10th Cavalry Timeline


July 28 - The U.S. Army is reorganized by the Army Reorganization Act of 1866 into 45 infantry and 10 cavalry regiments. The act authorizes six regiments for African Americans - two cavalry (9th and 10th) and four infantry (38th, 39th, 40th, and 41st).

September 21 - 10th Cavalry commanded by Col. Benjamin Grierson is organized at Fort Leavenworth and begins training. Initially, recruits are drawn from veteran enlistees in the Departments of the Missouri, Platte, and Arkansas but the bulk of enlistees are from eastern cities and arrive later.


February 18 - Troop A is organized under the command of Captain Nicholas Nolan with Lieutenants G. W. Graham and G. F. Raulston.

April - Troop A is assigned to Fort Larned.

August 2 - Battle of the Saline River. This is the first major combat for units from the 10th Cavalry. Company F shows the quality of their training and discipline and maintains a defensive “hollow square” while retreating from a larger force of Cheyenne. The company reaches Fort Hays with only a single trooper killed.

August 7 - 10th Cavalry headquarters is transferred to Fort Riley. Fort Leavenworth's post commander, Maj. Gen. William Hoffman, was opposed to African American troops in the regular Army and had made life difficult for the men and their officers. He quartered them on low ground that flooded during rain, causing many of the men to get pneumonia and ignored Col. Grierson's request for better quarters. He even refused to provide them with wooden walkways to get out of the water.

1867 - 1868

Winter - Several companies of the 10th are part of the force Gen. William Sherman uses in his winter campaigns against the Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Comanche. Units of the 10th block the retreat of the Cheyenne to the northwest, allowing the 7th Cavalry to defeat them in battle near Fort Cobb, Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma).

September 1868 - Companies H and I under the commande of Captain Louis H. Carpenter rescue the force under Lt. Col Forsyth whose party of 48 white scouts had been attacked and surrounded by a force of about 700 Indians on a sand bank up the North Fork of the Republican River. The action would later be known as the Battle of Beecher Island.

October 1868 - Two weeks after Capt. Carpenter returns to Fort Wallace with the survivors from Beecher's Island, the two companies (H & I) escort supplies for the 5th Cavalry near Beaver Creek. Carptenter's force is attacked by a force of around 500 Indians. The troops are able to hold off the Indians after a running fight and then making a strong defensive stand.

No Date Available - Members of Co. A ride to the assistance of Fort Dodge, pursuing "a large party of Indians from that post fifteen miles to Mulberry Creek, killing three."

December - Indians attack a supply a supply train bound for Fort Dodge at Little Cow Creek, and drove off the cattle. Twenty troopers from Co. A ride 14 miles to Little Cow Creek, recapture the cattle and escort the train to safety. Thirteen men will suffer frostbite due to the bitterly cold winter weather.


January 2 - The cavalry stables at Fort Larned burn under suspicious circumstances. Company At is transferred to Fort Zarah in the aftermath of the fire.


The companies of 10th spends the first part of this decade at various posts throughout Kansas and Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma). They help guard workers on the Kansas and Pacific Railroad, string miles of new telegraph lines, and mostly build Fort Sill. Along with those duties they are also constantly patrolling the reservation and engaging with Indians to help keep them from raiding into Texas.


April 17 - The regimental headquarters for both the 9th and 10th Cavalries are transferred to Fort Concho in the northwest part of Texas. This move reflects the shifting focus of the western Indian Wars. With the Indians on the Central Plains mostly pacified and on reservations the Army begins concentrating on the Southwest and Northern Plains.

Companies from the 10th will spend most of their time engaged in protection and scouting duties. There are mail and travel routes to guard against hostile Indians, Mexican revolutionaries, and outlaws. They will also patrol thousands of miles of the West Texas landscape, through some of the of the most desolate, harshest terrain in the country. The information they gather is used to prepare maps for future settlement. Altogether these soldiers will travel almost 35,000 miles of unmapped territory and in the process open up 300 miles of new roads and lay over 200 miles of telegraph lines.


July - Buffalo Soldier Tragedy of 1877, also known as the “Staked Plains Horror”. Captain Nicholas Nolan, in command of a combined force of Buffalo Soldiers and buffalo hunters, ends up lost in the Llano Estaco region of northwest Texas. The command wanders for five days in this almost waterless region. Four soldiers and one civilian die before the rest of the group returns.

1879 - 1880

Campaign in New Mexico and Texas against Victorio’s Apache bands. The 10th Cavalry play an important role in the campaign to keep Chief Victorio from returning to New Mexico after escaping from his New Mexico reservation. Victorio and the warriors who followed him raid throuhout the southwest as they make their way down to Mexico.

Col. Grierson leads six companies of the 10th in one the largest concentration of military forces in the Trans-Pecos area. Grierson's strategy is to seize important watering holes to deny this essential resource to Victorio and his band. He and his troops are assigned to patrol the area from the Van Horn Mountains west to the Quitman Mountains, then north to the Sierra Diablo and Deleware Mountains.

Although most of the encounters with the Indians are just skirmishes, the 10th does have two major fights with them. One is at Tinaja de las Palmas (a water hole south of Sierra Blanco) and the other is at Rattlesnake Springs (north of Van Horn). Although Victorio and his men aren't captured, both of actions stop Victorio's movement north and forces him to retreat back to Mexico. Soon after they cross the border into Mexico, Mexican troops killed Victorio and many of his men on October 14, 1880.


