The Fifth Cavalry was organized at Camp Butler, in November, 1861, and Hall Wilson appointed Colonel.
On February 20, 1862, moved to Benton Barracks, St. Louis, Mo. March 3, moved to Pilot Knob. On 27th, marched to Doniphan, and, arriving April 4, had a skirmish with the enemy, capturing their camp, killing 3 and taking 7 prisoners. On April 17, marched to Pocahontas. On 27th June, started on the march for the Mississippi River. Arrived at Jacksonport, on 19th, and joined General Curtis' Army, and arrived at Helena, July 13.
On October 22, a forage train was attacked by the enemy, and Lieutenant Elliot, and 18 men, of the Fifth Cavalry, captured, after losing 1 killed and 6 wounded. On January 11, 1863, the Regiment made an expedition to Duvall's Bluff, and, in April, pursued Marmaduke, who was retreating from Missouri.
May 29, 1863, embarked for Vicksburg, and June 1, landed at Snyder's Bluff. June 3, made a reconnoissance to Mechanicsburg, drove the enemy 10 miles, skirmishing heavily. June 4, forming a junction with Brigadier General Kimball, who had 2 Regiments Infantry and 8 pieces of artillery, they attacked the enemy, who was strongly posted, and defeated him. The Regiment lost 1 killed and 7 wounded.
On 6th of July, 1863, moved, with General Sherman's Army, Ninth and Fifteenth Corps, toward Jackson. On the 11th, the Cavalry Brigade, Third and Fourth Iowa, Second Wisconsin, and Fifth Illinois Cavalry, Colonel Bussey, of Third Iowa, commanding, went on an expedition to Canton, Miss, arriving after some fighting, on the 17th, and after destroying the public work shops, railroads, etc., returned to the main army at Jackson.
On August 3, with Third and Fourth Iowa Cavalry, Colonel E.F. Winslow commanding the Fifth Cavalry went on an expedition to Grenada, Miss. Reached the Mississippi Central, at Durant, and, capturing wagon trains and destroying bridges, etc., it moved up the railroad, to Grenada, where it arrived August 17, and, driving the enemy, under Chalmers, from town, effected a junction with Lieutenant Colonel Phelps' command.
The bridge over the Yallabusha being destroyed, the captured rolling stock could not be saved, and 40 engines and 320 cars were burned. On 19th moved toward Memphis. On 21st, encountered Blythe's rebel cavalry, at the Coldwater, and defeated them--the Regiment losing 1 killed and 5 wounded. Arrived at Memphis on the 22d.
Embarked for Vicksburg, and camped at Black River, August 29. Remained until May 1, 1864, when the Regiment moved to Vicksburg. On October 16, 1863, the Regiment moved with General McPherson's Seventeenth Corps. to Jackson. Took part in a cavalry charge at Brownsville routing the rebel General Wirt Adams, and driving him from his position. The Regiment lost 2 wounded and 1 prisoner.
January 1, 1864, many of the Regiments re-enlisted as veterans. On February 3, moved with General Sherman's command, on the Meridian raid. March 17, the veterans were furloughed, returning to the command May 10.
On May 27, Colonel John McConnell arrived, was mustered, and took command of the Regiment.
At this time, 8 companies were dismounted. Companies A, B, C, and D, were fully mounted and equipped. On July 1, this Battalion, with detachments of the Eleventh Illinois Cavalry, Second Wisconsin Cavalry, and Third United States Colored Cavalry, Major Mumford, of Fifth Illinois Cavalry, commanding, with a Brigade of Infantry, Brigadier General Dennis commanding the expedition, moved to Jackson, with continual skirmishing. On July 5, on the return march, it was attacked by a large force of the enemy, who was repulsed, after severe fighting. The Battalion lost 1 man killed, and Lieutenant March, and several men, wounded.
On September 27, with same cavalry, Colonel Osband, Third United States Colored Cavalry, commanding, moved down the river, landing at Port Gibson, and drove the enemy from the place, the Fifth losing 1 man killed. Thence, moved to Natchez; was joined by the Fourth Illinois Cavalry and a battery, and moved to Tonica Bend. Landed, and moved to Woodville. Surprised and captured a rebel camp. During the night, the enemy advanced, with 3 guns and 600 men. The Fifth Cavalry, and Third United States Cavalry, under Colonel McConnell, charged the enemy the next morning, driving him in confusion. Returned to Vicksburg, October 11.
On November 20, went with an empedition to destroy the Mississippi Central Railroad, over which supplies were being sent to Hood. It was successful, the command destroying many miles of railroad.
On January 24, 1865, the Regiment moved to Memphis. Was assigned to First Brigade, Cavalry Division, Colonel E.D. Osband, Third United States Colored Cavalry, commanding. Went on an expedition to Southern Arkansas and Northern Louisiana--returning February 13.
On March 3, moved with an expedition, to Ripley, Miss., and having returned. March 11, was assigned to guard duty on Memphis and Charleston Railroad.
July 1, moved to Texas, via Red River, arriving at Alexandria, La., July 13, 1865. Regiment was assigned to First Brigade, Brigadier General Forsythe commanding; Second Division, Major General Custer commanding. Marched, on August 12, and arrived at Hempstead, Tex., August 26. Remained at this post until October 6, when moved for Springfield, Ill., arriving on 16.
Mustered out October 27, 1865, and received final payment and discharge, October 30, 1865.