian Wars have received the same type of medal?
  • When and where was the picture taken? Could it have been Fort Bayard New Mexico? Checkout the Fort Bayard “porch” featured in this 1886 image. Is this the backdrop of our group photo? Buffalo Soldiers were stationed there and the 9th Cavalry unit was posted there from 1875-1899.

MANY thanks to my geneaholics (True and Bernita) and history/military buffs tossing their research eye into our search for answers. Kudos to Rick Romancito,  TEMPO readers via Taos News and our new friends at the New Mexico Museum of History! Your contributions are keeping us very BUSY!:)

So stay tuned… looks like there will be lots more to come!:)

RESOURCES:

Units Posts - Fort Bayard

G Troop Continues To Speak…

Military-Mystery---Taos-News-II

Gloria Longval is a gifted Cuban artist and owner of the 9th Regiment, Company G image. She tells me it was purchased in 1965, at an estate sale in Los Angeles.

Gloria paid .40 cents each for 4 picture frames, and it wasn’t until 3 days later she discovered the 9th Cavalry image hidden securely between two mats, and on the underside the horse and carriage image featured above.

She tells me she’s never shared the images with anyone outside of her immediate family, only taking them to be appraised in 1994 and last week to Taos News, in the hope it would prompt a Black History Month feature.

Having lost her Husband in 1965, Gloria shared how the image of the soldiers helped to ease her grief. She’d often examine their faces, wondering about the lives of the 10 men.

So what have we learned and/or confirmed?

  • The soldiers are in fact the 9th Regiment, Company G; also referred to as “G Troop”. The emblem on their hats confirm this — “9” at the top of the crossed sabers and “G” below, medals and uniform style.
  • They are Buffalo Soldiers who we believe served in Texas, Kansas and New Mexico. It’s possible they were recruited in New Orleans in 1866.
  • The medals they’re wearing are not Medals of Honor. We’re working to confirm what the medals represent, at least one medal appears to be for “marksmanship”.
  • The image is believed to be a “reunion” shot, taken sometime after their service. The location to be determined.
  • I’ve reached out to friends at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture for historical input and validation.
  • True Lewis has enlisted the aid of researchers from the US Army War College to provide additional insight into G Troop’s history and service record.
  • We’re hopeful we’ll be able to identify these men by name and who knows, possibly connect them to living descendants.

The above image was preserved and sold along with the 9th Regiment picture. Is it possible they are connected? Can anyone identify the building in the background?

When it’s all said and done, I’ll work with Gloria to find a permanent home for our Soldiers.

I believe they are speaking and will continue to guide us. They are true soldiers. They are fighting for freedom.

Luckie

Military Mystery: U.S. Cavalry 9th Regiment Company G?

Military-Mystery---Taos-News-I

As “luck” would have it friends, I happened to find myself sitting beside a colleague, Rick Romancito (TEMPO Editor, Taos News) as he interviewed the owner of the above historic image.

“Gloria” purchased the image 40+ years ago from an estate sale in Los Angeles, CA. In 1994 she had the image appraised, details of which are included below.

Military-Mystery---Taos-News-DETAILS

I’ve enlisted the aid of my own personal military advisers, True Lewis (Army) of My True Roots and Bernita Allen (Air Force) of Voices Inside My Head to help track down details regarding these distinguished Servicemen. Now I enlist the help of our genealogy community!:)

We’d love to confirm service details and if possible, identify and call their respective names! Are they in fact U.S. Cavalry 9th Regiment Company G Servicemen?

Wouldn’t it be amazing to know the origins of the medals they’re wearing so proudly and/or to connect this rare image to living descendants who would love to see their Ancestors in this light?

ALL feedback is welcome, so PLEASE do leave comments, ideas and thoughts.

There’s a good chance you’ll be seeing our Servicemen as an ongoing article in our local TEMPO section of the Taos News as we work through this mystery together.

There are less than 100 African Americans in the town of Taos. And to my knowledge I’m the only genealogist — let alone a researcher with African American military interest and a visible online presence. What are the odds that the owner (who I do not know) and I would find ourselves connected by this image?

These Ancestors have something to say people! Let’s do what we do best and help them.

Luckie