U.S., Buffalo Soldiers, Returns From Regular Army Cavalry Regiments, 1866-1916

This record collection includes monthly returns from the 9th and 10th Calvary Regiments of the U.S. Army. These regiments were the first peacetime units of enlisted African-Americans--both were formed in 1866. White officers commanded the black enlisted men. These regiments would both participate in the Plains Indian Wars and the Spanish-American War.

Monthly returns reported the strength of each regiment, including statistics on men present, absent, sick, or on extra duty, as well as events during the month. Officers were listed by name, as were enlisted men who were absent, on special duty, or who joined or left the unit during the month. Later returns include strength reports about horses and artillery pieces.

Buffalo soldier (ND.gov photo)
Buffalo soldier (ND.gov photo)

Monthly returns include:

Names of regimental commanders
Names of all officers and reasons for loss or gain, if applicable
Names of company commanders
Stations of the regiment and companies
Names of absent enlisted men, 1857-1904, and reason for absence
Names of enlisted men lost and gained, 1821-1914, and reasons
Names of enlisted men on extra or daily duty, 1857-1873, and nature of duty
Record of events information, 1832-1916
Total strength of both officers and enlisted men by rank, 1819-1857
Total strength of horses by company, 1846-1916
Total strength of artillery pieces by company, 1857-1912

Other record types sometimes filed with monthly returns include:

“Historical Data” File
Monthly returns of battalions, companies, and detachments
Special field returns
Quarterly and annual returns of casualties
Tri-monthly field returns

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