Friday, May 30, 2008

Bates Letters - May 31, 1863

Note: Charlie's letters get pretty infrequent for the rest of the year, so they'll be posted in the near future instead of on the appropriate days. In this missive, we learn of the regiment's strength as campaigning begins, an interesting packing list, and fish habits near rebel prisons. I haven't had any luck with the locations that he mentions as yet, they should be somewhere near his home in Connecticut.

Murfreesboro, May 31st, 1863

Dear Parents,

I have been waiting to hear from you the last week but not a word, not a line, not a syllable has come from you. And I should perhaps have thought you all had got Conscripted if I had not got a letter from Julia today with the news that you were still in Status quo (There’s latin for you). I don’t wonder at not hearing from Johnson if he is as near gone as Julia represents, for she gives a woeful account of his doings with the gals, and from her writing I judge he will soon be labeled as “Benedict the married man.” Well poor fellow I pity him. I suppose he does nothing but sit in the moonlight and dream of his simmatora, his board must prove a good speculation for you, if he lives on moonlight and poetry after the fashion of young fellows in love. If you haven’t plenty of moonlight down there, send your patient down here to pasture. The moon is shining almost as bright as day now, and almost makes me ready to fall in love, the only obstacle is, the absence of any fair being to waste my affections and romance upon, ---

I expect to start (I speak for the army) I expect to start on a campaign to-morrow and the Lord only knows when it will be terminated, you need not be frightened if you don’t hear from me for the next two weeks, as I shall not have a chance to write while out on the war path. The men are only allowed to take a change of under-clothes with them, and so I shall have no letter stock along. If we get back safe however, and I have no doubt of it but we shall, you may expect to hear of something to our advantage; The fourth cavalry is only three hundred strong in the field but every man is in the Davy Crockett style, and they will do something if they get a chance.

Our regiment is as well known in the southern army , as the old sand peddler who used to drive an ox was to the denizens of Woodbury, Cat-swamp and Weekeepeemee. I have not had the satisfaction of painting my sword with southern blood yet, onlys a pig which I transfixed at franklin was a southern, so I am a little anxious to get into a fight.

I had an awful pain in my right shoulder last night, but the Doctor painted it with iodine (my shoulder, not the pain he painted) and now it’s among the things that were. The Doctor said ‘twas a sort of wet rheumatism brought on by the rain of the last two days. He has however “warranted me for one year without repairing.” I am sorry to leave this camp and yet I am glad to go, sorry because I leave all the nice mulberries and strawberries behind, glad because the flies will a good share of them be left with the berries, and besides I want to see more of the country. I have no desire of pushing my researches quite as far as one of our Regiment did who got back to us today. He was taken prisoner last December and has been in the Confed’s prisons since. He tells pretty much the same story as all returned men about times in Dixie. He says while confined at Jackson they managed to procure a fish hook and line, and commenced to indulge in visions of fries, roasts, and stews, to accrue from their labors in the pisctory profession, but on trial found the fish would not bite; the evidently smelled the Yankee, and kept shy. I have to make up for the sleep lost last night by the shoulder and as its after Tattoo

My love to all
Charles E. Bates

Johnson may have use for some poetry in his wooing allow me to recommend the following to his notice

The Devil thought to injure me
By cutting down my apple tree
But he did not injure me at all
For I had apples all the fall

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Birthday, 2nd US Cavalry!

Yesterday marked the 172nd birthday of the 2nd US Cavalry, the oldest active continuously serving regiment in the Army. Currently mounted on Strykers, the regiment is serving outside of Baghdad as the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment.

An article from the Stars & Stripes on the event is here.

Happy Birthday, Dragoons! Best wishes for continued success and a safe return home. Toujours Pret!

New Releases Aren't Supposed to be Secret, Are They?

Several people have discussed writing,publishing and marketing over the last month or so here in the blogosphere, most noticeably here and here. Responding relatively well to being hit with something repeatedly (though my wife might dispute this), I pay a little more attention to these things than I had previously. So new Civil War releases of nearly any sort catch my eye.

