Of the U.S. Army regiments of the late Indian Wars, the four black regiments had some of the most stellar reputations.....many battle victories as well as Congressional Medals of Honor and known for the lowest incidences of fighting, drinking, desertion and other crimes during their deployment at various forts on the frontier. Of the four, the 24th, 25th Infantry regiments and 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments, were all commanded by white officers. Viewed as demotion to most officers, it was a quick rise in promotion for those who volunteered. Many stayed with their units when offered promotion with white units, because their troopers were far less trouble and more compliant. The black soldier knew his life overall would be better (better pay, living conditions etc) than the average black civilian, particularly in the west post Civil War (War Between the States/War of Northern Aggression). All black companies had white Army chaplains, requested by their officers and it has been suggested that may be the main reason that their overall discipline was so high. Here are a few photos....first my favorite! This one is a few years (1888) later than our time period in Montana.
10th Cav. 1880
Most photos we have are later in the 19th, including the Spanish American War. The 10th Cav was commanded by "Black Jack Pershing" and it is said Pershing got his handle "Black Jack" as the commander of these Buffalo Soldiers. Here is a great mounted photo.