Since its original printing in 1952, the publication of the Handbook of Texas has been made possible through the support of its users. As an independent nonprofit, TSHA relies on your contributions to close the funding gap for the online Handbook and keep it a freely accessible resource for users worldwide. Please make a donation today to preserve the most comprehensive encyclopedic resource on Texas history. Donate Today »


Robert Wooster

TWENTY-FIFTH UNITED STATES INFANTRY. 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).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


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

Handbook of Texas Online, Robert Wooster, "TWENTY-FIFTH UNITED STATES INFANTRY," accessed August 21, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on January 29, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Get this week's most popular Handbook of Texas articles delivered straight to your inbox