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1st Cavalry Regiment
(1st Regiment of Dragoons)
Active 2 March 1833-present
Allegiance United States
Branch U.S. Army
Type Cavalry
Nickname(s) 1st Regiment of Dragoons[1]
Motto(s) "Animo Et Fide" ("Courageous and Faithful")
Branch Colors Yellow Gold
Engagements Mexican-American War
Indian Wars
American Civil War
Spanish-American War
Philippine-American War
World War II
Vietnam War
LTC Abraham Van Buren
LTC William J. Hardee
John Buford
Henry Dodge
Stephen W. Kearny
MAJ Robert Powell Page Wainwright
Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright IV
1LT Jefferson Davis
Distinctive unit insignia 1CavRegtDUI.jpg
U.S. Cavalry Regiments
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The 1st Cavalry Regiment is a United States Army unit which has its antecedents in the early 19th century in the formation of the United States Regiment of Dragoons. To this day, the unit's special designation is "First Regiment of Dragoons".[1]


The "United States Regiment of Dragoons" was organized by an Act of Congress approved 2 March 1833. It became the "First Regiment of Dragoons" when the Second Dragoons were raised in 1836. With the outbreak of the Civil War and the War Department's desire to redesignate and reorganize its mounted units, its designation was changed to "First Regiment of Cavalry" by another Act of Congress on 3 August 1861. Its Headquarters were initially established at Jefferson Barracks, near St. Louis, Missouri. In the spring of 1855 two new regiments of cavalry, the First and Second Cavalry were authorized. One of these was named “The First Cavalry Regiment”, under the command of Lt. Col. Edwin Vose Sumner, the first regular American military unit to bear that name. Sumner was previously with the First Dragoons. [2]

The regiment was initially organized as:

  • Headquarters: Jefferson Barracks, Missouri: 4 March 1833
  • Troop A: Nashville, Tennessee: 12 August 1833
  • Troop B: Sacketts Harbor, New York: 29 July 1833
  • Troop C: Louisville, Kentucky: June 1833
  • Troop D: Cincinnati, Ohio: 25 July 1833
  • Troop E: New York, New York: 29 June 1833
  • Troop F: Jefferson Barracks: 5 December 1833
  • Troop G: Jefferson Barracks: 16 January 1834
  • Troop H: Jefferson Barracks: 2 March 1834

The first order announcing appointments in the regiment was dated 5 March 1833, and gave the names of the colonel, lieutenant-colonel, major, four captains and four lieutenants, stating that the organization of the regiment would be perfected by the selection of officers from the "Battalion of Rangers." In June 1834, the regiment filled its complement of officers, many of whom later became noted Civil War generals:

Assignment overview

  • 1855 – Regiment organized at Jefferson Barracks in Missouri
  • 1856 – Regimental Headquarters moved to Fort Tejon, California
  • 1861 – 1st Dragoons was redesignated as 1st Cavalry Regiment in August.
  • 1917 – The regiment was assigned to the 15th Cavalry Division in December. This assignment was revoked in May 1918.
  • 1921 – 1st Cavalry Regiment was assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division on 20 August.
  • 1933 – The regiment was reorganized and redesignated as 1st Cavalry Regiment (Mechanized) on 16 January.
  • 1940 – The regiment was redesignated as 1st Armored Regiment (Light), and assigned to the 1st Armored Division on 15 July.
  • 1944 – On 20 July, 1st Armored Regiment was reorganized. 2nd Battalion was deactivated and the remainder was reorganized and redesignated as 1st Tank Battalion.
  • 1946 – On 1 May, 1st Tank Battalion was converted and redesignated as the 1st Constabulary Squadron, and concurrently relieved from assignment to 1st Armored Division, and assigned to the 15th Constabulary Regiment.
  • 1948 – On 20 December, 1st Constabulary Squadron was reconverted and redesignated as 1st Medium Tank Battalion, reassigned to the 1st Armored Division, and deactivated.
  • 1951 – On 27 February, 2nd Battalion. 1st Armored Regiment was reconstituted, and redesignated as 100th Tank Battalion. On 7 March, 1st Medium Tank Battalion was reactivated as part of 1st Armored Division at Fort Hood, Texas.


Frontier duty

In October 1833, the five companies first organized were sent under Colonel Dodge to winter in the vicinity of Fort Gibson, Arkansas Territory, where they remained until June 1834. Then, the regiment was sent on the Pawnee Expedition, during which, although it ended in September, a full one-fourth of the officers and men died of fever.[3] For the winter, Headquarters with Companies A, C, D and G, were sent to Fort Leavenworth; Companies B, H and I, Colonel Kearny, commanding, into the Indian country on the right bank of the Mississippi River, near the mouth of the Des Moines River; and Companies E, F and K, Major Mason commanding, to Fort Gibson. Throughout the summer of 1835, all the companies of the regiment were kept in the field.

The regiment became the "First Regiment of Dragoons" when the Second Dragoons were raised in 1836, however, the general disposition of the regiment remained unchanged. The various companies were employed in scouting among the Indians, especially along the Missouri frontier, with a portion of the regiment going to Nacogdoches, Texas, to keep white trespassers from the Indian lands, and preserving peace between whites and Indians and among the Indians themselves; also in building wagon roads and bridges. During the winter, the companies returned to their respective stations – Forts Leavenworth, Gibson and Des Moines.

Colonel Dodge resigned 4 July 1836, and was appointed Governor of Wisconsin. He was succeeded by Lieutenant Colonel Kearny. The regiment was not heavily engaged in the Florida war, although it did take some minor casualties, including a lieutenant. In March 1837, a regimental order designated the color of the horses of each company as follows: A and K, black; B, F and H, sorrel; C, D, E and I, bay; and G, iron gray.

