Private Charles Henry Love


We honor you Private Charles Henry Love of Co F 22nd Regiment of the United States Colored Infantry, who at age 19 enlisted in December 1863 in Philadelphia and was honorably discharged in October 1865 in Texas.

Perhaps freeborn in Maryland (December 21, 1844), Charles Love lived in Timbuctoo with at least one brother, John J. Love, and his father, Jacob Love. He worked as a farmer before the Civil War. During the war there were no records of injury or illness and it appears that health wise his record was uneventful. Serving in the infantry, he also was assigned detached work as a guard at the Portsmouth, Virginia Hospital.

When Charles returned home he married Henrietta Wilson in August, 1866; but, by the next year, he ran off and joined the Regular Army. At first he was mustered into Troop G of the 10th Cavalry of the United States Army. Formed at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in 1866, it took the Tenth Cavalry a long time to recruit and organize since its Colonel, Benjamin Grierson, was very specific about his high standards to enlist only superior men. 43 The Colonel was aware of the army’s prejudicial attitude towards minority recruits. He ordered that his cavalry regiment be officially designated as simply the “Tenth Regiment of Cavalry U. S. Army” (not Tenth Regiment of Colored Cavalry U. S. Army) and that its commanding officers not use the word “colored” in any of their reports relating to the regiment. 44 His cavalry regiment became one of the units that gained fame as the Buffalo Soldiers, whom the Indians (Cheyenne) literally called the “Wild Buffaloes”. 45 Sources assert that the nickname not only referred to the appearance of the soldiers because of their curly dark hair that resembled a buffalo’s coat, but also to their courageous and fierce fighting ability. 46 Some scholars have even suggested that since the buffalo was a revered and sacred animal, the black soldiers were honored by this association. 47

Enlistment in the Army was for a minimum of five years. For the first five years (1867-1872), Private Charles Love was a Wagoner in Troop G of the 10th Cavalry. His name was listed in the 1870 Federal Census where he was stationed at Fort Dodge, Kansas.

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From a painting by Frank McCarthy; Cover of Arizona Highways, January 1995, Vol. 71, No. 1.

The Buffalo soldiers, regarded by many historians as the most reliable and disciplined of all the frontier recruits 48, protected mail, train and stagecoach routes and guarded the construction of the Kansas Pacific Railroad. 49 Not only did they build and maintain military posts on the hostile and desolate Southwest Front, but they also protected the teamsters, trappers, settlers and cattle ranchers from Indian raiders. 50 Buffalo soldiers strove to accomplish their missions equipped with second-hand weapons, out-dated army gear, and worn-out old horses. 51

“A 1868 winter campaign to conquer a peace with the Cheyennes and Arapahoes” was planned by General Philip Henry Sheridan. A main column of companies was organized as an attack force with three additional commands organized “to act as beaters in, to drive the Indians into the path of the main column”.

In the winter of 1868 Troops B, F, G (Private Charles Love’s troop), and K of Tenth Cavalry joined one of eight companies of cavalry and infantry under the command of Brevet Brigadier General W. H. Penrose at Fort Lyon in Colorado. The soldiers left Fort Lyon on November 10 with “forty-three days’ rations”. Another company formation under the command of General Carr would carry the necessary supplemental supplies and would later meet up with Penrose on the North Canadian River. Both commands were to act as beater in driving forces. Five days into the Penrose command, a heavy snowstorm with bitter cold temperatures forced encampment in an area devoid of wood or buffalo chips necessary to fuel a fire. “Twenty five horses in the rear guard gave out in the heavy going and had to be shot.” 53 As the command moved on, many more animals perished. On December 6, the “half-frozen” soldiers reached San Francisco Creek in the North Canadian. With only half rations and no forage for the animals, the desperate group anxiously awaited the arrival of General Carr, who also faced similar problems due to the snow and cold temperature. “Nevertheless, the buffalo soldiers remained cheerful as they rubbed frozen feet and hands and fashioned makeshift footgear from the hides of dead animals to replace boots that had fallen apart.” Eventually the two commands joined and a supply depot was established that saved Penrose’s soldiers and animals from starvation. 54

Two colorful figures associated with the Wild West were affiliated with these two commands. Wild Bill Hickok was a scout for the Penrose command. Buffalo Bill Cody was the chief scout for the Carr command. Private Love, while experiencing his own incredible life adventure, may have heard some pretty wild stories concerning these famous men who were also good friends. 55

By 1875, the Tenth U.S. Cavalry had moved in to Texas where it continued to protect the mail and travel routes, as well as to string telegraph lines and establish new frontier outposts. 56

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Reproduction of Indian Wars (1865-1898) Commemorative Campaign Medal.

In 1872, Private Charles Love re-enlisted into Troop E and remained with this troop for the next 22 years. During his last five year appointment, because of excellent character, he was finally promoted to Sergeant. He then retired on June 13, 1894, perhaps self-satisfied with his final recognition as a soldier of worth, a Sergeant. His last campaigns brought the 10th Cavalry into Texas and Arizona where it fought Mexican revolutionaries, outlaws, and hostile Native Americans such as the notorious Apache leader, Victorio, and the warrior Apache chief, Geronimo. Sergeant Charles Love received a medal for his Indian Campaign service: Badge No. 1219 issued 1909, with duplicate Badge No. 1769 issued 1915.  57

After a 26-year absence, Charles came home to Henrietta. Amazingly, she took him back. He assumed his old life as husband, and father. Perhaps to show off his accomplishments, he always wore his uniform. People recognized him by his uniform with the proudly displayed stripes on the sleeves.

Charles Love died July 16, 1922 at the ripe old age of 77 years from a stroke.

On April 2, 1927, Widow Henrietta Love died in the Burlington County Hospital for the Insane.

Henrietta Love was orphaned at a young age. She came from Maryland to live with her aunt and uncle, Susan and William Nolan of Timbuctoo. It was here that Henrietta met Charles Love. During the Civil War, Henrietta’s cousin, Joseph Nolan, joined the 25th Company H United States Colored Infantry in early 1865. He was only 18 years old. Three months later he died (June 3, 1865) from fever and diarrhea in a hospital in Barrancas, Florida. 58 Word came home of his death. Sadly, Susan and William would never attend their son’s funeral. In fact, when I researched Joseph’s burial site, I concluded that he was most probably buried in an unknown site or trench in the National Barrancas Cemetery in the Civil War African American Regiment section. Some of the sites were marked by regiment only; some were not. Some sites had as many as 15 unknown soldiers buried in the trench grave.

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