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[637]

They had not long to wait, for, on the 18th of August, not quite one month from the date of their muster into service, Boyd's company were sent on a scout toward Mount Vernon. While they were feeling their way through a large woods, in the vicinity of Pohick church, they suddenly came upon a squadron of the famous “Black Horse cavalry” drawn up in line on a broad road ready to receive them. Captain Boyd placed himself at the head of his company, and at once commanded it to “charge!” The boys answered with a yell, and dashed upon the foe, who confidently expected to see them run at the very sight of such an array. So sudden and so unexpected was the onset, that the enemy had only time to fire one volley before the “blue jackets” were upon them, when, marvelous to relate, they broke and fled in confusion. Boyd's men pursued them several miles, putting two of them hors du combat, and then returned to Alexandria to report to General Franklin what they had done. The General was delighted, and at once notified General McClellan, who reviewed the company on the 22d of August, and complimented Captain Boyd and his officers and men for their gallant conduct. The charm was broken, and that company never afterward had any dread of the Confederate cavalry. In this charge, Captain Boyd lost one man killed, Jacob Erwin, who is now buried in the Odd Fellows' Cemetery, in Philadelphia. He was the first cavalryman killed in the rebellion, and this was the first charge made by volunteer cavalry. So much for Pennsylvania.

Boyd's company was then attached to General Franklin's headquarters, and was the pet of the whole division commanded by that gallant soldier. When the regiment to which the company belonged was authorized to be raised, the government supposed it would not require any more volunteer cavalry, and that regiment was to be known as the First United States Volunteer Cavalry. But when it was determined to call out a large force of this arm, the government declined to have anything to do with volunteers, and this regiment found itself without a patron. At this juncture a controversy arose between Governor Morgan, of New York, and Governor Curtin, of Pennsylvania, as to the proprietorship of the regiment, which was decided in favor of New York, she having raised ten out of the twelve companies. We had been called the “Lincoln cavalry” up to that time; but after that we were known as the First New York (Lincoln) Cavalry. Captain Boyd then made several efforts to get his company transferred to a Pennsylvania regiment, but without success. Governor Curtin had designated the company as the Tenth Pennsylvania cavalry during the controversy with

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