Engagements by the 9th & 10th Cavalry and/or
Seminole Negro Indian Scouts

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(Apache, courtesy of Bob Snead)





The Hembrillo Battle
April 6 1880


Hembrillo Battle Photos



On the present day White Sands Missile Range was fought a fierce fight between the Buffalo Soldiers and the Eastern Chiricahua Apaches and Victorio. The U.S. Army and the White Sands Missile Range has documented this battle through archeological finds to boltster official U.S. Army reports. The Hembrillo Basin became the scene of the largest Apache-Cavalry battle of the Victorio War. On the evening of April 6,1880, two companies of " Buffalo Soldiers," Afro-American troopers of the 9th Cavalry, approached Victorio's camp and were ambushed by approximately 150 Apache warriors. Penned down, Captain Henry Carroll and his Buffalo Soldiers suffered 2 dead and 7 wounded, including Captain Carroll, but held off the apaches until dawn. The reinforcing troops included two additional companies of "Buffalo Soldiers," three companies of Apache Scouts and one company of 6th Cavalry from Arizona. Aligning themselves along this ridge the troops launched a frontal assault on Victorio Ridge while 2nd Lts. Charles Gatewood and Stephen Mills led the Apache Scouts in a flank attack on the Apache camp located behind Victorio Ridge and west of Victorio Peak. The beleaguered and exhausted Buffalo Soldiers were rescued. This battle signaled the beginning of the end for Victorio as he was flushed out of the Hembrillo Basin and finally killed later in 1880. This engagement is also noteworthy for it represented the single largest direct confrontation of U.S. troops withthe Apaches during the Victorio War. Four American cultures were involved in this historic battle, Anglo Euro-American, African-American, Hispanic and Apache. Approximately one hour from El Paso, Texas, the Hembrillo Battlefield preserves an important place in New Mexico-Texas history as it is an excellent example of a battleground from the tragic Victorio War, the last major stand of the Warm Springs Apache in their homeland.





Battle of Kickapoo Springs, Texas
May 20, 1870




(photo courtesy of Don Stivers,)


On May 20, 1870 Sergeant Emmanuel Stance engaged a force of Kickapoo Native Americans at Kickapoo Springs, Texas. Born in Carroll Parish, Louisiana, Sgt Stance was leading a patrol of Company F, 9th U.S. Cavalry. As a result of his courage and leadership, Sgt Stance was awarded the Medal of Honor on June 28, 1870. In the two years previous to this encounter Sgt Stance had five encounters with hostile Indians. Sgt Stance's patrol of 10 privates from Troop F, 9th U.S. Cavalry rode out from Fort McKavett, Texas, to punish the Kickapoo Indians for raiding local settlements and to look for two captured children. With Sgt Stance giving the order to charge, the Buffalo Soldiers attacked a band of Indians herding stolen horses. The charge scattered the Indians and the Troop captured the horses. On the following day he attacked a band of hostiles about to ambush two government wagons, and when counter-attacked by the same hostiles later in the day, Sgt Stance coolly turned his men about and drove off the hostiles, capturing six more horses. In a third incident, while watering their horses at a spring, Troop F was attacked again. Aggressive action by the Buffalo Soldiers caused the Indians to retreat. Sergeant Emanuel and his small force proceeded on their way and recovered the two captured white children. On July 24, 1870, former sharecropper, United States Army sergeant and Buffalo Soldier proudly accepted the Congressional Medal of Honor, and became the first African American to win his country's highest military honor in the post-Civil War period. His citation read ""for Valor in the Battle of Kickapoo Springs."






Battle at Eagle's Nest Crossing, Pecos River,Texas
April 25, 1875


Lt John Lapham Bullis and three Seminole Negro Indian Scouts, engaged in fierce combat with a superior force of hostile Lipian and Mescalero Apache Indians, made a hasty fighting retreat. When Sgt John Ward realized Lt Bullis was not with them, he is reported as shouting "We can't leave the lieutenant, boys!" The sergeant and two scouts, Pvt Pompey Factor and Trumpeter Isaac Payne, dashed back with his comrades close behind him. They returned to save him risking life and limb as bullets were flying all around. Sgt Ward mounted Lt Bullis behind him and rode away with the Indians in pursuit. Alternately for many miles the three Seminole Negro Indian Scouts changed horses to take on Lt Bullis as they made good their escape. For their valor in an action against more than 25 hostiles all three Seminole Negro Indian Scouts were awarded the Medal of Honor. This inspiring feat of bravery earned the three enlisted men the Medal of Honor. It is believed to be the only time in the history of the United States Army that multiple Medals of Honor have been awarded.






The Battle of Fort Lancaster, Texas
1867


On the afternoon of December 26, 1867,Troop K, 9th U.S. Cavalry under the command of Company Commander William Frohock was attacked by a force of over 900 Indians, Mexicans and renegade white men. Captain Frohock, Lieutenant Frederick Smith and a contingent of 58 Buffalo Soldiers were attacked almost simultaneously from three directions. The battle lasted for hours with the men and officers of the 9th Cavalry valiantly repulsing the vastly superior force. The young 9th Cavalry regiment whose reputation was already marred by mutiny and the murder of an abusive officer by his men, Captain Frohock's predecessor, Company K measured up as it confronted overwhelming odds in a struggle for its survival. The valor and courage in repelling this attack by overwhelming odds was a significant help to restoring the regiment's tarnished image. The steady fire of .50 caliber Spencer repeating rimfire rifles and .44 Remington Revolvers in the hands of the Buffalo Soldiers of Troop K saved the day.





Most Buffalo Soldier battle sites are in remote locations far away from major populations. Two such battle sites are located in Texas. During 1880, 30-40 Mescalero Apaches under Chief Victoria attacked a patrol of 10th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers operating out of Fort Quitman, Texas. The six troopers killed during this skirmish are buried above ground at Little Hot Springs, Texas. At 10th Cavalry Creek reportedly Buffalo Soldiers and their horses were buried in a common grave near Burkburnett, Texas which is in the Witchita Falls area.

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