1st Alabama Cavalry
The 1st Alabama Cavalry Regiment, United States Volunteers was a United States Army unit made up of recruits from Alabama that fought for the Union in the Civil War. As many as 2,000 soldiers were attached to the unit during the course of the war. Of those, 345 (including 5 officers) were killed, 88 were captured, and 279 deserted. The unit's roll included men from 35 counties in Alabama as well as recruits from eight other Confederate states, from nine states not in the Confederacy, and from eight foreign countries. Both white and black soldiers served in the unit, though it was considered a white unit, distinct from the "African descent" infantry units raised during the war.
The unit was raised at Hunstville and Memphis, Tennessee in October 1862 during Union occupation and mustered into service in Corinth, Mississippi in December. They were initially attached to the 16th Corps of the Union Army of the Tennessee under Brigadier General Grenville Dodge. They were subsequently placed under the command of his chief of staff, Colonel George Spencer, but continued to serve as part of Dodge's "secret service", carrying out spy missions in the occupied Southern territory.
In November 1864 they became part of the 15th Corps. In January 1865 the unit was assigned to the 3rd Division of the Cavalry Corps, occupying the Military Division of the Mississippi and then moved to the District of Northern Alabama, Department of the Cumberland in June of that year. The unit's 397 remaining soldiers were mustered out of service at Huntsville on October 20.
During the War, the 1st Alabama was involved in scouting, raiding, reconnaissance, flank guarding and screening for the army's infantry units. The unit fought at the battles of Monroe's Crossroads and Bentonville, and was present at the surrender of Joseph Johnston's Army of Tennessee at the Bennett Place. The 1st Alabama was praised by officers for its zeal and valued for its members' knowledge of local geography. General William T. Sherman selected the 1st Alabama to escort his infantry on his famous "March to the Sea" through Atlanta, Georgia.
- Ross, Steve (n.d.) "History of the 1st Alabama Cavalry, USV" 1stalabamacavalryusv.com - accessed October 28, 2013