On Fort Myer, one of the gates to the Post is named after this Medal of Honor Recipient. He earned the MOH for actions at Cold Harbor in 1864
during the US Civil War. Though his accomplishments wouldn’t stop there. He would go onto serve in the Spanish American War, the Governor of Puerto Rico. It would be while he was commander of Fort Myer from 1891 to 1894 that a troop of the 9th Cavalry – the Buffalo Soldiers – would also be posted to Fort Myer.
His son, Guy Vernor Henry, Jr., also a graduate of West Point, class of 1898 and quite the equestrian (he competed in the 1912 Olympics and won a bronze medal), would also later command Fort Myer from 1927 to 1930.
After the Civil War, the US Congress passed legislation which established several regiments of black Soldiers to reorganize the US Army. The first units which were established originally consisted of six regiments – four infantry – the 38th and 41st and the 39th and 40th which were ultimately consolidated and re-designated as the 24th and 25th Infantry Regiments respectively. The reorganization also provided for two Cavalry Regiments - the 9th and 10th Cavalry. When spoken about today, the Cavalry Regiments are always highlighted as “The Buffalo Soldiers.”
It would be the 1890s before Fort Myer saw its first Buffalo Soldiers. General Guy Vernor Henry, a Civil War Medal of Honor recipient would bring a squadron of the 9th Cavalry to Fort Myer in 1891. The troopers would stay on post until 1894 and then rotate out to their next duty assignment.
It would be 1930 before the Buffalo Soldiers would once again return to Fort Myer. This time it would be the Machine Gun Troop of the 10th Cavalry – Squadron K that would be stationed on Post until 1949. Troopers in this squadron would also be tasked to participate in many ceremonial duties including parades.
The stables, where the horses of these Troopers were kept, are still standing on Fort Myer and located on what was then called “Lower Post” – they no longer contain any horses, but are a reminder of the contributions of these men who helped settle the West during the Indian Wars and extended the United States to the western shores.
You can read more about the Buffalo Soldiers and Fort Myer in the book “Images of America – Fort Myer” – an autographed copy is available.
Today 25th March is dedicated to the special group of military who have been awarded the highest distinction which the United States of America can bestow upon its military – the Congressional Medal of Honor or known just as the Medal of Honor.
Since its inception in 1861 after President Abraham Lincoln signed it into law, less than 4,000 medals have been awarded as of March 2011. The valor, heroism and bravery demonstrated by these men has been something which most never really hear about or read about their achievements.
Five of the recipients have had association with Fort Myer over the last 150 years, where they either lived on Post in a senior officer position within the US Army or they were Post Commander.