National Buffalo Soldiers Day

July 28th is National Buffalo Soldiers Day celebrating the contributions of some of the earliest African American troops in the United States military.  It’s unclear why African American troops were referred to as Buffalo Soldiers. Speculation is that it was something to do with their ferocity and bravery displayed in battle or that early, post-Civil War era soldiers often wore robes made from the skin and hair of buffaloes to keep warm.  Today, “Buffalo Soldier” transcends its origins and is considered a badge of honor.

In WWI, the U.S. organized two divisions of segregated men, the 92nd Division and the 93rd Division for the war. The 92nd would carry the name “Buffalo Soldiers” as their nickname and the 93rd would be known as the “Blue Helmets.” Even though these African Americans established an African American presence in the AEF, American leaders at the top would still shun them. Much of the 92nd would be relegated to logistics and support, behind the front lines. When both divisions arrived in France, General John “Black Jack” Pershing was more than willing to lend both divisions to the French army to fight under the French command and flag. Parts of the 92nd would see combat action in France while most of the 93rd would fight in combat.

They quickly dispelled the American Army’s belief that they were inferior soldiers as they heroically and valiantly fought in fierce combat throughout the war. As a result of their actions, France would award several prestigious honors and medals on multiple regiments in both divisions.

In 1992 General Colin Powell led an effort for erecting and dedicating a monument in honor of these troops.

St. Charles County Men of the 92nd and 93rd

The “Buffalo Soldiers” of the 92nd Division

  • James Abington, Company B, 349th Machine Gun Battalion, 92nd Division.
  • Julius Baugh, Company D, 351st Machine Gun Battalion, 92nd Division
  • William Bourne, Regimental Sgt Major, 92nd Division
  • William Wyatt, Company H, 365th Infantry Regiment, 92nd Division

The “Blue Hats” or “Black Devils” of the 93rd Division

  • Earl Dryden, 370th Infantry, 93rd Division
  • Sylvester Dryden, 370th Infantry, 93rd Infantry Division
  • George Ellis, 370th Infantry, 93rd Division
  • Alvin Jenkins, Company H, 370th Infantry, 93rd Division Band
  • Arthur Winn, Machine Gun Company, 370th Infantry, 93rd Infantry Division

Immediately following the 370th’s return from France, the black communities of Chicago began fundraising to erect a monument to the 370th Regiment, “Black Devils.” The monument was completed in 1928 and dedicated on 11-NOV 1928, Armistice Day.  You can read their stories on this website.  Click on stories, WWI Era.

Please contact the St. Charles County Veterans Museum Oral History project at or call 636-294-2657 for more information and lets’ talk. We want to hear from you because we know…Every Veteran has a story.