United States Regiments & Batteries > U.S. Regulars

Originally known as the 1st Regiment of United States Dragoons and renamed in August of 1861.

The 1st United States Cavalry Regiment lost 9 oficers and 73 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded and 2 officers and 91 enlisted men to disease during the Civil War. (These figures include casualties from the period before August of 1861 when the regiment was known as the 1st Regiment of Dragoons. Casualties from the 1st Cavalry during this period are included in the totals of the 4th Cavalry, which they became.)

It is honored by a monument at Gettysburg.

 The “Old” 1st United States Cavalry Regiment

See below in August 1861 for the renamed 1st United States Regiment of Dragoons
January On duty at Forts Washita, Wise and Kearney on the western frontier.
March Colonel Robert E. Lee, who was in Washington, was appointed to command of the regiment
March 16 Captain Thomas Wood (USMA 1845) was promoted to major.
April 17 Moved to Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
April 20 Colonel Lee resigned, having never joined the regiment in the field
May 9 Major Thomas Wood was transferred to the 2nd Cavalry Regiment and promoted to lieutenant colonel.
May 14 Captain James E.B. Stuart of company K resigned
May 22 Captain George Stoneman of the 2nd United States Cavalry was transferred to the 1st Cavalry and appointed major
June While most of the regiment remained in the Western Theater, Companies A and E moved to the Eastern Theater and were assigned to Heintzelman’s Division, Army of Northeast Virginia. Company A was under the command of First Lieutenant Thomas H. McCormack and Company E under the command of Captain James B. McIntyre (USMA ’53), who was in overall command of the detachment
July 16-21 Advance on Manassas, Va.
July 21
Battle of Bull Run

Ordered to Centreville after the battle, arriving around 8:30

July 22 To Arlington, Virginia in the early morning.
August 3 The regiment was redesignated the 4th United States Cavalry.

The “New” 1st United States Cavalry

formerly the 1st United States Regiment of Dragoons
August 3 The 1st Regiment of Dragoons became the 1st United States Cavalry Regiment. 
November to January All of the regiment’s companies returned from the West Coast via Panama and concentrated at Washington, D.C. except Companies D and G, who remained in New Mexico. The regiment was attached to Cooke’s Cavalry Reserve, Army of the Potomac.
January-February Defense of Fort Craig (Companies D and G)
February 1 Colonel Beall retired. Colonel George A.H. Blake took command of the regiment and Major William N. Grier was promoted to lieutenant colonel.
February 19 Companies D and G near Fort Craig
February 21 Action at Valverde (Companies D and G)
March The regiment moved to Virginia Peninsula and was attached to 2nd Brigade, Cavalry Reserve, Army Potomac. Colonel Blake took command of the brigade as senior colonel and Lt. Colonel Grier commanded the regiment.
March 26 Apache Canon, near Santa Fe (Companies D and G)
March 28 Glorietta or Pigeon Ranch (Companies D and G)
April 5-May 4 Siege of Yorktown, Va.
April 25 Companies D and G stationed at Fort Craig, Albuquerque
April 27 Peralta
May 4
Battle of Williamsburg (Cheese Cake Church)

Captain Benjamin F. Davis led a squadron of the regiment in a successful charge against Confederate cavalry, capturing an enemy flag. The regiment lost 13 men.

May 26 Reconnaissance to Hanover Court House
June 13-15 Operations against Stuart
June 25-July 1 Seven days before Richmond
June 27
Gaines’ Mill

The regiment lost 26 men including Lieutenant Robert Allen, who was badly wounded. Colonel Blake was wounded while commanding the brigade.

July 1
Malvern Hill
July Assigned to Headquarters Army of the Potomac
October 16-17 Reconnaissance to Charlestown, W. Va.
October 16 Charlestown
December 12-15 Battle of Fredericksburg
December 29-30 Expedition from Potomac Creek to Richards’ and Ellis’ Fords, Rappahannock River
February Assigned to Reserve Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Cavalry Corps, Army Potomac
March 17
Kelly’s Ford

The regiment lost 10 men.

April 29-May 8 Stoneman’s Raid
June Companies D & G in New Mexico were broken up and their officers and noncommissioned officers sent to Carlisle Barracks.
June 9
Battle of Brandy Station

Commanded by Captain Richard S. C. Lord.

June 19 Middleburg
June 21

The regiment lost 51 casualties in a sabre charge against the Jeff Davis Legion and the 1st and 2d North Carolina Cavalry Regiments. Lieutenants Fisher and Moulton were wounded and captured.

July 1-3
Battle of Gettysburg

The regiment was commanded by Captain Robert S.C. Lord, and lost 1 man killed, 9 wounded and 5 missing. Lieutenant Trimble was wounded.

From the monument southeast Gettysburg, near Emmitsburg Road:

July 3. Moved with the Brigade at 12 m. under Brig. General W. Merritt from Emmitsburg and attacked the Confederate right and rear and was engaged for four hours until the action was brought to close by a heavy rain.

