The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 76, July 1972 - April, 1973

Book Reviews

The Black Military Experience in the American West. Edited by John
M. Carroll. (New York: Liveright, 1971. Pp. xxv+591. Illustra-
tions, notes, bibliography, index. $17.50.)
The Army Reorganization Act of 1866 and supplementary legis-
lation provided for the establishment of four black regiments with
white officers in the regular peacetime army. These units, the Ninth
and Tenth Cavalry and the Twenty-fourth and Twenty-fifth Infantry
Regiments, performed yeoman service in the West following the Civil
War; participated in the Spanish-American War; and, although denied
a battle role in World War I, did see action in World War II and
Korea before the final integration of the army was accomplished.
Carroll concentrates primarily on the first of these roles occupied by
black soldiers as, ironically, they helped to do the white man's dirty
work in the racial war of extermination waged against the Indian
tribes of the Southwest. The black military units (the Tenth Cavalry
was dubbed the "Buffalo Soldiers" by the Indians) maintained a
remarkable degree of military efficiency during the Indian wars,
garnering eighteen medals of honor for their endeavors.
While the editor in his introduction emphasizes the obscurity of
the articles excerpted for publication in this work, many of them
are in fact, drawn from the official regimental histories of the units
concerned, with most of the remainder easily accessible in historical
quarterlies. Several of the articles, including two written by the editor,
are printed here for the first time. It might be pointed out that Car-
roll has used his research notes to maximum advantage. In addition
to this work he uses some of the material in his introductions to new
editions of histories of three of the black regiments and as annotations
to a collection of illustrations mostly drawn from the book under
review and published separately as Buffalo Soldiers West. The latter
and the regimental history reprints were published by The Old Army
Press, Fort Collins, Colorado.
Carroll's collection lacks a certain balance which would have made
his contribution to the history of the black soldier considerably more
valuable. The first several selections discussing black figures in the
West before the Civil War could have been omitted in order to
devote more space to material on the problem of race relations be-
tween the soldiers and the white citizenry and between the black
units and the rest of the army. Several articles are indeed devoted
to the first of these topics but they are insufficient. Carroll especially

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 76, July 1972 - April, 1973. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101202/. Accessed September 23, 2014.