8 Wonders of Kansas people

An 8 Wonder of Kansas People

Buffalo soldiers, Fort Leavenworth

Address: Grant and Stimson, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas 66027
Phone: 913.684.3767
Website: garrison.leavenworth.army.mil/

Buffalo Soldiers were members of an all-black regiment in the U.S. Army.   The 10th Cavalry was formed on September 21, 1866 at Fort Leavenworth and was the regiment that the Indians first called "buffalo soldiers." 

Photo courtesy U.S. Army

The United States Congress authorized the formation of several African American regular Army regiments in 1866. The first one, the 9th Cavalry, was constituted July 28, 1866 in Louisiana.  A short time later, the 10th Cavalry was formed at Fort Leavenworth September 21, 1866.

The 10th Cavalry Regiment was under the command of Brevet Major General Benjamin H. Grierson, famous for his Civil War cavalry exploits.  The 10th, along with the 9th Cavalry, 24th Infantry and 25th Infantry, formed the first all-black regular regiments in the United States Army. The name eventually spread to signify all four of the African-American regiments in frontier service.


Almost immediately the 10th was engaged in campaigning in western Kansas and participated in conflicts with the Cheyenne in the vicinity of Fort Hays.


The troopers quickly earned a reputation for their orderly conduct, fighting ability and determination to follow orders.  Their courage under fire was commonly noted and their desertion rate was among the lowest in the Army.


The black soldiers gained respect amongst their opponents who labeled them as "Buffalo Soldiers."  Taking pride in their new name the 10th Cavalry adopted the buffalo on their regimental crest, as did the 92nd Infantry Division.


The Buffalo Solders left Fort Leavenworth to win repeated honors on the Great Plains and in the West.


Learning how to dismount. Photo courtesy U.S. Army
A little known fact about the 10th Cavalry is they fought alongside Theodore Roosevelt and the Rough Riders in Cuba earning praise for their audacity during the battle for Santiago.


The regiment served in a series of posts in the United States and in the Philippines following the war with Spain.


On July 1, 1909, the Army formed the Command and General Staff School Support Detachment, Colored, which became the 10th Cavalry (minus the 2nd Squadron and the Machine Gun section) Oct. 12, 1931.  From 1931 to 1940, the 1st Squadron of the 10th Cavalry served at Fort Leavenworth. The major function they performed in the peacetime years of the first half of the twentieth century was as essential support troops for the Command and General Staff College.


Horse training at Ft. Leavenworth. Photo courtesy U.S. Army

The 10th Cavalry joined Gen. John J. Pershing's punitive expedition into Mexico in 1916.  From then until 1931 the 10th patrolled the border with Mexico. In 1931, the mission changed and the squadrons took on training support at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.; Fort Myer, Va.; and at the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. With the onset of World War II, the 10th was brought together again at Camp Funston (Fort Riley), Kansas.


Fort Leavenworth takes great pride being the home of the Buffalo Soldiers. 

Source: Robert Kerr and garrison.leavenworth.army.mil/sites/about/Buffalo.asp

WHERE DID THE NAME COME FROM?  Writer Walter Hill attributed the origin of the name to the Comanche. Some sources assert that the nickname was given out of respect for the fierce fighting ability of the 10th cavalry. Other sources assert that Native Americans called the black cavalry troops "buffalo soldiers" because of their dark curly hair, which resembled a buffalo's coat.  The term Buffalo Soldiers became a generic term for all African-American soldiers. It is now used for U.S. Army units that trace their direct lineage back to the 9th and 10th Cavalry, units whose service earned them an honored place in U.S. history.

Source:  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffalo_Soldier

Buffalo Soldier Monument, Ft. Leavenworth. Photo courtesy Leavenworth CVB


  • Buffalo Soldier Monument.  The Buffalo Soldier Monument, located at Grant and Stimson avenues, stands as a tribute to the Buffalo Soldiers.  A 13-foot bronze monument of a Buffalo Soldier astride his horse and a smaller bust nearby was dedicated 1992 by Gen. Colin L. Powell, then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who was the first African-American to serve in that capacity.  Eddie Dixon was the sculptor. 

  • Circle of Firsts and Walkway of Units.  The Circle of Firsts, located in the Buffalo Soldier Memorial Park on Fort Leavenworth, recognizes the significant "firsts" in the history of African-American soldiers and units in the U.S. Army.  Currently three busts created by Eddie Dixon honor Henry Ossian Flipper, first African-American graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., class of 1877; Roscoe Robinson, Jr., first African-American officer to rise to the rank of Army four-star general, West Point class of 1951, and the 555th Parachute Infantry Company, the "Triple Nickles."

  • Charles Young Reading Room.  The Charles Young Reading Room is on the second floor of Combined Arms Research Library.  The room is dedicated to the study of Buffalo Soldiers.  Young graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1889, the third African-American to do so.  There is a permanent display outside the room.

  • Other related points of interest at Fort Leavenworth: 10th Cavalry Barracks and Stables, Gruber Gymnasium, Main Parade Field, West End Parade Field, Fort Sully, Camp Lincoln.

  • National Cemetery.  More than 100 Buffalo Soldiers are buried here, including Medal of Honor recipient Fitz Lee (10th Cavalry) and Col. Edward Hatch, first commander of the 9th Cavalry Regiment.

  • Frontier Army Museum, 100 Reynolds Ave.  913.684.3767.  Open Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 

Click here to learn more about the Fort Leavenworth Wayside Tour.

Call 913.684.1724 for a brochure about the attractions above.


  • Richard Allen Cultural Center , 412 Kiowa. Call 913.682.8772.Find additional exhibits about the buffalo soldiers here.


  • Buffalo Soldier Monument, 200 18th Street.