1st Michigan Volunteer Cavalry Regiment


This regiment was organized at Detroit and mustered into the U. S. service Sept. 13, 1861, with an enrollment of 1,144 officers and men. It left the state Sept. 9 for Washington, D. C, and went into camp at Frederick, Md., where it remained several months. It comprised a part of Gen. Banks' forces, which in Feb., 1862, moved to Harper's Ferry and later entered the Shenandoah Valley, advancing as far as Winchester, pushing the Confederates before them. The regiment distinguished itself in many skirmishes while advancing up the valley and companies and detachments made a number of brilliant charges which attracted the attention of Gen. Banks and received from him complimentary mention in orders. The regiment remained at Williamsport until June 12, when it took part in Gen. Pope's Virginia campaign. It was in Gen. Banks' command when he fought the battle of Cedar mountain, was engaged at Manassas, suffering severely in that battle, and during the early months of 1863 it had several skirmishes with the enemy, losing a number in killed and wounded. It was then assigned to the famous Michigan cavalry brigade, consisting of the 1st, 5th, 6th and 7th regiments, and served with the brigade until the close of the war. The brigade was formed at Washington, Dec. 12, 1862, of the 5th, 6th and 7th regiments, the 1st being added the following spring. The brigade moved in pursuit of Lee from Fairfax Court House June 25, 1863, and on the 27th the 1st was detached to Harper's Ferry, and the 7th for special duty towards Sharpsburg. The brigade was united at Hanover under the command of Gen. Custer and was engaged at Hanover, Huntertown, and at Gettysburg, where the 1st cavalry saved Battery M and the day, meeting an entire cavalry brigade in a saber charge and driving it from the field. This was one of the most desperate as well as brilliant charges of the war and turned what appeared to be a defeat of the Union forces into a complete victory. The regiment lost at Gettysburg 11 officers and 80 men killed, wounded or missing. On July 4 one squadron of the regiment charged the enemy at Fairfield gap, driving the Confederates out and holding it until the entire column passed. Two officers were killed and 17 men were killed or wounded in this charge. The regiment took part in the severe engagement at Falling Waters, where it captured 2 battle-flags, a major and 70 men. It then returned to Virginia and was constantly on duty with the brigade, meeting the enemy at many places. At James City in October, the 1st and 5th regiments were formed in column of battalions, ordered to draw sabers and, while the band played "Yankee Doodle," went forward at a full gallop, scattering the foe in their front, and afterward secured a place of safety for the whole command. On Oct. 19 the regiment met the enemy at Buckland mills in a severe engagement and a week later fought at Morton's ford. In December, 370 of the regiment reenlisted and went to Michigan on a 30-day furlough. In Feb., 1864, Gen. Kilpatrick started on a raid to Richmond, taking with him the members of the regiment who did not reenlist, and they shared all the vicissitudes, dangers and hard- ships of the raid, actually going over the first line of works at Richmond, but were unable to go further and returned to the army after severe fighting and many losses. After the veteran furlough the regiment reassembled at Camp Stoneman, D. C., and was joined by a battalion of newly organized troops that had been recruited the previous December. The regiment was among the forces commanded by Gen. Sheridan in his celebrated raid in the rear of Lee's army and took part in the severe engagements that were fought both in the advance upon Richmond and the return. One battalion charged the enemy conducting 400 Union prisoners to Richmond and recaptured all of them. At Yellow tavern the regiment moved forward, meeting a severe line of grape and canister from a battery concealed on the right, but, nothing daunted, it advanced with cheers and yells, though it had to cross five fences and a narrow bridge, rode straight for the battery and captured it with a large number of prisoners. It took part in the severe engagement at Haw's shop, where the battle raged for hours with great fury, each side obstinately contesting every inch of ground. The regiment was at Cold Harbor and during a spirited engagement with infantry, artillery and cavalry it made a saber charge upon the enemy and broke his line, when the Confederates threw down their arms and fled, leaving their dead and wounded on the field. The next morning that portion of the line held by the regiment was attacked by a large force of the enemy, but the attack was repulsed. In June it was engaged in the battle of Trevilian Station, and in the latter part of July was ordered to Washington to take part in the Shenandoah campaign under Gen. Sheridan. It shared all the vicissitudes of the numerous battles that culminated in driving Gen. Early and all Confederate forces out of the valley. In Feb., 1865, the regiment was a part of the forces under Gen. Sheridan when he moved against the enemy's communications at Gordonsville, and in March fought the Confederate cavalry at Louisa Court House, defeating the enemy and destroying a large amount of public property. The regiment helped to destroy the locks, aqueducts and mills on the James river canal, the destruction of which was a serious embarrassment to Gen. Lee. It fought at Five Forks and clung close to the enemy during the memorable days of the pursuit of Lee's army, everywhere striking hard blows that helped to deprive the enemy of his wagon trains and artillery, fighting desperately at Sailor's creek, where the Michigan brigade destroyed 400 wagons, captured 16 guns, and cut off Gen. Ewell's corps from Lee's army, when Gen. Ewell and his corps of 6,000 surrendered. After the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, the regiment was sent to North Carolina, but returned to Washington, where it took part in the grand review. It was then ordered to Fort Leavenworth, Kan., thence to Fort Laramie, Wyo. Ter., and the men endured great hardships in their campaign against the Indians in the far West. The regiment was mustered out at Salt Lake City, Utah, March 10, 1866, where the men were paid and disbanded. Its total enrollment was 2,490; killed in action, 96; missing in action, 40; died of wounds, 52; died as prisoners of war, 58; died of disease, 172; drowned, 2; killed accidentally, 4; killed by Indians, 1; discharged for disability, 209.