As I was looking through my latest catalog from The Scholar's Bookshelf yesterday, I noticed that a biography of Civil War cavalryman and later general August Valentine Kautz is due to be published on June 30th. I have an interest in Kautz, since it wasn't all that long ago that he was popping up everywhere I looked for information in my research. So I thought I'd look for more information on the book. It sounded like something that could be a good addition to my library. Kautz was, after all, one of then original company commanders of the 6th US Cavalry. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find out much.

A disclaimer before I proceed: I have absolutely nothing against this book, its author, or its publisher. Indeed, as noted above I'm very interested in it and will possibly buy it. I wish the author all the best and hope the book does well. I intentionally don't mention names, as that isn't the purpose of the post. But the situation seems to violate all of the rules for how things "should" work according to recent blog posts by folks who know about such things, and may not get the book off to the marketing start that it deserves.

The catalog didn't have a great deal of information on the book, but among other things it did list the author and publisher. I pulled up the publisher's website and looked for the book. I found it, on page 3 of the books on the Civil War. Not under a "new releases" category, or on the homepage since the book's about to come out, but buried amongst older books. Neither the book nor the author have a website, and the book's description on the publisher's website was very brief. Curiously, the book is listed elsewhere more prominently than at the publisher's website, notably on Amazon's "Hot New Releases" and on Eurospan Books. Perhaps the marketing effort won't start until closer to the publishing date, but I wasn't able to learn too much about the work.

The book appears to be a comprehensive look at Kautz' entire military career, based on personal journals and other correspondence. There is a focus on Civil War activities, but his pre-war assignments in the Pacific Northwest are covered as well. If it as well-written as I suspect, I think it will be a worthy addition to the body of knowledge on the war.

Kautz is a very good subject for a biography, given his various activities before, during, and after the war. I personally don't think he gets a fair shake, as his reputation at times appears to be that of a not-so-competent commander. This is primarily a result of the disastrous Wilson-Kautz Raid in 1864, which wasn't his idea and of which he wasn't even the primary commander. Unfortunately, however, he didn't have advantage of a successful cavalry expedition into Alabama at the end of the war to make up for it as his compatriot did.

If this post draws attention to the book and helps with its marketing and sales by getting the word out, great. If it makes people angry, sorry.

The best place to find information on this book currently is here. I'll post more once I'm able to obtain a copy. I look forward to its publishing, I'm just saddened that so few may hear of it.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Of Taylors and McLeans

This is one of those threads that led to a huge ball of string. I’ve been working for the last couple of weeks on a Fiddler’s Green entry for Hancock Taylor McLean, an officer of the 6th U.S. Cavalry. Previously, I’d written an entry for Joseph Hancock Taylor, who served in the same regiment. Indeed, they were both original officers of the regiment. And both were from Kentucky. And there is the name similarity. Since Kentucky was not the most populous of states prior to the Civil War, particularly in the area of well-to-do families, a connection seemed likely. Were they related?

The answer is yes, in a somewhat convoluted series of marriages between two families. The first is Judge John McLean, associate justice of the Supreme Court. The other family is that of President Zachary Taylor. Rank hath its privileges, so we’ll start with the Taylors. Zachary Taylor had only one son, Confederate general Richard Taylor. He also had two brothers.

Zachary Taylor’s older brother, Hancock Taylor, had ten children. Hancock’s second child, Mildred Jane Taylor, married Judge John McLean’s son, also named John, in Jefferson county, Kentucky. Their first child was Hancock Taylor McLean.

Zachary Taylor’s younger brother, Joseph Pannill Taylor, married Judge John McLean’s second child, Eveline Aurilla McLean. Eveline was John’s older sister. Her fifth child was Joseph Hancock Taylor.

The short answer is that they were first cousins. As officers were initially assigned to companies as the 6th U.S. Cavalry was forming, Joseph H. Taylor was assigned as captain of Company F. The company’s first lieutenant was Hancock T. McLean.

Well, it’s always been said that the army is a small place….