In October 1837, and again in March 1838, Colonel Kearny led elements of the regiment to quell Osage Indians. In April 1839, the army created Fort Wayne in Indian Territory, and Companies E, F, G and K, were stationed there for several years, with occasional forays into the field to chase hostile Indians. Kearny was promoted brigadier general 30 June 1846, and was succeeded by Colonel Mason.

Mexican-American War

General Kearny was placed in command of the "Army of the West (1846)," which consisted of Companies B, C, G, I and K, 1st Dragoons, an artillery battalion, some separate infantry companies, two regiments of Missouri volunteer cavalry, the famous Mormon Battalion, and 1st Regiment of New York Volunteers that sailed from New York City to California by ship. All in all the Army of the West consisted of about 3,700 men, which ventured west to New Mexico, some of whom did not reach California. This command was concentrated at Bent's Fort on the Arkansas River, from which point it marched for Santa Fé, 1 August 1846. The force occupied Santa Fé without much opposition, and, after leaving part of his force there, Kearny marched into California, arriving in December.

On the morning of 6 December 1846, Kearny's 150-man command met and defeated an equal number of California lancers at San Pasqual, about 40 miles from San Diego, under Major Andres Pico. The action was severe, with the 1st Dragoons losing 3 officers and 14 men killed, principally with lance thrusts. General Kearny himself received two wounds. His force finally reached San Diego on 12 December 1846.

Kearny, with a force consisting of Company C, 1st Dragoons, (60 dismounted men) under Captain Turner, sailors and marines with a battery of artillery and California volunteers, left San Diego for Los Angeles on 29 December. Kearny's troops routed Mexicans under Governor Flores at the crossing of the Rio San Gabriel 8 January 1847, and on the plains of the Mesa on 9 January. With the capture of Los Angeles the following day, all Mexican resistance to the American occupation of Southern California ceased.

Kearny had left Companies G and I at Albuquerque under Capt. J. H. K. Burgwin. When Col. Sterling Price (then in command at Santa Fé) learned of the seizure and murder of New Mexico Governor Charles Bent and five others by the Mexicans (20 January), he moved out against them with a force of about 350 dismounted men and easily defeated them, 24 January, at Canada. Captain Burgwin defeated another Mexican force shortly thereafter and rejoined Price's column for a series of further battles.

During 1847, regimental headquarters were still at Leavenworth and Companies A and E were with Zachary Taylor in Mexico. Early in the year, Company B was reorganized at Jefferson Barracks before being sent to Santa Fe in June. On 26 June, while en route, the company was engaged by Comanches at Grand Prairie, Arkansas, losing five men killed and six wounded. Upon reaching Santa Fe, Company B was retrained as a field artillery battery.

Companies D and K, as well as F, saw service on Scott's line in Mexico. Company F escorted General Scott from Veracruz to Mexico City and was present at the battles near that city. From 1 November to 20 December, it was engaged on escort duty between the city and Vera Cruz. In 1848, the three companies returned to the United States and were stationed at various points on the northwestern frontier. Companies B, G, and I served with General Sterling Price in February – March 1848 in his campaign down into the State of Chihuahua and participated in the attack upon Santa Cruz de Rosales.

Further frontier duty

During 1849, the regiment lost three men killed and two wounded (one mortally) in various Indian skirmishes.

Brevet Brigadier General Mason, Colonel of the 1st Dragoons, died at Jefferson Barracks, 25 July 1850, and was succeeded by Col. Thomas L. Fauntleroy, promoted from the Second Dragoons.

On 30 March 1854, Lieutenant J. W. Davidson, with Company I and 16 men of Company F, disobeyed his orders and boldly attacked a Jicarilla Apache camp about 16 miles south of Taos at Cieneguilla. The Indian camp was surprised and captured, while securing the camp the troops were surprised by the Indians, who attacked the Dragoon horseholders and took Davidson at such disadvantage that the command narrowly escaped annihilation. 14 men of Company I and 8 of E were killed, and Lieutenant Davidson and 14 men were wounded.

Regimental headquarters was transferred to Fort Union, New Mexico Territory, in July 1854, and throughout the following year the companies in New Mexico were almost constantly on the move. Colonel Fauntleroy made three expeditions against the Utahs and Apaches, and Companies I and K fought the Apaches. Meantime, out West, Companies C and E took part in the Rogue River War in Oregon Territory, in which, at the Battle of Hungry Hill, the troops were compelled to retire with a loss of 26 killed and wounded, after fighting a day and a half.

Headquarters were moved to Fort Tejon, California, in December 1856, with the various companies scattered throughout the West. For the next 5 years, the regiment engaged in a variety of Indian fights, seeing action at various times against the Navajos and Apaches in the Southwest and several tribes in the Northwest.

Civil War

1861 – 1862

Colonel Fauntleroy resigned 13 May 1861, and was succeeded by Col. Benjamin Lloyd Beall. On 3 August, the designation of the regiment was changed to "First Regiment of Cavalry." During November and December, the regiment, except Companies D and G which were still stationed in New Mexico Territory, was transferred by steamship from the Pacific Coast through Panama and then to Washington, D.C., arriving by the end of January 1862. Colonel Beall retired 1 February, and was succeeded by Col. George A. H. Blake. The regiment was attached to the 2d Brigade, Cavalry Reserve, Army of the Potomac.

In the meantime, the two companies left in Confederate Arizona had abandoned and destroyed Forts Breckinridge and Buchanan and retreated to Fort Craig. Company D was engaged in a skirmish with Confederates near Fort Craig, 19 February, and the two companies took part in the Battle of Valverde on 21 February. Company D took part in the engagements at Pigeon's Ranch, 30 March; Albuquerque, 25 April; and Peralta, 27 April.

