17 January 2007 by Published in: Union Cavalry 8 comments

A fellow named Tony Larson posted several comments on this blog today. Mr. Larson appears to be a first-time poster, and his comments were very interesting. Mr. Larson’s blog exists to support Republican causes, and this is a VERY blue blog. I won’t hold Mr. Larson’s political beliefs against him, as his comments directed me to a Civil War cavalry regiment I had never heard of previously.

The comments, which can be found appended to this post, provide profiles of several Republican politicians who were Civil War veterans (including William P. Lord of the 1st Delaware Cavalry, who was mentioned in my profile of Maj. Napoleon Bonaparte Knight). One of those comments referred to the 1st Oregon Cavalry. I had never heard of the 1st Oregon Cavalry prior to read Mr. Larson’s comments this evening.

Here’s the entry on this unit from Wikipedia:

1st Oregon Volunteer Cavalry Regiment

The First Regiment, Oregon Cavalry was a regiment in the volunteer Union army that participated in the American Civil War. With many men recruited from California, the regiment primarily served to protect the state of Oregon and surrounding territories in the Pacific Coast Theater of the American Civil War.

The initial part of the regiment (companies A through F) was organized and mustered into the army in Oregon from February to April 1862. In May 1862, it was sent into the Washington Territory to the Walla Walla country to protect immigrants and miners along the Salmon River. The 1st Oregon occupied Fort Walla Walla in June 1862 and sent out various expeditions over the next two years to fight the Snake Indians and other threats. Hence, the regiment was rarely intact as a single unit for much of the war. Several companies scattered to other frontier forts, including Fort Vancouver and Fort Dalles (see also The Dalles, Oregon) for detached duty such as constructing roads through the wilderness.

In January 1863, the remaining portion of the regiment (companies G, H, I, K, and M) were authorized and activated for duty. Companies G and H served at Camp Watson on Rock Creek, Oregon; Company I was at Fort Klamath, Company K at Fort Dalles and Companies L and M at Fort Boles in Idaho Territory. The battalion came together for several skirmishes in the Harney Lake Valley and other locations with local Indians.

In January 1865, Col. Reuben F. Maury, 1st Oregon Cavalry, assumed command of the Federal District of Oregon.

The 1st Oregon Cavalry mustered out November 20, 1866.

Until this evening, I never even knew that this regiment existed. Never mind that it never fired a shot in anger at a Confederate soldier. They were still Union cavalrymen and entitled to recognition as such.

Thank you for making me aware of this regiment, Mr. Larson.

Scridb filter


  1. Thu 18th Jan 2007 at 2:29 am

    Glad you mentioned the 1st Oregon. I lived in Walla Walla for many years and reside near Ft. Vancouver now. I love visiting the fort. We always get 1st Oregon reenactors there every summer. As far as I know, no one has written a formal regimental history of the unit..at least a decent halfway modern one.

    Ft. Walla Walla is an interesting visit as well. The post cemetary has lots of graves from Indian Wars battles like White Bird Canyon.


  2. Paul Taylor
    Thu 18th Jan 2007 at 8:01 am


    Speaking of the Civil War and politics, perhaps you and others can confirm or dispel some generalizations.

    It seems the Democratic and Republican parties, as we view them today, do not occupy the same roles as they did during the Civil War, especially in context of the great social issue of the day: slavery. The Republican party, especially its Radical wing, was more akin to today’s far left. They were the “progressives” of their day, especially with their strong push for abolition.

    The Democrats and the McClellan wing were the “conservatives” of their time, believing the war was only about the preservation of Union, i.e. maintaining the status quo.

    Lincoln, though officially a Republican, was much more of a moderate pragmatist (centrist), occassionally leaning one way or the other.

    Yet, the comparison of then versus now seems more in line when looking at the war itself and how it was fought. I’m sure we’ve all read the essays comparing the tribulations and timeframes Bush and Lincoln have both shared. I read another very interesting one comparing today’s far left anti-war stance to the Civil War’s Copperheads.



  3. Thu 18th Jan 2007 at 2:01 pm


    You are correct that the parties essentially switched roles, this happened sometime around the 1920s.

    Bu politicians rarley act as thier parties would like them. George Bush Sr acted far more like a Democrat with his thoudsand points of light speech and his almost JFK economic policies.

    Trying to compare the parties after 150 years is like reading palms, it is entertaining, but not much else.


  4. Thu 18th Jan 2007 at 2:54 pm



    And it’s not the first flip-flop. The Federalists were more like the modern Democrats, while the Democratic-Republicans were more like the modern Republicans. It’s a very interesting dynamic.


  5. Mark
    Tue 11th May 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Companies L and M, First Cavalry Oregon Voluteers was at Fort Boise misspelled as Fort Boles.
    HBC Fort Boise was near the confluence of the Boise and Snake Rivers.
    U.S. Fort Boise is in the present City of Boise, Idaho.

  6. Chris
    Thu 05th Jul 2012 at 4:46 pm

    I know this is a very old thread, but hopefully new comments come up for you. I recently read an article in a late 2009 issue of the Oregon Historical Quarterly about the First Oregon Cavalry and that led me to poke around the web. There is tidbits of information out there, some good some bad, but I did not find what I was looking for -the article implied the author was working on a book on the same unit. I was wondering if you, with a closer ear to the Civil War ground, knew about someone working on such a book. As someone who lived in the Seattle area for many years the topic was new to me and I would like to learn more.


  7. Terry Foenander
    Sun 03rd Feb 2013 at 4:34 pm

    Just as a matter of interest, one member of the 1st Oregon Cavalry, James Francis Kenney, died in Melbourne, Australia.

  8. Eric
    Tue 19th Nov 2013 at 7:22 am

    I have a tintype photo of Sgt. Edward Brown. E Company 1st Oregon Cav. He enlisted in Oregon City on 12-27-1862. Died 9-25-1863 at Ft Boise Idaho of Consumption. He was born in Pennsylvania and was age 35 at time of death. I to am working on this unit as a project. I would like to possibly write about it.

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