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AfriGeneas Military Research Forum Archive

Final salvo--at least for today

Note: this only appiles to those interested in black regulars of the three decade post-Civil War period (but by liberal extension what I've got to say can also be applied to other periods)

Before (or at least while) you bombard the National Archives with requests or pester Sharon for pension material to verify if your great, great, great what-ever served in one of the black regular regiments---STOP RIGt NOW.
Don't bother with Leckie (the original or the revision), skip right past all of Frank Scubert's works, and even take a pass on the book by me and William Dobak(or should this be Dobak and I?) JUST STOP IT and before going on TURN FIRST
to the following for a full underastanding of how the Old Army was organized, administered, commanded, used, ill-used, armed, paid, posted, mounted, uniformed and a hundred other things. For without this essential background all the penison/person/family stuff, while significant and interesting, will be gathered OUT OF CONTEXT. To understand the story of the black regulars you FIRST have to be well-versed in the history of the army in which they served.

Where to begin? That's easy:

First turn to Don Rickey, Jr's wonderful and pioneering, Forty Miles A Day On Beans And Hay: The Enlisted Soldier Fighting the Indian Wars.
Then move to Robert Utley's, Frontiersmen in Blue, followed by a close reading of the post-Civil War chapters in Edward Coffman's, The Old Army. Hell, even turn to the totally PC incorrect but still pretty good, The Indian-Fighting Army, by Fairfax Downey. This should keep you busy while waiting for copies of pension records.
And then, if you have time and the spirit is willing, check out the annual reports for the period of the Secretary of War--paying close attention to the included reports of the Adjutant Genmeral, the Surgeon Ceneral, the Judge Advocate General and the Chief of Ordinance. Then when you are reeling and stuffed to the gills with Old Army stuff--turn to the pages of the Army and Navy Journal (and toss in Winners of the West for good measure).

Then finally turn to Leckie, Schubert, et all. And yes,for sure check into Harold Sayre's, Wariors of Color. And a personal hint on Schubert's work: they all are excellent, but for me the best is still his first, Buffalo Soldiers, Braves and the Brass, his classic and first class history of Ft.Robinson, Neb and the black and white troops posted there.

I'm going to take a nap.

Tom Phillips

Messages In This Thread

Final salvo--at least for today
Re: Final salvo--at least for today
Re: Final salvo--at least for today

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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