July 6

The regiment lost two men while attacking up the turnpike to within a half mile of Funkstown, taking a Confederate officer and 13 men prisoner.

July 8

The regiment lost 14 men.

July 9 Benevola or Beaver Creek
July 10-13 About Funkstown
July 14 Falling Waters
July 21-22 Manassas Gap, Va.
July 23 Wapping Heights and Chester Gap
July 31-August 1 Kelly’s Ford
August 1-4
Brandy Station

The regiment lost 15 men

September Ordered to Washington to remount and reequip at Camp Buford. The two recreated companies from New Mexico, D and G, rejoined the regiment, and for the first time in the war the 1st United States Cavalry Regiment operated with its full compliment of companies.
October 9-22 Bristoe Campaign
October 17 Manassas Junction
October 18 Bristoe Station
November 5 Manassas Junction and Catlett’s Station
November 8 Culpeper
November 26-December 2 Mine Run Campaign
November 26 Stephensburg
February 6-7 Demonstration on the Rapidan
February 6-7
Barnett’s Ford

The regiment captured four prisoners in a charge on the ford on the 6th. On the 7th Companies G & M under Capt. Fielner charged the ford, but were thrown back by infantry in a strong position on the far side of the river, losing two men and six horses wounded.

February 28-March 1
Custer’s Raid in Albemarle County

The regiment led the advance, driving the enemy from their camp near Charlottesville. On the return the Rosanna bridge was destroyed by Lieutenant Ogden and the pioneers of the regiment.

February 29 Near Charlottesville
March 1

On March 1st, the enemy charged the 5th Cavalry just past Standardsville. The 1st Cavalry supported the 5th’s countercharge, capturing 25 rebels and killing or wounding several others.

May 4-June 12
Rapidan Campaign

The 1st United States Cavalry, commanded by Captain N. B. Sweitzer, was assigned to the Reserve Brigade of Torbert’s Division of the Cavalry Corps.

May 5-7
Battle of the Wilderness
May 7-8
Todd’s Tavern

Captain Sumner and Lieutenants Hall, Hoyer, Pennock, Ward and Carr, half the officers of the regiment, were wounded and ten men were killed.

May 9-24 Sheridan’s Raid to the James River
May 11 Yellow Tavern
May 12 Mechanicsville
May 26-28 On line of the Pamunkey
May 27 Hanovertown Ferry and Hanovertown
May 28-31 Totopotomoy
May 30 Old Church and Mattadequin Creek
May 31-June 1
Cold Harbor

Captain Samuel McKee was mortally wounded he would die on the 3d. Lieutenant Pennock was shot through both eyes, two men were killed and four men wounded.

June 7-24 Sheridan’s Trevillian Raid
June 11-12
Trevillian Station

Lieutenants Ogden and Nichols and three enlisted men were killed, and Captain Dunkelberger and 29 enlisted men were wounded.

June 12 Mallory’s Cross Roads
June 17 White House Landing
June 18 Chickahominy River
June 21 Black Creek or Tunstall Station and White House or St. Peter’s Church
June 23 Jones’ Bridge
June 28 Darby’s Farm
July 27-28
Deep Bottom

The Regular brigade routed a brigade of Confederate cavalry fighting dismounted. The 1st United States Cavalry captured a battle flag.

July 28 Malvern Hill
July 31 Marched to City Point
August 1 Embarked and was transported to Washington to defend the city against Early’s attack.
August 3 Disembarked at Giesboro Point and took position in the Defenses of Washington assigned to 3rd (Reserve) Brigade, 1st Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Shenandoah, Middle Military Division. Captain N.B. Sweitzer assumed command of the regiment.
August 5 Began march to Harpers Ferry
August 7-
November 28
Sheridan’s Shenandoah Valley Campaign
August 8 Arrived at Harpers Ferry and camped on the Halltown Road.
August 10 Reconnoissance in the direction of Winchester. The enemy’s cavalry was engaged and routed.
August 11
Toll Gate, near White Post, and near Newtown

The Confederate cavalry was driven several miles towards Newtown before they were reinforced by a heavy force of infantry. Operating on foot, the regiment charged across an open plowed field and drove the enemy from the woods on its far side, but were repulsed by a heavy flank fire and forced to take refuge behind rail barricades. These they held until dark despite repeated efforts of the enemy to dislodge them. Lieutenant Harris was wounded.

August 13 The regiment’s commissary, Lieutenant J. S. Walker, was killed by Mosby’s guerrillas near Charlestown while en route to Harper’s Ferry. Also around this time Mosby captured and destroyed the regimental trains of the Reserve Brigade, containing the regimental and company records and the personal effects of officers.
August 14 Near Strasburg
August 16-20 Employed with the division in the destruction of all wheat and forage, and the seizure of all horses, cattle, sheep and hogs, accessible in the valley.
August 21
Summit Point

Engagement with Confederate infantry

August 25
At Halltown and near Kearneysville

A strong force of Confederate infantry was encountered and defeated, taking many prisoners.

