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).
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
"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.
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.