Black soldiers guarding a stagecoach in Texas, 1869.
In 1866, US legislation reorganized the Civil War era army into 10 regiments of cavalry and 45 regiments of infantry. Included among the foot soldiers were four black regiments, the 38th, 39th, 40th, and 41st. The 38th US Infantry, raised at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, south of St. Louis, served on the Great Plains as guards for crews building the Trans-Continental railroad. The 41st, recruited at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, moved into Texas, led by its commanding officer, Colonel Ranald McKenzie, and its executive officer, William Shafter. In 1869, Congress changed its position, reducing the number of infantry regiments, and the 38th received orders to move to Fort McKavett, Texas, for reorganization and consolidation with the 41st.
The 24th US Infantry emerging from this reduction and reorganization, serving in Texas until 1880. The infantry, of limited utility against fast moving Indian raiders, mostly served to build roads, string telegraph lines, and provide security for parties traveling across the great expanse of western Texas and along the Rio Grande.