[N.p. N.d., ca. 1918]. Panoramic silver gelatin photograph, 9 1/2 x 49 1/2 inches. Minor silvering, else very good. Framed. [with:] CAMP OF THE 25th U.S. INFANTRY ON DUTY ON MEXICAN BORDER, 5.12.'19 [caption title]. San Diego: Tunnell & Sansiper, [ca. 1919]. Panoramic silver gelatin photograph, 9 1/2 x 50 1/2 inches. Very good. Framed. Item #WRCAM55304
An interesting pair of large-format panoramic photographic collages featuring the Buffalo Soldiers of the 25th United States Infantry in training in Arizona just after World War I. The great majority of the Buffalo Soldiers were stationed in reserve in Hawaii during the First World War, but some Buffalo Soldiers were sent to Mexico to participate in the Punitive Expedition and later to Nogales to guard the Mexican border in southern Arizona during the waning years of Pancho Villa's Mexican Revolution. Buffalo Soldiers of the 35th Infantry Regiment were embroiled in the Battle of Ambos Nogales in August 1918, after which the 35th Regiment was replaced by the men seen in the present panoramic photographs - the 25th Infantry regiment. The first of the present panoramas features the sprawling camp of the 25th Infantry from an elevated vantage point in Nogales, showing dozens of buildings in the foreground, with the vast Arizona desert in the background. Below this is an equally-long image of a "Grand Review" of the hundreds of African- American soldiers who make up the unit. A photograph at left captures the activities of four African-American soldiers comprising the unit's color guard; a photograph at right shows presumably the unit's Caucasian commander at his desk, though he is unidentified. The second panorama also features the encampment of the 25th Infantry along the Mexican border as it stood on May 12, 1919. Above this is another panoramic photograph which is quite interesting; it shows the breadth of Nogales from a local hillside, spanning both Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. As it still exists today, the border between the United States and Mexico is here depicted by "International Avenue" running east/west through the left portion of the image. Several sites on the Mexican side of Nogales are captioned in the negative, including the border fence, the "Location of Battle between Obregon and Villa," "Place of execution," "Prison," "City Hall," the "Plaza de Mexico" among others. The panoramic photographs are flanked on each side with a vertical photograph featuring a member of the color guard of the 25th Infantry. The 25th United States Infantry was formed in 1866 as a racially-segregated unit of the United States Army. Members of the 25th Infantry fought in the American Indian Wars, the Spanish-American War, the Philippine- American War, and World War II, and also served in south Texas and along the Mexico border after World War I. The African- American units of the 10th cavalry earned the nickname "Buffalo Soldiers" from Native American tribes during the Indian Wars, and the name came to be applied to all five African-American regiments of the American Army formed in 1866, including the 25th Infantry. The Buffalo Soldiers of the 25th Infantry were stationed in Nogales from late 1918 until 1933. The soldiers became an integral part of the community, though life in a border town brought racial discrimination from people in both the United States and Mexico. An interesting side note: jazz multi- instrumentalist Charles Mingus was born in Nogales in 1922 while his father, Charles Mingus, Sr. served as a sergeant in the 25th Infantry. Panoramic photographs of Buffalo Soldiers are extraordinarily rare; these examples are especially interesting for their Mexican border content.