1st Massachusetts Cavalry Regiment

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1st Massachusetts Cavalry Regiment, U.S. Volunteers
Head Quarters of 1st Mass Cavalry, on Edisto Island, 1862
ActiveSeptember 3, 1861 to July 24, 1865
CountryUnited States
EngagementsFirst Battle of Pocotaligo
Battle of Secessionville (Company H)
Battle of Antietam
Battle of Fredericksburg
Battle of Aldie
Battle of Gettysburg
Bristoe Campaign
Mine Run Campaign
Battle of Cedar Creek (Companies B, C, & D)
Battle of the Wilderness
Battle of Yellow Tavern
Battle of Spotsylvania Court House
Battle of Cold Harbor
Siege of Petersburg
First Battle of Deep Bottom
Battle of the Crater (Companies C & D)
Battle of Vaughan Road

Civil War veteran Henry Thurlow Bartlett of Co. H, 1st Massachusetts Cavalry Regiment in uniform wearing medals, 1898. From the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress
Captain Daniel Henry Lawrence Gleason of Co. G, 1st Massachusetts Cavalry Regiment

The 1st Massachusetts Volunteer Cavalry Regiment was a cavalry regiment that served in the Union Army during the American Civil War.[1]


The 1st Massachusetts Cavalry was organized at Camp Brigham in Readville, Massachusetts beginning September 3, 1861 and mustered in under the command of Colonel Robert Williams.

The regiment was attached to the Department of the South to April 1862. 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, Department of the South, to August 1862. Companies A through H moved to Fort Monroe August 19, 1862, then moved to Washington, D.C., and joined Pleasanton's Cavalry, Army of the Potomac, at Tenallytown, September 3. Attached to Pleasanton's Cavalry, Army of the Potomac, to October 1862. Averill's Brigade, Cavalry Division, Army of the Potomac, to January 1863. 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac, to April 1865. Four new companies (I, K, L, and M) were organized December 5. 1863 to January 14, 1864. Provost Marshal's Command, Army of the Potomac, to May 1865. Headquarters, Army of the Potomac, to June 1865.

The 1st Massachusetts Cavalry mustered out of service on June 29, 1865 and was discharged at Readville on July 24, 1865.

Detailed service[edit]


  • Companies A, B, C, and D left Massachusetts for Annapolis, Maryland, December 25, 1861, then moved to Hilton Head, South Carolina, February 1862, and joined the regiment.
  • Second Battalion left Massachusetts for New York December 27, and Third Battalion December 29 for the same point, then sailed for Hilton Head, S.C., January 13, arriving January 20, 1862. The men sailed on the steamships Baltic, Empire City, and Marion, and the horses sailed aboard Star of the South, and Catawba.[2] Duty at Hilton Head, S.C., until May 1862.



  • Reconnaissance to Catlett's and Rappahannock Station January 8–10, 1863.
  • Elk Run, Catlett's Station, January 9.
  • Near Grove Church January 9.
  • Destruction of Rappahannock Bridge February 5.
  • Hartwood Church February 25.
  • Kelly's Ford March 17.
  • Bealeton March 17.
  • Chancellorsville Campaign, Stoneman's Raid, April 29-May 6. Commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Greely S. Curtis, Colonel Horace B Sargent's 1st Brigade, Brigadier General William W. Averell's[3] 2nd Division, Brigadier General George Stoneman's[4] Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac
  • Near Fayetteville June 3.
  • Kelly's Ford, Brandy Station, and Stevensburg June 9.
  • Battle of Aldie (June 15–18).
  • Upperville June 21.
  • Battle of Gettysburg July 2–3. Commanded by Colonel Horace B. Sargent, Colonel John B. McIntosh's 1st Brigade of Brigadier General David McMurtrie Gregg's Second Division [5] of Major General Alfred Pleasonton's Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac
  • Emmetsburg July 4.
  • Williamsport July 6–7.
  • Near Harpers Ferry, W. Va., July 14.
  • Old Antietam Forge, near Leitersburg, July 10.
  • Jones' Cross Roads July 12.
  • Shepherdstown July 16.
  • Near Aldie July 31.
  • Scout to Hazel River August 4.
  • Rixeyville August 5.
  • Welford's Ford August 9.
  • Scout to Barbee's Cross Roads August 24.
  • Scout to Middleburg September 10–11.
  • Advance from the Rappahannock to the Rapidan September 13–17.
    • Culpeper Court House September 13.
    • Rapidan Station September 13–15.
  • Bristoe Campaign October 9–22.
    • Warrenton (or White Sulphur Springs) October 12.
    • Auburn and Bristoe October 14.
    • Brentsville October 14.
  • Picket near Warrenton until November 22.
  • Mine Run Campaign November 26-December 2.
    • New Hope Church November 27


