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RG3430.AM:  Henry Vinton Plummer, 1844-1905

Papers:  1881-1899

Ft. Robinson, Dawes County, Neb.:  Chaplain, 9th Cavalry

Size:  1 reel of microfilm


Henry Vinton Plummer was born a slave on June 30, 1844, in Prince Georges County, Maryland. During the Civil War he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, served for about sixteen months, and was honorably discharged in August of 1865. Following the war, he worked at various jobs in Washington, D.C., until he had saved enough money to enter Wayland Seminary of that city. He graduated from the seminary in 1879 and served as a Baptist pastor or missionary in Maryland and Washington, D.C. On July 8, 1884, Plummer was appointed chaplain of the Ninth Cavalry, U.S. Army by President Chester A. Arthur, becoming the first Negro chaplain to serve in the post-civil war army. After ten years of service in Kansas, Wyoming, and Nebraska, he was dismissed from the army at Ft. Robinson, Nebraska, in 1894 for conduct unbecoming an officer. Plummer died in Kansas City, Kansas, on February 8, 1905.

For a more complete sketch of Plummer’s life and especially his trial and dismissal from the Army, see “Chaplain Henry V. Plummer, his Ministry and Court Martial” by Earl F. Stover, Nebraska History, Vol. 56, No. 1, Spring, 1975.


This collection consists of correspondence and documents relating to the military career of Henry Vinton Plummer, arranged in three series on one reel of microfilm: (1) Correspondence and documents, 1881-1894; (2) Court Martial proceedings, 1894; and (3) Research notes.

The bulk of this collection is comprised of copies of official correspondence and reports relating to Henry V. Plummer’s service as Chaplain, 9th U.S. Cavalry, 1884-1894, and to his court martial and subsequent expulsion from the army at Ft. Robinson, Nebraska, in 1894. Much of the material within the collection was copied from official military records by Earl F. Stover during research for his article, “Chaplain Henry V. Plummer, his Ministry and Court Martial,” Nebraska History, Vol. 56, No. 1, Spring, 1975.


Series 1 – Correspondence and documents, 1881-1894

Reel 1 (control #16115)

Correspondence, documents and reports regarding H. V. Plummer, 1881-1894

Series 2 – Court Martial proceedings, 1894


  1. Report of the examination of the charges preferred against Chaplain H. V. Plummer, 9th Cavalry, by Acting Judge Advocate, Dept. of the Platte, June 28, 1894

  2. Proceedings, H. V. Plummer General Court Martial, Ft. Robinson, Nebraska, Aug. 27-Sept. 7, 1894

  3. Notes and proceedings, Sgt. Barney McKay General Court Martial, Ft. Robinson, Nebraska, June 1-21, 1893

Series 3 – Research notes

Note cards, printed matter and biographical data, research about H. V. Plummer



Courts-martial and courts of inquiry — Nebraska

Military law — United States

Negroes — Nebraska

Plummer, Henry Vinton, 1844-1905

Trials (Military offenses) — Nebraska

United States. Army — Cavalry, 9th


Revised 05-27-2009   TMM