Battles involving 1st Cavalry
- Organized on Mar 8 1862 at Camp Harvey, Kenosha, WI
- Enlistment term: 3 years
- Mustered out on Jul 19 1865 at Edgefield, TN
- First Cavalry: Cols.: Edward Daniels, Oscar H. LaGrange; Lieut.Cols.: Oscar H. LaGrange, Henry Pomeroy, William H. Torrey, Henry Harnden, Majs., Oscar H. LaGrange, Henry S. Eggleston, Thomas H. Mars, Nathan Paine, Stephen V. Shipman, Henry Pomeroy, Henry Harnden, Newton Jones, William H. Torrey, Levi Howland.
- Enlisted or commissioned: 2348
- Drafted: 271
- Transferred in: 1
- Killed or died of wounds: 75
- Killed or died of wounds (Officers): 6
- Killed or died of wounds (Enlisted men): 67
- Died of disease (Officers): 7
- Died of disease (Enlisted men): 321
- Prisoner of war: 232
- Died while prisoner of war: 40
- Disabled: 181
- Missing: 14
- Deserted: 72
- Discharged: 342
- Mustered out: 1315
- Transferred out: 51
Historical notes and Reports:
Source: The Union Army, vol. 4, p. 74
This regiment was organized at Camp Fremont, Ripon, and Camp Harvey, Kenosha, in the summer and fall of 1861, 600 men having been enrolled at the former place up to the time of the change of location in November. It was mustered in March 8, 1862, and left the state on the 17th for Benton barracks, St. Louis, for equipment.
On April 28 it moved to Cape Girardeau, thence to Bloomfield, where companies were detached to various points in Missouri and Arkansas for scout and train guard duty. The companies were in several engagements, frequently with superior forces, and were generally successful, though at Jonesboro in August a small detachment was compelled to surrender to greatly superior numbers.
At L'Anguille Ferry, Ark., occurred one of the fiercest engagements of the war, when Maj. Eggleston, with 130 men, was attacked by 500 Texas Rangers, the enemy overwhelming the little company and only about 20 escaping. The regiment with the exception of detachments moved towards Helena and reached its destination early in August.
It was ordered back to Cape Girardeau in September after terrible hardships, wading through swamps, without adequate supplies, drinking foul water, burdened by sick members, and being finally reduced to nearly half its original strength.
It was ordered to Greenville in early October and on the 19th to Patterson, where it was stationed during November and December, engaged in dispersing guerrillas, picking up small bodies of the enemy and foraging.
On Dec. 28 a small party of foragers was picked up by 400 of the enemy, and 200 infantry and 80 cavalry, including Cos. D and M, started in pursuit. The cavalry dashed into the Confederates and scattered their pickets in every direction. Co. D dismounted and drove the enemy for some distance.
The regiment was stationed at West Plains, Pilot Knob, St. Genevieve and Cape Girardeau, successively, from Jan. 7 to May 31, 1863, and was engaged with the enemy at Chalk bluff in March. At Whitewater bridge Capt. Shipman and 40 men on guard were surrounded by 300 of the enemy, but they cut their way out with a loss of 6 killed, 9 wounded and 10 taken prisoners.
The regiment was in the battle of Cape Girardeau, where it supported a battery, and pursued the enemy in his retreat. In June it was ordered to join the cavalry corps of the Army of the Cumberland.
It reached Nashville June 15, took part in the movement toward Chattanooga, and was stationed at various points during the summer. It participated at Chickamauga, where it was engaged with the cavalry in holding the extreme right on the second day, and covered the retreat of the army.
It was in a lively engagement near Anderson's gap in October, routing Wheeler's command and taking numerous prisoners, and it was also in a skirmish at Maysville Ala. It then marched to Winchester, Alexandria and New Market Tenn., engaging the enemy at the last named place and driving him across Mossy creek. In this action the regiment carried the enemy's position and captured a number of prisoners.
In December it again repulsed a force which had advanced on Mossy creek, and it participated in the battle at Dandridge in Jan. 1864. It was also in the engagement near Sevierville, and was then stationed at Marysville, Motley's ford, Madisonville and Cleveland until May 3.
It was in a severe engagement near Varnell's station with Wheeler's forces, was in the advance on Dallas, and as skirmishers, was under a fierce fire from the enemy's
batteries intrenched in a spur of the Allatoona hills, being forced to fall back.
