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Source Information

Ancestry.com. U.S., Buffalo Soldiers, Returns From Regular Army Cavalry Regiments, 1866-1916 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. This collection was indexed by Ancestry World Archives Project contributors.
Original data:

Returns From Regular Army Cavalry Regiments, 1833-1916. NARA microfilm publication M744, 16 rolls. Records of U.S. Regular Army Mobile Units, 1821-1942, Record Group Number 391. National Archives, Washington D.C.

About U.S., Buffalo Soldiers, Returns From Regular Army Cavalry Regiments, 1866-1916

This collection includes the monthly returns from the 9th and 10th Calvary Units of the U.S. Army up to 1916. These two units were the first peacetime units of enlisted African-Americans and the enlisted men were known as “Buffalo Soldiers.” Both units were formed in 1866 with white officers commanding the enlisted men. The units went on to fight in the Indian Wars and the Spanish-American War during that era.

The monthly returns were used to report on the strength of each regiment, including total numbers of men present, absent, sick, or on extra duty, as well as happenings during the month. Officers were listed by name, as were enlisted men who were absent, on special duty, or who joined or left the unit during the month. Later returns included strength reports in terms of horses and artillery.

Returns include:

  • Names of regimental commanders
  • Names of all officers and reasons for loss or gain, if applicable
  • Names of company commanders
  • Stations of the regiment and companies
  • Names of absent enlisted men, 1857-1904, and reason for absence
  • Names of enlisted men lost and gained, 1821-1914, and reasons
  • Names of enlisted men on extra or daily duty, 1857-1873, and nature of duty
  • Record of events information, 1832-1916
  • Total strength of both officers and enlisted men by rank, 1819-1857
  • Total strength of horses by company, 1846-1916
  • Total strength of artillery pieces by company, 1857-1912

Other record types filed with the returns include:

  • “Historical Data” File
  • Annual and quarterly returns of alterations and casualties
  • Monthly returns of battalions, companies, and detachments
  • Special field return and field return
  • Return of casualties
  • Tri-monthly field return

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