Officially known as An Act to increase and fix the Military Peace Establishment of the United States.
The Act was approved by the 1st session of the 39th Congress on July 28th, 1866 and is credited with the formation of the Buffalo Soldiers.
In this light the sections of greatest interest are Section 3, which called for the formation of 4 additional regiments of cavalry, two of which were to consist of colored enlisted and white officers.
Section 4 called for the formation of eight new companies of infantry, 4 of which were to be composed of colored enlisted. The new regiments were to consist of ten companies each.
These sections were then placed into effect through a series of General Orders designating the regimental numbers, commanding officers and to which military district that they would be assigned to.
Thus began yet another chapter in the black mans participation in the military service to the United States, this time as part of the regular Army of the United States.
Most of the other sections, 38 in all, deal with organizational and pay factors.
Section 3 also detailed the proportion of officers that were to come from the regular or volunteers, thereby insuring that the outstanding officers of the volunteer forces that led so gallantly during the civil war would be rewarded. It also established that a veterinary surgeon would be assigned to each regiment.
Section 6 authorized the enlistment and employment of a force of Indian scouts in the Territories or Indian country
Sections 10-22 established rank and pay for several departments such as adjutant-general department, bureau of military justice, judge-advocate, quartermaster, military storekeeper, subsistence, medical, corps of engineers, ordnance and signal corps.
Section 25 abolished the office of sutler at military posts and in the army, with the subsistence depart to assume that role.
However there were several other sections that impacted the black soldier directly.
Section 8 set enlistment terms for cavalry to 5 years of service and 3 years for infantry and artillery.
Section 24 Required that officers to be commissioned in any of the regiments authorized by this act must pass an examination by a board composed of officers in the branch of service to be commissioned in.
Section 27 required the establishment of school for the enlisted men at any post garrison or permanent camp and defined the basic curriculum.
Section 28 placed officers from the USCT on the same footing as officers of volunteers.
Section 30 was a key provision calling for the assignment by the President of a regimental Chaplin for each regiment of colored troops and reinforced their role in education.
© 2000-2001 by Dr John Productions
The New Buffalo Soldiers, Shadow Hills, CA.
All rights reserved.