U.S. Indian Scout Belt, Belt Plate, and Cartridge Box

The uniform of Bill Warrior, Black Seminole Indian Scout

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This belt and tunic were worn by Corporal Bill Warrior, a Black Seminole Indian Scout. Stationed at Fort Clark near Brackettville, Texas, he spent 11 years patrolling the Texas/Mexico border. The red and white stitching and piping found on Warrior's dress tunic and belt indicate he was an Indian Scout. Warrior personalized his uniform by scratching his initials, BW, upside down onto the front of his cartridge box.

The Indian Scouts formed when the U.S. government realized its conventional tactics were insufficient against American Indian tribes resistant to U.S. attempts to take their lands and sovereignty. An 1866 act of Congress authorized the creation of the Indian Scouts, marking the first time American Indians could formally enlist. Informally, they had been acting as scouts or fighting in American wars and conflicts since before 1776.

Most Indian Scout units were temporary and included Scouts from multiple tribes. Three of the objects seen here are from Black Seminole Indian Scouts (called Seminole-Negro Indian Scouts by the U.S. Army) who are descendants of enslaved Africans who had been freed or had escaped and sought refuge with the Seminole Tribe of Florida. In 1870, the U.S. Army invited Black Seminoles, then living in Mexico, to serve as Scouts.

See this and other artifacts on the Interactive Texas Map

U.S. Indian Scout Belt, Belt Plate, and Cartridge Box Artifact from San Antonio
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