Date of Organization: 7 Jan 1864
Muster Date: 15 Jul 1865
Officers Killed or Mortally Wounded: 5 Officers Died of Disease or Accident: 2
Enlisted Killed or Mortally Wounded: 28 Enlisted Died of Disease or Accident: 112
(photo of 1st NH Cavalry)
DURELL, Woodbridge W. – enlisted 10 Dec 1861 at age 22 as a Private in Company L., 1st Cavalry Regiment, Rhode Island. Mustered in 27 Dec 1861. Promoted to Full Sergeant 5 Aug 1862. Transferred into Company L, 1st Cavalry New Hampshire on 7 Jan 1864. Mustered out 29 Mar 1865 in Concord, NH. The Jan 1883 Pension Rolls indicates he received a monthly pension of $3 since 12 Dec 1870 due to an abdominal injury.
HALEY, Henry B. –enlisted 2 Dec 1864 as a 2nd Lieutenant in Company M, 1st Cavalry. Promoted to Full Captain on 15 Jan 1865. Mustered out 30 Mar 1865. The Jan 1883 Pension Rolls indicates he received a monthly pension of $3.75 since 31 Jul 1882 due to an abdominal injury.
SHEPARD, John – enlisted 4 Feb 1862 at age 24 as a Private in Company L, at Cavalry Regiment, Rhode Island. Mustered in 18 Feb 1862. He transferred 7 Jan 1864 into Company L, 1st Cavalry Regiment New Hampshire, and he was promoted to Full Corporal on 30 Jun 1865. He Mustered out at Cloud’s Mills, Va on 15 Jul 1865.
TUTTLE, Woodbridge – POW - enlisted 10 Dec 1861 at age 22 as a Private in Company L, 1st Cavalry Regiment Rhode Island. Mustered in 27 Dec 1861. Transferred to Company L, 1st Cavalry Regiment New Hampshire on 7 Jan 1864. Promoted to Full 2nd Lieutenant (as Company E) on 11 Aug 1864. Promoted to Full 1st Lieutenant (not mustered) on 10 Jun 1865. Mustered out of Company L on 15 Jul 1865 at Cloud’s Mills, VA. (see POW Profile)
(Also known as First Rhode Island Volunteer Cavalry.) Ma (1861 – 1864 Three Years.)
THE First New England Cavalry was the first full regiment of this arm of the service raised in New England. The regiment was composed of three battalions. The First and Third were enlisted in Rhode Island and the Second in New Hampshire. At the outset the men were armed with sabres, Colt’s revolvers, and the Burnside carbine. This carbine was later replaced by Sharpe’s.
The command, one thousand officers and men, under Col. R. B. Lawton, a captain in the Third United States Cavalry, left Rhode Island March 12, 1862, reached Washington March 18, and was assigned to cavalry brigade under General Stoneman on East Capitol Hill. On March 31 the name of the regiment was changed from First New England Cavalry to First Rhode Island Cavalry, by order of the War Department, unsupported by any preliminary correspondence with Governor Berry of New Hampshire. This act, effacing as it did the original character of the regiment, was grievously received by the men and bitterly felt throughout the State.
(photo: THE HALT - This is the type of horse for which the Northern States were ransacked to furnish mounts for the staff and regimental officers of the Union armies. The officer is Captain Harry Page, quartermaster of the Headquarters of the Army of the Potomac, subsequently colonel and chief quartermaster of the cavalry corps under Sheridan. This was a post of arduous duty — one whose necessities during the severe campaigns up the Shenandoah Valley, and around Richmond, kept the young colonel always upon his mettle. He cultivated the ability to rest and relax when possible. He awaits the arrival of his wagon-train, when he will again become active at the pitching of the tents and the parking of the wagons.)
The small force of cavalry attached to General Pope’s Army of Virginia in the fall of 1862, decimated the ranks of the regiment by its burdensome duties and frequent conflicts with the enemy. It fired the first shot and received the first artillery fire in the four great battles of this campaign, viz., Cedar Mountain, Groveton, second Bull Run, and Chantilly.
The regiment was in line on Falmouth Heights all of the first day of the battle of Fredericksburg, waiting orders to cross the river and engage the enemy; and that night a detachment was hurried to Dumfries to repel a guerilla attack on the Government supplies at that point. ”Forty winks” was an adult potion for the cavalry in the winter of 1862-‘63. They slept in the saddle. Raids on both sides, night attacks in force on the picket line, was the rule, not the exception. It was “play ball” all the time.
