First Cavalry. -- Cols., David Ferguson, Oscar M. Brown,
Lieut.-Cols., Benjamin F. Davis, Edward E. Eyre, Oscar M.
Brown, Clarence E. Bennett; Majs., Edward E. Eyre, David
Fergusson, Clarence E. Bennett William McCleave, Thomas J.
Blakeny, James Gorman, Emil Fritz.
Under the first call for troops from
the state was asked to furnish one regiment of infantry and five
companies of cavalry to guard the overland mail route from
. The five cavalry companies organized under this call became the 1st
battalion of the 1st cavalry.
The men rendezvoused at a camp called Camp Merchant, near Lake Merritt,
Oakland, and the companies were there mustered into the U. S. service
for three years on various dates, between Aug. 15 and Oct 31, 1861.
Charles S. Thompson, who enlisted in Co. B at Folsom,
Aug. 10, 1861, was the first man enlisted in the regiment.
Its first commanding officer was Lieut.-Col. Davis, serving as captain
in the 1st
cavalry at the time he was commissioned lieutenant-colonel. He resigned
as such Nov. 1, 1861, and returned to duty in his old regiment. During
the year 1863 the battalion was made a full regiment of twelve companies
and Maj. Fergusson was promoted to colonel. The seven companies
organized in 1863 were mustered in between May 16 and Dec. 31 for three
As soon as the first battalion was organized it was sent to the southern
part of the state, three companies being stationed at
, and two at
. The battalion remained in the southern part of the state until the
spring of 1862, when it became part of the “California
column," and formed the advance of Carleton's expedition to
A detachment of the regiment was engaged with some of Baylor's Texan
Rangers, under Capt. Hunter, at Picacho pass, April 15, 1862, losing 2
killed and 1 wounded, Lieut. Barrett being one of the 2 killed. On
May 24, 1862
Lieut.-Col. Eyre, commanding the battalion, was ordered to reoccupy old
, near the confluence of the Gila and San Pedro rivers, the name of
which was changed to
, in honor of the governor of
Says the official report of Gen. Carleton:
"The energy enterprise and resources of Col. Eyre' as exhibited in
his rapid march from Tucson to the Rio Grande, his crossing of that
river, and his unlooked-for presence directly upon the heels of the
retreating rebels, cannot be too highly appreciated. He exhibited some
of the finest qualities of a soldier, and had he not been fettered by
orders from higher authority than himself, he would without doubt have
achieved advantages over the enemy creditable to himself and to the
But for his timely arrival upon the
and Mesilla would both have been laid in ashes by the enemy. Hampered as
he was by orders, he nevertheless managed to hoist the stars and stripes
, Mesilla and
In Aug., 1862, Capt. Shirland, Co. C, proceeded still farther into
and hoisted the national colors over
, participating in a severe skirmish with Indians on the 30th, near Dead
Man's hole, on his return to the
. In Oct., 1862, Cos. A and D cooperated in an expedition to Dog canon,
N. M., against the Mescalero Apache Indians, the expedition being under
the command of Col. Kit Carson, of the 1st N. M. cavalry. The Apaches
were completely subdued, and 400 of them were taken prisoners.
During practically the whole of their term of service the various
companies of the regiment were stationed at different posts in
, engaged in scouting, patrol and picket duty. They were repeatedly
engaged with the hostile Apaches and other Indians, sustaining numerous
losses, and marching thousands of miles through the mountains and
deserts. In Jan. 1863, Capt. Shirland, Co. C, captured Mangus Colorado,
an Apache chief, and brought him prisoner into
In March of the same year, a detachment, under Maj. McCleave, went in
pursuit of a band of Gila Apaches, who had succeeded in running off some
60 horses of the public herd at
, N. M. The Indians were completely routed with a loss of 28, and most
of the horses were recaptured, together with many Indian horses. The
loss of the troops was only 1 killed and 2 or 3 wounded.
In April, 1864, a detachment under Capt. French surprised and routed a
party of the enemy at Spencer's ranch, opposite Presidio del Norte, and
marched 499 miles to
, Tex., in 20 days without losing a man. In April of the same year,
another detachment, under Capt. Whitlock, consisting of about 60 men,
attacked 250 Indians near Mount Grey, Ariz., and after a sharp fight of
an hour's duration, routed the enemy, killing 21, and wounding a large
In Nov., 1864, Cos. B. K and M formed part of an expedition under
command of Col. Kit Carson, sent against the Kiowa and Comanche Indians,
and participated in the battle near the old adobe fort on the
in northern Texas. The engagement, which lasted all day, resulted in the
destruction of the Kiowa village of 150 lodges and the rout of the
Indians with a loss of 60 killed and wounded. The loss of the 1st
cavalry was 2 killed and 7 wounded.
In May, 1865, Co. F was attached to an expedition under Col. Carson,
which proceeded to the Comanche country and built a stone fort, known as
Fort Nichols, at Cedar bluffs, Ind. Ter. The following month, while Co.
F was escorting a train from Fort Nichols to Fort Lamed, Kas., it
repulsed an attack by about 50 Comanche warriors sustaining no loss, but
killing or wounding several of the Indians. The company continued to
perform escort duty on this station until Oct., 1865.
Other Indian fights in which portions of the regiment were engaged were,
with a band of Navajoes, near Sacramento mountains, N. M.; near San
Andreas pass, near White Mountains La Monica Springs. A detachment of
Co. M formed part of an expedition under Col. Willis, which proceeded
Selden, N. M., to the town of
, Mex., where a band of Apaches had taken possession of the town.
In 1864 the original members of the regiment, except veterans
reenlisted, were mustered out at
, N. M. New companies, A, C and E, composed of veterans and recruits,
were formed to take the places of the compares of the corresponding
designations. Co. B was entirely reorganized from reenlisted veterans
Co. E was mustered out March 6, 1866; A and I, May 22, 1866; L, June,
1866; the remaining companies, B, C, F, G, H, K and M, then stationed in
New Mexico and Texas, were ordered to assemble at Baird's ranch, near
Albuquerque, for the purpose of being mustered out during Sept., 1866.
Co. M was mustered out on the 30th, and was the last company
organization of California volunteers in the U. S. service, but was not
the last of the California volunteers to be mustered out, as those who
wished to be returned to the state were consolidated into two companies,
one of cavalry and one of infantry, the former under the command of
Capt. Thomas A. Stombs. This column arrived in
Dec. 28, 1866
, where all were mustered out at the Presidio Dec. 31, except Capt. R.
H. Orton, of Co. M, who was mustered out
Jan. 4, 1867
-- the last of the
Source: The Union Army, vol. 4, p. 414
15 April 1862
25 September 1862
27 March 1863
05 July 1863
30 March 1864
25 November 1864
25 November 1864
at Adobe Wells, TX.
17 February 1865
01 June 1865
14 July 1865
15 September 1865
at Drum Barracks, CA.
23 March 1866
26 May 1866
25 August 1866