Late last week I posted all of the "buffalo soldiers" sightings I've stumbled across in nearly forty years of research into the tale of the black regulars, ca l866-l898. This slim list is the result of hours reading old newspapers, nearly going blind reading microfilm prints of period newspapers and periodicals, and sifting through many pages in dusty files/boxes containing personal correrspondence (letters and journals). And this is exclusive of the military records I've peeked into.
I closed my recent posting on this name for black troops by writing that I was sure there were more examples out there--just waiting to be found.
Well, lo and behold, some were found--and pronto. I owe what follows to information I received a day or so ago from John Mapp:physician, researcher/historian, all-round good fellow, and a serious l0th Cav. re-eanactor (although from photos I've seen it looks like Dr. John spends more time in the chow line than on a horse).
Amazing stuff. John messaged that a fair number of period Utah newspapers are on line in digital form-and that you can punch in a key word--in this case "Buffalo Soldiers" and by some magic process the file is searched and any findings pop up on your computer screen. My kids all understand this process-but it is pure wizardry to me.
Anyway I followed John's instructions--and shortly I was able to read four uses of "buffalo soldiers" that I had not seen before: one from l888, another from l889, and two from l909 (the latter are a bit past my research focus-but still good to have).
Here is the text of the l889 item-- and it is a humdinger (it comes from the Ogden, Utah Standard Examiner for Nov l5-the story carries a Cheyenne, Wyoming dateline of Nov l4):
Colored Soldiers Unruly
The soldiers of the battalion of the Twenty-fourth stationed at Fort Russell are causing more trouble here. Ever since the shooting of Policeman Greenm two weeks ago by Corporal Lewis, the "buffalo soldiers" have defied the police and ran things pretty much as they pleased. Every night or two there has been trouble. At an early hour this morning a soldier of the Twenty-fourth created a disturbance in the tenderloin district and would up by shooting two comrades. One was shot through the right leg. Neither man is dangerously wounded. The gang escaped to Fort Russell and the wounded men are in hiding. Thus far the police have failed to learn the nbame of the guilty parties.
A certain clique of the soldiers had threatened to "shoot up' the saloon and gambling house of Harry Hynds, formerly of Salt Lake. The latter is prepared, however, and if the soldiers carry out their threats, a bloody battle will be the result."
Boy--is this a tale rich in detail--maybe accurate, and maybe not.
If I live long enough to finish my Flipper research and then dive into the swamp of the Cadet Whittaker story, it sure would be interesting to follow the above story in regimental/post records, other newspaper accounts-and if surviving, personal correspondence.
I told Dr John that I would cross-reference this item in two of my files: one titled "Buffalo Soldier Sightings" and the other
"Black Regulars Run Amok"( Hey, don't get upset-acccording to some late l9th Century publications blacks were always running amok about one thing or another).