The perilous and untenable position which the regiment, then numbering less than four hundred, was ordered to carry and hold at Middleburgh, on June 18, is a sample of the demand made upon it. Confronted and hemmed in by a force twenty times their number, they heroically cut their way out, with a loss of over two hundred in killed, wounded, and captured. To add to the unfortunate condition of the captured, the cartel for the exchange of prisoners had been recently suspended. The writer of this sketch, then adjutant of the regiment, “boarded” nine months in Libby prison, with many others.
The regiment did not participate, as an organization, in the battle of Gettysburg, but two men of the New Hampshire Battalion were on mounted duty at Major-General Sickles’s headquarters, and both were killed.
(photo: illustration of the Shenandoah Valley campaign)
On the 7th of January, 1864, the following order restored the battalion to the custody of its own State:
WAR DEPARTMENT,ADJUTANT-GENERAL’S OFFICE,WASHINGTON, January 7, 1864.
SPECIAL ORDER No. 9.Extract.
V. Companies I, K, L, and M, First Rhode Island Cavalry, are hereby permanently detached from that regiment, and will be considered as New Hampshire cavalry companies, they having been enrolled and mustered into service in that State. All further appointments of officers for the said companies will be made by the governor of New Hampshire, by whom a proper numerical designation will be given to the force.
By order of the Secretary of War,E. D. TOWNSEND,A. A. General.
The men were immediately re-enlisted for another three years, forming the four veteran companies of the First New Hampshire Cavalry.
Front Royal, Va… … … … May 30, 1862
Cedar Mountain, Va… … … . . Aug. 9, 1862
Groveton, Va… … … … . Aug. 29, 1862
Bull Run (second), Va… … … . Aug. 30, 1862
Chantilly, Va… … … … .Sept. 1, 1862
Mountville, Va. (Cos. L, K, and M) … . . Oct. 31, 1862
Fredericksburg, Va. (Cos. K and M) … . Dec. 12-14, 1862
Hartwood Church, Va… … … . .Feb. 26, 1863
Kelly’s Ford, Va… … … …Mar. 17, 1863
Stoneman’s Raid, Va… … . April 27 to May 8, 1863
Brandy Station, Va… … … . . June 9, 1863
Thoroughfare Gap, Va… … … . June 17, 1863
Middleburgh, Va… … … … June 18, 1863
Rapidan Station, Va… … … . Sept. 14, 1863
Culpeper (or White Sulphur Springs, also called Warrenton)
Springs), Va… … … … . Oct. 12, 1863
Bristoe Station, Va… … … . .Oct. 14, 1863
(Souce: EZRA B. PARKER, late Captain First Regiment New England Volunteer Cavalry)
IN February, 1864, the four companies of cavalry from New Hampshire which had been attached to the First Rhode Island Cavalry, returned to Concord to recruit a regiment, and as soon as the old battalion and Companies A, B, and C were mustered, the seven companies were ordered to Washington, reaching there April 25, 1864. Two battalions were ordered to the front to join the Army of the Potomac, where they were detached- some to to guard rebel prisoners to Philadelphia, and one hundred and sixty men were ordered to protect the Aquia Creek and Fredericksburg Railroad from the Potomac to High Bridge. The balance of the regiment remained at Belle Plain until Captain Wyatt reached Port Royal on his return from Philadelphia, when the two detachments were united and transported to White House by boat, reaching there June 6.
Meanwhile Major Wyman marched with his command by way of Hanover Court House, and joined the other detachments, after participating in the battles of Hanover Court House and Cold Harbor.
On the evening of June 12, the regiment moved to Long Bridge, to protect the engineer corps. Before daylight the regiment crossed the stream on a pontoon, and, with the division, fought the battle of White Oak Swamp, losing Lieutenant Campbell and others, killed, and several wounded. On 22 June with the Third Division and Kautz’s brigade, it started on the “Wilson Raid,” the regiment being engaged with the enemy each day for seven days, and, with other commands, destroyed seventy-five miles of railroad, burned a number of bridges, two trains of cars, and a large quantity of cotton and tobacco, the regiment losing seventy-one men killed, wounded, or captured, and Lieutenant Abbott severely wounded.
From June 30 to August 8, the regiment was camped at Light House and City Point, doing picket duty and drilling. While on picket, Lieutenant Thorn and one man were killed and several wounded by bushwhackers.
August 8 the regiment assisted General Sheridan, while on his move down the Shenandoah valley. The cavalry pursued Early’s army to Waynesborough, reaching there September 27, about 8 P. M. The regiment camped in a piece of timber on the right of the road, remaining until next evening about dark, when, as the boys were seated on the ground eating a delicious supper of fried mutton, pancakes, honey, and coffee, shells from the enemy’s battery crashed through the timber, exploding over and around our banquet. “Boots and Saddles” sounded, and in less time than it takes to describe the scene, the regiment was in line facing south, the boys having stowed away their anticipated feast in haversacks and canteens. The band from division headquarters was ordered out, halting a few yards to right of the regiment, and opened the concert by playing “Yankee Doodle.” the regiment was engaged well into the night.
