Insights, Observations, And Comments Regarding West Virginia Cavalrymen
The Cavalry soldier was equipped very different than the Infantryman, the obvious difference being his horse.Horses were generally geldings or mares three six years of age,sound, strong, and spirited. While the foot soldier usually only carried one weapon, a single shot carbine rifle,, the trooper carried three;the rifle, and either a .36 or .44 colt revolver( some troopers carried two revolvers) and a saber.They looked quite impressive astride their mounts, ready to charge into battle, and by most accounts they were. Note this quote from General Milroy, who was in command of Union soldiers at Winchester Va. They had just been attacked by Confederate Cavalry who then left quickly to join a larger body of Confederates.A decision was made to pursue the confederates at a distance to acsertain their strength. General Milroy stated,"I would like to see some West Virginia boys out at the front of the movement." Two companies of the W.V. 3rd and one from the First rode some distance ahead.This shows just how whip tough these mountaineers were! Well, the Confederate cavalry doubled back, fierce fighting ensued, and the troops in the rear joind the fray from an unexpected direction. The result? The Confederates broke and ran , galloping down the valley. The leader of the vanquished rebels was none other than Jeb Stuart himself!
Observations by others. Note what Arthur J.David Petruzzi sas about them," While they may have had many of the same reasons for being there as their counterparts from Pennsylvania, New York, and Illinois, one factor set them apart from the others; The men of the 3rd were Southerners, men who until recently had called themselves Virginians. "...these men felt abandoned when the Old Dominion Virginia seceded from the Union....many of them felt more of a kinship with their neighbors on the Ohio an Pennsylvania borders." And so, tough, independent, free thinking men and women pulled together to become citizens of a proud new state...West Virginia.