Monday, December 31, 2007

6th US Cavalry Annual Return for 1861

It seemed appropriate on the last day of the year to post information from one of the annual returns for one of the regiments. Since I've decided to follow the 6th Cavalry through 1862 with a series of posts next year, I decided to use their 1861 returns.

A more detailed introduction to the regiment will follow in a few days, but it had been authorized by presidential proclamation in May of 1861. Recruiting started in earnest in mid-June, and the end of year found the regiment encamped in Washington, D.C.

The regiment had three homes during the year: Camp Scott, just outside of Pittsburgh, PA; Bladensburg, MD; and Camp East of the Capitol, in Washington, D.C.
Ten of the regiment's authorized twelve companies were formed, lacking only companies C and L.

By the end of 1861, 34 officers had been assigned to the regiment, 23 appointed from the Army and 11 from civilian life. One lieutenant had died, and seven were promoted during the year.

A total of 1,011 enlisted men had joined the regiment. 993 joined from general depots, and 14 transferred from other units. Many of these transfers later became officers. A total of 19 enlisted men were discharged by year's end. Two were minors who lied initially lied about their age and were subsequently discharged by order. Eight were discharged for disability, and nine were discharged for transfer. Four of these transfers were to other units, and four were discharges for officer appointments. Of the officers, three remained in the regiment: Andrew Stoll (Sergeant, Co. F), Daniel Madden (F&S, Commisary Sergeant), and Samuel M. Whitside (F&S, Regimental Sergeant Major). The fourth, Byron Kirby, was appointed to the 6th U.S. Infantry Regiment.

19 troopers deserted during the year. The first, Nicholas Semple of Company F, deserted in August, but rejoined the regiment the following month. Two of the other eighteen were apprehended and reassigned to other companies. The nineteen deserters were Semple, John Purcell, Charles Northrup, James O'Connell, William Hults, John McClelland, John Boyd, Edward Heakin, Washington Laughlin, William Ferguson, John Schmuckler, Jacob Bock, Thomas Steen, James Warnesut, Lawrence Shay, Thomas Powers, Norman O. Hastings, Patrick Purcell and Charles Jackson. I'm unsure if the two Purcells were related. They were in the same company, but deserted three months apart.

Six troopers from the 6th Cavalry died in 1861, none of them combat-related and all of them at Washington, D.C. J.W. Manson of Company K was the regiment's first casualty, dying in the hospital in Washington on November 6. George Scheide of Company F died in hospital the following day, and Samuel Brocker of Company D on November 10th. James Gargen of Company F died of fever on December 3rd, and Joseph H. Bakeley of Company D also died of fever two days later. Hamilton Hardy of Company B was the regiment's last casualty of 1861, dying of smallpox on December 13th.

Interestingly, horses were not included on regimental annual returns in 1861.


Don said...

Just noticed my mistake. The man's name was Harrison Hardy, not Hamilton.

Dick Stanley said...

Glad to see you're still researching the 6th, my old outfit (1968-69) when it was at Fort Meade. Looking forward to the rest of the year's posts.

Dick Stanley
Austin, TX

Jim Jones said...

Don, I just PCS'd from Ft. Carson where I was the regimental adjutant for 1-6 CAV. I've been researching the 6th CAV for quite some time and find your site very interesting.
According to your post on 31DEC2007, those soldiers you mentioned are all that died within the year. In PVT Sidney Morris Davis' book, he also mentions a "Conway" and "Schaffer" that perished, both from company "F". Could you please verify this with your information and see if it correct?

1LT Jim Jones
Colorado Springs, CO

Don said...


Wish you'd have written while you were still in the Springs! I noticed the same thing when I did the look-up.

Remember, Davis was writing from notes and his memory after the fact. He did pretty well: Michael Conway, private, Co F, died of disease in camp January 1, 1862. Sebastian Schaffer, private, Co F, died of disease in camp January 13th.