Campaign in Arizona against Geronimo’s Apache bands. The 10th Cavalry's headquarters were transferred to the Department of Arizona in 1885. The regiment was involved once again in the pursuit of Apaches in the rough Arizon territory. This time the Apaches who left their reservation were led by Geronimo, Nana, Nachez, Chihuahua and Magnus.


March 7 - Battle of the Salt River. This engagement is one of the last battles of the Apache Wars. A detachment from the 10th took part in an expedition against the remaining Apache Indians. The battle is fought in area north of Globe, Arizona. Sergeant William McBryar is awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in pursuit of Apache warriors after the battle.

1891 - 1898

Regiment transfers to the Department of Dakota. After serving twenty years at various posts in the Southwest, the 10th Cavalry was transferred to the Department of Dakota. Under the command of Col. John Mizner the regiment serves at vrious posts in Montana and the Dakotas.

World War I General John "Black Jack" Pershing, commands a company from Fort Assinniboine in north central Montanas as a young lieutenant. His nickname came from his time with the unit. During that time he led an expedition to the south and southwest to round up and deport a large number of Cree Indians to Canada.

By 1898 the Indian Wars are over and the 10th Cavalry has earned a distinguished record during this period. Thirteen enlisted men and six officers from all four of the Buffalo Soldier regiments (infantry as well as cavalry) will be awarded the Medal of Honor.


April 21 - A US imposed embargo on Cuba as a result of tensions between the two governments after the USS Maine exploded in Havana Harbor on February 15.

Both the 9th and 10th Cavalry will fight in the war alongside the 24th and 25th Infantry regiments and will serve as a regular Army core in the Cavalry Division under Maj. Gen. Joseph Wheeler to which volunteer units are attached. This division was in the st Brigade under the command of Brig. Gen. Samuel S. Sumner.

June 24 - Takes part in the The Battle of Las Guasimas.

June 30 - Takes part in the Battle of Tayacoba, in which all four members of the final rescue party will be awarded the Medal of Honor

July 1 - Defends Kettle Hill during the Battle of San Juan Hill with the 3rd Cavalry and the 1st Volunteer Cavalry (the "Roughriders").

July 3 to 16 - Takes part in the Siege of Santiago de Cuba, the last major operation of the war.

1898 - 1902

Action in the Philippines - At the end of the Spanish-American War the 10th Cavalry is sent to the Philippines to help put down what is called "Philippine Insurrection" at the time, but will later be known as the "Philippine-American War.

Despite the controversy the conflict engenders, all of the Buffalo Soldier units, both infantry and cavalry, serve honorably. There time in the Philippines will be short, though. The first American Governer General in the Philippines, future President William H. Taft, does not want these four African American units serving in the Philippines and bars them from serving there.

1902 - 1908

Late 1902 - Trasferred back to the Southwest where they spend their time at various posts throughout the region. The majority of their time they are engaged in the routine of patrols and garrison life.

1909 - 1913

July 28 - Transferred to Fort Ethan Allen in Vermont. This is the first East Coast garrison duty for the regiment since their formation in 1866.

Letters and books from the men report that this was the best duty the regiment has ever had. The post has sturdy, well-built barracks, an indoor riding arena, a heated stable for their horses and good, "wholesome" food to eat. Their are also educational opportunies for the men on and off base, as well as a local community that is welcoming and friendly.


November to December - transferred back to the Southwest due to rising tension along the Mexican-American border. Their new regimental headquarters are at Fort Huachuca, Arizona.

1916 - 1917

March 14, 1917 to February 7, 1917 - Take part in the Mexican Expedition, also known as the Punitive Expedition. This is an unsuccessful campaign against Francisco "Pancho" Villa and his paramilitary forces as retaliation for his attack on the village of Columbus, New Mexico.The 10th is part of a 5000 man force under now General John J. Pershing who enters Mexico in purusit of Villa and his men. Fighting during the campaign is mostly minor skirmishing with small bands of Mexican rebels.

June 21 - Battle of Carrizal, Chihuahua. Two companies of the 10th attack Mexican Federal Army troops. The action nearly causes open war between the countries, but both governments move quickly to lesson tensions and begin negotiations for the withdrawal of US troops from Mexican soil.


April 6 - US Congress declares war on Germany and formally enters World War I. Although the 10th spends World War I in the United States they are still engaged in some combat during this time period in the United States.


January 9 - Engages in a firefight with Yaqui Indians west of Nogales, Arizona. The Indians are intercepted by E company on their way to help the Yaqui Indians of Sonora who are fighting the Mexcians.

August 27 - Battle of Abos Nogales. Fights in a border skirmish along with the 35th Infantry against Mexican troops and their German advisors. This is the only battle during the war in which Germans engaged in land combat against US soldiers in North America.

1941 - 1944

December 8, 1941 - Congress declares war on Japan and the US formally enters World War II. The regiment did not see any combat service until the end of World War II.

1941 - The regiment is on garrison duty at Fort Leavenworth at the start of the war.

1942 - Transfers to Camp Lockett, California as a replacement for the 11th Cavalry, whose duty has been the southern defense of the Western Defense Command under Lt. Gen. DeWitt.

1943 - During the summer the 10th and 28th Cavalry fight wildfires in the Cleveland National Forest.

1944 - The entire 2nd Cavalry Division, of which the 10th is a part, is shipped to Oran, North Africa.

March 9, 1944 - The 2nd Cavalry Division is deactivated and the soldiers reorganized as combat support and combat service support units despite their combat training. This was effectively the end of the 10th Cavalry as a fighting unit.


The 10th Cavalry is reactived, although the unit is now integrated, as is the rest of the army. The unit wears the buffalo symbol on their uniforms to this day.

Last updated: June 22, 2017

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