Monday, May 19, 2008

More on 6th Cavalry May 1862 Casualties

I had one of those “Aha!” moments during my drive to work this morning. I was corresponding over the weekend with Tom about the skirmish at Williamsburg, and he had a partial casualty list. The odd thing was that his reference for many of the casualties was the microfilm roll from NARA with the regimental muster rolls. As mentioned in the original post, the returns for the month of may don’t list the wounded, only the one trooper killed.

What I hadn’t checked (and fortunately had printed in a binder in the trunk of the car), was the annual returns for the regiment for 1862. Among the other things listed on the annual return is a by-name list of all those killed or wounded in the regiment during the year. Here, then, is a more complete listing of the 6th Cavalry’s May 1862 casualties:

May 4, 1862 – Williamsburg, VA

Company A
Henry A. Pauli, Corp, wounded
Henry Vanmoss, Pvt, wounded
George Kraft, Pvt, wounded
James Alexander, Pvt, wounded
James Bonner, Pvt, wounded
Charles F.H. Roemer, Pvt, wounded
James H. Ortt, Pvt, wounded
John Maglett, Pvt, wounded

Company E
Suel Merkle, Pvt, killed in action

Company G
Parker Flansburg, Pvt, wounded
Andrew F. Swan, First Sergeant, wounded

Company M
George Baum, Pvt, wounded
Adam Cafoot, Pvt, wounded
James Allen, Corp, wounded
Martin Armstrong, Sgt, wounded
Joshua Kreps, Pvt, wounded
Henry Parks, Pvt, wounded
Robert McBride, Pvt, wounded
Andrew Schwartz, Bugler, wounded

May 9, 1862 – Slatersville, VA

Company E
Charles O’Harra, Pvt, killed in action
Able A. Irish, Pvt, killed in action

May 20, 1862 – New Bridge, VA

Company A
John Manice, Corp, killed in action
William Dickson, Pvt, wounded
James Brennan, Pvt, wounded

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Research Note

I've meant to mention this for a week now, so it's high time that it hits the blog. Alexander Street Press has announced free access to its The American Civil War Research Database (found here) until June 30, 2008. While I don't know what their normal subscription rates are, I highly encourage anyone who hasn't already done so to visit the site. There's a wealth of information there for anyone interested in virtually any aspect of the Civil War. Click here for username and password information during the offer. Thanks to Brett Schulte for mentioning this on TOCWOC in his Odds & Ends: May 10, 2008 column, or I would have missed out on this great opportunity.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Fiddler's Green: Michael Cooney

As I was working on the Williamsburg skirmish post, the name of one of the participants caught my eye. It took me a few days to remember where I’d seen it, but here is a bit more information on the first sergeant cited for bravery in that engagement.

Michael Cooney was born in Muroe, County Limerick, Ireland on May 1, 1837. He immigrated to the United States in 1856, and enlisted in the 1st U.S. Dragoons on December 4th of that year. He was assigned to Company A and promoted to corporal and sergeant before his enlistment expired in 1861.

Cooney enlisted as a private in Company M, 6th U.S. Cavalry on December 18, 1861, and quickly rose to the rank of first sergeant. Cited numerous times for gallantry in action, he was serving as the regimental quartermaster sergeant by 1864. On January 1, 1865, Cooney was commissioned as a captain in the 5th U.S. Colored Cavalry. He served with the regiment until it mustered out on March 16, 1866.

Michael was appointed a first lieutenant in the 9th U.S. Cavalry when it formed on July 28, 1866. He found several familiar faces among the officers there. Lieutenant Colonel Wesley Merritt, his brigade commander during the Civil War, was the regiment’s executive officer. Major James F. Wade and Captain James S. Brisbin from the 6th U.S. Cavalry were also among the regiment’s initial complement of officers. He moved west from New Orleans with the regiment into Texas, the beginning of long and arduous service in the southwest.

Lieutenant Cooney was promoted to captain on January 1, 1868 and assigned to command of Company A, 9th U.S. Cavalry. He and his company fought against Kiowa and Comanche Indians in Texas for the next several years, most notably on April 20, 1872 near Howard’s Well. During the late 1870s and early 1880s, he was very active campaigning in New Mexico against Mimbres and Mescelero Apache Indians.

