In a debate in the Senate on July 9, 1866, contemplating the formation of a black infantry regiment, some senators observed that "if it was a privilege to serve in the Army, the colored troops had earned the privilege by their gallantry, and that if it was a duty, they should not be allowed to shirk it." Indeed, black soldiers had been serving since the Revolutionary War, but now, for the first time, they became part of the regular army, enjoying the same privileges, performing the same duties, and facing the same tedium and occasional danger that were every soldier's lot, but with the added burden of the intense racism of the time. Buffalo Soldier Regiment offers a detailed record of the service, exploits, travels, and traditions of one of these units, the "grand old Twenty-fifth."
Drawing on a wealth of official records, reports, and personal recollections, this book reconstructs the experiences of the Twenty-fifth Regiment from its formation in 1869 through its service in the border town of Nogales, Arizona, in 1926. Following the troops as they move all over the country, we see the soldiers engaged in scouting, escort and guard duty, and road building; skirmishing with Indians; quelling labor riots; fighting forest fires; and even campaigning in Cuba and the Philippines. From its moments of drama to its depictions of garrison life and accounts of the regiment's Bicycle Corps and baseball team, this volume preserves a vital part of America's complex history.