1st Virginia Cavalry
1st Virginia Cavalry completed its organization at Winchester, Virginia, in July, 1861. Unlike most regiments, the 1st contained twelve companies. The men were from the counties of Frederick, Berkeley, Rockbridge, Clarke, Washington, Augusta, Jefferson, Amelia, Loudoun, Rockingham, and Gloucester. After taking part in the Battle of First Manassas, the unit was brigaded under Generals J.E.B. Stuart, F. Lee, Wickham, and Munford. It participated in more than 200 engagements of various types including the Seven Days’ Battles and Stuart’s ride around McClellan. The regiment was active in the conflicts at Gainesville, Second Manassas, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Kelly’s Ford, Chancellorsville, Brandy Station, Gettysburg, Bristoe Station, The Wilderness, Todd’s Tavern, Spotsylvania, Bethesda Church, and Cold Harbor. Later it was involved in Early’s operations in the Shenandoah Valley, the defense of Petersburg, and the Appomattox Campaign.
In April, 1862, it totalled 437 men, lost eight percent of the 310 engaged at Gettysburg, and had 318 fit for duty in September, 1864. The cavalry cut through the Federal lines at Appomattox and later disbanded. Only 1 man from this unit were present at the surrender.
The field officers were Colonels R. Welby Carter, James H. Drake, William E. Jones, Fitzhugh Lee, William A. Morgan, and James E.B. Stuart; Lieutenant Colonels L. Tiernan Brien and Charles R. Irving; and Major Robert Swan.
[Source: National Park Service, Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System]
West Virginia counties contributing soldiers: Jefferson, Berkeley
1st Virginia Cavalry – National Park Service
1st Virginia Cavalry – The Civil War in the East
1st Virginia Cavalry, Virginia Regimental History Series, by R.J. Driver, Jr., H.E. Howard Publishing, 1991.
1st Virginia Cavalry, Compendium of the Confederate Armies: Virginia, by Stewart Sifakis, pp. 101-103, entry #191.
1st Virginia Cavalry, A Guide to Virginia’s Military Organizations, 1861-1865, by Lee A. Wallace, Jr., pp. 40-41.
John Ervine Civil War Letter, June 18, 1861. 1st Virginia Cavalry. Manuscript# 331, Virginia Military Institute Archives.