The bulk of the 1st U.S. Cavalry, meanwhile, fought in the Peninsula Campaign in Virginia. At Williamsburg, 4 May, a squadron under Capt. Benjamin F. "Grimes" Davis charged and repulsed Confederate cavalry, capturing a flag but losing 13 men. At Gaines' Mill, 27 June, the regiment lost 26 more men. The regiment participated in fighting at Malvern Hill, Kelly's Ford, and during Stoneman's Raid in April and May.


At the battle of Beverly Ford in June 1863, the gallant Davis was killed while in command of the 8th New York Cavalry. At Upperville, the 1st U.S. Cavalry met the Jeff Davis Legion and the 1st and 2d North Carolina regiments in a mounted charge. The regiment suffered severely, losing 53 men (most to saber cuts). At Gettysburg, its loss was 16 men. Several more men were lost in a series of skirmishes during the Confederate retreat to Virginia.

In June 1863, the two companies left in New Mexico were broken up. The officers and noncommissioned officers were transferred to Carlisle Barracks, where the companies were reorganized, joining the regiment at Camp Buford, Maryland, in October 1863. After a period of rest and re-equipping near Washington D.C., the 1st Cavalry rejoined the Army of the Potomac and was engaged at Manassas Junction and at Catlett's Station, 5 November; Culpeper, 8 November; Stephensburg, 26 November, and Mine River. The regiment was employed during the winter doing picket duty along the Rapidan River.


In February, the 1st U.S. Cavalry engaged in a series of fights along the Rapidan line, and then accompanied Brig. Gen. George Armstrong Custer in a raid on Charlottesville, Virginia. On General Sheridan's taking command of the Cavalry Corps, the 1st Cavalry, now commanded by Capt. N. B. Sweitzer, was attached to Merritt's Reserve or Regular Brigade, Torbert's Division, and in the preparation for the Overland Campaign, the regiment was employed in picketing the Rapidan, taking part in the battles of Todd's Tavern, 7 May, and Spotsylvania Court House, 8 May.

The regiment subsequently accompanied Sheridan on his daring raid around Richmond, fighting at Beaver Dam Station, 10 May; Yellow Tavern, 11 May: Meadow Bridge, 12 May; Mechanicsville, 12 May; Tunstall's Station, 14 May; Hawe's Shop, 28 May; and Old Church, 30 May.

At the Battle of Cold Harbor, 1 June, the regiment saw severe fighting, losing several men and officers. The 1st Cavalry then accompanied General Sheridan on his Trevilian raid, and lost 35 men in the Battle of Trevilian Station, 11 and 12 June. The regiment was engaged in daily skirmishing during the return march to White House Landing, and was engaged there on 17 June, at the Chickahominy River on 18 June, and at the battle of Darby's Farm, 28 June. The 1st Cavalry captured an enemy flag at the battle of Deep Bottom, 28 July, where the Regular Brigade, fighting on foot, routed a brigade of Confederate cavalry.

On 31 July, the 1st Division marched to City Point, embarked on ships the next day, and was transported to Washington D.C. to assist in repelling the threatened attack of General Early. On 5 August it moved towards Harpers Ferry, having been ordered to the Shenandoah Valley to rejoin Sheridan. On 10 August the Reserve Brigade routed Confederates near Winchester. The regiment was then engaged in almost daily skirmishing, and took part in all the important Valley battles except Fisher's Hill. From 16 August through 20 August, the 1st Cavalry was employed, together with the whole of the 1st Division, in the destruction of all wheat and forage, and the seizure of all horses, cattle, sheep, and hogs accessible in the Valley.

The 1st Cavalry took part in the memorable charge of the Reserve Brigade at the Battle of Opequon, 19 September, and, in conjunction with the 2nd Cavalry, captured two stands of colors and some 200 prisoners. Its casualties were 37 killed, wounded and missing. On 28 September, in an action at Waynesboro, it suffered 18 additional casualties.

The 1st Cavalry played an important part in the Battle of Cedar Creek, 19 October. After the surprise and defeat of Horatio G. Wright in the morning, the divisions of Merritt and Custer came up as reinforcements. Two squadrons of the 1st Cavalry formed perpendicular across the Valley Pike and dismounted behind stone walls, the third squadron being held in reserve. This position was held with great difficulty, the advanced squadron being subjected to an enfilading fire.

The regiment then returned to Middletown and, during the fall and winter, engaged in numerous skirmishes and took part in Merritt's raid through the Loudoun Valley and Torbert's raid on Gordonsville. In December, the regiment was assigned to duty at the Cavalry Corps headquarters in Winchester.


On 27 February, Sheridan commenced his last expedition through the Shenandoah Valley, wanting to destroy the Virginia Central Railroad and the James River Canal, and capture Lynchburg. The 1st Cavalry took part in the Battle of Waynesboro, 2 March, where the remnant of Early's army was captured. It was then engaged in many skirmishes during a march from Charlottesville to White House Landing, while destroying locks and the embankment of the James River Canal, railroads and Confederate supplies. It arrived at White House Landing 17 March, taking part in a sharp engagement that day.

The 1st Cavalry was then present in all the major battles of the Cavalry Corps until the close of the war. On 30 March it was in the engagement on White Oak Road; 31 March, at Dinwiddie Court House; 1 April, at Five Forks. There, the regiment made a brilliant charge on an entrenched enemy position, carrying it and seizing 200 prisoners. It also fought 2 April in the engagement near the Southside Railroad; 6 April, at the Battle of Sayler's Creek; and 9 April, at Appomattox Courthouse, the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia.

The regiment then returned to Petersburg, where it remained in camp until 24 April, when it marched with the Cavalry Corps towards North Carolina for the proposed junction with Sherman. On the surrender of Joseph E. Johnston's army, the Cavalry Corps returned to Petersburg and the regiment, escorting General Sheridan, left for Washington 8 May, arriving 16 May and taking part in the Grand Review of the Armies.