Cols., Thornton F. Brodhead, Charles H. Town, Peter Stagg; Leiut.-Cols., Joseph T. Copeland, George R. Maxwell, Andrew W. Duggan; Majs., William S. Atwood, Angelo Paldi, Charles H. Town, Thomas M. Howrigan, Myron Hickey, Thurlow W. Lusk, Melvin Brewer, Robert Sproul, Lineus F. Warner.


Attached to Cavalry Brigade, Army of the Potomac, to December, 1861. Cavalry, Banks' Division, Army of the Potomac, to March, 1862. Cavalry, lat Division, Banks' 5th Corps, to April, 1862. Hatch's Cavalry Brigade, Dept. of the Shenandoah, to June, 1862. Cavalry Brigade, 2nd Corps, Army of Virginia, to September, 1862. Unassigned, Alexandria, Va., September, 1862. Price's Cavalry Brigade, Military District of Washington, to February, 1863, and 22nd Army Corps, Dept. of Washington, to March, 1863. 1st Brigade, Stahel's Cavalry Division, 22nd Army Corps, to June, 1863. 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac, to March, 1864. 1st Brigade, 1st Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac, to August, 1864. Army of the Shenandoah, Middle Military Division, to March, 1865, and Army of the Potomac to June, 1865. Dept. of Missouri to August, 1865. District of the Plains, Dept. of Missouri, to September, 1865. District of Dakota, Dept of Missouri, to December, 1865. District of Utah, Dept. of Missouri, to March, 1866.


