Augustus Snoten

Cameo style silhouette of a soldier with Company L, 24th infantry crossed guns logo

NPS image/E. Grover

Quick Facts

Buffalo Soldier
Place of Birth:
Sumner County, Tennessee
Date of Birth:
April 1849
Place of Death:
Missoula, Montana
Date of Death:
March 29th, 1924
Cemetery Name:
Fort Missoula Post Cemetery

Augustus Snoten was born in April 1849 in Sumner County, Tennessee. In 1876 he joined the U.S. Army and served until 1905. Augustus was an African American in the segregated military, often these soldiers were collectively called "Buffalo Soldiers." 

Augustus served across the country including time at:

  • Fort Bowie, Arizona
  • Fort Grant, Arizona
  • Fort Huachuca, Arizona
  • The Presidio, California
  • Fort Supply, Oklahoma
  • Fort Bayard, New Mexico
  • Fort Douglas, Utah
  • Camp Dyea/Camp Skagway, Alaska
  • Fort Missoula, Montana 
Augustus had many jobs while in the army. He was involved in projects where he constructed bridges, worked with explosives, and blasted rock to make way for roads. He worked as a teamster (part of the transportation corps) driving animal wagons carrying supplies. His character was routinely praised on military enlistment documents as "excellent" and "very good."

Midway through his long career, Augustus was stationed at Fort Bowie, in Arizona Territory, with Company C, 24th Infantry. While his company was at the fort, Augustus was often elsewhere. He was sick for three months in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and also worked on detached service with the International Boundary Commission, surveying between El Paso, Texas and San Diego, California. 

Augustus fought in the Spanish American War as a private in Company C, 24th Infantry. On July 1, 1898 he was injured in the line of duty. In describing the day, Captain Charles Dodge said "Just before reaching the San Juan River the battalion was ordered to lie down in the road under cover of the brush and jungle to escape the terrific fire that was being pour in from the right flank." Of the 59 enlisted men and 2 officiers, Augustus was the only one injured in this fire. Augustus was shot by a Mauser gun with a bullet lodging in his thigh. Before the bullet could be removed, it needed to be located. A fairly new technology at the time, Roentgen ray (now known as x-ray), was used to located the deformed Mauser bullet partially behind his femur. Luckily, the wound entrance was small and the bullet was removed easily without infection.

When Augustus reenlisted on April 25, 1899 he joined the recently formed Company L, 24th Infantry. Company L was in the Presidio for a brief period of time before they were sent north. First they traved to the Vancouver Barracks, then set sail for Dyea, Alaska. Company L was replacing the 14th Infantry who had been in Alaska since the height of the Klondike Gold Rush. After the stampede dwindled and a fire destroyed their military camp, Company L moved 10 miles east to Skagway. The 1900 U.S. Census in Skagway shows that he had been promoted to Corporal. Company L remained in Skagway until May 1902 when most of them, including Augustus, were transferred to Fort Missoula, Montana.
Augustus retired September 21, 1904 as a 4th Color Sergeant from Fort Missoula. The Saint Paul Globe reported that he had requested retirement and while in the military "he has been saving careful and when he retires on liberal allowances he will be accounted fairly well off."

In his personal life, Augustus was married twice and may have had 10 children. After he retired from the military he remained in Missoula, Montana. He passed away on March 29th, 1924. He is buried in the military cemetery at Fort Missoula, Montana.

Most of what we know about Augustus Snoten, and the other soldiers of Company L, comes from offical government and military documents. We continue to search for documents that show the soldiers' points of view. If you have any information or family stories about Company L, 24th Infantry, U.S. Army, please contact us. Until then, this summary and others will be incomplete and unbalanced.

Last updated: July 26, 2018