“I carried my musket and did guard and other duties while in the Army.”
Sounds like an ordinary soldier during the years immediately following the Civil War doesn’t it.
While never shooting people or earning any medals, the enlisted Buffalo Soldier, Private William Cathey was not so ordinary…
Cathey enlisted at a St. Louis recruiting office in November 1866. The Army was tough duty, but for newly freed slaves, service came with a regular paycheck, meals and medical care. While physical exams were fairly lax at the time, recruits who could shoot well and march were declared fit for duty.
The all black Army regiment, Company A of the 38th Infantry had been established after the Civil War, and while in service, Pvt. Cathey marched with the unit more than 500 miles from Fort Harker, Kansas, to Fort Union, New Mexico Territory and, some months later, some 400 more miles to Forts Cumming and Bayard, New Mexico Territory.
“From central Kansas the soldiers tramped across plains, forded rivers, ventured into hostile Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma), plodded across shadeless desert sands, tramped the dusty Santa Fe Trail and scrambled over mountains higher than they had ever imagined. Exhaustion must have been their constant companion.“
Private Cathey however had a secret.
It’s Wednesday when the Heart Beat loves to recognize our Military History and show our Veterans gratitude for their service.
Have a blessed day all.