Buffalo Soldier Regiment: History of the Twenty-Fifth United States Infantry, 1869-1926

By John H. Nankivell | Go to book overview

APPENDIX L

EXTRACT FROM “CAMPAIGNING IN CUBA” BY GEORGE KENNAN

(Chapter XII, Pages 143 and 144)

“The fighting of all our soldiers, both at Caney and at San Juan, was daring and gallant in the extreme; but I cannot refrain from calling particular attention to the splendid behavior of the colored troops. It is the testimony of all who saw them under fire that they fought with the utmost courage, coolness, and determination, and Colonel Roosevelt said to a squad of them in the trenches, in my presence, that he never expected to have, and could not ask to have, better men beside him in a hard fight. If soldiers come up to Colonel Roosevelt’s standard of courage, their friends have no reason to feel ashamed of them. His commendation is equivalent to a Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry, because in the slang of the camp, he himself is “a fighter from way back.” I can testify, furthermore, from my own personal observation in the field-hospital of the 5th Army Corps Saturday and Sunday night, that the colored regulars who were brought in there displayed extraordinary fortitude and self control. There were a great many of them, but I cannot remember to have heard a groan or a complaint from a single man. I asked one of them whether any of his comrades showed signs of fear when they went into action. “No,” he replied with a grin, “not egzactly; two or three of ‘em looked kindo’ squandered just at first, but they mighty soon braced up.”

-197-

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