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Sat, 07.28.1866

24th Infantry Regiment Organized

24th Infantry Flag

*On this date in 1866, the 24th Infantry Regiment (one of the Buffalo Soldier regiments) was organized.  

The United States Congress re-organized the regular army into five artillery, ten cavalry, and forty-five infantry regiments. Six regiments were reserved for black enlisted personnel, in partial recognition of the role black soldiers had played during the civil war.  

All the enlisted soldiers were Black, either veterans of the U.S. Colored Troops or freedmen. From its activation the 24th Infantry served throughout the Western United States. Its missions included garrisoning frontier posts, battling Native Americans, protecting roadways against bandits, and guarding the border between the United States and Mexico.  The 24th Infantry Regiment was active from 1869 until 1951, and again from 1995 until 2006 and was primarily made up of African American soldiers.

The regiment was notable for serving their country when systemic racism was overt, and when Black troops were treated as "second class" due to segregation.  In 1898, the 24th Infantry was deployed to Cuba as part of the U.S. Expeditionary Force in the Spanish American War.  They participated in the storming of the Spanish fortress in the Battle of El Caney. At the climactic Battle of San Juan Hill under the command of Emerson H. Liscum, supported by intensive fire from the Gatling Gun Detachment, units of the 24th Infantry accompanied by elements of the 6th and 13th Infantry Regiments, assaulted and seized the Spanish-held blockhouse and trench system atop San Juan Hill.

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