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 Unit History

              9th Virginia Cavalry, Company B        

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                                         9th Virginia Cavalry Regimental Colors

 

Img14.pngThe 9th Virginia Cavalry and Company B has its origins in a volunteer militia organization first formed in Caroline County, Virginia in 1859.  Company B of the 9th Virginia Cavalry was formally enlisted on May 6, 1861, and was known as the Caroline Light Dragoons.  The regiment's first commander was Colonel John E. Johnston.  He was succeeded by Colonel W.F. "Rooney" Lee (Robert E. Lee's son) when the regiment was reorganized in early 1862.  In June of that year, Company B led General J.E.B. Stuart's infamous "Ride Around McClellan's Army of the Potomac."  In October, Colonel Lee was promoted to Brigadier General and given command of a cavalry brigade.  Colonel R.L.T. Beale was appointed to command the regiment.  The 9th Virginia Cavalry Regiment with the Caroline Light Dragoons joined Robert E. Lee for his Seven Days Offensive (June 25 - July 1, 1862).  This series of battles thwarted Major General George B. McClellan's Peninsula Campaign that intended to take the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia.  In November 1862, the 9th Virginia made a daring raid into Pennsylvania, overwhelming and capturing the entire Federal force at Leedstown.  On December 11 & 12, 1862, the 9th Virginia supported Pelham's Artillery at Fredericksburg, Virginia.

In June 1863, the 9th Virginia held the left flank at Brandy Station, the single largest mounted cavalry battle ever fought on the American continent, some 17,000 cavalry soldiers.  Brigadier General "Rooney" Lee's brigade, which included the 9th Virginia, charged the Federal right.  Driving the 6th Pennsylvania from the field, the 9th Virginia Cavalry ended Federal Brigadier General John Buford's attempt to disrupt General Robert E. Lee's attempt to concentrate the Army of Northern Virginia to prepare for an invasion of the North.  The 9th Virginia was again engaged in a cavalry battle on July 3, 1863, just east of Gettysburg at the East Cavalry Field and the Rommel Farm about the same time as Pickett's fateful charge up Cemetery Ridge.  On July 6, 1863, Major General J.E.B. Stuart lauded the 9th Virginia for it's "Marked Gallantry" in the charging of the Union guns at Hagerstown during the Gettysburg Campaign.

The 9th Virginia next served as skirmishers for the entire line as Manassas on October 1, 1863.  On March 2, 1864, elements of the 9th Virginia sprung an ambush on 100 Federal cavalry soldiers under the command of Colonel Ulric Dahlgren (21-year-old son of Admiral John Dahlgren, USN) near Walkerton, Virginia.  Colonel Dahlgren was killed and his entire command captured.  On June 1, the 9th Virginia smashed the federal opposition at Ashland, Virginia.  By August 14, the 9th Virginia was with Generals Chambliss and Fitzhugh Lee at White's Tavern.  On August 25, the 9th Virginia distinguished itself at the Battle of Reams Station where the Confederate forces shattered Federal General Kautz and effectively ended the Wilson-Kautz Raid on the Confederate rail lines.  It was said that the 9th Virginia Cavalry "covered itself all over with glory".

With the Army of Northern Virginia to the very end, the 9th Virginia Cavalry held the left flank as the 14th Virginia Cavalry made the last charge of the Confederacy at Appomattox on April 9, 1865.  These brave and faithful American soldiers stood by their country and cause to the very end.

For more information:

The Virginia Regimental Historical Series:  9th Virginia Cavalry by Robert K. Krick

History of the Ninth Virginia Cavalry in the War Between the States by R. L. T. Beale

A Lieutenant of Cavalry in Lee's Army  by G. W. Beale

"Commands: The 9th Virginia Served as the Eyes and Ears for J.E.B. Stuart, "Stonewall" Jackson and Robert E. Lee" by Dennis S. Gallahan, America's Civil War, September 2005

"Ten Days in July:  The Pursuit to the Potomac" by Ted Alexander, North & South, August 1999

 

McGregor's Battery Horse Artillery

 

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Official Confederate records and other documentary sources list William Morrell McGregor as commander of the 2nd Stuart Horse Artillery Battery from November, 1862 to early 1865. None of Stuart's battery commanders could match that record of service. It was truly -McGregor's Battery.

 

On June 4, 1861, 21-year-old McGregor, a lawyer from Talladega, Alabama, enlisted as a private and served with Company E, 10th Alabama Infantry Regiment until transferred to J.E.B. Stuart's Horse Artillery December 20, 1861 at Darnsville, Virginia. At that time and early in 1862, the Horse Artillery was in the Cavalry Brigade, Reserve Division under G.W.Smith in T. J. Jackson's command. It was called simply, Stuart Horse Artillery with six guns commanded by handsome young Captain John Pelham.

 

In April, 1862 the unit was detached from the Reserve Artillery and placed in its own category as Stuart's Cavalry Brigade, called Pelham's Horse Battery; it listed eight guns and 1,289 men. This was the first in a series of changes in organization of Stuart's Artillery Battalion which continued throughout the war.

 

By 1862 Stuart's Cavalry Brigade had two batteries, Stuart's horse Artillery commanded by Pelham and Chew's Battery commanded by Captain R. Preston Chew. In November, the dashing cavalry chieftain had five batteries, and after some shuffling of commanders, the name McGregor appeared in charge of the new 2nd Stuart Horse Artillery.

 

From this period to War's end, McGregor retained command of the 2nd until he was given his own battalion. A Biographical sketch stated "because of his gallantry and courage noted by his officers, promotion speedily followed." He moved through the ranks, ultimately becoming major. In March, 1865 final reorganization resulted in five artillery battalions; McGregor was given command of the second, consisting of two batteries which with, it is believed, three three-inch guns.

 

Thus, William McGregor, in less than four years, rose from private to major commanding an artillery battalion-a decimated battalion, but a battalion nonetheless. He fought in all major and most minor engagements involving Stuart's artillery. Doubtless, the toll on Confederate artillerymen had much to do with his meteoric rise. But, while not as flamboyant as Pelham or Pegram, he evinced skill and courage to match them-and a measure of luck, too.

 

While he received wounds causing him to limp for the rest of his life, he was still full of fight when Lee surrendered. Parole lists at Appomattox do not include any of McGregor's command; it is believed he joined General Johnston with a large detachment of horse artillery under Col. Chew who escaped with Rosser's Cavalry Division and reported to Greensboro, North Carolina April 30, 1865. however, the unit was not permitted to engage in hostilities against Sherman for it was felt it was an integral part of Lee's army and, therefore, considered surrendered. McGregor's unit was later paroled with Johnston's troops.

 

 


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Last updated 28 January 2009
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