The 1st Virginia Cavalry completed its organization at Winchester, Virginia, in July 1861, under the command of Colonel James Ewell Brown (J.E.B.) Stuart at the command of General Thomas Jackson. Unlike most regiments, the First contained twelve companies. The men were from the counties of Amelia, Augusta, Berkeley, Clarke, Frederick, Gloucester, Jefferson, Loudoun, Rockbridge, Rockingham, and Washington.
After taking part in the First Battle of Manassas, the unit was brigaded under Generals J.E.B. Stuart, Fitzhugh Lee, Williams Carter Wickham, and Thomas T. Munford. It participated in more than 200 engagements of various types including the Seven Days Battles and Stuart's ride around McClellan. The regiment was active in the conflicts at Gainesville, Second Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Kelly's Ford, Chancellorsville, Brandy Station, Gettysburg, Bristoe Station, the Wilderness, Todd's Tavern, Spotsylvania, Bethesda Church, and Cold Harbor. Later it was involved in Jubal Early's operations in the Shenandoah Valley, the defense of Petersburg, and the Appomattox Campaign.
In April 1862, it totaled 437 men, lost eight percent of the 310 engaged at Gettysburg, and had 318 fit for duty in September 1864. The cavalry cut through the Federal lines at Appomattox and later disbanded. Only one man from this unit was present at the surrender.
Future U.S. Solicitor General Holmes Conrad enlisted in Company A at the beginning of the war. He was commissioned a lieutenant and eventually transferred to division headquarters.
Colonels R. Welby Carter, James H. Drake, William E. Jones, Fitzhugh Lee, William A. Morgan, and J.E.B. Stuart; Lieutenant Colonels L. Tiernan Brien and Charles R. Irving; and Major Robert Swan.
First Battle of Manassas
Seven Days' Battles
Second Battle of Manassas
Battle of Sharpsburg
Battle of Fredericksburg
Battle of Chancellorsville
Battle of Brandy Station
Battle of Gettysburg
Siege of Petersburg
Valley Campaigns of 1864
The roster of this unit contains the name of 2723 men