1866-1890I am Trooper Able Freeman of the 9th Cavalry Regiment. I have been a field slave in south Alabama before and during the Civil War; but after the war, I had nowhere to go when the Union occupied the area. I wandered around living hand-to-mouth for over a year when I heard the Army was going "to raise, among others, one regiment of colored cavalry to be designated the 9th Regiment of U.S. Cavalry". I walked to New Orleans in September 1866 to enlist for five years, and received $13 per month, plus room, board and clothing - not bad at all for an uneducated former farm hand! By the end of March 1867, we were at nearly full strength and were ordered to San Antonio, Texas, for three months of training. In July, we got our first duty assignment: to maintain law and order between the Indians and settlers along the Rio Grande in western and southwestern Texas. I don't know which was more trouble- the Indians or the settlers! We also fought outlaws, Mexican revolutionaries, and cattle rustlers and mapped large territories as well as protected crews building railroads and stringing hundreds of miles of telegraph wire. We were in Texas for eight years but were so scattered that we almost never saw more than a few companies together. I tell you it was "forty miles a day on beans and hay" which means hard campaigning since we were in the fields nearly all the time. A good thing during this time was that Army chaplains taught many of us how to read and write for the first time. The Cheyenne Indiana took to calling all four of the colored cavalry and infantry regiments "Buffalo Soldiers" during this time because of our dark skin, curly hair, and fighting spirit. Later we were transferred to the New Mexico Military District, which covered parts of New Mexico, Colorado and Texas, and participated in the Apache Wars from 1875 to 1881. We fought scores of actions unusually with no more than 100 Indians. This included the Battle of Tularosa with Chiricahua Apache warriors led by Victorio in May 1880 which finally convinced the Apaches to live on the hated reservations the government had set aside for them. We have camped in three feet of snow and ridden three days with a pint of water and a handful of hardtack. But even then we were an effective fighting force, and never defeated like the 7th Cavalry under colonel Cluster. We are justly proud of our motto, which was and still is, "We Can and We Will!"
|Marker Condition||No reports yet|
|Date Added||Thursday, September 11th, 2014 at 1:36pm PDT -07:00|
|UTM (WGS84 Datum)||16S E 537663 N 3843744|
|Decimal Degrees||34.73510000, -86.58858333|
|Degrees and Decimal Minutes||N 34° 44.106', W 86° 35.315'|
|Degrees, Minutes and Seconds||34° 44' 6.36" N, 86° 35' 18.90" W|
|Driving Directions||Google Maps|
|Closest Postal Address||At or near 34747-34999 Patriots Walkway, Huntsville AL 35801, US|
|Alternative Maps||Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap|
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