Friday, 25 November 2016

Roosevelt and the Black Troopers

I promised to post again about the information on the regiments of Black Troopers which I was able to bring to the revision of my book The Spanish-American War.

Now available in hardcover or e-book formats, through Amazon!
Stories of Theodore Roosevelt and his hastily created cavalry regiment of Rough Riders tend to dominate most commentaries on the Spanish-American War. But they were out-performed time and again by the experienced regiments of African-American soldiers, the 9th and 10th cavalry and the 24th and 25th infantry, who were known as Black Troopers. A sergeant from the 25th infantry, Mingo Sanders, even shared B Company's hardtack rations with the unprepared new regiment, when Roosevelt came to him and admitted he'd set out for Cuba without checking if there were any food supplies packed for his Rough Riders.

Sergeant Mingo Sanders was partially blinded when the 25th Infantry came under heavy fire at El Caney. Because of his record later in the Philippines, Colonel A. S. Burt, the regiment’s commanding officer said, “Mingo Sanders is the best non-commissioned officer I have ever known.”

And eight years later, when Roosevelt was president, his life crossed paths with Mingo Sanders once again. In Brownsville, Texas, the 25th Infantry was accused of a shooting incident. President Roosevelt sent officers to conduct an inquiry, who could find no witnesses. Roosevelt ordered the men to be given dishonorable discharges without any kind of trial, including Sergeant Sanders, the man who had shared food and a daring battle with him. He waited to order the discharges until November 7, 1906, one day after Congressional elections, so that black voters would not abandon the party. The discharges were not forgotten in later years. President Taft appointed Sanders to federal positions as an anti-Roosevelt reminder.

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