Here we see Captain Thomas Coverly Lebo, commander of K Company (troop), 10th Cavalry Regiment, wearing the period U.S. Army officer’s summer dress uniform complete with yellow horse-hair-plumed U.S. Model 1872 dress helmet for cavalry with eagle plate.
Photograph by J. C. H. Grabill, official photographer of the Black Hills & F. P. R. R., & Home Stake Mining Co., Studios, Deadwood and Lead City, South Dakota, taken likely in the summer of 1878.
As noted by Carlsbad Caverns National Park:
In 1878, Captain Thomas Lebo and troops of Company K, 10th United States Cavalry (Buffalo soldiers), conducted a scouting expedition from the Fort Davis military post. Coming across the area known as Rattlesnake Springs, he described it as follows.
“Grazing here is very good; wood is very scarce. The spring flows a very large stream of water which runs about one mile nearly due E. (east) and empties into Black River, which at this point is a very large stream (an abundance of small fish).”
Born in Potters Mills, Pennsylvania in 1842, Lebo volunteered for a Keystone State infantry regiment as a private in 1861 during the Civil War then went on to put his ass on a horse by earning a Second Lieutenant spot in Company H of the 1st Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry Regiment. Wounded at Malvern Hill, he mustered out in 1865 but two years later managed to gain an appointment as a regular army 1st Lieutenant assigned to the 10th Cavalry, where he was promoted to Captain in May 1876.
Lebo fought the Apache extensively during the Indian Wars and was promoted to colonel during the Spanish American War where he was given command of the 14th Cavalry. After commanding the unit in the Philipines, he retired in 1905 and was promoted to a brigadier general on the retired list after 44 years service. He died in 1910 in Illinois and is buried at Oak Woods in Chicago.