Monday, May 14, 2012

"The Buffaloes" - a regimental song of the 10th Cavalry from the 1880s (and 1960s) - and snippets of camp life in Spanish-American War

Wikipedia entry on 10th_Cavalry_Regiment_(United_States) has the text as a "Regimental Song of the Tenth Cavalry Regiment from about 1885. Sung to the tune of Stephen Foster's "Camptown Races"):

We’re fighting bulls of the Buffaloes,
Git a goin’ – git a goin’
From Kansas’ plains we’ll hunt our foes;
A trottin’ down the line.
Our range spreads west to Santa Fe,
Git a goin’ – git a goin’.
From Dakota down the Mexican way;
A trottin’ down the line.
Goin’ to drill all day
Goin’ to drill all night,
We got our money on the buffaloes,
Somebody bet on the fight.
Cited to “Official 4ID History 4th Infantry Division Homepage: History". United States Army. 2 August 2010. Archived from the original on 29 January 2010. Retrieved 9 February 2010; and "Official 4ID History 4th Infantry Division Homepage: History - 1-10 Cav". United States Army. 2012-02-28. Both links broken.

Song is also available linked to a History of the 1st Cavalry Division webpage by Cavalry Outpost Publications ® and Trooper Wm. H. Boudreau, "F" Troop, 8th Cavalry Regiment (1946 - 1947): 10th Cavalry Regiment - Organizational Legacy - "Ready And Forward" ... identified as "Regimental Song of the 10th Cavalry Regiment." No date.

Spanish-American War

  • From Salt Lake Tribune, April 20, 1898, as the 24th Infantry was preparing to ship out for the Spanish-American War:
    One soldier had his kid spread out on the floor of the veranda in front of his barracks. It contained besides the usual camp equipment, a cracked blue mug with a gilt label, "From One Who Loves You" running diagonally across its face. An inscription on the photography gave Mobile, Ala., as the place where it was taken, and as the soldier rolled up his belongings he softly hummed:
    "Down Mobile, down Mobile,
    How I Love 'at pretty yellow gal,
    Down Mobile."
    (Clark 234)
    Michael J. Clark, "Improbable Ambassadors: Black Soldiers at Fort Douglas, 1896-99." Buffalo Soldiers in the West: A Black Soldiers Anthology. Ed. Bruce A. Glasrud and Michael N. Searles. College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University Press, 2007. 221-41.

  • Writing in The Atlantic in 1903, Oswald Garrison Villiard says:
    As soon as the army settled down in the trenches before Santiago, smuggled musical instruments -- guitars, banjos, mouth organs, and what not -- appeared among the negro troops as if by magic, and they were ever in use. It was at once a scene of cheerfulness and gayety, and the officers had their usual trouble in making the men go to sleep instead of spending the night in talking, singing, and gaming. In the peaceful camp of the Third Alabama, in that state, the scenes were similar. There was always "a steady hum of laughter and talk, dance, song, shout, and the twang of musical instruments." It was "a scene full of life and fun, of jostling, scuffling, and racing, of clown performances and cake-walks, of impromptu minstrelsy, speech-making, and preaching, of deviling, guying, and fighting, both real and mimic." The colonel found great difficulty in getting men to work alone. Two would volunteer for any service. "Colonel," said a visitor to the camp, "your sentinels are sociable fellows. I saw No. 5 over at the end of his beat entertaining No. 6 with some fancy manual of arms. Afterwards, with equal amiability, No. 6 executed a most artistic cake-walk for his friend." It must be remembered here that this colonel's men were typical Southern negroes, literate and illiterate, and all new to military life.
    Oswald Garrison Villard, "The Negro in the Regular Army, Atlantic Monthly, 91, 1903, 721-729. Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library.

1 comment:

Amedee360 said...

I am working on transcribing a song by Mississippi singer Blind Jesse Harris called "Going to War" that takes elements from the "the Battleship Maine", but is also a tribute to the 10th Cavalry in the Spanish American War. I have never heard anything else quite like it.