August 28
Leetown and Smithfield

The 1st United States Cavalry led the advance toward Leetown. Confederate cavalry was in force beyond the town.  Two squadrons of the regiment were deployed, one on each side of the  pike, and a third held was reserve. The deployed squadrons were driven back and the reserve squadron was moved into the pike in columns of fours and in that formation charged with the sabre. A full brigade of Confederate cavalry countercharged with the pistol. Just before the two bodies met the Confederates slackened their speed to fire, when Hoyer’s squadron struck them at full charge and sent them flying to the rear.

Hoyer was mortally wounded leading the charge, and died within the hour, and ten or twelve men were wounded. Lieutenant Moses Harris took over Hoyer’s squadron, and Captain E. M. Baker took over command of the regiment from Captain Sweitzer.

August 29 Smithfield, crossing of the Opequan
September 5-19 Picket duty and continual skirmishing along Opequan Creek
September 13 Locke’s Ford, Opequan Creek
September 15 Sevier’s Ford, Opequan Creek
September 19
Third Battle of Winchester (Opequan)

The 1st United States Cavalry took part in the epic charge of the Reserve Brigade. Along with the 2d Cavalry, it captured two stands of colors and around 200 prisoners. The regiment lost 37 killed, wounded and missing, including Lieutenant McGregor wounded.

September 21
Fisher’s Hill

The regiment accompanied the flank march of Merrit and Devin’s Divisions through the Luray Valley.

September 22

Confederate forces under Wickham strongly entrenched behind the river crossing at Milford stop the flank march, preventing Torbert from surrounding Early’s defeated men as they retreated from Fisher’s Hill.

September 23
Front Royal

The ambulance train was attacked by some of Mosby’s guerrillas near Front Royal. Lieutenant McMasters of the Second was murdered, after capture, by the guerrillas. The First and Second Cavalry then chased Mosby’s men killing several and and capturing ten or twelve. Several of the captives were hung in retaliation for Lieutenant McMaster’s killing.

September 24 Luray Valley

Torbert returned to Milford after learning of the Union victory at Fisher’s Hill. He found the Confederate position abandoned and pushed on until he came up with the enemy near Luray and routed them.

September 26-27 Port Republic
September 28
Rockfish Gap

The regiment lost 18 killed, wounded and missing.

October 2 Mt. Crawford
October 8-9
Tom’s Brook –  the “Woodstock Races”

The 1st United States Cavalry led the advance of the Reserve Brigade in the 18 mile charge along the pike against Lomax’s cavalry from Tom’s Brook to Edinborough. The chase was continued by the 2d Brigade 8 miles further to Mount Jackson. The regiment captured 4 guns, 4 wagons, and a number of prisoners, losing two men missing.

October 16-18 Expedition into Surrey County
October 19
Battle of Cedar Creek

After the surprise attack and defeat of the Union infantry in the morning the cavalry took position about one mile north of Middletown. The regiment formed across the Valley Pike, one squadron on each side of the Pike dismounted behind stone walls, with the third squadron being held in reserve. This was held with the greatest difficulty, the advanced squadron, commanded by Harris, being subjected to an enfilading fire.

When Sheridan arrived and the rallied Union army counterattacked in the afternoon the squadrons were mounted and joined in.

October 20-22 The pursuit of Early’s beaten forces continued as far as Mount Jackson.
November 11 Near Kernstown
November 28-December 3 Merritt’s expedition into Loudoun and Fauquier Counties. Assigned to Headquarters Army Shenandoah in Winchester
December 19-28 Torbert’s expedition from Winchester to near Gordonsville
December 22 Liberty Mills
December 23 Near Gordonsville
February 27-
March 25
Sheridan’s Raid from Winchester
March 2
Occupation of Staunton and Action at Waynesborough

The last remnants of Early’s Confederate Army of the Valley were destroyed or captured.

March 8 Duguidsville

The regiment along with the 1st Cavalry Division destroyed locks and equipment along the James River Canal.

March 17 Arrived at White House Landing
March 27 Captain R. S. C. Lord relieved Captain Baker of command of the regiment.
March 28-April 9 Appomattox Campaign. Attached to 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, Cavalry Corps, Army Potomac
March 30-31 Dinwiddie Court House
April 1
Battle of Five Forks

Charged and captured Confederate entrenchments, taking over 200 prisoners.

April 2 Scott’s Cross Roads
April 4 Tabernacle Church or Beaver Pond Creek
April 6
Sailor’s Creek
April 8 Appomattox Station
April 9
Appomattox Court House

Surrender of Lee and his army.

April Returned to camp at Petersburg
April 23-29 Expedition to Danville
May 8-15 Moved to Washington, D.C.
May 23 Grand Review
June Ordered to New Orleans, La. and duty there until December.