Tuesday, May 13, 2008

6th Cavalry - May 1862

The regiment resumed active campaigning in May, moving up the peninsula as part of the advance guard of the Army of the Potomac. Companies C and L, not yet at full strength, remained in Washington under the command of Captain James Brisbin. The regiment's assigned strength this month was 881 officers and enlisted men in the ten active companies.

Of the 42 officers assigned, 23 were listed as present for duty, including Assistant Surgeon J.H. Pooley. 16 of the missing 20 were still on detached service. Major Lawrence A. Williams continued to command the regiment. Two of the regiment’s companies continued to be led by lieutenants. Sergeant Tullius C. Tupper of Company E replaced John Lee as the regiment’s sergeant major on May 15th, with Lee moving to Company K.

Major Williams’ narrative of the month’s activities is listed at the bottom of the month’s muster rolls. The camp he refers to is simply listed as “Camp near Richmond Va.”

“Left Camp Winfield Scott on May 4, 1862 and engaged in the Battle of Williamsburg same day. 2nd Lieut. C.B. McLellan attached to A Co. Wounded. Marched from Williamsburg May 7 (two words too faint to read) with Genl Stoneman. Engaged in the Action at Slatersville on the 9th. Marched from there on the 10th to New Kent Court House, from thence to the White House, on the Pamunkey River, from there to New Bridge, and there a skirmish with the enemy, 1 corporal killed and 1 private wounded in Co. A. Marched to Mechanicsville. Engaged the enemy on the 23 and 24th. Left Mechanicsville May 27. Engaged in the Action same day at Hanover Court House. Left H.C.H. on 29th arrived this camp 8 miles from Richmond on the 30th.”

The regiment had 805 enlisted men at the end of the month, but only 670 present for duty. Health conditions worsened as the campaign renewed, with 50 troopers sick in camp and 106 sick in hospitals away from the regiment. 50 continued to serve on extra duties away from the regiment, mostly as teamsters for the Quartermaster Department. Two troopers were absent on leave, and two were absent without leave.

Nine soldiers died in May. Four died of disease in Yorktown, one specifically of typhoid fever. Five troopers were killed in action, one at Williamsburg on the 4th, three at Slatersville on May 9th, and one at Gaines Farm on May 20th. This is the engagement at New Bridge that Major Williams referred to in his narrative, and Captain Kautz’ diary confirms that a corporal was killed and a private wounded in Company A while reconnoitering a bridge across the Chickahominy. Ten men deserted from the regiment this month, one corporal and nine privates. No soldiers were discharged for disability in May.