A Letter From Roma: African American Soldiers on the Rio Grande 1864-1867
During the US Civil War, US Colored Troop regiments were stationed along the international border between the United States and Mexico. Arriving toward the end of the conflict along the Rio Grande in 1864, US Colored Troops not only played a part in the last land battle of the US Civil War at Palmito Ranch outside of Brownsville, Texas on May 12-13, 1865, but their regiments remained in the region once the war was over during ‘Reconstruction’ with the specific purpose of rebuilding or reconstructing the US Military forts along the river such as Fort Brown in Brownsville, Ringgold Barracks in Rio Grande City/Roma and Fort McIntosh in Laredo to name a few. A letter from Roma, Texas, written by Sgt. Major Thomas Boswell from the 116th US Colored Infantry was sent to tell his family in Kentucky and described what life was like for them in the village of Roma. The troops of the US Colored Infantry fought the closing battles of the Civil War along the Texas Mexico border and later protected that boundary line against lawlessness. Some of these soldiers remained in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas and married into the local culture. The presence of the US Colored Infantry helped build and define our South Texas spirit.
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Community Historical Archaeology Project with Schools Program (CHAPS), "A Letter From Roma: African American Soldiers on the Rio Grande 1864-1867" (2020). Community Historical Archaeology Project with Schools (CHAPS) Recordings. 1.