Saturday, February 24, 2007

Officers of the 1st Cavalry in 1861, part I

The first year of the war was a period of chaos for the veteran troopers of the Regular cavalry. Resignations were followed by promotions and reassignments. Regiments were fully assembled from widespread, remote commands, for the first time in years in some cases. Once assembled, there were battles to fight and integration with volunteer forces to contend with. And, in the midst of all of this, newly-assigned officers must hurry to learn their craft before the next battle or promotion. The purpose of the next series of essays is to illustrate the turmoil among the officers of the Regular cavalry regiments over the course of 1861. The 1st (later 4th) US Cavalry will serve as an example.

These essays focus on officer strength for a simple reason – I don’t yet have the muster rolls for any of the regiments for 1861. What I do have are the War Department General Orders from the first two years of the war, which detail every officer assignment, appointment, transfer, resignation, dismissal and retirement for all of the branches. While contained in the OR, my source is General Orders of the War Department, embracing the years 1861, 1862 & 1863, Volume I, by Thomas O’Brien and Oliver Diefendorf (New York: Derby & Miller, 1864). Using these reports, I have located every officer assigned to the regiment by company and duty position, save two. Captain Henry B. Davidson was assigned to either Company H or I, and I don’t yet know who the captain was assigned to the other company.

Listed below are the 34 officers assigned to the regiment in January, 1861. By year’s end, eighteen of them will resign their commissions. Only two companies, E and F, would not lose at least one officer. Three of those who remain will be general officers of volunteers, and several more will be assigned to other duties outside the regiment at the end of the year. But as we start down the road to war, these are the officers of the First US Cavalry:

Colonel Edwin V. Sumner
Lt Col William J. Hardee*
Maj William H. Emory*
Maj John Sedgwick
Adjutant (1Lt) Albert V. Colburn

Company A
Capt William N.R. Beall*
1st Lt Eugene W. Crittenden
2nd Lt Charles S. Bowman
Company B
Capt William D. Saussure*
1st Lt Philip Stockton*
2nd Lt Oliver H. Fish*
Company C
Capt Thomas J. Wood
1st Lt Alfred Iverson, Jr*
2nd Lt John R.B. Burtwell*
Company D
Capt James McIntosh*
1st Lt David S. Stanley
2nd Lt Lunsford L. Lomax*
Company E
Capt Samuel D. Sturgis
1st Lt Frank Wheaton
2nd Lt Tillinghast L’Hommediu
Company F
Capt Delos R. Sackett
1st Lt Elmer Otis
2nd Lt John A. Thompson
Company G
Capt William S. Walker*
1st Lt James E.B. Stuart*
2nd Lt George D. Bayard
Company H
Capt (Henry B. Davidson?)
1st Lt Robert Ransom*
2nd Lt Eli Long
Company I
Capt (unknown)
1st Lt James B. McIntyre
2nd Lt Edward Ingraham*
Company K
Capt George H. Steuart*
1st Lt Richard H. Riddick*
2nd Lt Joseph H. Taylor

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