(photo: Union Troops guarding Confederate prisoners in Shenandoah Valley)
On October 3 Sheridan’s whole army began to retrace its steps, the Third Cavalry Division acting as rear guard, the New Hampshire cavalry being one of the regiments detailed to burn barns, mills, grain, haystacks, and drive all stock belonging to the inhabitants. This order was faithfully executed until evening of the 8th, at which time the division with the regiment had reached a place on the back road called “Tom’s Brook,” going into camp in an open field, north of the brook. The rebel cavalry having been troublesome for several days, General Sheridan halted the infantry near Strasburg, six miles north of the cavalry, and ordered the First Cavalry Division, then on the middle road, and Third Cavalry Division, camped as above, to “Face about, and either get licked, or drive the rebel cavalry from the valley.”
The New Hampshire cavalry was held in reserve a few rods north of the brook. In that position we could see our lines advancing up hill, and well to the front was General Custer with staff and orderlies. Shells from six rebel guns screeched over our heads, and exploded, or fell at our rear. For about one hour we stood to horse, or gathered in groups discussing the probable result of the battle, when the advanced line which had driven the Johnnies from cover, began to fall back, crowded hard by the rebs. Then a lone horseman was seen coming direct from General Custer’s group. The boys knew the rider’s object, and stood ready to mount. The man was a staff officer, with an order from General Custer for Colonel Thompson to form line at the left of the road, close up to the enemy. The regiment numbering one hundred and seventeen carbines, was mounted and put in motion at a walk, then trot, then gallop, and up the hill we rode, as fast as our excited horses could go, and quickly reached the top of the hill.
This brought the regiment to the edge of a piece of timber, a little over the brow of the hill, facing and about three hundred yards from the rebel artillery, which began throwing grape as we came into position. Colonel Thompson took in the situation, and advanced in line downhill toward the enemy, before firing a shot. As their guns were trained for the top of the hill this advance brought us close to the rebels, and for the time we were less exposed, as the grape crashed through the tree tops, instead of raking our line. On reaching a rail fence at the foot of the hill, the line was halted; then came, “Fire at will!”
Directly in our front, behind a rail fence, about one hundred yards distant, was a line of rebel cavalry, while at their left and rear their artillery was in position. The New Hampshire Cavalry was in single rank, with Colonel Thompson riding back and forth in rear of the line directing the fire. In less than thirty minutes from the time we opened on the enemy they began to waver and break to the rear, singly and in squads. While thus engaged, the other regiments of the division on our right and left were engaged with the Johnnies in their front. Soon the artillery ceased firing and moved to the rear. Directly a staff officer saluted Colonel Thompson, saying, “General Custer sends compliments, and says you, with your regiment, have saved the battle.”
(photo: General Custer)
Then a charge was ordered. Two lengths of fence at right and left of line were quickly torn down, and with flashing sabres and a Yankee yell the New Hampshire boys dashed for the rebs, who turned and fled. The other regiment of the division charged to the right and along the highway, and gathered in six pieces of cannon, with everything on wheels that belonged to the enemy. Only once did those we were charging attempt to rally. Then they were quickly dispersed by a well-directed volley from our carbines.
In this cavalry engagement the force on each side was about equal. Besides the artillery and wagons, our division captured three hundred horses and mules and several hundred prisoners. One historian has named this battle “The Woodstock Races.”
We followed Rosser and his demoralized cavalry several miles. Returned at 10 P. M., and camped near where we started from in the morning, tired and hungry, but in good spirits. After interviewing a sweet potato patch and eating the boiled tubers, feeding our horses on hay from a friendly barn, we stretched ourselves on the ground and slept as peacefully as though we were in our northern homes and had passed the day at church and the evening with friends. Monday we did little except pick up some fat sheep that strayed into the field where we were camped.
October 20 the regiment rejoined the brigade camped on the field of the day before. We remained until the 11th, voting for president the 8th, casting nearly a unanimous vote for Lincoln and Johnson.
About three hundred men composing the five new companies were bounty jumpers, gamblers, and thieves; although they had cost the State and towns to which they were accredited, from $1,000 to $1,500 each, they were worthless, and deserted at the first opportunity. The regiment remained at Darnestown until June 29, when it moved to Cloud’s Mills, Va., and camped for two weeks, then left for Concord, and July 21, 1865, was mustered out.
