The War Department formed the 92nd Division on October 24, 1917 as a Division specifically for African-Americans drafted into the Army through the Selective Service Act of May 18, 1917. Segregation and inequality in the United States at the time also applied to the military which segregated African-American soldiers into specific units called “Colored” Divisions. The men who formed the 92nd Division hailed across the United States instead of just several states as in most other divisions. The members of the 92nd Division did not concentrate and train together in one location like the other divisions. Instead, the Division’s component units mustered and trained together at various bases throughout the North.
For its nickname, the Division chose to be called the “Buffalo” Division in honor of the bravery of the famous African-American Buffalo Soldiers of the Western Campaigns. Their insignia featured an image of a buffalo to symbolize this moniker.
On September 26, 1918, the 92nd Division, minus the 368th Infantry Regiment and the 167th Field Artillery Brigade, joined the reserve of the American I Corps northwest of Clermont. The 368th Infantry Regiment became part of the Franco-American Liaison group called the Groupement Durand. As part of this group, the 368th attacked on September 26 and advanced one kilometer before withdrawing at the end of the day. The next day, the 368th resumed the attack and by the end of the day they had reached positions near Tranchée Tirpitz and Vallée Moreau. They made small gains on September 28, occupying one line north of Tranchée Tirpitz and took no action on September 29.
On September 30, the 368th joined their French counterparts in an attack on Binarville, which they successfully captured. After withdrawing from the lines on October 1, the 368th joined the rest of the 92nd Division, which had been transferred to the French XXXVIII Corps.
From October 1 to 4 the “Buffalo” Division served as the reserve for the French 1st Dismounted Cavalry Division in the Argonne Forest. It was briefly reassigned to the American IV Corps from October 4 to 9 until the Division moved near Toul on 9 October 9 to relieve the 69th French Division and assume command of the Marbache Sector. As part of the American First Army until October 12 when control transferred to the American Second Army, the 92nd received a mission: to hold the line east of the Moselle River and harass the enemy. Until November 10, the 92nd focused on this mission and actively patrolled the sector, transferring to the VI Corps on October 26.
On November 10, the 92nd Division began attack on and captured Boise de Cherminot, the southern limits of Bois de la Voivrotte, and Bois Fréhaut. They continued their occupation of Boise de la Voivrotte on November 11 until the armistice ended hostilities at 11 in the morning. Even after the armistice, the “Buffalo” Division continued to occupy this area until it embarked for the United States from Brest starting on February 1, 1919.
Despite the unequal treatment, discrimination, and segregation they experienced during the war, the soldiers of the 92ndDivision served their nation dutifully and admirably. Indeed, the Division suffered a total of 1,647 casualties during their time in France.
Constituent Units of the 92ndDivision
167thField Artillery Brigade