A Brief Historical Summary: The 2nd U.S. Cavalry and the 9th Virginia Cavalry
"The pageant is past. The day is over. But we linger, loath to think we shall see them no more together -- these men, these horses, these colors afield".
-- Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain
A Brief History of the "Old Second"
Dragoons are the oldest mounted regiment on continuous active service in the U.S. Army. From its formation in 1836 to fight in the Second Seminole War, to its numerous deployments to the Middle East, the Regiment has distinguished itself in major campaigns: the Indian Wars, the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, both world wars, and the Persian Gulf War. Along the way members of the Regiment served gallantly in action, and 20 were awarded Medals of Honor.*
Formed in 1836 as the 2nd Dragoons, its early campaigns stretched from Florida to Mexico. The regiment served next in the Western territories, intervening between European settlers, natives, and bandits. The 2nd Dragoons saw action in Kansas and Utah just prior to 1861.
On August 3, 1861, the unit became the 2nd United States Cavalry. During the U.S. Civil War, the Regiment served in the "Reserve Cavalry Brigade" in the Army of the Potomac and participated in most major combat engagements of the Eastern theater. These included Bull Run, Peninsula Campaign, Antietam, Brandy Station, Gettysburg, Wilderness and Valley Campaign, to name a few.
The Regiment returned west after the conflict where they re-engaged in Indian campaigns through 1890. The 2nd Cavalry saw duty in the Spanish American War, and served in France with their horses during World War I. Due to changes in modern warfare, during World War II the 2nd Cavalry gave up their horses and sabers and formed a mechanized unit.
After World War II, the 2nd Cavalry played an important role providing security and stability in war-torn West Germany. Later, the 2nd Cavalry became the 2nd Armored Cavalry and transitioned its mission to one of deterrence in Europe during the Cold War.
In 2004, the Regiment was redesignated the 2d Stryker Cavalry Regiment and became a Stryker Brigade Combat Team. The Regiment currently consists of six squadrons and is located at Rose Barracks in Vilseck, Germany.
We feel privileged to portray a part of this Regiment's storied history.
A Brief History of the 9th Virginia Cavalry
The 9th Virginia Cavalry came into existence eight months after Virginia seceded from the Union. The ten companies that made up the regiment were mustered into service promptly after secession. On December 18, 1861, a special order created the 9th Virginia Cavalry. The new regiment was posted around Fredericksburg under the command of Colonel John E. Johnson.
The men of the 9th were mostly farmers (53%). Other occupations included physicians, lawyers, mechanics, teachers, merchants, clerks and carpenters. The average age at the time of enlistment was 25 years. The last surviving veteran was F. M. Embrey, who died in 1941.
The companies of the 9th were geographically scattered, and were assigned various duties during the first year of the war. Several had been attached to infantry regiments to do picket duty or to provide couriers. After regimental organization the companies were still widely scattered. The companies were:
Co. A - Stafford Rangers from Stafford County. Enlisted April 21, 1861
Co. B - Caroline Light Dragoons. Caroline Co. Enlisted May 6, 1861 (organized 1859)
Co. C - Lee's Light Horse. Westmoreland Co. Enlisted May 25, 1861
Co. D - Lancaster Cavalry. Lancaster Co. Enlisted April 25, 1861
Co. E - Mercer Cavalry. Spotsylvania Co. Enlisted April 25, 1861 (organized 1859)
Co. F - Essex Light Dragoons. Essex Co. Enlisted June 10, 1861
Co. G- Lunenburg Light Dragoons. Lunenburg Co. Enlisted June 7, 1861
Co. H- Lee's Rangers. King William Co. Enlisted June 10, 1861
Co. I - Potomac Cavalry King George Co. Enlisted October 12, 1861
Co. K- Richmond County Cavalry. Richmond Co. Enlisted October 24, 1861