Return to the frontier

Later that month, the regiment was ordered to Louisiana, arriving at New Orleans on 31 May and remaining there until 29 December when it embarked for California via the Isthmus of Panama. It was stationed at the Presidio of San Francisco 22 January, with Companies A, G and K going 5 February to Drum Barracks, where Companies C, D and E, followed them 17 February, Company L going to Sacramento. In June, regimental headquarters went to Fort Vancouver and the several companies were distributed through Oregon, Washington Territory, Idaho, California, Nevada and Arizona, no two being at the same station.

Owing to the vast extent of country guarded by the regiment, its service for many years following was very arduous. Scouting for Indians and escort duty of various kinds were incessant. During this period, thirty soldiers and officers serving with the regiment earned the Medal of Honor. Eighteen of these awards were for a single engagement against Apaches in the Chiricahua Mountains of Arizona, and another six were for actions in George Crook's "winter campaign" of 1872–73. The recipients were:[4]

Chiricahua Mountains, Arizona, 20 October 1869
  • Sergeant Frederick Jarvis, Company G
  • Trumpeter Bartholomew T. Keenan, Company G
  • Private Charles Kelley, Company G
  • Corporal Nicholas Meaher, Company G
  • Private Edward Murphy, Company G
  • First Sergeant Francis Oliver, Company G
  • Corporal Thomas Powers, Company G
  • Private James Russell, Company G
  • Private Theodore F. Smith, Company G
  • Private Thomas Smith, Company G
  • Private Thomas J. Smith, Company G
  • Private William H. Smith, Company G
  • Private George Springer, Company G
  • Private Thomas Sullivan, Company G
  • Private James Sumner, Company G
  • Sergeant John Thompson, Company G
  • Private Charles H. Ward, Company G
  • Private Enoch R. Weiss, Company G

Arizona, winter of 1872–73
  • First Sergeant James Blair, Company I
  • Sergeant Lehmann Hinemann, Company L
  • Private James W. Huff, Company L
  • Sergeant Henry J. Hyde, Company M
  • Private Moses Orr, Company A
  • Sergeant William Osborn, Company M
Other campaigns

1866 – 1871

1866 picture of Model showing correct uniform of a Company "A" 1st US Cavalry Sgt wearing Hardee hat

From 1866 to 1870, various companies from the 1st Cavalry Regiment were involved in numerous skirmishes involving Indians during the American Indian Wars throughout the west. From 1866 to 1868 they operated in Oregon, Idaho Territory Nevada and California fighting the Snake War. These skirmishes included an expedition from Fort Bidwell, CA, 22–29 October 1866 when Company A killed 14 Indians, three women, four children, and captured an entire camp. On 5 April 1868 Company F killed 32 Indians killed and captured two near Malheur River, Oregon.

They also were fighting in the Apache Wars in Arizona Territory from 1866 to 1872. On 29 January 1867, Company M encountered a band of 90 warriors at Stein's Mountain in New Mexico Territory; sixty Indians were killed and 27 captured. From 26 to 31 May 1868 eight men of Company M killed 34 Indians. At Fort McDowell in Arizona on 9–11 December 1869, twenty men from Company E killed an entire band of 11 Mojave Apaches.

On 15 December 1870, Colonel Blake was retired from active service on his own application, and Colonel A. C. Gillem of the 11th Infantry was transferred to the First Cavalry in his stead. Colonel Gillem died at his residence in Nashville, Tenn., 2 December 1875, and was succeeded by Colonel Cuvier Grover, promoted from the 3rd Cavalry.

Modoc war

The Modoc Indians were a small tribe living in northern California near Tule Lake and Lost River. Through the intercession of interested civilians orders were issued for their removal to the Klamath Indian Reservation. They went on the reservation, but, on account of ill treatment left it, and the War Department was then directed to carry out the orders. The Indians at once commenced hostilities and one of the most protracted and obstinate Indian wars of later years followed.

Company B left Fort Klamath, 28 November 1872, for the purpose of arresting "Captain Jack" and the leaders of his band of Modocs, and at daylight on 29 November surprised the Indians in their camp near the Lost River. They refused to surrender and an engagement followed in which 8 Indians were killed and many wounded, and the camp, squaws, and property were captured. The company lost 2 men killed and 6 wounded, 2 of them mortally. The company then went into camp at Crowley's Ranch on Lost River opposite the Indian camp.

Company G from Fort Bidwell took station 13 December, at Land's Ranch, Tule Lake, near the Indian stronghold. The Indians attacked this camp, 21 December, and were repulsed, but not until 2 men and 5 horses had been killed. Company B now joined Company G and the two companies marched against the Indians, 16 January 1873, in conjunction with General Wheaton's column, with which was also serving at this time Company F and a detachment of Company H. The Indians attacked Companies B and G the same afternoon, but were repulsed, the companies losing 3 men wounded. The general engagement took place 17 January, and lasted from 7.30 A. M. to 9.30 P. M., when the troops retired, going finally into camp at Applegate's Ranch near Clear Lake. The regiment lost two men killed and two officers, – Captain Perry and Lieutenant Kyle, – and 8 men wounded, one mortally.

The Indians attacked a wagon train 22 January, driving away the escort, but Captain Bernard, 1st Cavalry, came up with reinforcements and the Indians were repulsed, losing one killed and many wounded. Company K from Fort Halleck, Nev., joined the battalion 18 February, which now consisted of Companies B, F, G and K, under Captain Biddle, who was soon succeeded by Captain Bernard. Colonel Gillem, 1st Cavalry was commanding the expedition, and Company H joined the column 10 February.