Captain Cooney was promoted to major on December 10, 1888 and assigned to the 4th U.S. Cavalry, where he spent the majority of the rest of his career. He left briefly when promoted to lieutenant colonel of the 7th U.S. Cavalry June 2, 1897. In two years, however, he returned as the regiment’s commander, promoted to colonel on June 9, 1899.

Colonel Michael Cooney retired on September 4, 1899 after more than 42 years of service. He and his family moved to Washington, D.C. following his retirement. He was advanced to brigadier general on the retired list on April 23, 1904. He died on September 10, 1928.


Heitman, Francis B. Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1903), page 677.

Leckie, William H., The Buffalo Soldiers (Norman, University of Oklahoma Press, 1967).

Thrapp, Dan L., Encyclopedia of Frontier Biography: In Three Volumes (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1991)

6th U.S. Cavalry Regimental Muster Rolls, M744, NARA

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.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Fiddler's Green: Martin Armstrong

Note: This entry seemed apropos considering the wounds he received at Williamsburg. The majority of the information in this article comes from Armstrong’s obituary in the November 25, 1863 edition of the Presbyterian banner, on page 3. The facts from his military career I have been able to confirm through the regimental muster rolls. I haven’t been so fortunate with his pre-war life, but it doesn’t read as something exaggerated. Armstrong’s obituary was written by an unidentified friend from college. Thanks once again to Patty Millich, who keeps finding these gems in dusty, out of the way places.

Martin Armstrong was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania in 1828. He was a successful school teacher in Chester and Lancaster counties for several years. Acceding to his mother’s dying wish that he become a minister, he attended Pennsylvania College at Gettysburg (now Gettysburg College) and graduated in 1856.

After graduation, Martin taught for two years at Dr. Foote’s Academy in Romney, Virginia. He then moved to Elizabethtown, Kentucky, where he taught at a large classical school. Armstrong also briefly served as a family tutor in Louisiana before entering Western Theological Seminary in 1860.

Martin left the seminary in October 1861 to enlist as a private in the 6th U.S. Cavalry, where he was assigned to Company M. He participated in the regiment’s training through the winter of 1861, and was promoted to sergeant before it moved to the peninsula.

Sergeant Armstrong was severely wounded in the skirmish at Williamsburg on May 4, 1862, and didn’t return to the regiment until the following June. He rejoined the 6th Cavalry just after Brandy Station at the beginning of the Gettysburg campaign. At the battle of Fairfield on July 3rd, he was one of many 6th U.S. Cavalry troopers who were captured and sent to Belle Isle prison in Richmond.

Armstrong was fortunate enough to be exchanged relatively quickly and brought to Camp Parole near Annapolis, Maryland. He was sent to the U.S. Army General Hospital in Annapolis on September 20th, complaining of pain from his old wound and a severe chill. This turned out to be the onset of typhoid fever, and his body’s ability to resist it had been seriously depleted by his imprisonment. He began to sink rapidly by October 2nd, and died on the morning of October 4, 1863. As with many of those who perished in this hospital or the nearby Camp Parole, he was buried at Ash Grove Cemetery, which was later renamed Annapolis National Cemetery.


Obituary, Presbyterian Banner, November 25, 1863, page 3.

Muster Rolls, 6th U.S. Cavalry, M744, NARA

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Squadrons and squadrons

As I was putting together yesterday's post, I kept coming across references within the reports to "squadrons" and "large squadrons." As I noted previously, even in Carter's history I found the same terms. Now I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but throw something in front of me enough times and I begin to wonder about it.

Squadrons during the Civil War consisted of two companies, without exception that I have encountered in my studies. Battalions consisted of four, but generally were used much less frequently than squadrons. So a squadron is a squadron is a squadron, right?

The answer is yes. The reason the differentiation was made was due to the strengths of different regiments, particularly in this engagement. The 1st U.S. Cavalry in this engagement numbered maybe 300 sabers. Captain Davis' squadron of 60 in the reports would thus be average. There were various reasons for this, but in general the regiment was close to its pre-war strength.