  • Scout and picket duty at Warrenton until April 21, 1864.
  • Kilpatrick's Raid on Richmond February 28-March 4.
  • Fortifications of Richmond March 1. (Companies C and D assigned to Headquarters of the Army of the Potomac, April 1864 to muster out.)
  • Overland Campaign May–June. Commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Samuel E. Chamberlain, Brigadier General Henry E. Davies, Jr.'s 1st Brigade, Brigadier General David M. Gregg's 2nd Division of MG Philip H. Sheridan's Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac
    • Todd's Tavern May 5–6.
    • Wilderness May 6–7.
    • Battle of Todd's Tavern May 7–8.
    • Corbin's Bridge, Spotsylvania, May 8.
    • Davenport Ford May 9.
    • Sheridan's Raid to James River May 9–24.
    • North Anna River May 9–10.
    • Ground Squirrel Church, Ashland, and Battle of Yellow Tavern May 11.
    • Brooks' Church, or Richmond Fortifications, May 12.
    • Line of the Pamunkey May 26–28.
    • Totopotomoy May 28–31.
    • Cold Harbor May 31-June 1.
    • About Cold Harbor June 1–7.
    • Sumner's Upper Bridge June 2.
    • Sheridan's Trevillian Raid June 7–24.
      • Trevilian Station June 11–12.
      • Newark, or Mallory's Cross Roads, June 12.
      • Black Creek, or Tunstall Station, and White House, or St. Peter's Church, June 21.
    • St. Mary's Church June 24.
  • Camp at Prince George Court House June 27-July 13.
  • Weldon Railroad and Warwick Swamp July 12. At Lee's Mills until July 26.
  • Demonstration on north side of James River July 27–29.
  • First Battle of Deep Bottom July 27–29.
  • Malvern Hill July 28.
  • Lee's Mills July 30.
  • Scouting duty until August 14.
  • Demonstration north of the James River August 14–18.
  • Gravel Hill August 14.
  • Strawberry Plains August 14–18.
  • Battle of Globe Tavern (August 18–21). Commanded by Chamberlain, Colonel William Stedman's 1st Brigade, Gregg's 2nd Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac
    • Charles City Cross Roads August 18.
    • Weldon Railroad August 19–21.
  • Dinwiddie Road, near Ream's Station, August 23.
  • Ream's Station August 25.
  • Hawkinsville September 14.
  • Jerusalem Plank Road September 16.
  • Belcher's Mills September 17.
  • Poplar Grove Church September 29-October 2.
  • Davis' Farm September 30.
  • Arthur's Swamp September 30-October 1.
  • Vaughan Road October 1. (Veterans left the front for Massachusetts October 25, 1864.)
  • Battle of Boydton Plank Road (October 27–28, 1864), Hatcher's Run, Commanded by Chamberlain, Brigadier GeneralHenry E. Davies's 1st Brigade, Gregg's 2nd Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac
  • At McCann's Station until November 18.
  • Reconnaissance toward Stony Creek November 7.
  • At Westbrook House until December 1.
  • Stony Creek Station December 1.
  • Bellefield Raid December 7–12.
  • Bellefield December 9–10.


  • At Westbrook House until March 17, 1865.
  • Dabney's Mills, Hatcher's Run, February 5–7.
  • Provost duty at City Point until April 2.
  • Appomattox campaign, March 29 – April 9
    • Company C commanded by Capt Edward A. Flint and Company D commanded by Captain Jamesserving in Provost Guard, Headquarters, Army of the Potomac
    • Eight companies commanded by Maj John Tewksbury in Brevet Brigadier General Charles H. T. Collis's Independent Brigade, Headquarters, Army of the Potomac
  • Provost duty until May 27.
  • Duty in the defenses of Washington until June 26.

Detached Duty[edit]

Third Battalion (Companies I, K, L, and M)

  • Served duty in District of Beaufort, S.C., until August, 1862 Action at Pocotaligo, South Carolina, May 22, 1862 (detachment).
  • Patrol and guard duty and picketing Broad River.
  • Expedition to St. John's Bluff, Fla., September 30-October 13, 1862.
  • Expedition to Pocotaligo, S.C., October 21–23.
  • Pocotaligo Bridge October 21.
  • Caston and Frampton's Plantation October 22.
  • Attached to X Corps, Department of the South.
  • Company M at Hilton Head, S.C., and outpost duty at Lawton's Plantation until August 1863.
  • A detachment of Company I served at Folly Island, S.C., until July 1863, and Morris Island, S.C., to August 1863.
  • The balance of Company I was on outpost duty at Hilton Head, S.C., June to August 1863.

Third Battalion was permanently detached from the 1st Massachusetts Cavalry by S. C. 346, War Department, August 4, 1863, and designated Independent Battalion, Massachusetts Cavalry.


The regiment lost a total of 239 men during service; 6 officers and 93 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded, 140 enlisted men died of disease.




  1. ^ Starr, Stephen Z. (1975). "The First Massachusetts Volunteer Cavalry, 1861-1865: A Fresh Look". Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society. 87: 88–104. JSTOR 25080777.
  2. ^ "Military Matters". Boston Semi-Weekly Advertiser. January 15, 1862.
  3. ^ Relieved of command May 4, 1863 (see: Averell's report and Official Records, Series I, Volume XXV, Part 1, page 1080)
  4. ^ The Second and Third Divisions, First Brigade, First Division and the Reserve Brigade, with Battery A, 2nd United States and Batteries B and L, 2nd United States on the "Stoneman Raid," April 29-May 7, 1863
  5. ^ The Second Brigade (2nd and 4th New York Cavalry, 6th Ohio Cavalry, and 8th Pennsylvania Cavalry) under Colonel Pennock Huey was at Westminster, and not engaged in the battle


External links[edit]