A detachment under Capt. Comstock routed a force at Burnt Hickory, and held its position against the attack of a body of cavalry until reinforced. A battalion under Capt. Harnden charged a heavy Confederate force guarding a supply train, and forced a way through the enemy's ranks, but was compelled to fall back to the reserves, where the enemy was checked. This dash has been referred to as the most brilliant of the campaign.
A detachment defeated a force at Acworth and occupied the place. A few days later the regiment was in a skirmish at Big Shanty, and it was in frequent engagements about Lost Mountain until the enemy's retreat across the Chattahooches River.
It acted as part of McCook's expedition to the rear of Atlanta; attacked Armstrong's forces, 2,000 strong, near Campbellton, but was forced to retire. It moved to Marietta
and from there to Cartersville, GA, reaching the latter place on Aug. 12 and remaining there until Oct. 17, when it moved to Calhoun, thence to St. Louis to be remounted, reaching there Nov. 9.
It left St. Louis Dec. 4 for Nashville and assisted in driving 2,000 of the enemy from Hopkinsville after a severe engagement. At Elizabethtown, Ky., Col. LaGrange with 20 men attacked a force of 400 and captured several prisoners.
The regiments reached Nashville Jan. 5, 1865, then moved to Waterloo Ala., and joined Wilson's cavalry expedition. The 1st Wis. cavalry was in the front ranks in a desperate assault upon a fort overlooking West Point, which was captured in a hand-to-hand struggle.
On May 6 a detachment of the regiment under Lieut.-Col. Harnden set out to search for Jefferson Davis. At midnight of the 7th a negro gave a minute account of the whereabouts of Davis and at early dawn of the 8th Harnden set out, traveling 45 miles that day. Early on the 9th the detachment resumed the march and at Abbeville met Col. Pritchard of the 4th Mich. cavalry, who had been ordered to camp there, guard the ferry and patrol the river. At 3 o'clock next morning Harnden went forward, believing Davis to be near.
The advance guard came upon armed men, who ordered them to halt, and opened fire. Harnden advanced with a large force and the firing became general until a prisoner captured by Sergt. Howe stated that the supposed enemy were Michigan troops under Col. Pritchard, who had selected his best mounted men after Harnden had frankly told him his mission and where Davis was supposed to be, and had proceeded at full speed to that point and surrounded the camp which held Davis, though the latter was not captured until after the regiments had fired upon each other. Many will ever believe the 1st Wis. cavalry entitled to at least equal credit for the capture.
The regiment was stationed at Macon, GA, until May 24 and was mustered out at Nashville July 19, 1865. Its original strength was 1,124. Gain by recruits, 1,056; substitutes, 83; draft, 278; veteran reenlistments, 61; total, 2,602. Loss by death, 366; desertion, 91; transfer, 67; discharge, 634; mustered out 1,444.
Source: Official Records: PAGE 912-50 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. CHAP. XLII. Series I. Vol. 30. Part I, Reports. Serial No. 50.
Chickamagua after battle report:
Report of Col. Oscar H. La Grange, First Wisconsin Cavalry.
HDQRS. FIRST REGT. WISCONSIN CAVALRY,
Winchester, Tenn., November 6, 1863.
Maj.; I have the honor to transmit the following report of campaign of First
Regt. Wisconsin Volunteer Cavalry, from September 1 to October 31, 1863:
September 1, the regiment was moved to the north bank of Tennessee River, near Stevenson, Ala.
On the 2d, crossed on the pontoon bridge.
On the 3d, crossed Raccoon Mountain.
On the 4d, reached the foot of Little Will's Valley.
On the 9th, crossed Lookout Mountain into Broomtown Valley.
From the 10th to the 14th, inclusive, there was frequent skirmishing in this valley.
On the 17th, recrossed the same range eastward into the head of McLemore's Cove.
On the 18th, moved about 8 miles southward and camped in line of battle.
On the 19th, moved northward and had a brisk skirmish with the enemy's cavalry, which attacked on of our wagon trains about 4 miles south from Crawfish Spring. One half of the regiment was dismounted, and drove the enemy from his concealment in the woods across the Chickamauga River, when the remainder executed a flank movement that compelled him to fall still farther back and allowed the train with its escort to pass in safety. In this affair Private Northrop, of Company G, was severely wounded in the arm, and Private Wixson, same company, reported missing. Regt. camped in line of battle at Crawfish Spring.