The 6th U.S. Cavalry, on the other hand, was a recently-formed regiment at close to full strength. Even with all of the men sick or detached from the regiment for various reasons, it still numbered approximately 750 sabers present for duty at the skirmish. At 150 sabers per squadron (only two companies had carbines at this time), its squadrons were "large squadrons."

Alas, no remarkable revelations or mysteries solved, but at least that question's not bothering me any more.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Cavalry Skirmish at Williamsburg - May 4, 1862

Yesterday marked the anniversary of the 6th Cavalry first combat engagement, and as such I present the following account of the skirmish.

Following the Confederate abandonment of the works at Yorktown, Brigadier General George Stoneman was given a composite force of combined arms and the assignment to pursue and harass the rear of the retreating enemy as the advance guard of the Army of the Potomac. His force consisted of four batteries of flying or horse artillery, four cavalry regiments (1st and 6th U.S., 3rd Pennsylvania and 8th Illinois), and Barker’s squadron of cavalry.

The advance of this advance guard on the Yorktown road was commanded by Brigadier General Phillip St.George Cooke, and consisted of the 1st and 6th U.S. Cavalry regiments and Gibson’s Battery (Company G, 3rd U.S. Artillery). Cooke’s organization was somewhat unusual, in that each of the regiments assigned to him was from a different brigade of the army’s Cavalry Division. Cooke’s advance, consisting of Captain Magruder’s squadron of the 1st U.S., with Captain Savage’s squadron of the 6th U.S. acting as flankers, rode about half a mile in advance of the column.

Cooke’s command departed the works at Yorktown on May 4th, and led Stoneman’s advance down the Yorktown road toward Williamsburg. Six miles from Richmond, according to Stoneman’s report, the force encountered and quickly drove off Confederate pickets. Two miles farther down the road, the column made contact with the Confederate rear guard, “about two companies, at a defile of a mill and dam and a breastwork across the road” (page 427). The battery deployed and fired, and the Confederate cavalry retreated before a charge could be made. After crossing the defile, Brigadier General William Emory was sent across to the Lee’s Mill road with the 3rd Pennsylvania, Benson’s battery and Barker’s squadron to cut off any force on that road retreating before the advance of Smith’s division of infantry. Cooke’s command continued down the Yorktown road. Over the course of the advance, a captain (Captain Connell of the Jeff Davis Legion (page 444)) was captured by Lieutenant Joseph Kerin, of the 6th Cavalry’s flankers, and five rebel privates were captured.

Two miles from Williamsburg, at the junction of the Yorktown and Lee’s Mill roads, the advance of Cooke’s force discovered a strong earthwork flanked by redoubts and manned by several regiments of Confederates about three o’clock in the afternoon. The area was ill-suited to deploy from the march, with thick forest and marshy ground, but General Cooke ordered the deployment of Gibson’s battery and the 1st U.S. Cavalry to attack the position. Captain Savage’s right flank platoon had located a track through the woods which led to the Confederate left flank. The 6th U.S. Cavalry, under Major Lawrence Williams, was ordered to make a demonstration down this road to prevent the enemy flanking Union forces on their right side. The remainder of his force Stoneman deployed in a clearing a half mile to the rear.

Captain Gibson manhandled his battery into position through deep mud and engaged the enemy, and Lieutenant Colonel William Grier placed his 1st Cavalry in position to support it. The earthwork, Fort Magruder, was manned by three regiments of infantry, a regiment of cavalry and a battery of artillery. Firing from Gibson’s battery caused return fire from two batteries within the earthworks and a Confederate sortie to drive them off. After a duel of some 45 minutes, Stoneman ordered his forces to withdraw. Increasing activity from the Confederate regiments to his front and a lack of infantry support caused by delays on the road behind him led him to believe that he could not hold his position. The battery retired by piece, and the 1st U.S. was ordered to cover its withdrawal in the face of the advancing Confederates. Four caissons and one cannon were abandoned due to the marshy ground and a lack of horses due to enemy fire. As the last squadron of the 1st U.S. retired at a walk, the emboldened Confederates charged. The U.S. squadron, Companies I and K, commanded by Captain Benjamin F. Davis and Captain Baker, wheeled by fours and countercharged to repulse them. Although composed of only 60 men, the squadron charged again to drive them off, taking a captain prisoner and capturing a “regimental standard with the coat of arms of Virginia” (page 430). Lieutenant Colonel Grier, accompanying the charge, lost his horse and was slightly wounded. This was most likely the 4th Virginia Cavalry, whose commander, Lieutenant Colonel Wickham was wounded in the side by a saber during the fighting and whose colors were apparently lost (page 444).

