When originally purchased this image was thought possibly to represent an African American member of the 9th or 10th
U.S. Cavalry - the Buffalo Soldiers famous for their part in the Indian War campaigns in the American southwest in the
late 1800's. The 10th is also noted for its part in the storming of San Juan Hill in Cuba during the Spanish American
War of 1898.

Under close examination it turned out to be an ever rarer image - an African American private of "L" Company, 6th
Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry c 1898.

The 6th Massachusetts was a singular regiment within either the Volunteers or the Regular Army in as much as it was
a partially racially integrated regiment - the only one in U.S. service at the time. The 6th was an all white regiment with
the exception on the single "L" company which manned and officered by African Americans.

The 6th was raised for service in the Spanish American War and took part in the occupation of Puerto Rico. "L"
Company was the only black unit to take part in the occupation of Puerto Rico and the only black
volunteer unit to
come under fire - at the Battle of Yauco - during the entire Spanish American War.

1/6th plate Tintype (Ferrotype)
3 1/2 inches by 2 3/8 inches
9 cm x 6 cm
Unknown Photographer
Unknown Location
c. 1898
Detail scans
showing the
regimental and
company number
M-1895 forage cap
on the left and on
the right the clearly
belt plate on the
dark blue Mills
web ammunition
belt.