The 10th Cavalry
Screenplay by Alan Nafzger
Setting: West Texas, 1866.
Genre: African American and Western Action
Logline: Gabriel and July, former slaves, join the 10th Cavalry and become buffalo soldiers. They encounter Comanche, and former confederates in the harsh conditions of west Texas.
Film Reference: The book Dances with Wolves was originally written about the Comanche Indians. The film was changed to Sioux, because of the larger number of Sioux speakers. This feature film would be the long awaited story of the Comanche. The principal characters in this screenplay however are African American.
Read the Screenplay –> The 10th Cavalry
Who were the Buffalo Soldiers of the 10th Cavalry?
The 10th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army were made up of African Americans (Buffalo Soldiers) They were originally formed on September 21, 1866 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Later, they were headquartered in Texas.
This nickname “Buffalo Soldiers” was given to the “Negro Cavalry” by the Native American tribes the 10th Cavalry fought; the term eventually became synonymous with all of the African American regiments.
Although several African American regiments were raised during the Civil War as part of the Union Army, the “Buffalo Soldiers” were established by Congress as the first peacetime all-black regiments in the regular U.S. Army. The most famous of these were the 10th Cavalry Regiment.
Where does the name “Buffalo Soldiers” come from?
Colonel Benjamin Grierson, who founded the 10th Cavalry regiment, recalled an 1871 campaign against Comanches. The origin of the name comes from the Comanche. Grierson’s assertions were the Comanche used this term (“The Comanche call The 10th Cavalry ‘buffalo soldiers’, because they have curly, kinky hair … like bison”). This fact is supported by several other sources. Some sources assert that the nickname was given out of respect for the fierce fighting ability of the 10th Cavalry. In truth the best explanation points to a combination of both legends. The term Buffalo Soldiers became a generic term for all black soldiers.
Who was Private John Randall?
In September 1867, Private John Randall of Troop G of the 10th Cavalry Regiment was assigned to escort two civilians on a hunting trip. The hunters suddenly became the hunted when a band of 70 Cheyenne warriors swept down on them. The two civilians quickly fell in the initial attack and Randall’s horse was shot out from beneath him. Randall managed to scramble to safety behind a washout under the railroad tracks, where he fended off the attack with only his pistol and 17 rounds of ammunition until help from the nearby camp arrived.
The Cheyenne beat a hasty retreat, leaving behind 13 fallen warriors. Private Randall suffered a gunshot wound to his shoulder and 11 lance wounds, but recovered. The Cheyenne quickly spread word of this new type of soldier, “who had fought like a cornered buffalo; who like a buffalo had suffered wound after wound, yet had not died; and who like a buffalo had a thick and shaggy mane of hair.”
When, where and how did they serve?
From 1866 to the early 1890s, these regiments served at a variety of posts in the Southwestern United States and the Great Plains regions. The 10th Cavalry participated in most of the military campaigns in these areas and earned a distinguished record. Thirteen enlisted African American and six white officers from the four Buffalo Soldier regiments earned the Medal of Honor during the Indian Wars.
In addition to the military campaigns, the Buffalo Soldiers served a variety of roles along the frontier from building forts and roads to escorting the U.S. mail.
On April 17, 1875, regimental headquarters for the 9th and 10th Cavalries were transferred to Fort Concho, Texas. Companies actually arrived at Fort Concho in May 1873.
What was the Buffalo Soldier tragedy of 1877?
The tragedy occurred when a combined force of Buffalo Soldier troops of the 10th Cavalry and local buffalo hunters wandered for days in the dry Llano Estacado region of north-west Texas during July of a drought year. The groups had united forces for a retaliatory attack on Comanche groups who had been staging raids on white forces in the area, during what came to be called the Buffalo Hunters’ War. Over the course of five days in the near-waterless Llano Estacado, four 10th Cavalry soldiers and one buffalo hunter died.
Is this screenplay a true story?
No, however it is based on actual events. This screenplay is a conglomeration of The 10th Cavalry events. Almost every scene is based on an actual event or common practice, but there is not one true story running beginning to end.
The 10th Cavalry and Buffalo Soldier Links
- Wiki 10th Cavalry Regiment
- Buffalo Soldiers History
- Black Past 10th Cavalry Regiment
- 10th Cavalry Legacies
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