The 6th U.S. Cavalry proceeded nearly half a mile at a trot down the forest road, across a ravine, and up to the left flank of the Confederate earthworks. The ravine could only be crossed by file, and as the regiment reformed on its far side, Lieutenant Daniel Madden was dispatched with is platoon to reconnoiter the earthworks. He discovered a redoubt with a ditch and rampart, as well as the advance of more than one enemy regiment. Outnumbered, Major Williams ordered his force to withdraw by platoons across the narrow ravine, harassed the entire way by enemy fire. As the last company, Captains Sanders’ Company A, crossed the ravine, two squadrons of Confederate cavalry charged. Once they reached the far side, Sanders’ men, accompanied by Captain Hays’ Company M and Captain J. Irvin Gregg’s squadron of Companies F and G countercharged. The Confederates, now slowed in the ravine themselves, were driven off with reported heavy losses.

The Confederates occupying the works belonged to Brigadier General Paul A. Semmes’ brigade of McLaws’ division initially, reinforced after Gibson’s battery opened fire by Kershaw’s brigade and another artillery battery. Major General McLaws was present on the field to observe the 6th Cavalry’s exit from the woods on his left flank, and it was he who ordered the charge of Colonel J. Lucius Davis’ Wise Legion into the 6th U.S. Cavalry at the ravine (page 441).

General Stoneman withdrew his forces half a mile to the clearing and awaited the arrival of infantry support. Union losses totaled some 35 killed, wounded and missing, according to his report. The army’s medical director, Charles A. Tripler, reported that Stoneman’s command suffered 3 killed and 28 wounded in the day’s fighting (page 184). How these were divided among the units engaged is unknown. Captain Gibson reported losses in his battery of one officer and 4 men wounded, 17 horses killed, and 5 horses wounded. Lieutenant Colonel Grier’s and Major Williams’ reports don’t address casualties, other than that Lieutenant Curwen McLellan, Company A, 6th Cavalry, was severely wounded in the leg by a shell while crossing the ravine (page 437).

General Stoneman singled out the conduct of several in his official report on the engagement, including Captain Gibson of the 3rd Artillery, Lieutenant Colonel Grier, Captain Davis and his company of the 1st Cavalry, and Major Williams, Captain Sanders and his squadron of the 6th Cavalry, as well as generals Cooke and Emory (pg 425).

Sergeant John F. Durboran of Company M, 6th Cavalry, reportedly killed two rebels in the engagement, and was praised in General Cooke’s report (page 428). First Sergeants Joseph Bould of Company A and Michael Cooney of Company M were also singled out for praise by Captain Sanders (page 439). Captain Gregg mentioned Sergeant Andrew F. Swan of Company G, Sergeant Emil Swartz of Company F as “especially deserving of praise for their gallant bearing.” Sergeant Swan and Private Parker Flansburg of Company G were wounded, and three horses lost in Gregg’s squadron (page 440).

Casualties from the 6th Cavalry’s first combat action are difficult to determine. Private Suel Merkle of Company E was the regiment’s first and only trooper killed in this action on May 4th. Lieutenant McLellan’s, Sergeant Swan’s and Private Flansburg’s wounds were mentioned in reports, but the regimental muster rolls make no mention of the wounded for the month, only those killed and desertions. I don’t yet have access to the 1st Cavalry’s muster rolls to know what they say about the engagement.

Other than the regimental muster rolls, the primary source for this entry is the Official records, Volume 11, part I, pages noted in parentheses as appropriate. As well as I have been able to determine, other accounts such as Carter’s in From Yorktown to Santiago simply rely on these reports for their information. Captain August Kautz’ diary contains no information, as he was still sick in the rear, and Captain Savage commanded his squadron in his absence.