Volunteers at drill: a New York regiment It was New York State that furnished the first volunteer cavalry regiment to the Union--Autumn, 1861. The fleet horsemen of the Confederacy soon taught the North the need of improving that arm of the service. But it requires time to train an efficient trooper, and the Union cavalrymen were helpless at first when opposed to the natural horsemen of the South. After a purgatory of training they were hurried into the field, often to fall victims to some roving body of Confederates who welcomed the opportunity to appropriate superior arms and equipment. The regiment in this photograph is the Thirteenth New York Cavalry at Prospect Hill, Virginia. They are no longer raw troopers but have become the “eyes” of Washington and its chief protection against the swift-riding Mosby and his men. The troopers were drilled on foot as well as mounted.
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