A 2018 video posted on YouTube shows several American flags and makeshift crosses pitched in the dirt marking graves in a remote and rugged area almost on the border with Mexico and about 11 miles south of Arivaca, in Pima County. The man in the video claims the graves belong to members of the U.S. Army’s 10th Cavalry, or, Buffalo Soldiers. A couple of the graves are marked with small signs that read: “10th Cavalry With Honour.”
Recently, retired Navy veteran Don Lewallen, who lives in Washington, posted a copy of the YouTube video on Fort Huachuca’s Facebook page and asked if officials at the installation were aware of the graves. Fort Huachuca is known as the “home of the Buffalo Soldiers.”
Lewallen also spoke with the Herald/Review after a reporter contacted him about the video and his post on Fort Huachuca’s Facebook page.
The Herald/Review also reached out to Fort Huachuca spokeswoman Tanja Linton about the graves and the answers she came back with could finally put to rest what she called a “local legend” that’s been floating around as early as the 1970s.
The 10th Cavalry Regiment is a unit of the United States Army. Formed as a segregated African-American unit, the 10th Cavalry was one of the original “Buffalo Soldier” regiments in the post–Civil War Regular Army. It was founded in September 1866.
Linton said she contacted Paul Pipik, director of the Army Intelligence Museum at the installation. She said this wasn’t the first time the rumor had surfaced.
“This subject has come up before and thoroughly investigated as early as the 1970’s,” Linton said in an email. “No soldiers were known to have died in the area. Records from the period do not reflect fatalities among units that operated in the area — something the Army keeps close track of. Had there been any, they would have been brought to Fort Huachuca for burial, not left in the field.”
“...They are periodically “rediscovered” by people hiking in the national forest there, who then bring the question back to us,” Linton said. “Other than the fact that they’re not soldiers, we don’t know much. The best guess is that they are Mexican graves.”
The Herald/Review relayed Linton’s information to Lewallen: “At least we got to the bottom of this,” he said.