New West Point Monument Honors Buffalo Soldiers

New West Point Monument Honors Buffalo Soldiers

Buffalo Solider statue
Photo by: U.S. Army/John Pellino

A new monument honoring the legacy of West Point’s Buffalo Soldiers has been dedicated on the grounds of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.

During a ceremony on Sept. 10, the 10-foot bronze statue of a trooper mounted on horseback was dedicated on the south end of Buffalo Soldier Field, replacing a smaller memorial that had been in place since 1973. 

The new monument honors the Black Horse Cavalry Detachments, including the 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments whose members served at West Point from 1907 to 1947 to teach mounted drill and tactics to the Corps of Cadets.

“This monument will ensure that the legacy of Buffalo Soldiers is enduringly revered, honored and celebrated while serving as an inspiration for the next generation of cadets,” Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, West Point’s superintendent, said in a statement.

The statue bears the likeness of retired Staff Sgt. Sanders Matthews Sr., a Buffalo Soldier who was stationed at West Point and later founded the Buffalo Soldiers Association of West Point.

The monument’s granite base incorporates the historical marker from the existing memorial rock and is surrounded by six benches. The substructure is embellished with bas-relief images that depict the soldiers’ performance at academy ceremonies for distinguished guests and visitors.

Buffalo Soldiers were the first Black soldiers to serve in a peacetime Army after the Civil War, when Congress formed six all-Black regiments in 1866. These regiments were later combined into four, creating two cavalry and two infantry regiments.

A nickname dating back to their service on the western frontier, Buffalo Soldiers served in the Spanish American War, both world wars, the Korean War, and many other military campaigns.

The new monument, a gift from the Buffalo Soldiers of West Point Association to the academy, is the first to be dedicated at West Point since 2019, when a statute of Ulysses Grant, an 1843 West Point graduate, was erected on the Plain.