1st Virginia Cavalry
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|1st Virginia Volunteer Cavalry Regiment|
Flag of Virginia, 1861
|Active||July 1861 – April 1865|
|Allegiance||Confederate States of America|
|Engagements||American Civil War|
|Colonel J.E.B. Stuart|
Colonel William "Grumble" Jones
Colonel Fitzhugh Lee
The 1st Virginia Volunteer Cavalry Regiment was a cavalry regiment raised in Virginia for service in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. It fought mostly with the Army of Northern Virginia.
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.
The First Virginia Cavalry participated in more than 200 engagements of various types throughout the American Civil War, during which it was reorganized several times. Its significant casualties at the First Battle of Bull Run led to reorganization and placement under the command of Brigadier General J.E.B. Stuart. However, members were allowed to elect their lower officers, and they failed to re-elect career U.S. army officer and future Confederate general William E. Jones, who was then transferred to lead the 7th Virginia Cavalry. Thus, Gen. Stuart relayed his orders to Lt. Col. (and future Virginia governor)Fitzhugh Lee. In 1863, further Confederate Army reorganization placed the First Virginia Cavalry under the command of General Williams Carter Wickham (formerly of the 4th Virginia Cavalry). Although decimated by casualties and surrenders under General Jubal Early as it defended the Shenandoah Valley at the war's end, the First Virginia Cavalry technically ended the war under the command of Gen. Thomas T. Munford (formerly of the 2nd Virginia Cavalry).
During 1862, the First Virginia Cavalry participated in the Seven Days Battles and Stuart's ride around McClellan. The regiment then participated in cavalry clashes 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.
In 1864, the First Virginia was involved in Jubal Early's operations in the Shenandoah Valley. Although many of the remaining soldiers either became casualties or were allowed to return to their homes by early 1865, members did participate in the defense of Petersburg, and the Appomattox Campaign. The remains of the cavalry unit cut through the Federal lines at Appomattox, shortly before it was formally disbanded. Only one man from this unit was present at the surrender. In April 1862, the First Virginia Cavalry totaled 437 men. It lost eight percent of the 310 engaged at Gettysburg in July 1863, and had 318 fit for duty in September 1864. Other field officers (alphabetically) included Colonels R. Welby Carter (of Company H; son of Sen.John A. Carter), James H. Drake, and William A. Morgan; Lieutenant Colonels L. Tiernan Brien and Charles R. Irving; and Major Robert Swan.
Company F boasted a namesake to Abraham Lincoln, a Private from Jefferson County. However, in 1864, he deserted.
Captain Martin's Independent Company Mississippi Cavalry and Captain Stone's Independent Company Alabama Cavalry were temporarily attached to this regiment as Company N and O.
- Davis, Burke (1982). The civil war: strange & fascinating facts (1st ed.). New York, NY: Fairfax Press. p. 142. ISBN 0517371510.
- "Compiled service records of Confederate Soldiers who served in organizations from the State of Virginia". National Archives. Retrieved 1 February 2018.