Discharge Paper for Buffalo Soldier

Buffalo Soldier John Wilson served near present-day Eagle Pass

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During the Civil War, some 180,000 African Americans served in the federal army. In 1866, the Army reorganized for postwar duties that included building roads, establishing a reliable mail service, and protecting the frontier from invasions by American Indians.

A number of cavalry and infantry units were comprised of African-American soldiers, nicknamed "buffalo soldiers" by American Indians. They served at posts in Texas and throughout the frontiers of the southwest and Great Plains until the 1890s when the frontier days came to an end.

This is the discharge paper for John Wilson of the 9th regiment of the U.S. Calvary. Wilson served at Fort Duncan near present-day Eagle Pass. Wilson was born in the West Indies and enlisted in Baltimore, Maryland on September 6, 1869. When he was discharged five years later, he traveled from Las Rusias (on the Texas-Mexico border near present-day Los Indio) back to Maryland. As the statement reveals, his 2,011-mile trip cost $53.33, or less than one cent per mile. As indicated in the "DUE UNITED STATES" section, Wilson owed fifty-three cents for his tobacco purchases–items not covered by the government.

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Discharge Paper for Buffalo Soldier Artifact from Site of Las Rusias, Cameron County
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