Fort Keogh, Montana
Between 1866 and 1917, African American soldiers served throughout the western United States, including the territory and later state of Montana. Beginning in 1888, the 24th and 25th Infantries and the 9th and 10th Cavalries would be stationed throughout Montana at Fort Missoula, Fort Keogh and Fort Assiniboine where the legendary General John “Black Jack” Pershing (1860 – 1948) would have one of his first commands leading Buffalo Soldiers.
The primary responsibility of the black soldiers stationed in Montana was to protect the settlers from the actions of the hostile American Indians. While there were no Buffalo Soldiers involved in the Montana Territory’s most famous conflict, the Battle of Little Bighorn (1876), they took part in many less known actions.
This photograph shows Buffalo Soldiers stationed at Fort Keogh, Montana, some wearing buffalo robes. Photograph by Charles Barthelmess, December 14,1890.
2014.8.2, Courtesy of The Library of Congress