“Buffalo Soldier” is the collective nickname given to the first African-American members of the U.S. Armed Forces. The Buffalo Soldiers, originally the 9th 10th, 24th, and 25th U.S. Military regiments, were common figures around the U.S./Mexico border during the turn of the century. Henry Flipper, the first African-American graduate of the U.S. Military Academy (1877), and Charles Young, an officer of the 9th and 10th Cavalries and the 25th Infantry, both spent time patrolling the barely tamed outpost of Fort Huachuca.
Fort Huachuca was the onetime home of every regiment of the original Buffalo Soldiers, starting in 1892, with the arrival of companies from the 24th Infantry. (The 24th and 25th Infantries were consolidated from the 38th, 39th, 40th, and 41st Infantries.) The 10th Cavalry arrived at Fort Huachuca in December 1913 and stayed for eighteen years. The 10th Cavalry is thought to be the regiment which established the name "Buffalo Soldiers." History holds that the Native American tribes they fought (likely Comanche or Cheyenne) compared their fighting to that of the mighty buffalo and likened the texture of their hair to the Buffalo’s mane.
The Seige of Naco, Sonora
In October, 1914, members of the 9th and 10th Cavalries entrenched themselves on the border during a battle between rebel Mexicans and Mexican federal troops in Naco, Sonora. The troops maintained order without firing for two and a half months, earning a special letter of commendation from President Wilson.
“Buffalo Soldiers” fight the only World War I battle on American soil
The Battle of Ambos Nogales
In August of 1918, armed Mexican troops were seen in Nogales, Sonora with several men thought to be advisors to the German military (U.S. enemies during World War I). It appeared that Germans were planning an attack on Nogales using Mexican forces. On August 27, 1918, members of the 10th Cavalry and the 35th Infantry briefly exchanged sniper fire across the international border—the only World War I battle fought on American soil.