During the night of 14 April the companies of the 1st Cavalry moved with the rest of the command to invest the Modoc stronghold, and in the "Second battle of the Lava Beds," 15–17 April, drove the Indians out of their position and into the rocks and mountains. The 1st Cavalry lost 2 men killed and 2 wounded. On 26 April, Companies B and F went to the scene of the "Thomas massacre" and brought off a number of the wounded and dead. The same companies were attacked by Indians 10 May, at Sorass Lake, CA, but repulsed them with the loss of one warrior killed and 2 wounded. The command lost one killed and 6 wounded, 2 of them mortally. On 17 May Companies B, G and K, with a battery (serving as cavalry) of the 4th Artillery, all under Major John Green, came upon a band of Modocs which they drove five miles, killing one and capturing several squaws and children. The troops followed the trail and on 22 May, 70 Indians – men, women and children – surrendered. "Boston Charlie" was captured 29 May, and on 31 May "Sconchin," "Scarfaced Charlie," and 27 other Indians surrendered.

Companies F and H were sent from Applegate's Ranch 31 May to follow up those of the Modocs who had eluded Green's command, and found them 1 June, when the whole party surrendered. With the capture of "Captain Jack," the Modoc war ended, and by the end of June the companies which had been engaged in it had returned to their proper stations.

The companies left in Arizona were moved north, and by the end of October 1873, headquarters with Companies A and D were at Benicia Barracks; B at Fort Klamath; C at Camp McDermitt, Nev.; E at Fort Lapwai, Idaho Territory -, F, L and M at Fort Walla Walla, Wyoming Territory; G at Camp Bidwell, CA.; H and K at Camp Harney, Oregon.; and I at Camp Halleck, NV.

1877 Nez Perce War

On 15 June 1877, Companies F and H, under Captain Perry, were ordered to proceed to Camas Prairie to the assistance of the settlers of Mount Idaho, I. T., who were threatened by the Nez Percé Indians under Chief Joseph. Learning that the Indians were crossing Salmon River and could be taken at a disadvantage, the march was given that direction and Chief Joseph's camp was found and taken by surprise, but the Indians quickly rallied and repulsed the troops with severe loss, Lieutenant E. W. Theller, 21st Infantry (attached), and 33 men being killed and two wounded.

All the companies of the regiment, except M at Colville and A at Camp Harney watching the Piutes, were now ordered into the field against the Nez Percés. Companies E and L joined General Howard's command 2l June and on 1 July surprised and attacked the camp of "Looking Glass" on the Clearwater, I. T. The village was entirely destroyed, several Indians killed and about a thousand ponies captured. On 2 July the same command attempted to form a junction with Company F, which was on its way from Lapwai. On 3 July, the Indians ambushed the advanced guard, consisting of Lieutenant S. M. Rains, ten men of the battalion and two civilian scouts, killing them all, and were then found to be in such force and so strongly posted that it was considered imprudent to attack them. The junction with Company F was effected, however, on 4 July, and the same afternoon the Indians attacked, the fight lasting until sunset. The battalion (E, F and L) joined General Howard at Grangerville, 8 July. Company H had joined 2 July, and the battalion was commanded by Captain David Perry.

On 11 July, General Howard crossed the Clearwater with his whole command and moved down that stream with Company H in the advance. The Indian camp was discovered and at once attacked, the fight lasting two days and ending with the retreat of the Indians. Company B joined in time to take part in the fight on 12 July. The regiment lost 3 men killed and 4 wounded. The battalion made a reconnaissance 18 July, on the Lo-Lo trail, and the Indian scouts accompanying it were ambushed and met with considerable loss. One Nez Percé was killed.

Major Sanford's battalion, consisting of Companies C, D, I and K, joined General Howard on the Clearwater, 28 July, and the expedition across the Lo-Lo trail began on 30 July. Companies B, C, I and K, under Major Sanford, accompanied it, and Companies D, E, G and L, with other troops under Major Green, constituted the " Reserve Column " which remained at Camas Prairie until 5 August, when it moved near to Mount Idaho, and established a permanent camp called Camp Howard. Companies F and H were stationed at Fort Lapwai.

General Howard's trying and "stern" march across the Lo-Lo trail, and the final surrender of Chief Joseph to General Miles at Bear Paw Mountains are matters of history. In the Indian attack at Camas Creek 20 August, Companies B and L were engaged, losing one man killed and one wounded. At Judith Basin the battalion was detached from General Howard's command and directed to return, and all the companies had reached their stations by the end of November. Company K and a detachment of C, attached to General Sturgis' command, took part in the engagement with the Nez Percés at Canyon Creek, M. T., 13 September 1877.


At the outbreak of the Bannock War in May 1878, Company G was the first body of troops to reach the scene of hostilities, and Captain Bernard reported that the Indians numbered from 300 to 500. They were moving towards Steens Mountain The whole of the First Cavalry was at once ordered into the field and Colonel Grover sent to Fort Boise to take charge of operations there. Companies D, I and K, were with him. Companies F and L joined Company G on the Owyhee, 17 June, and the three companies reached Camp Harney on 21 June, where they were joined by Company A. These four companies were designated the "Left Column" by General Howard.

On the morning of 23 June, the Left Column struck the main camp of the hostiles on Silver Creek, and drove the Indians out of it and on to a cutbank, made by the creek, which had been prepared for defense. The action lasted into the night and in the morning it was found that the Indians had gone. Many Indians were killed and the camp was destroyed. The battalion lost 2 killed and 3 wounded. Company K joined the battalion 27 June, and on 28 June the cavalry cut loose from the foot troops and pushed forward on the trail of the Indians. The fertile John Day Valley was saved in great part by this vigorous pursuit, and on 5 July General Howard overtook the command, arriving with it at Pilot Rock on 7 July. Here it was joined by Companies E and H. The Indian camp was located and at sunrise on 8 July Captain Bernard moved his battalion to the attack.

The Indians, about 300 in number, occupied the crest of the high and steep hills near Birch Creek, and were at once attacked. Captain Bernard giving the first example of fighting cavalry on foot without separating the men from the horses. All the companies, except A with the pack train, were deployed and used in the engagement, and the Indians were driven from three successive positions and finally four or five miles further into the mountains. Four men were wounded, one mortally, and probably 20 horses were killed. The enemy's loss could not be told; their women, children and best horses were sent off, seemingly towards the Grande Ronde, before the action began.

