Tenth U.S. Cavalry

Fort Yellowstone, Wyoming

An often overlooked aspect of National Parks’ history is that its earliest stewards were segregated black army regiments created during the Civil War.

Before the National Park Service was created in 1916, military troops bore responsibility for patrolling federal lands, and the black regiments took turns marking into Glacier, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks.

Despite their prominent role in protecting the federal lands, little information exists about Buffalo Soldiers in the national parks.  It is known that the black soldiers built roads and facilities, created maps, fought fires, made sure poachers weren’t coming into the parks with guns, prevented illegal grazing and kept loggers from exploiting the parks.

This stereograph shows the Buffalo Soldiers and their mounts at Fort Yellowstone, Wyoming. Stereograph circa 1903.

2014.8.17, Courtesy of The Library of Congress