District of Columbia 1st Regiment, Cavalry

This regiment, known as Baker's cavalry, was an independent organization and was originally designed for special service in the District of Columbia, subject only to the orders of the war department. It was organized (4 Cos., "A," "B," "C" and "E") at Washington, D. C., June to December, 1863. It was commanded by Col. L. C. Baker. Eight companies were organized at Augusta, from Oct., 1863, to March, 1864, to serve for three years, and assigned as Cos. D, F, G, H, I, K, L and M, rendering the regiment to all intents and purposes a Maine organization. Capt. Cloudman, whose company was the first to leave the state for Washington, was commissioned major by the president, during the seven months' service of the regiment, which was engaged in important service in and about Washington until May, when half of it was ordered to Portsmouth, Va., and dismounted for a short time. The other half was assigned to the army of Gen. Butler and participated in Gen. Kautz' cavalry raids about Petersburg, in May and June, 1864. In July this portion participated in the engagement at Malvern hill, and Aug. 2 crossed the Appomattox river and established headquarters at Sycamore Church, with four companies stationed at Cox's mills, 2 miles below. The regiment was engaged in skirmishing and doing picket duty on the Wel- don & Petersburg railroad, Aug. 8-23, and on the latter date engaged and drove the Hampton legion, inflicting a severe loss on the enemy. On the 24th, it took part in the action at Reams' station, after which it returned to Sycamore Church, and on the 27th, by a special order of the war de- partment, all the Maine officers and men were transferred to the 1st Me. cavalry. They did not join the latter regiment at once, but remained doing duty on the extreme left of the army, on a line about 4 miles in length. On Sept. 15, the regiment was attacked simultaneously at three points on their extended line by an overwhelming force of the enemy, and after a heroic resistance was compelled to retreat. The loss was severe, 9 officers and over 150 privates being captured, in addition to sev- eral killed and wounded. Majs. Baker and Cloudman were captured, and the remaining men then joined the 1st Maine cavalry, their history from this date being identical with that regiment.
ASSIGNMENTS: Attached to Defences of Washington, D.C., 22nd Army Corps to January. 1864. Cavalry Brigade, U.S. Forces, Yorktown, Va., Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina, to April, 1864. (8 Cos. organized at Augusta, Me., January to March, 1864, and ordered to report at Norfolk, Va.) 1st Brigade, Kautz's Cavalry Division, Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina, to June, 1864. 2nd Brigade, Kautz's Cavalry Division, Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina, to January, 1865. 2nd Brigade, Cavalry Division, Dept. of Virginia, to August, 1865. Cavalry, Dept. of Virginia, to October, 1865.
Duty in the Defences of Washington, D.C. till January, 1864. Skirmish near Annandale, Va., October 22, 1863 (Detachment). Bealeton, Va., October 24. Ordered to Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina, and on duty at Yorktown, and a portion of the Regiment at Portsmouth, Va., dismointed, till May, 1864. Kautz's Raid on Petersburg & Weldon R. May 5-11, 1864. Double Bridges May 5. Stony Creek Station May 7. White's Bridge, Nottaway Creek and Nottaway R. R. Bridge May 8. White's Bridge May 9. Kautz's Raid on Richmond & Danville R.R. May 12-17. Belcher's Mills May 16. Petersburg June 9. Assaults on Petersburg June 15-19. Siege operations against Petersburg and Richmond June 16, 1864, to April 2, 1865. Wilson's Raid on Southside & Danville R. R. June 22-30, 1864. Staunton River Bridge, or Roanoke Station, June 25. Sappony Church, or Stony Creek, June 28-29. Ream's Station June 29-July 3. Demonstration on North Side of James River, with engagements at Deep Bottom, Darbytown and New Market Roads July 27-28. Sycamore Church August 9. Ream's Station August 21-23. Dinwiddie Road, near Ream's Station, August 23. Ream's Station August 24-25. (Cos. "D," "F," "G," "H," "I," "K" and "L" transferred to 1st Maine Cavalry August 27, 1864. Other Cos. consolidated to a Battalion of 2 Cos.) Prince George Court House September 1. Sycamore Church and Blackwater River September 3. Sycamore Church September 15. Cox's Mill September 15. Coggin's Point September 16. Darbytown Road October 7 and 13. Fair Oaks October 27-28. Russell's Mills November 23. Bellefield Raid December 7-12. Expedition to Fernsville and Smithfield February 11-15, 1865. Appomattox Campaign March 28-April 9, 1865. Dinwiddie Court House March 30-31. Five Forks April 1. Gravelly Ford on Hatcher's Run April 2. Near Amelia Court House April 4-5. Dinwiddie Road and Sailor's Creek April 6. Farmville and Prince Edward Court House April 7. Appomattox Station April 8. Appomattox Courthouse April 9. Surrender of Lee and his army. Expedition to Danville April 23-27. Duty in the Dept. of Virginia till October. Mustered out October 26, 1865.
The roster of this unit at the National Archives contains the names of 1960 men.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: for researching Washington, DC Units in the Civil War.

Baker, Lafayette C. The United States Secret Service in the Late War... St. Louis, MO: Holloway, 1889. pp. 167-203. E608.B1815.
Bolton, Horace W. Personal Reminiscences of the Late War. Chicago: H.W. Bolton, 1892. 219 p. E601.B69.
Carlilie, Richard. "The 1st District of Columbia Cavalry." Military Images Magazine (Sep/Oct 1986): pp. 11-13. Per.
Dyer, Frederick H. A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion. Vol. 2. Powder Springs, GA: Eastern Digital Resources, 2003. E491.D992.
See also the following pertinent personal papers in the U. S. Military History Institute's Archives:
    Baker, Lafayette C. - CWMiscColl (Official papers concerning claim of COL's widow, Jan 18, 1865-1869)

Dyer, Frederick H. - A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion

For Additional Research