The Regiment

At the outbreak of war, the Regular U.S. Cavalry consisted of five regiments. These were the 1st and 2nd Regiments of Dragoons, 1st and 2nd Regiments of Cavalry, and the Regiment of Mounted Rifles.

A regiment was composed of five squadrons of two troops each. In 1861 when a third cavalry regiment was raised it was of six squadrons. Following this the regiments were re-numbered in sequence one to six, and all were made up of six squadrons, each of two troops, or companies as they were called, until 1881.

A company was at first 100 troopers strong with a Captain, 1st Lieutenant, 2nd Lieutenant and supernumerary Lieutenant. In 1863 this was changed to companies of 82-100 men and the supernumerary Lieutenant was dropped. The squadron organization was replaced by battalions, usually of four companies, when troops were detached for service elsewhere.

The Regiment was commanded by a Colonel, with a staff of a Lieutenant-Colonel, three Majors, an Adjutant, Quartermaster Commissary (usually Lieutenants) and a Surgeon and assistant. In addition the Regimental NCOs were a Sergeant-Major, Quartermaster Commissary Sergeant, Saddler Sergeant, Chief Farrier or Blacksmith, and two Hospital Stewards.

A company included a 1st Sergeant, Quartermaster-Sergeant, Commissary Sergeant, 5 Sergeants, 8 Corporals, 2 Teamsters, 2 Farriers, 1 Saddler, 1 Waggoner and 2 Musicians.

The strengths given are the theoretical strengths, seldom actually achieved, or maintained on campaign.

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