On the 20th, took an active part in the cavalry movements on the extreme right of our army line. In the afternoon moved toward Chattanooga, followed by the enemy's cavalry, and camped in line of battle 9 miles from the town. Corporals Byers, of C, and Eldridge, of E, reported missing. Supposed to have been wounded and captured by the enemy.
On the 21st, skirmished nearly all day, holding the position until the morning of the 22d, when we were ordered to Chattanooga. Forded the river and camped upon the north bank.
On the 25th, marched 5 miles and encamped.
On the 26th, crossed Walden's Ridge and camped in the Sequatchie Valley.
On the 28th, marched to Bridgeport, Ala.
Very respectfully, O. H. La Grange, Col. First Wisconsin Cavalry. Maj. W. H. Sinclair, Assistant Adjutant-Gen., Cavalry Corps.
Source: Official Records Chap. XLIV.] SKIRMISH NEAR DECATUR, ALA. Page 669-57 Series I. Vol. 32. Part I, Reports. Serial No. 57.
Report of Capt. James M. Comstock, First Wisconsin Cavalry, Camp First Wisconsin Cavalry, Cleveland, East Tenn., April 15, 1864.
SIR: I have the honor to report that I was stationed on outpost duty on the Cleveland and Ducktown road, 6 miles from Cleveland, on the morning of the 12th of April, 1864, with 2 commissioned officers and 100 men. I sent Lieut. Caldwell, in command of 25 men, all of the First Wisconsin Cavalry, to relieve an outpost picket 4 miles beyond on
the same road.
On the morning of the 13th instant, at daybreak, I was informed through the citizens that a large body of the enemy's cavalry, probably 1,500 strong, was advancing in the direction of the outpost, 4 miles beyond me. I immediately dispatched a party in the direction of the picket, and ascertained that they had been attacked at daylight on all sides by largely superior numbers; that after resisting a short time, in which 1 rebel was report killed and 1 wounded, the lieutenant and 19 men, with arms, horses, and equipments, were captured; 2 of the latter were wounded. Six men escaped, losing all of their horses and equipments and a portion of their arms.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant, J. M. Comstock, Capt. First Wisconsin Cavalry, Cmdg. Outpost. Capt. Robert Le Roy, Assistant Adjutant-Gen., First Cav. Div.
Source: Official Records Page 790-73 THE ATLANTA CAMPAIGN. CHAP. L. [Series I. Vol. 38. Part II, Reports. Serial No. 73
Reports of Capt. Lewis M. B. Smith, First Wisconsin Cavalry. HDQRS. First Wisconsin Cavalry, Cartersville, Ga., September 6, 1864.
Regt. left Cleveland May 3, as a part of the Second Brigade, First Cavalry Division, Department of the Cumberland, skirmishing daily with the enemy till 7th, when the brigade reached Varnell's Station.
Col. La Grange, on the 9th, was ordered to proceed on the Cleveland and Dalton road, with the Second Brigade, to develop the position of the enemy. Three miles from Varnell's Station nearly the entire command of Gen. Wheeler, supported by one division of infantry, were found in strong position. After a severe engagement our force retired to Varnell's Station. Loss of the regiment: Col. O. H. La Grange, commanding Second Brigade, and Capt. G. O. Clinton, Company B, missing; Lieut. William Sandon, wounded and missing; Lieut.'s Warren, Company C, and Crocker, Company D, wounded; Maj. N. Paine badly injured by fall from horse. The enemy suffered a greater loss in killed and wounded, as learned by citizens subsequently. From this time to the 31st the regiment, as part of the First Cavalry Division, Department of the Cumberland, was on the left, covering that flank of the army, and daily skirmishing with the enemy. On the 26th, five companies of the regiment and a portion of the Fourth Indiana Cavalry charged a brigade of the Confederate cavalry near Burnt Church, seven miles from Dallas, routing them, killing and wounding a large number, including Col.
Avery, Fourth Georgia Cavalry, mortally wounded. There Capt. Harnden was severely wounded while gallantly leading the charge. Two were killed and 7 wounded.
Total loss of the regiment in the month of May: Commissioned [officers] - wounded, 3; missing, 3. Enlisted men - killed, 6; wounded, 42; missing, 14. Total, 68.
