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  • Yvonne Giles

Nathan Caulder

Two months after his eighteenth birthday Nathan Caulder followed his older brother Stanley into military service. He enlisted 25 October 1900 to begin his career at Fort D.A. Russell, Wyoming

in Company A 24th Infantry. The fort was established in 1867 as garrison for infantry and cavalry regiments. In 1887, by order of President Grover Cleveland, Troop K of the 9th Cavalry was the

first Black military unit garrisoned. They had been deployed to protect federal employees who were removing illegal fencing. Four companies of the 24th Infantry were posted at the Fort in

1898. Wyoming History. Org

Nathan Caulder remained in service, advancing to the 9th Cavalry, Troop K. In 1908 Nathan was stationed at Camp McGrath in the Philippine Islands. Captain Charles A. Young, a Kentucky

native, West Point graduate and only African American officer, was attaché to the Philippines at the time. Nathan, as an unassigned soldier, would return to the islands in 1915. National Archives, U.W. Buffalo Soldiers, Returns from Regular Army Cavalry Regiments 1866-1916

He enlisted for service during WWI at the rank of Mess Sergeant, 351st Machine Gun Battalion,Company A, 92nd Division. The division, organized in 1917 at Camp Funston, Kansas was transported overseas June 1918. They deployed to the front August 1918 where they fought under French command as the 4th Army of France. The 92nd and 93rd were all Black units serving during WWI and WWII. Passenger List of Organization & Casuals, Transport Orizaba, Depart New Jersey 6/10/1918 Scott, Emmett T., The American Negro in the World War, 1919

After armistice agreement ended the war, Nathan returned to the United States arriving at New York March 1919. National Archives, Record Group #92, U.S. Transport Oriana, Depart France 2/23/1919, arrive New York 3/6/1919

Within the same month Nathan had arrived home, the War Department put out a call for ’50,000 volunteers for service in France to relieve an equal number of men with the American Expeditionary Force’. Nathan Caulder, a veteran of nineteen years, was one of those who chose to return to service overseas. Lexington Leader, 3/29/1919, p2, c3

Nathan Caulder, hospitalized in France, died of disease 1 June 1919. His remains were returned to the United States September 1920. National Archives, Record Group #92, Overseas Dead, U.S. Transport Princess Matoika, depart France 8/24/1920, arrive New Jersey 9/4/19120

His burial in African Cemetery No. 2 on the 24 th , under the auspices of the American Legion. Nathan Caulder Post #132 named in his honor, was begun with music followed with remarks by commander, C.C. Buford, invocation by Chaplain G. Letton, a eulogy and finalized by firing squad salute. Nathan was survived by his siblings, their spouses and children. Lexington Herald 9/24/1920, p14, c4




351 Machine Gun Battalion

92 Division

June 1 1919

Formation of the post that bears his name was announced June 1920, three months prior to Nathan’s burial. A report in the ‘Colored Notes’ made the community aware that a charter had been received and that a meeting would be held to elect officers. It urged all veterans to join and further stated that “the day is near when failure to be a member of the American Legion will cause comment.” Officers were elected on 27 June and membership was actively sought. Lexington Leader, 6/20/1920, Sec 1, p2, c6; Lexington Leader, 6/27/1920, Sec 1, p2, c7

Nathan Caulder was one of seven African Americans whose name was added to the memorial placed on the Courthouse lawn 11 November 1924 in cooperation with Lexington Post #8 to honor the men who died in The Great War. The other six were Henry Adams, Charles Whitmore Bailey, Jr., James Coffee, Willie Coleman, Edward Embry and Otis Walker. Kentucky Council of Defense Records, Fayette County, Colored, Vol IV, LPL Digital Collection

Those whose grave markers in African Cemetery No.2 identify their service in World War I:

Arthur Black Corp’l Co I 814 Pioneer Infantry

Charles Carpenter Pvt 159 Depot Brigade

Harry Crittenden Corp’l 159 Depot Brigade

William Davis Pvt Co B 42nd Res. Labor BN QMC

Clarence Espy Pvt Co L 369th Infantry

John Wesley Grant Pvt 801 Pioneer Infantry

Edward Ingles Pvt Bugler 159 Depot Brigade

John Jackson Pvt 159 Depot Brigade

John E. Jones Pvt 9th Cavalry, unassigned

Harry Sears Pvt Co M 801 Pioneer Infantry

Henry Smalley Corp’l Co D 801 Pioneer Infantry

Thompson Smith Pvt Co M 801 Pioneer Infantry

Jerry Cash Welch Corp’l Quartermaster Corp

Others found through research are:

George Gordon Pvt Co D 520 th Engineers;

Ben Mason Sgt Co M 801 Pioneer Infantry;

James Hoskins Pvt Co C 812 Pioneer Infantry;

Barton A. Madison Pvt 159 Depot Brigade and

Ethelbert Washington Pvt 159 Depot Brigade.

Yvonne Giles, February 2019

African Cemetery No. 2

Lexington, KY

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