Cathay Williams - Female Buffalo Soldier

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On November 15, 1866 Cathay Williams became a soldier. She enlisted with the United States Regular Army in St. Louis, Missouri, intending on a three year tour of duty. She had never been in the army before. She informed the recruiting officer that she was 22 years old and by occupation a cook. She named Independence, Missouri the place of her birth. When asked her name, she must have replied William Cathay. As she was illiterate, her papers read William Cathey, and by that name and spelling she would be known the rest of her army career. The recruiting officer described William Cathey that day as 5’9″, with black eyes, black hair, and black complexion.

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