Twenty-Fifth United States Infantry

By: Robert Wooster

Type: General Entry

Published: November 1, 1995

Updated: March 10, 2021

In 1869 Congress eliminated twenty of the forty-five infantry regiments in the United States army. As a result, the old Thirty-ninth and Fortieth regiments were consolidated to form the new Twenty-fifth Infantry Regiment. The regiment, commanded by Col. Joseph A. Mower, was organized at New Orleans, Louisiana. It was transferred to West Texas in 1870, and several of its ten companies helped garrison forts Clark, Davis, Duncan, McKavett, Quitman, Stockton, along with smaller subposts at Presidio, the Guadalupe Mountains, Eagle Spring, and Seven Springs, for the next decade. Other elements of the regiment served in the Indian territory. Comprised entirely of black enlisted personnel, the Twenty-fifth Infantry initially included large numbers of former slaves and Civil War veterans. Later, recruiting efforts emphasized the North and the border states. Its line officers, however, remained White. During its tour of duty in the Lone Star state, the regiment's enlisted personnel faced considerable racial discrimination. Like all units stationed on the frontier, most of its soldiers engaged in numerous routine garrison activities, road-building work, and mail escort parties. Individual companies also engaged in patrols and occasional skirmishing against Indians, and in 1878 one company participated in Col. Ranald S. Mackenzie's foray into Mexico. In 1880 the regiment was transferred to the Dakota Territory. It was moved to Montana in 1888, but four companies participated in the Wounded Knee campaign two years later. Much of the Twenty-fifth Regiment was employed as part of the army's bicycle corps during the mid 1890s. In the Spanish-American War the regiment served with distinction in the Santiago campaign. It subsequently fought in the Philippines Insurrection until 1902, when the unit was returned to the United States. In 1906 sections of the regiment's First Battalion were involved in the controversial Brownsville Raid. The regiment returned to the Philippines from 1907–09 to fight against the Moros. During World War I the Twenty-fifth Infantry remained in Hawaii, but it saw duty in the South Pacific during World War II. Still segregated, its battalions were distributed among various standing divisions following the latter conflict.

Edward M. Coffman, The Old Army: A Portrait of the American Army in Peacetime, 1784–1898 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986). Ulysses Lee, The Employment of Negro Troops (Washington: Office of the Chief of Military History, U.S. Army, 1966). Morris J. MacGregor, Integration of the Armed Forces, 1940–1965 (Washington: Center of Military History, U.S. Army, 1981). John H. Nankivell, comp. and ed., The History of the Twenty-fifth Regiment, United States Infantry, 1869–1926 (Denver: Smith-Brooks Printing Company, 1927; rpt., Fort Collins, Colorado: Old Army Press, 1972). John D. Weaver, The Brownsville Raid (New York: Norton, 1970). Robert Wooster, Soldiers, Sutlers and Settlers: Garrison Life of the Texas Frontier (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1987).

  • Peoples
  • African Americans
  • Military
Time Periods:
  • Reconstruction
  • Late Nineteenth-Century Texas
  • World War II

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Robert Wooster, “Twenty-Fifth United States Infantry,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 23, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1995
March 10, 2021

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