Lieutenant C. E. S. Wood, A. D. C., says: "The entire fight was closely watched by the general commanding, who desires to express his opinion that no troops ever behaved better or in a more soldierly manner than did the officers and men engaged in this encounter." The command camped for the night among the rough cañons adjacent to the battle-field.

Captain Bernard was now directed to take his command, except Company K, to Fort Walla Walla to refit. Company K was sent to join the infantry column and with it moved to the Umatilla Agency, near which the hostiles were reported to be. Here the Indians made an attack 13 July. In the ensuing fight Company K held the right of the line and took part in the final charge by which the Indians were driven off the field and for three miles into the hills. At the request of the Indian Agent the command moved back to the agency that night, but two days later seven dead Indians were counted upon the battle-field.

Companies A, E, F, G, H and I, now under Lieutenant-Colonel J. W. Forsyth, 1st Cavalry, left Fort Walla Walla 13 July – the day of the fight at Umatilla Agency – in search of the Indians, who were found to be travelling in the direction of John Day River. On 20 July, Forsyth's scouts were ambushed, which caused a halt and deployment of the command, but when the line moved forward the Indians had gone. On 22 July, the battalion reached 11 Burnt Meadows," where it was joined by Companies D and I, under Major Sanford, and on 27 July it went into camp at Malheur Agency to await supplies. The hostiles had now split up into many small parties which were followed up and nearly all ultimately captured.

During the months of September and October the companies were sent to their permanent stations, and the return for 30 November shows Companies A and E at Camp Harney, Oregon; B, D, F, K and M, at Fort Walla Walla, W. T.; C at Camp Bidwell, CA; G at Fort Boise, L T.; H at Fort Colville, W. T.; I at Camp Halleck, Nev., and L at Fort Klamath, Oregon.


In the year 1881 Companies C, G, I and M were sent to Arizona, and on 2 October, Company G, with other troops, was in action near Cedar Springs with Apaches. The hostiles fought with great boldness and desperation and the fight lasted until 9 P. M., when the Indians escaped. Company G had two men wounded and 12 horses killed. On 4 October Companies G and I had a running fight near South Pass of the Dragoon Mountains, in which the hostiles were followed into Sonora, Mexico.

In October 1881, the "Companies" began to be designated "Troops" on the Regimental Return. Troop G returned to Fort McDermott, 9 November; Troop I to Camp Halleck, 27 December; Troop M to the Presidio of San Francisco, 20 January 1882; and Troop C to Fort Bidwell, 16 April.

1884 – 1887

In June 1884, the regiment was transferred to the Department of Dacota, after a tour of nearly 30 years on the Pacific coast, during the greater part of which time its stations were remote from civilization and its duties of a most arduous and thankless character. On 5 June 1885, Colonel Grover died at Atlantic City, N. J. and was succeeded by Colonel N. A. M. Dudley, promoted from the 9th Cavalry.

During this time the headquarters and troops D, G 1, K and M, went to Fort Custer; A, C and F went to Fort Maginnis; E to Fort Ellis; H and L to Fort Assinniboine; and B to Fort Keogh.

From 1886 to 1918 Company M 1st Cavalry was stationed at Fort Yellowstone.

Conflict with the "Crows" came in the fall of 1887, and on the morning of 4 November, Colonel Dudley left Fort Custer with Troops A, B, D, E, G and K, and Company B, 3d Infantry, with a section of Hotchkiss guns, to arrest "Sword Bearer" and the Indians who had fired into the agency buildings on the night of 30 September.

On 5 November, a demand was made upon the Indians for the surrender of these men, and they were given an hour and a half to comply with the demand. At the end of that time the battalion of the 1st Cavalry, with Moylan's troop of the 7th Cavalry on the right, moved out in front of camp. At the same time a 'great commotion was observed in the Indian camp, and "Sword Bearer" and another chief dashed out leading from 120 to 150 warriors equipped for battle. The Indians charged but were repulsed and fell back into the timber along, the river where they had dug many rifle pits from which they now kept up a constant fire. This fire was returned, and "Sword Bearer" was seen to fall, when all fighting quickly ceased. All the Indians whose surrender had been demanded and who had not been killed were at once brought in and delivered to the Department Commander, who sent them to Fort Snelling. The cavalry battalion returned to Fort Custer on 13 November.

1889 – 1892

Colonel Dudley was retired from active service 20 August 1889, and was succeeded by Colonel J. S. Brisbin, promoted from the 9th Cavalry. On 31 December of that year, Headquarters and Troops B, D, E, G and M, were at Fort Custer; A and L at Fort Maginnis; C, F and H at Fort Assinniboine; I at Fort Leavenworth; and K at Camp Sheridan, Wyoming.

In April 1890, the Cheyennes assumed a threatening attitude and their agent called upon the commanding officer of Fort Custer for protection, who sent Major Carrol with Troops B, D and M to the Tongue River Agency where they established Camp Crook. In September a white boy was murdered by "Head Chief" and "Young Mule," and every attempt to arrest the murderers failed. On 11 April, they sent word that they would attack the agency and on 12 April made their appearance on a hill commanding the agency buildings where they opened fire upon them. They were soon dislodged and killed. The regiment took part in the operations against the hostile Sioux in the winter of 1890–1891, but was not brought into actual contact with them.

In December 1890, word having been received that a troop of cavalry was surrounded by hostile Indians at or near Cave Hills, Montana, Troop A made one of the most remarkable marches on record in going to its relief. It marched 186 miles, 95 of which were made in 25 hours, and 170 in 53½ hours. The report which caused such tremendous exertion proved to be without foundation.

