The Greenville encampment is important for African American military history in the U.S. In 1866, Maj. Gen. Phillip Sheridan, commander of the Department of the Gulf, was authorized to organize a regiment of African American Cavalry, designated the 9th Cavalry Regiment. The 39th Infantry Regiment, U.S. Colored Troops, was also stationed in Greenville. It was later consolidated with another unit at Jackson Barracks and redesignated the 25th Infantry Regiment. The 9th Cavalry and the 25th Infantry were two of the four units that collectively became famous as "The Buffalo Soldiers" for their activities in the West and during later conflicts.
The name "Buffalo Soldiers" was given by their Native American opponents, which included the Cheyenne and Comanche, during the Indian Wars of the late 19th century, and others. These units fought in the Spanish American War, Mexican border disputes, and in World War II before the integration of the Armed Forces in the 1940s.