The 7th Regiment of Michigan Cavalry was mustered into service at Grand Rapids, Michigan, in October of 1862. It was then sent into service in the Army of the Potomac, and joined with the 1st, 5th, and 6th Michigan Cavalry Regiments in the 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, Cavalry Corps.
This brigade, dubbed The Michigan Cavalry Brigade, served under Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer. The regiment suffered 4 officers and 81 enlisted men killed in action or mortally wounded and 2 officers and 256 enlisted men who died of disease, for a total of 343 fatalities during the war. The Regiment was engaged in the Battles of The Wilderness, Yellow Tavern, Cedar Creek, Five Forks, Kilpatrick's Raids, Appomattox, and Gettysburg. After Gettysburg, the brigade received the nickname 'Wolverines' from General Custer.
The 7th Michigan was also know as his 'saber boys', as they were deployed more on horseback for hand to hand combat as opposed to dismounting and fighting on foot. The defining characteristic of the brigade was the wearing of red scarves as a sign of respect and adoration for General Custer who wore a large red cravat. The men of Company F were mostly from Hillsdale and Barry Counties.
While the American Civil War raged in the East, the citizens of the Territory of Nevada frantically worked to achieve statehood. In 1863 they received clearance from the War Department to raise a battalion of cavalry to protect the area from hostile Indians threatening the Overland Mail Route and the California Trail. On June 17, 1863, in Virginia City, Nevada, the 1st Battalion, Nevada Territorial Volunteer Cavalry was mustered into service. The battalion was stationed at Fort Churchill, Nevada, featured in the photo on the left. Of the six troops making up the battalion, Troop D was the largest, with a total strength of 152 men.
Troop D was raised in Gold Hill, and Captain Milo George became its first commanding officer. However, soon after Captain George was promoted to Major, with command of Camp Nye, located in Carson City. To replace him, Captain Almond B. Wells was promoted to command Troop D. It was under Captain Wells that Troop D first went out on the trail for the Expedition to the Humboldt River, which lasted 84 days and covered over 1,200 miles. Their next engagement came in March of 1865 when Troops D and E were sent out to investigate Indian trouble near Mud Lake. Near the lake, Captain Wells and Troop D found the hostile Smoke Creek Paiutes, surrounded them, and killed 29 of them in their attempted escape.
Two months later, Captain Wells and 35 men of Troop D found a group of over 500 Paiute, Shoshone, and Bannock braves on top of Godfrey’s Mountain. Along with Troop E, Troop D fought the force until nightfall, when both sides withdrew from the area. Indian Trouble continued for the rest of the summer, and at the end, on November 18, 1865, Troop D was formally mustered out of service. By the end of 1866, the rest of the 1st Battalion, Nevada Volunteer Cavalry had been mustered out of service. The battalion would once again be reactivated for the Spanish American War, and later was formed into the Nevada National Guard. The unit is still alive today in the form of the 1st Battalion, 221st Cavalry, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment.
The Company F of today is organized militarily as a company would be in the American Civil War. Our Commanding Officer is a Captain. Below him is a 1st Sergeant who serves as the second in command and senior enlisted soldier. He is responsible for the Adjutant, Artillery NCO, and the Dismount NCO. The Adjutant serves as the chief for clerical matters, and holds the rank of Corporal. The Artillery NCO holds the rank of Sergeant and is responsible for the half section of artillery attached to Company F. The Dismount NCO holds the rank of Sergeant and is responsible for the dismounted contingent for the unit.
Our Medical Detachment is Commanded by a 1st Lieutenant, who is periodically loaned to the Brigade to care for the wounded.