Operations in Loudoun County, Va., February 25-May 6, 1862. Occupation of Loudoun Heights February 27. Berryville March 6 (Detachment). Capture of Leesburg March 8. Reconnoissance to Snicker's Gap March 12. Battle of Winchester March 23. Strasburg March 27. Advance from Strasburg to Woodstock and Edenburg April 1-2. Salem and Woodstock April 1. Edenburg April 1-2. Thoroughfare Gap April 2. Greenwich April 3. Catlett's Station April 4. Warrenton April 5. Columbia Furnace April 7. White Plains April 11. Rectortown April 14. Piedmont, Mt. Jackson and New Market April 17. McGaheysville April 27. Linden May 15. Operations in the Shenandoah Valley May 15-June 17. Middletown May 24. Retreat to Williamsport May 24-26. Winchester May 25. Expedition from Gainesville June 7-8. Milford June 24. Strasburg Pike June 26. Reconnoissance to Front Royal June 29-30. Luray June 30. Culpeper Court House July 12. Orange Court House July 15. Reconnoissance to Madison Court House July 17. Reconnoissance to Orange Court House under Crawford August 2. Battle of Cedar Mountain August 9. Reconnoissance to Orange Court House August 13, and to Louisa Court House August 16. Pope's Campaign in Northern Virginia August 16-September 2. Fords of the Rappahannock August 21-23. Lewis Ford and Bull Run August 30. Duty in the Defences of Washington, D C., till June, 1863. Mouth of Monocacy September 5 Reconnoissance to Berryville November 28-30, 1862. Snicker's Ferry, Berryville, November 30. Expedition to Catlett's and Rappanannock Station January 8-10, 1863. Brentsville January 9. Near Union Mills February 14 (Detachment). Hanover, Pa., June 30. Battle of Gettysburg July 1-3. Hunterstown July 2. Fairfield Gap July 4. Smithburg July 5. Hagerstown and Williamsport, Md., July 6. Boonsboro July 8. Hagerstown July 11-13. Falling Waters July 14. Ashby's Gap July 20. Battle Mountain, near Newby's Cross Roads, July 24. Barbee's Cross Roads July 25. King George Court House August 24. Expedition to Port Conway September 1-3. Lamb's Creek Church, near Port Conway, September 1. Advance from the Rappahannock to the Rapidan September 13-17. Stevensburg and Pony Mountain September 13. Culpeper Court House September 13. Somerville Ford September 14-16. Reconnoissance across the Rapidan September 21 23. White's Ford September 21 22. Robertson's Ford and near Liberty Mills September 23. Bristoe Campaign October 8-22. James City October 8-9-10. Bethesda Church October 10. Near Culpeper and Brandy Station October 11. Gainesville October 14. Groveton October 17 18. Gainesville, Catlett's Station and Buckland's Mills October 19. Advance to line of the Rappahannock November 7-8. Mine Run Campaign November 26-October 2. Morton's Ford November 26. Raccoon Ford November 26-27. (4 new Companies organized October 13 to December 29, 1863.) Demonstration on the Rapidan February 6-7, 1864. Regiment consolidated to 8 Companies February 15, 1864. Kilpatrick's Raid on Richmond February 28-March 4. Fortifications of Richmond March 1. Campaign from the Rapidan to the James River May 3-June 24. Todd's Tavern May 5-6. Wilderness May 5-7. The Furnaces and Brock Road May 6. Todd's Tavern May 7-8. Sheridan's Raid to James River May 9-24. Beaver Dam Station May 9. Ground Squirrel Church and Yellow Tavern May 11. Meadow Bridge May 12. Hanover Court House May 21. On line of the Pamunkey May 26-28. Dabney's Ferry, Hanovertown Ferry, Hanovertown and Crump's Creek May 27. Haw's Shop and Aenon Church May 28. Totopotomoy May 28-31. Old Church and Mattadequin Creek May 30. Bethesda Church, Cold Harbor. May 31-June 1. Sheridan's Trevillian Raid June 7-24. Trevillian Station June 11-12. Newark, or Mallory's Cross Roads, June 12. Black Creek, or Tunstall's Station, and White House, or St. Peter's Church, June 21. Jones' Bridge June 23. Demonstration north of the James River July 27-29. Deep Bottom July 27-28. Ordered to Washington, D. C., August, Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley Campaign August 7-November 28. Winchester and Toll Gate near White Post August 11. Cedarville, or Front Royal, August 16 and 18. Kearneysville August 23. Near Kearneysville August 25. Shephardstown August 25. Leetown and Smithfield August 28. Smithfield Crossing of the Opequan August 29. Berryville September 4. Locke's Ford, Opequan Creek, September 13. Sevier's Ford, Opequan Creek, September 15. Battle of Opequan, Winchester, September 19. Fisher's Hill September 21. Milford September 22. Luray September 24. Port Republic September 26-28. Mt. Crawford October 2. Luray Valley October 8. Tom's Brook October 8-9. Battle of Cedar Creek October 19. Near Kernstown November 11. Expedition into Loudoun and Faquier Counties November 28-December 3, Middleburg December 2. Raid to Gordonsville December 19-28. Madison Court House December 21. Liberty Mills December 22. Jack's Shop, near Gordonsville, December 23. Expedition from Edenburg to Little Fort Valley, February 13-17, 1865. Sheridan's Raid from Winchester February 27-March 25. Occupation of Staunton March 2. Waynesboro March 2. Duguidsville March 8. Hanover Court House March 15. Appomattox Court House March 28-April 9. Dinwiddie Court House March 30-31. Five Forks April 1. Scott's Cross Roads April 2. Tabernacle Church, or Beaver Creek Pond, April 4. Sailor's Creek April 6 Appomattox Station April 8. Appomattox Court House April 9. Surrender of Lee and his army. Expedition to Danville April 23-29. March to Washington May. Grand Review May 23. Moved to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, June 1. Powder River Expedition and operations against Indians in District of the Plains and Dakota July to November, 1865. Duty in District of Utah till March, 1866. Mustered out March 10, 1866. (Company "D" served detached as Provost Guard at Alexandria November 25, 1862, till June, 1863.) (Regiment absent on furlough December 21, 1863, to March 1, 1864. Returned to Camp Stoneman, D. C., and duty there till April, 1864.)



Michigan. AGO. Records of Service of Michigan Volunteers in the Civil War. Vol. 1. Kalamazoo, MI: Ihling, 1905. E514.3.M62v1. (Alphabetical list of regiment's personnel).

Robertson, John, compiler. Michigan in the War. Lansing, MI: W. S. George, 1880. pp. 165-86. E514.M62. (Brief history of the regiment).


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

Featured Books & CD-ROMS