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[634]

The First cavalry.

Captain James H. Stevenson.
When the war-cloud suddenly burst over Charleston harbor, in the early dawn of that memorable 12th of April, the loyal people of the North found the national existence threatened by armed and organized treason, without adequate preparation to meet the impending danger. It was supposed, however, that seventy-five thousand militia would be able to quell the insurrection in a very short time, and President Lincoln issued his proclamation calling out that number of men to serve for a period of three months. This levy was soon raised; but the people, having been thoroughly aroused to the danger which threatened the Union, continued to form regiment after regiment of volunteers, in anticipation of their services being needed. Some even began to organize companies for the cavalry arm of the service, but they were regarded as altogether visionary. The government threw cold water upon the cavalry movement, and plainly intimated that it could manage the rebels without that arm. Nothing discouraged, “Young America” persisted in sounding “Boots and saddles,” and many young men were found anxious to have a tilt with the “chivalry” on the “sacred soil” on horseback. Very soon, the government began to think that a regiment of volunteer cavalry might be of some service, and, accordingly, the following circular was issued:

War Department, Washington, May 1st, 1861.
to the Governors of the several States, and all whom it May concern:
I have authorized Colonel Carl Schurz to raise and organize a volunteer regiment of cavalry. For the purpose of rendering it as efficient as possible, he is


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