Tag Archives: 9th cavalry

Buffalo Soldiers Remembered at West Point

Lost in the 20th Anniversary of 9/11 remembrances over the weekend was a small ceremony at the U.S. Military Academy where Gen. (Ret.) Vincent K. Brooks presided over the dedication of a monument honoring the service of the “Buffalo Soldiers” who served for 40 years at West Point.

Founded immediately after the Civil War to take advantage of a pool of over 140,000 surviving members of the segregated wartime USCT, which had been disbanded on October 1865, the 9th and 10th U.S. Cavalry Regiments, along with the four regiments black infantry (the 38th, 39th, 40th, and 41st– later amalgamated in 1869 to the 24th and 25th Infantry due to service-wide budget cuts) carried the legacy of some 175 regiments of freedmen who fought in the last two years of the War Between the States.

Fighting in virtually every campaign of the Plains Wars in between policing the border regions and patrolling Yosemite National Park in the days before the service’s armed rangers, the Buffalo Soldiers also went overseas to mix it up with the Spaniards in 1898 and serve in the Philippines against assorted insurgents. Notably, five members of the 10th Cavalry earned the Medal of Honor during the Spanish–American War.

The 9th and 10th U.S. Cavalry, fighting dismounted in the Battle of Las Guasimas, Cuba, 24 June 1898. Via the LOC LC-DIG-PGA-01889

One of the most unsung duties, at least until this week, that these professional horse soldiers performed, was in providing for the standing United States Military Academy Detachment of Cavalry.

Made up of 100 long-service black non-commissioned officers and senior enlisted who were considered among the best in the Army, the detachment formed 23 March 1907 to teach future officers at West Point riding instruction, mounted drill, and cavalry tactics, a mission they would perform by the numbers until 1947. The cadets who earned their spurs in such drill included George S. Patton Jr., Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Omar N. Bradley.

U.S. Army Photo by John Pellino/USMA PAO

Gifted to the academy by the Buffalo Soldiers Association of West Point, the 10-foot-tall bronze trooper mounted on horseback characterizes the level of horsemanship expertise that was provided to future Army officers. Nationally renowned sculptor Eddie Dixon was commissioned for the piece that bears a likeness to SSG (Ret.) Sanders H. Matthews Sr., a Buffalo Soldier stationed at West Point. Sanders, who founded the Buffalo Soldiers Association of West Point, Inc., worked tirelessly to pay tribute to their memory, and plans to erect the monument have been underway since 2017.

“These Soldiers embodied the West Point motto of Duty, Honor, Country, and ideals of the Army Ethic,” said the U.S. Military Academy 60th Superintendent Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams. “This monument will ensure that the legacy of Buffalo Soldiers is enduringly revered, honored, and celebrated while serving as an inspiration for the next generations of cadets.”

U.S. Army Photo by John Pellino/USMA PAO

Combat Gallery Sunday : The Martial Art of Fletcher C. Ransom

Much as once a week I like to take time off to cover warships (Wednesdays), on Sundays (when I feel like working), I like to cover military art and the painters, illustrators, sculptors, and the like that produced them.

Combat Gallery Sunday : The Martial Art of Fletcher C. Ransom

Fletcher Charles Ransom was born October 23, 1870 at Alamo, Michigan, and grew up on his family’s farm near Kalamazoo. He earned a scholarship to the Art Institute of Chicago and later the Academy of Fine Art in New York City, settling in Gotham and becoming a successful commercial illustrator by the turn of the century.

He did sketches and paintings for Colliers, Woman’s Home Companion, Youth’s Companion, and McClures, as well as a number of calendar companies.

The Sentinel

The Sentinel

Cream of Wheat advert

Cream of Wheat advert

Perhaps his best known work is a series of 14 images of President Lincoln at various times in his life story on commission for the Chicago & Midland & Illinois Railroad Company, who used the imagery for decades and some of which is on display in a number of galleries today including the art collection of Congress.

Lincoln the Postmaster

Lincoln the Postmaster

Lincoln at Gettysburg

Lincoln at Gettysburg

In 1898, the 27-year-old Ransom packed his satchel and headed down to Tampa to entrain with the volunteers invading Cuba as part of Colliers’ coverage during the Spanish-American war. This led to a number of pieces on that conflict.

Teddy Roosevelt: The All American

Teddy Roosevelt: The All American

 

Forgotten Heroes: Captain Taylor leading the charge at San Juan

Forgotten Heroes; Captain Taylor, Troop C, 9th Calvary, Leading a Charge up the San Juan Hill in the Battle of Cuba. Importantly, this is one of the few images of the Buffalo Soldiers in action at San Juan Hill

Sketch of Forgotten Heroes

Widely disseminated sketch of Forgotten Heroes via the Mitchell Collection of African American History.

Further martial work in the 1900s included wartime pieces and others.

1915: American and Canadians at the border- 100 years of peace

1915: American and Canadians Cavalry at the Border- 100 Years of Peace

Homecoming, 1918

Homecoming, 1918

Later in life, Ransom left the rat race of the city and came back to Plainwell, Michigan, where he died May 2 1943.

Fletcher_on_table

There are a number of online galleries as well as a few short bios of Ransom’s life while his painting of the 9th Cav in action in 1898 has taken on a life of its own.

Thank you for your work, sir.