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AfriGeneas Military Research Forum

Primary documents re heroes and students

Here are exerpts from two original documents: both involving soldiers of the 9th Cavalry, and both written at about the same time (l882) and from the same place (Kansas).
This is why "doing history" is so much fun--you get to peek at both sides of the coin.

Document l
Special Order 6l
Headquartees Department of the Missouri
Fort Leavenworth, Kansas
March 23, l882

On the recommendation of their troop commander, and in consideration of gallant conduct in a fight with hostile Apache Indians, Septemberl, l88l, Privates James Burton and James D. Phillips, of Troop I, 9th
Cavalry, who were awaiting trial for desertion when they were released to participate in that fight, are restored to duty without trial, to date from September l, l88l."

Document 2
This is from a report written on August 20, l882, by Lt. Col N. Dudley, 9th Cavalry, at Fort Hayes,Kansas. Dudley is commenting about the post school:

"Three fourth of the command are colored men, a large portion of them can not write and read, they are all, as a rule, passionately fond of gambling and while they have a nickel to stake at dice or cards, no school on earth can be made attrqctive enough to tempt them to set aside their hellish passion for gambling. This is a serious obstance to success in a school among this class. Men are enlisted in the colored regiments who cannot even count, this has been illustrated the last month in [instruction for]the estimating of distances. This class of colored men are the most unwilling to attend school.
If colored organizations must be kept up, I would earnestly recommend that some legislation should be had which would prevent men, who claimed to be native Americans, from enlisting who cannot read. It is a reflection on the service, that under a government like ours, that in a command of one hundred and ten colored men (B and G Troop, 9th Cavalry) that there is but two men competent to do the ordinary clerical work of a troop."

Well-while it would be nice to have troops who were both literate and brave--if you could only pick one, seems to me it would be best to opt for the gallant and not worry too much about the three Rs.

Tom Phillips


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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