AfriGeneas Military Research Forum
Re: Remains of Buffalo Soldiers
In Response To: Remains of Buffalo Soldiers ()
This is another case of partial truth and a lot of fabrication. Yes, there were bodies excavated at Fort Craig, and yes, at least one had enough hair and other evidence to identify him as Black.
As for the ids-no this is NOT a fact, but clear supposition, and the whole thing started with a man who was a notorious grave robber in the area. He had a one time a full body mummified corpse of a black soldier that was displayed to numbers of people over the years. After his death, the body "disappeared" and the family said all that was there was a skull that still had remnants of very curly dark hair.
Fort Craig is under the care of BLM, not the park service, and is remotely located. A few years ago, the archaeologist there contacted me to try and recreate the cemetery burials, as they had no record. Using many resources, including disinterrment and reburial records, I was able to come up with a fairly complete list. Without the actual post burial records, it can never be considered complete.
Like all forts of the time, Colored soldiers were buried separately from the other burials. By the way, Pvt. Smith was NOT a BUFFALO Soldier (a phony term in and of itself) but a member of the 24th Infantry, one of the regiments that was re-designated during the second reorganization of the army in 1869. In 1866, Black troops that stayed in service became the 9th and 10th cavalry and the 38th, 39th, 40th and 41st infantry. The infantry was further reorganized into the 24th and 25th. (even the new marker is wrong)These men were all regular army troops, segregated on the basis of color.
Anyway, the government hired a private team to use radio waves to see what was there, and all remains were shipped in a truck to Albuquerque and thrown into storage in a warehouse. Etc. Etc....it's all a big mess.