On 22 April 1891, Colonel Brisbin was transferred to the 8th Cavalry with Colonel A. K. Arnold who had been the lieutenant colonel and now became the colonel of the First. In 1892, the regiment was transferred to the Department of Arizona, relieving the 10th Cavalry. Headquarters and Troops C, E, F, H and K, going to Fort Grant, Arizona.; B and I to Fort Bayard, New Mexico; D to Fort Apache, Arizona; and G to San Carlos. Troop A was at Fort Meyer, Virginia, and was not moved. Since its arrival in Arizona the regiment has not been engaged in any serious Indian difficulties, although the several troops have been kept in practice in field work by that ever active and elusive "Kid," who has been responsible, for more movements of troops than any Indian ever known.

Campaign participation credit

Mexican-American War

  • Buena Vista
  • Vera Cruz (Company F only)
  • Cerro Gordo (Company F only)
  • Contreras (Company F only)
  • Molino Del Rey (Company F only)
  • Chapultepec (Company F only)
  • Coahuilla 1846
  • New Mexico 1846 (except Company E)
  • New Mexico 1847 (Except Company E)
  • California 1847 (Company C only)
  • Chihuahua 1848 (Except Company E)

Indian Wars

  • California 1846
  • Kansas 1847 (Company B only)
  • Nebraska 1849 (Company B only)
  • New Mexico 1849
  • New Mexico 1850
  • New Mexico 1851
  • Oregon 1851
  • California 1852
  • Oregon 1853
  • New Mexico 1854
  • Colorado 1855
  • New Mexico 1855
  • Oregon 1855
  • New Mexico 1856
  • Oregon 1856
  • Arizona 1857
  • Washington 1858
  • Arizona 1859
  • California 1860
  • Oregon 1860
  • Arizona 1866
  • Oregon 1866
  • Arizona 1867 (Company E only)
  • Oregon 1867
  • Arizona 1868
  • Oregon 1868
  • California 1868
  • Arizona 1869
  • Arizona 1870
  • Arizona 1871
  • Arizona 1872 (Except Company B)
  • Modocs
  • Idaho 1879 (Except Company E)
  • Arizona 1881 (Except Company B)
  • Montana 1887
  • Apaches
  • Nez Perces
  • Bannocks
  • Pine Ridge

Civil War

  • Wilson's Creek 1861 (Company C and D)
  • Peninsula
  • Antietam (Except Company E)
  • Fredericksburg
  • Chancellorsville
  • Gettysburg
  • Wilderness
  • Spotsylvania
  • Cold Harbor
  • Petersburg
  • Shenandoah
  • Appomattox
  • New Mexico 1862 (Except Company E)
  • Virginia 1862
  • Virginia 1863
  • Virginia 1864
  • Virginia 1865
  • Maryland 1863

Spanish-American War

  • Santiago

Philippine-American War

  • Luzon 1901 (Except Company E)
  • Luzon 1902 (Except Company E)

World War II

  • Algeria-French Morocco (with arrowhead)
  • Tunisia
  • Naples-Foggia
  • Anzio
  • Rome-Arno
  • North Apennines (Except Company E)
  • Po Valley (Except Company E)
  • New Guinea (Company H only)
  • Bismarck Archipelago (With Arrowhead) (Company H only)
  • Leyte With Arrowhead (Company H only)
  • Luzon (Company H only)


7th Armored Squadron 1st Air Cavalry Feb 1968 – Apr 1972.

Tet Counteroffensive 1/30/68- 1 April 1968

Counteroffensive. Phase IV 2 April 1968 – 30 June 1968

Counteroffensive, Phase V 1 July 1968- 1 November 1968

Counteroffensive, Phase VI 2 November 1968 – 22 February 1969

Tet 69/Counteroffensive 23 February 1969 – 8 June 1969 Summer-Fall 1969 June 9, 1969 – 31 October 1969

Winter-Spring 1970 November 1, 1969 – 30 April 1970

Sanctuary Counteroffensive 1 May 1970 – 30 June 1970

Counteroffensive, Phase VII 1 July 1970 – 30 June 1971

Consolidation I 1 July 1971 – 30 November 1971

Consolidation II 1 December 1971 – 29 March 1972

Cease-Fire 30 March 1972 – 28 January 1973

They were a self-contained Vietnam Air Cavalry Squadron, made up of 5 troops. Headquarters Troop/Call Sign. ‘Kingbird’, Alpha Troop/Call Sign, ‘Apache’, Bravo Troop/Call Sign, ‘Dutch Master’, Charlie Troop/Call Sign, ‘Sand Piper / Comanche’ and Delta Troop/Call Sign ‘Powder Valley’.

D Troop (the squadron's armored cavalry troop) / Powder Valley participated in successful night ambushes, escorted convoys, search and clear missions and other ground operations.

Troops A, B and C were Air Cavalry units. Equipped to perform scout, insertion, interdiction and attack missions the troops supported the ARVN 21st Division and other units throughout the Delta IV Corps area after our 9th Infantry Division returned stateside.

April 1972 assigned to 194th Armored Brigade, FT Knox, KY. In 1976 the unit was inactivated and used to form Air Cavalry troops in the reactivated 5th, 7th and 24th Infantry Divisions.

2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment

On 1 July 1963 the 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry was relieved of their duties to the 3rd Armored Division, United States Army, Europe and reassigned to the 2nd Armored Division at Fort Hood, Texas. On 8 August 1967 the unit left Fort Hood for Vietnam where they were attached to the 4th Infantry Division, headquarters in Plieku. During their service in the Central Highlands, troopers saw action in Plieku, Dak To, Suoi Doi, Kontum, An Khe and many other nameless stretches of road and jungle.

In May 1969, the squadron was transferred to Task Force South in Phan Thiet and attached to the 1st Field Force, Vietnam. Now operating in the rice paddies and rubber plantations of Vietnam, the Blackhawks further distinguished themselves in actions around Phan Thiet, Song Mao, Phan Rang and their environs.

