Little is written concerning the 9th and 10th US Cavalry in Colorado history. The following is a brief overview compiled by Les “Medicine Man” Dowdell, Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club, Mile High Chapter Historian, and Nina Amos of the Denver Colorado Chapter Buffalo Soldiers
COLORADO BUFFALO SOLDIER HISTORY
FORT LOGAN NATIONAL CEMETERY
William M. Bash CO I, 10th CAV (Section H 353)
Leon Jones, CO D, 25th IN (Section E 44)
Arthur McDonald, CO D 25th IN (Section H 197)
John N. Norton, 25th IN (Section A 46)
Albert Pemberton, CO I, 25th IN (Section G 105)
Charles W. Praun, CO E, 9th CAV (Section G 101)
James Yancy, CO M, 25th IN (Section G 106)
Additionally, George W. Mason, 10th CAV is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Colorado Springs and Orlando Ward, 9th CAV is resting in Fairmount Cemetery in Denver.
This post was built in 1867 and was a vital link in the early settlement of Colorado. The 10th Cavalry was stationed here and participated in campaigns in the region.
Built in the San Luis Valley of the Territory of New Mexico in 1858, Fort Garland was home to the 9th Cavalry from 1876-1879. As the push westward continued and the need for soldiers to quell disputes and enforce treaties, the Buffalo Soldiers would establish camps/forts and ultimately, the towns of Pagosa Springs and Durango. Cathay Williams, the first African American female to enlist in the US Army (1866-1868; CO A, 38th IN) has roots in Pueblo and Trinidad, Colorado.
BEECHER ISLAND BATTLEFIELD
Located near the Kansas Border, this battle pitted members of various Indian tribes against a civilian scout force, led by a 10th Cavalry officer. Company H, 10th Cavalry came to their rescue after the September 17-19, 1868 conflict.
BIG SANDY CREEK
On September 15, 1868, CO I, 10th Cavalry was on patrol on the “Denver Road,” when they were attacked by about 100 Cheyenne Dog Soldiers. The battle near Aroya, Colorado, finally ended at night fall with 7 soldiers wounded, 11 Cheyenne killed and 14 wounded, and 18 horses killed or missing.
BATTLE OF MILK CREEK
In September 1879, CO D, 9th Cavalry came to the aid of the soldiers engaged in battle with the Utes near present day Meeker, Colorado. After establishing a camp near Kremmling, Colorado (Troublesome Creek) while they were scouting the area around Steamboat Springs, the soldiers rode through the night and held on until the Utes were routed.
Since all of their horses were killed during the Milk Creek battle, CO D, 9th Cavalry arrived by train in Denver, Colorado to a hero’s welcome. They marched down 16th Street to the YMCA on Lawrence Street and enjoyed the festivities prior to being stationed in New Mexico.
Four companies of the 9th Cavalry were stationed here from 1881 and 1892 (Camp/Fort Lewis moved several times) and then finally near present day Durango, Colorado.
THE “DENVER ROAD”
This was an important emigrant and stage route. The Buffalo Soldiers were assigned to protect the Northern and Southern Smoky Hill Trail from Kansas, across the eastern plains, to Denver. The Buffalo Soldiers were patrolling the road near Cheyenne Wells, Colorado when the order was given for the rescue mission at Beecher Island. Our clubhouse is located in Bennett, Colorado. Previously named Kiowa Station, it was one of many stage stops (normally located by creeks) en route to Denver. The Southern Trail ended at the statue located at East Colfax and Broadway and the Northern Trail proceeded down 6th Avenue and ended at Larimer Street and Park Avenue.
Ute for “Pass of the Buffalo,” is located on Highway 114 near Gunnison, Colorado. In early 1880, a family was traveling through a snowy Cochetopa Pass and their sleigh was upset. Their horses ran away and the family was left in the snowy pass with a very small chance of survival. The horses happened to sprint past a military camp near the summit. Several Buffalo Soldiers followed the trail of children’s clothing and supplies back to the family and rescued them.
“FATHER OF ARMY POLO”
In the first decade of the 1900’s, the masterful horsemen of the 10th Cavalry (now stationed at Fort Robinson, Nebraska) travelled throughout Colorado to compete in the polo championships. In 1905, they were the Rocky Mountain, Western, and Interstate Champions in Glenwood Springs, Colorado Springs, and Denver, respectively.
MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENTS IN COLORADO
Captain Francis S. Dodge, CO D, 9th Cavalry. Action: Near White River Agency, Colorado 29 September 1879. Citation: With a force of 40 men rode all night to the relief of a command that had been defeated and was besieged by an overwhelming force of Indians, reached the field at daylight, joined in the action and fought for 3 days.”
Sergeant Henry Johnson, CO D, 9th Cavalry. Action: At Milk City, Colorado on October 2-5, 1879. Citation: Sergeant Johnson voluntarily left the fortified shelter and under heavy fire at close range made the rounds of the pits to instruct the guards; fought his way to the creek and back to bring water to the wounded.”
Captain Louis H. Carpenter, CO H, 10th Cavalry. Actions: At Indian campaigns in Kansas and Colorado, September-October 1868. Citation: Was gallant and meritorious throughout the campaigns, especially in the combat of October 15 and in the forced march on September 23.24.and 25 to the relief of Forsyth’s Scouts, who were known to be in danger of annihilation by largely superior forces of Indians.”
Place where Cathay Williams lived,
(The only known Female Buffalo Soldier)
1892 (aged 47–48)
After her discharge she moved to Pueblo, Colorado. She made her living as a seamstress. She may also have owned a boarding house. Her Mother lived in Pueblo as well. She later moved to Trinidad, CO and it was at this time that Williams’ story first became public.
Congratulation to the Denver Chapter Buffalo Soldiers for the first ever Colorado Historical Marker placed in Trinidad, CO the last know home of and in honor of the only Known Female Buffalo Soldiers.