June 1, at Burnt Church, at the left of the army, made a demonstration on the enemy's right. June 2, sharp skirmishing with the enemy. June 4, a detachment of the regiment drove out a small force of rebels and occupied Acworth. June 6, regiment, with Second Cavalry Brigade, drove the enemy out and occupied Big Shanty. June 9, made reconnaissance in front of the enemy's line. June 14, camped at Acworth. June 16, advanced to Lost Mountain; regiment under severe artillery fire from rebel batteries on the mountain; remained in the vicinity of Lost Mountain the remainder of the month.
Total loss of the regiment in the month of June: Commissioned [officers] - missing, 1. Enlisted men - wounded, 3; missing, 2. Total, 6.
July 1, marched from Lost Mountain to Howell's Ferry, on the Sweet Water. July 3, sharp skirmishing with the enemy near the Chattahoochee River. July 4, returned to near Lost Mountain. July 5, passed through Marietta. July 7, passed to the left flank of the army, near Powell's Ferry. July 20, at railroad bridge. July 22, crossed the Chattahoochee River, skirmishing with enemy three miles south of Peach Tree Creek, on the right flank of our army. July 26, skirmishing. July 27, crossed the Chattahoochee as part of Gen. McCook's force for operations in rear of Atlanta.
July 28, recrossed the river six miles below Campbellton; regiment, detached, proceeded to Campbellton; two a half miles east of the place, on the Fairburn road, attacked the advance of Gen. Armstrong's division, 2,000 strong, and after a severe fight withdrew, losing Maj. Paine, commanding regiment, killed; Lieut. Warren and 9 men killed, wounded, and missing; returned to Marietta. July 31, escorting pontoon train and battery. Lieut. Col. Torrey, commanding Second Cavalry Brigade, was severely wounded and taken prisoner at Newnan, Ga.; H. T. Persons, acting as surgeon of Second Brigade, taken prisoner.
Loss of regiment in July: Commissioned [officers] - killed, 1; missing, 3. Enlisted men - killed, 2; wounded, 5; missing, 28. Total, 39.
Regt. marched from Marietta to the Sweet Water Creek August 1, remained in that vicinity until the 7th, covering retreat of stragglers of McCook's command. August 7, to the railroad bridge across the Chattahoochee River. Remained there till the 10th, and then marched for Cartersville, arriving on the 12th.
Recapitulation of losses: Commissioned [officers] - killed, 1; wounded, 3; missing, 3; total, 7. Enlisted men - killed, 8; wounded, 49; missing, 44; total, 101.
L. M. B. Smith, Capt., Cmdg. Regiment
HDQRS. First Wisconsin Cavalry, Marietta, Ga., July 31, 1864.
GEN.: I have the honor to report, that on the afternoon of the 28th my regiment, commanded by Maj. Paine, crossed the Chattahoochee River at Smith's Ferry as a part of Brig. Gen. McCook's command. After crossing were detached from the column and proceeded to Campbellton, skirmishing with the enemy the entire distance. From Campbellton marched on Fairburn road, and when three miles out again struck the enemy's pickets, drove them in, and in attempting to cut our way through strong lines of
the enemy in the road Maj. Paine was killed. Finding the force opposed comprised at least a brigade, and Maj. Paine not having informed me of his orders, I withdrew the regiment on the road to Smith's Ferry, reaching that place at 10 p.m. The rear of the main force having been gone seven hours, and my horses, by reason of the severe march already made, entirely unable to overtake the column, I recrossed the river and reported to Lieut. Col. Hamilton, and was ordered by him to remain and form part of escort of pontoon train and battery, marching directly to this place as the surest point to obtain forage and rations, which were exhausted, and reached this place at 11 p. m. yesterday, and shall await orders.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, L. M. B. Smith, Capt.
Cmdg. Regt. Brig. Gen. W. L. Elliott, Chief of Cavalry, Department of the Cumberland.
Battles (where losses incurred) involving 1st Wisconsin Cavalry Regiment (Union)
Roster for 1st Wisconsin Cavalry Regiment - 2,602 men
Source: Roster of Wisconsin Volunteers; War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865; Volumes I and II; compiled by Authority of the Legislature, under the direction of Jeremiah M. Rusk, Governor & Chandler P. Chapman, Adjutant General; Democrat Printing Company, State Printers; Madison, Wisconsin; 1886
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