The 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry departed Vietnam in October 1970, leaving Cam Ranh Bay for reassignment to the 2nd Armored Division at Fort Hood, Texas

  • Counteroffensive, Phase III (Except Companies C, D, F, G and H)
  • Tet Counteroffensive (Except Companies C. D, F and H)


  • LTC Joe Gay January 1967 – January 1968
  • LTC Charles Graham January 1968 – July 1968
  • LTC Donald Moreau July 1968 – December 1968
  • LTC Richard Miller December 1968 – June 1969
  • LTC John Fairey June 1969 – December 1969
  • LTC Robert Bond December 1969 – July 1970
  • LTC Landon Whitelaw July 1970 – October 1970

1st Squadron / 1st Cavalry Regiment

Upon deployment to Vietnam in 1967, the 1st Squadron / 1st Cavalry Regiment consisted of three armored cavalry troops and one air cavalry troop, D Troop, which was not deployed until July 1968.

1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry served in Chulai, Da Nang, Tam Ky, and Thach Khe. They departed Vietnam on 10 May 1972.

'D' Troop 1st Squadron,1st Cavalry Regiment

D Troop was shipped to Vietnam with aircraft on board to join its parent unit, the 1st Squadron/1st Cavalry Regiment, which was already in Vietnam attached to the Americal Division at Chu Lai. En route, D Troop's orders were changed, temporarily attaching it to the 101st Airborne Division. The Troop disembarked at Da Nang on 21 July 1968 and flew directly to Camp Eagle. The Troop then remained on combat duty in I CORP for the next four years and used the call sign Sabre.

All US combat troops were withdrawn by 30 November 1972.

Current status

Heraldic items

Coat of arms


  • Shield:
    • Tenné (Dragoon Yellow), a dragon passant Or.
    • (And for informal use the escutcheon encircled with a sword belt Sable buckled at base with the belt plate of the Dragoons of 1836 Proper bearing the regimental motto in base and “first Cavalry” in chief between two eight-pointed mullets of rays one on dexter side, the other on sinister, all Or).
  • Crest: On a wreath of the colors, Or and Tenné (Dragoon Yellow), a hawk rising with wings addorsed and elevated Sable, langued and membered Gules.
  • Motto: ANIMO ET FIDE (Courageous And Faithful).


  • Shield:
    • The color of the Dragoons was Dragoon yellow (orange-yellow), shown by the color of the shield and the dragon is in allusion to the name Dragoon.
    • The gold eight-pointed star on the encircling belt was the insignia of the Dragoons until 1851.
  • Crest:
    • This Regiment was organized in 1833 as the Regiment of United States Dragoons.
    • Many of its officers and men came from the Battalion of Mounted Rangers which had taken part in the Black Hawk War.


    • The coat of arms was originally approved for the 1st Cavalry Regiment on 1 January 1921.
    • It was amended to change the wording of the blazon and add the motto on 21 November 1923.
    • It was redesignated for the 1st Armored Regiment on 7 September 1940.
    • It was redesignated for the 1st Constabulary Squadron on 11 June 1947.
    • The insignia was redesignated for the 1st Medium Tank Battalion on 13 August 1951.
    • It was redesignated for the 1st Tank Battalion on 18 February 1955.
    • The insignia was redesignated for the 1st Cavalry Regiment on 21 April 1958.
    • It was amended to change the wording of the description on 23 June 1960.
    • It was amended to correct the wording in the blazon of the shield on 20 October 1965.

Distinctive unit insignia

  • Description:
    • On a heraldic wreath Or and Tenné (Dragoon Yellow) a hawk rising with wings addorsed and elevated Sable and membered Gules—charged upon an eight-pointed Dragoon Yellow star surrounded by a Black sword belt bearing the organizational motto "Animo et Fide" with the old Dragoon belt plate of 1836.
    • The insignia is 114 inches (3.18 cm) in diameter.
  • Symbolism:
    • This Regiment was organized in 1833 as the Regiment of United States Dragoons.
    • Many of its officers and men came from the Battalion of Mounted Rangers which had taken part in the Black Hawk War.
    • The color of the Dragoons was Dragoon yellow (orange-yellow) and a gold eight-pointed star on the encircling belt was the insignia of the Dragoons until 1851.
    • The motto translates to “Courageous and Faithful.”
  • Background:
    • The distinctive unit insignia was originally approved for the 1st Cavalry Regiment on 27 November 1923.
    • It was redesignated for the 1st Armored Regiment on 7 September 1940.
    • It was redesignated for the 1st Constabulary Squadron on 11 June 1947.
    • The insignia was redesignated for the 1st Medium Tank Battalion on 13 August 1951.
    • It was redesignated for the 1st Tank Battalion on 18 February 1955.
    • The insignia was redesignated for the 1st Cavalry Regiment on 21 April 1958.
    • It was amended to change the wording of the description on 20 October 1965.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Special Unit Designations". United States Army Center of Military History. 21 April 2010. Archived from the original on 9 June 2010. Retrieved 23 June 2010. 
  2. Chalfant, William Y., Cheyennes and Horse Soldiers, University of Oklahoma Press, 1989.
  3. Wainwright, Robert Powell Page (1896) "The First Regiment of Cavalry" in Rodenbough, Theophilus Francis; Haskin, William L. The Army of the United States [Historical Sketches of Staff and Line with Portraits of Generals-in-Chief] New York: Maynard, Merrill, & Co. p. 153 OCLC 1635675 Retrieved 12 February 2011. 
  4. "Indian Wars Period Medal of Honor Recipients". Medal of Honor Citations. United States Army Center of Military History. 5 August 2010. Archived from the original on 26 July 2010. Retrieved 19 August 2010. 

External links and further reading

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