Primary Source Material
on the Soldiers and the Battles
Home The Armies The Soldiers The Battles Civilians Articles
If this website has been useful to you, please consider making a Donation.

Your support will help keep this website free for everyone, and will allow us to do more research. Thank you for your support!

3rd Massachusetts Cavalry
in the Civil War

Regimental History
Third Cavalry. — Cols., Thomas E. Chickering, Lorenzo D. Sargent, Burr Porter, Frederick G. Pope ; Lieut.-Cols., Ansel D. Wass, Lorenzo D. Sargent, John F. Vinal, Frederick G. Pope, David P. Muzzey; Majs., Lorenzo D. Sargent, John F. Vinal, James McGee, Jonathan E. Cowen, S. Tyler Read, David T. Bunker, Edward L. Noyes, Frederick G. Pope, David P. Muzzey, William M. Gifford, Charles Stone, John A. Comerford. This regiment was formed from four organizations already in the field, viz.: the 41st infantry, and the 1st, 2nd, and 3d companies unattached cavalry. A sketch of the 41st infantry, prior to the period of its consolidation to form the 3d cavalry, having been elsewhere given, it will be necessary to give only an outline of the previous history of the three unattached companies. Plans having been made to enlist two carefully selected companies of "Mounted Rifle Rangers," the 1st was recruited in Boston during Sept., 1861, by Capt. S. Tyler Read, and completed its organization Nov. 15 ; the 2nd was filled before the close of the year, as was a 3d company of the same nature, the last two being finally organized on Dec. 27, 1861. The 2nd was commanded by Capt. James McGee of Lowell, and the 3d, by Capt. Henry A. Durivage of Boston. On Jan. 13, 1862, the three companies sailed from Boston harbor for Ship island, Miss., where they arrived on Feb. 12, and were organized as a battalion, under Capt. Read, acting major. When Gen. Butler's division was formed into brigades, one company was attached to each brigade. The 1st, as part of the 1st brigade, left Ship island, April 16, 1862, for New Orleans, and was stationed in its defense until May 1, 1864. The 2nd left Ship island, May 21, joined the brigade at Baton Rouge, under Maj.-Gen. Williams, shared in the engagement there and when the city was evacuated, returned to New Orleans, where it remained until the spring of 1863, forming most of the time a part of Weitzel's brigade. The 3d had the misfortune to lose its captain, who was drowned in the Mississippi, April 23, 1862, and his place was filled by the appointment of Jonathan E. Cowan of the 1st company, but as he was on leave of absence, the organization served under Lieut. Perkins. The 3d was attached to Weitzel's brigade in Sept., 1862, and was often in action, but met with slight loss. It was encamped at Thibodeaux, La., during the winter of 1862-63. After the consolidation of the four organizations, June 17, 1863, the companies of the 41st infantry retained their original letters, while the 2nd unattached company was designated L, the 3d M, the 1st continued to be known as "Read's company," and received no letter, as the regiment had thirteen companies. The new organization remained under the command of Col. Chickering and took part in the siege of Port Hudson, remaining at that point until the close of the year 1863, engaged in the active duties falling to the cavalry arm of the service. In the spring of 1864, it took an active part in the Red River expedition, during which it did its full duty, losing in the severe action at Sabine cross-roads, 9 men killed, 64 wounded, and 157 of the horses. On June 25 the regiment was dismounted and armed as infantry and during the following month was transferred to Maryland, where it became part of the 2nd brigade, 2nd division, 19th corps. After sharing in the various movements in the Shenandoah Valley it was heavily engaged at the battle of Winchester, losing 104 officers and men out of about 600 in action. It was again engaged at Fisher's hill, and Cedar creek, losing in the latter action 77 killed and wounded. On Dec. 28, 1864, it went into winter quarters at Pleasant Valley, Md., where it was again equipped as cavalry in Feb., 1865, and reporting to Gen. Chapman at Winchester on March 1, engaged in scouting and other duties until April 20. Near the close of the year 1864, the three independent companies were mustered out of service, and their places were taken by one year troops from Mass. The original members of the 41st infantry were mustered out on May 20. The regiment took part in the grand review with Sheridan's cavalry corps ; proceeded in June to Fort Leavenworth, Kan. ; served in the States of Kansas and Nebraska during the summer, and was mustered out at Fort Leavenworth, Sept. 28, 1865. It reached Boston Oct. 5, and three days later the men were paid and discharged at Galloupe's island. The total number in the regiment was 98 officers, 2,090 enlisted men. Its losses were 5 officers and 81 men killed or died of wounds; 3 missing; 2 officers, 135 men died by accident or disease, and 32 died as prisoners. Beginning with the muster in of the 41st regiment, it had served more than 35 months, traveled 15,000 miles, and was in more than 30 engagements.

Regimental history taken from "The Union Army" by Federal Publishing Company, 1908 - Volume 1

Whats New
About Us


Copyright 2010 by
A Division of