(Souce: By ERVIN H. SMITH, late Sergeant Company C, First Regiment, New Hampshire Volunteer Cavalry, and Historian of Regiment)
Hanover Court House, Va… … … . May 31,1864
Cold Harbor, Va… … … … June 2, 1864
White Oak Swamp, Va… … … . .June 13, 1864
Wilson’s Raid on the Weldon Railroad, Va…June 22-30, 1864
Ream’s Station, Va. (during Wilson’s raid) . . June 22, 1864
Nottoway Court House, Va. (during Wilson’s raid) June 23, 1864
Roanoke Station and High Bridge, Va.
(during Wilson’s raid) … … June 25, 26, 1864
Stony Creek, Va. (during Wilson’s raid) . . June 28, 29, 1864
Ream’s Station, Va. (during Wilson’s raid) . . June 29, 1864
Winchester, Va… … … … Aug. 17, 1864
Summit Point, Va… … … …Aug. 21, 1864
Charlestown, Va… … … … Aug. 22, 1864
Kearneysville, Va… … … . . Aug. 25, 1864
Berryville, Va… … … … Sept. 15, 1864
Opequan (or Winchester), Va… … . .Sept. 19, 1864
Front Royal Pike, Va… … … . Sept. 21, 1864
Gooney Manor Grade, Va… … … Sept. 21, 1864
Milford, Va… … … … . Sept. 22, 1864
Waynesborough, Va… … … . . Sept. 28, 1864
Columbia Furnace, Va… … … . .Oct. 7, 1864
Tom’s Brook, Va… … … … Oct. 9, 1864
Mine Run Ford (or Back Road), Va… … Oct. 13, 1864
Cedar Creek, Va… … … … Oct. 19, 1864
Middle and Back Roads (or Middletown), Va. . Nov. 11, 12, 1864
Lacey’s Springs, Va… … … Dec. 20, 21, 1864
Waynesborough, Va… … … …Mar. 2, 1865
North Fork, Shenandoah (or Mount Jackson), Va. Mar. 6, 7, 1865
(photo: 1st NH Cavalry G.A.R.reunion house, at Weirs Beach)
Fought on 30 May 1864.
Fought on 11 Jun 1864.
Fought on 13 Jun 1864 at White Oak Swamp, VA.
Fought on 17 Jun 1864.
Fought on 22 Jun 1864 at Reams’ Station, VA.
Fought on 23 Jun 1864 at Nottoway Court House, VA.
Fought on 25 Jun 1864 at Weldon Railroad, VA.
Fought on 29 Jun 1864 at Reams’ Station, VA.
Fought on 30 Jun 1864 at Weldon Railroad, VA.
Fought on 1 Jul 1864 at Near Weldon Railroad, VA.
Fought on 1 Jul 1864.
Fought on 3 Jul 1864 at City Point, VA.
Fought on 18 Jul 1864 at Sycamore Church, VA.
Fought on 18 Jul 1864 at On Picket, Cox’s Mills, Va.
Fought on 18 Jul 1864 at Cox’s Mills, VA.
Fought on 3 Aug 1864.
Fought on 17 Aug 1864 at Winchester, VA.
Fought on 25 Aug 1864 at Kearneysville, VA.
Fought on 7 Sep 1864 at Winchester, VA.
Fought on 20 Sep 1864 at Winchester, VA.
Fought on 22 Sep 1864 at Milford, VA.
Fought on 28 Sep 1864 at Waynesborough, VA.
Fought on 28 Sep 1864 at Waynesboro, VA.
Fought on 29 Sep 1864.
Fought on 4 Oct 1864 at Mount Crawford, VA.
Fought on 6 Oct 1864 at Winchester, VA.
Fought on 6 Oct 1864 at Columbia Furnace, VA.
Fought on 7 Oct 1864 at Columbia Furnace, VA.
Fought on 9 Oct 1864 at Tom’s Brook, VA.
Fought on 13 Oct 1864 at Mine Run, VA.
Fought on 13 Oct 1864 at Mine Run Ford, VA.
Fought on 2 Nov 1864 at Monocacy River.
Fought on 12 Nov 1864 at Newtown, VA.
Fought on 12 Nov 1864 at Middletown, VA.
Fought on 19 Nov 1864.
Fought on 21 Dec 1864 at Lacey’s Springs, VA.
Fought on 2 Mar 1865 at Waynesborough, VA.
Fought on 6 Mar 1865 at Mount Jackson, VA.
Fought on 7 Mar 1865 at Mount Jackson, VA.
Fought on 12 Mar 1865 at Goochland County, VA.
(Source: New Hampshire Soldiers & Sailors War of the Rebellion, Ayling)
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