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The whole band numbered about one hundred and fifty souls. Gopher John was along as Interpreter. He said he was on his way to Fort Duncan. The train is making preparations to move on the 10th. Coons is still in the rear with twenty wagons. Ward and two other scouts were later awarded the Medal of Honor for their heroism during this action. Of the souls with that group were the young boys who would grow up to become the original scouts of the detachment.
After a generation of military service against hostile Indians in northern Mexico for the Mexican government, the Black Seminoles yearned to return to the Seminole Nation in Oklahoma.
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Negotiations for repatriation began with the Army at Fort Duncan in early By mid-summer, the Seminoles had moved back across the Rio Grande and entered into a treaty with the federal government that essentially guaranteed their eventual return to the Indian Territory in exchange for military service as Indian scouts. The term of enlistment for a Seminole-Negro Indian Scout was six-months, at the pay of a cavalryman with fifty cents extra per month if the scout provided his own horse.
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Command of the Seminole-Negro Indian Detachment always fell to a white officer, normally a junior second lieutenant. During extended periods of garrison duty, the detachment was, as a rule, commanded by the post adjutant whose primary responsibility was the enlistment and reenlistment of the scouts. Lieutenant later Brigadier General John L. Bullis of the 24th Infantry took command of the Scout Detachment at Fort Duncan in the summer of Soon after Bullis assumed command, the detachment and their families were split between Fort Duncan and Fort Clark.
Bullis and his scouts were the vanguard for Colonel Ranald S. The detachment participated in subsequent raids into Mexico with Colonel William R. Young of the 8th Cavlary during the late s.
Three Scouts were awarded the Medal of Honor for rescuing Bullis during a battle with Comanches at the mouth of the Pecos on 25 April It was Bullis and his Scouts who first established a road into and out of the Pecos River Canyon, making a wagon crossing practical and opening the country west of the Pecos. Bullis relinquished command of the Scouts in July A Seminole settlement was established on Fort Clark in Kibbets and saw where the animals graze and where the men live.
Some of them keep their places in nice condition all the time while others live like pigs. It is a regular African settlement with houses or huts about like those to be seen in the works of travels in Africa with stockade walls of thatched straw. Two incidents in time came to tarnish the otherwise peaceful existence of the Seminoles in their camp at Fort Clark.
Payne was killed, but John Horse survived his four wounds. His mount, a white stallion named America, was also severely wounded in the attack. Afterwards, many Seminole families returned to Mexico in fear of further troubles. The arrival of wanted fugitives Adam Paine, former scout and Medal of Honor recipient, and a border-area bandit, Frank Enoch, only added to the unrest. Windus, learned the wanted men were in the Seminole Camp. This is the only known instance in American history where one Medal of Honor recipient killed another. Army along the Texas-Mexico border until it was disbanded in This photograph shows the detachment in The Army had established a series of sub-posts in the Big Bend to protect against raids on settlers by marauding Indians and bandits from Mexico and attacks on commerce along the wagon road to El Paso.
The scouts were at their best in the field on campaign, pursuing an elusive adversary or just making their presence known to potential desperados.
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They were stoic and tough as evidenced by this observation made by one of their commanders, Second Lieutenant Francis H. Got up before day light. Occupying a series of remote camps west of the Pecos River the Scouts became, in essence, the very first border patrol to operate in the Big Bend region. They came to know every trail, waterhole, spring, and hiding place in this vast desolate country. Neville Spring, which the Scouts occupied for nearly six years, was over miles and a fourteen-day journey on horseback away from their families at Fort Clark.
By the early s the country west of the Pecos River was considered to be free of Indian troubles and long established posts such as Fort Stockton and Fort Davis were closed, along with all the sub-posts of the Indian Wars in west Texas. The scouts finally were able to return to their families and routine garrison duties at Fort Clark, but not for long. The scouts served at Fort Ringgold for the next fourteen years until July Before the end of the Seminole-Negro Indian Scouts had once again proven their mettle and worth to the Army.
Lowe, 18th Infantry, the Scouts had played a pivotal role in ending violations of U. While serving at Fort Ringgold, the scouts were often sent to patrol the Rio Grande in the direction of Fort Clark, where the opportunity to visit their families was rarely missed.
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