Tom was born a slave in southern Virginia and was sold at a young age to a plantation owner in Port Royal, South Carolina. When the Union Army captured Port Royal in 1861, he was among the small group of slaves that acquired some ability to read, write and do simple math. Tom learned about the all-black cavalry and could not resist the urge to become a Buffalo Soldier. As a cavalryman, with steady income, Tom would be able to buy a small farm in Virginia and reunite his family. Although he was saddened by the prospect of being separated from his true love, Ruth, Tom bravely opted to join the Army. He is a skilled fighter and can handle a rifle with pin point accuracy.