Black Infantry in Arizona
The 24th Infantry - Wham Paymaster Robbery Heroes
By June of 1888 the Regiment, containing former members of the 38th and 41st U.S. Colored Troops moved into Arizona with parts of it still in New Mexico at Fort Bayard. They were sent to Fort Huachuca in 1892 with companies A, B, C, and H using the Fort as Headquarters. They were in the area of San Carlos when the Wham Paymaster Robbery took place. This robbery was a western style ambush that brought about heroics among the Military Escort as one man crawled a-long distance on his knees to get help. Several men received medals for their bravery. The event took place on May 11, 1889 and the payroll for the soldiers of Ft. Thomas, Ft. Apache and San Carlos was taken from its Military Escort that was commanded by Maj. Joseph W. Wham. The $29,000.00 was never recovered.
The 25th Infantry
(Black Bicycle Corps, Lt. Moss, Flag Day Originator)
The act of Congress of July 28,1866 that brought about the 25th by the consolidation of the 39th and 40th U.S Colored Troops was spelled out in general order 16 of the War Department on March 11, 1869.
This regiment spent ten years in Texas. By May 1888 it was sent to Fort Missoula, Montana. It was there that the Black Bicycle Corps was organized under Lt. Moss, a young white officer. One of their most outstanding events was to make a 1900 bicycle ride from Montana to St Louis, which began on June 14, 1897. Along the way people came out and waved flags at Lt. Moss and his 20 black volunteer bike riders. This young white officer was a west point graduate from Louisiana. By 1922 he retired as Colonel and he is one of the originators of Flag Day, which takes place on June 14th.
This group could "Jump Fence" with their bikes. This was a special technique that enabled the Corps to clear a nine foot fence in 20 seconds. In preparation for the long hike this group made other hikes to Yellowstone Park, to Lake Mac Donald and other places around Fort Missoula.
While in Arizona, some were located around Nogales, Arizona at Camp Stephen D. Little and lived there. Some were a part of the last Indian War in that area.