David.Gettman December 22nd, 2008
John Wynn “Black Jack” Davidson
By Dave Chagnon, Scout Section, 3rd Platoon, K Troop, 3rd Recon Squadron, 2nd ACR (’66 & ’67); Sennachie, Clan Davidson Society (USA)
If you walked into the average college American history class in this country and asked “Which American military leader was known as ‘Black Jack‘?”, probably a million out of a million respondents would reply “Black Jack Pershing” (if they knew at all). And every one of those million respondents would be wrong!
Wrong, that is, if you were thinking of Black Jack Davidson!
John Wynn Davidson was a 19th C. US Cavalry officer who served in the US Army from 1845 to the time of his death in 1881. He was given the sobriquet “Black Jack” because he at one time commanded a Squadron of the 10th Cavalry, a military unit comprised of free Negroes or recently freed slaves also know as “Buffalo Soldiers”. It was for this very same reason that “Black Jack” Pershing got the same nick-name some thirty years later when he served first as a Lieutenant in the same Regiment, the 10th Cavalry, in 1892 and later as a Captain during the Spanish American War in 1898. Quite obviously, the “Black” part of the name refers to their mutual service as a commander of Black soldiers. I’m not entirely sure this mark of service would be held in high esteem in these more politically correct times… but history is history, despite those revisionists who would like to remake the past to suit the more liberal palates of today. Certainly not the style of the Sennachie…
It was the 10th Cavalry, by the way, that pulled Teddy Roosevelt’s 1st U.S. Volunteer Regiment’s (the Rough Riders) bacon out of the fire during their famous (but frequently mis-reported) ride up Kettle & San Juan Hills.
I first became aware of the existence of John Wynn Davidson when I was reading the history of the 2nd Cavalry, the military unit to which I was attached when I did my mandatory military duty in the mid-60′s. The specific unit I was a part of was the Scout Section, 3rd Platoon, K Troop, 3 Reconnaissance Squadron, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment. I was stationed near Amberg, West Germany although I spent the bulk of my time patrolling the barbed-wire, machine gun-guarded Iron Curtain borders of East Germany and Font color=blue>Czechoslovakia.
But I digress… one of my great failings (but not certainly my only one). The more I read, the greater my true connections to the 2nd Cav became apparent. And the spookier these connections became, too! There are or have been thousands of regiments in the US Army – how come I ended up in the 2nd Cav, seemingly as the result of a totally random “luck of the draw” impersonal assignment by some nameless clerk in some nameless personnel unit in some nameless place? Continue Reading »