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  • Writer's pictureLawrence Lore

Buffalo Soldiers

An article in the Sumner Press, 6/7/1888, page 4, caught J King’s attention—“Henry Gowen of the regular Army 10th U S Cavalry visited friends and relatives here last week. Mr. Gowen has been in the army for twenty- three years and served three years in the Civil War. He was raised by our fellow townsman, Kelly Mills.”

Our award- winning video “An Eagle on his Button” tells the story of about two dozen Lawrence County residents who served during the Civil War in the 28th US Colored Troops. One of those was Henry Goens/Gowen.

Following Henry’s discharge from the 28th USCI in 1865, he enlisted at Vincennes in 1866 as a member of the 10th U.S. Cavalry and retired in 1894 at Ft Custer, Montana as a sergeant. His five enlistments in the 10th U.S. Cavalry are well documented. The 10th U.S. Cavalry was an African-American regiment, and was known as being part of the BUFFALO SOLDIERS, assigned to fight Native Americans and keep the peace in the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountain West. Another Buffalo Soldier from Lawrence County was Edward B. Pettiford, who served with the Goens/Goins/Gowen brothers in Co B of the 28th USCI and who later served two enlistments in the 24th & 25th U.S. Infantry regiments.

Henry Goens died at the Soldier's Home in Danville, Illinois, on March 4, 1920. His admission record states that he had been living previously at Paris, Illinois and was a widower. His nearest relative was his brother, Levi Goens, who was also living at the Soldier’s home in Danville. Henry’s age was given as 72 and his cause of death was mitral valve disease and arteriosclerosis. He was buried in Danville National Cemetery, Danville, Illinois.

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