Troop D, 1st Nevada Cavalry
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.
When reenacting in Nevada, the troopers and horses of the NCWV portray Troop D of the 1st Nevada Cavalry.
Company F, 7th Michigan Cavalry
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.
When reenacting outside of Nevada, the Nevada Civil War Volunteers portray Company F of the 7th Michigan Cavalry.
The Horse Soldiers of Today
Troop D of the 1st Nevada Cavalry (aka Company F, 7th Michigan Cavalry) is a unit within the Nevada Civil War Volunteers in the Northern Nevada/California area. Our mission is to keep the tradition of the American Cavalryman alive. We focus on the glory years of the U.S. Cavalry from 1846-1946. We have served as the Nevada Governor's Mounted Honor Guard, provided funeral honor guards, and presented colors. We primarily participate in reenactments ranging from the Civil War all the way to World War II.
The Nevada Civil War Volunteers, is a non-profit 501c-3's based out of Northern Nevada and North/Central California. Many of our members compete in the military seat, a competition testing many military equestrian skills including saber combat, mounted shooting, horse jumping, and overall horsemanship. We also compete in cowboy mounted shooting with the Great Basin Pistoleers. Some of our members serve as members of the Mounted Unit of the Carson City Sheriff's Office. Each year we ride in many parades throughout Northern Nevada and California. Our members also volunteer their time to teach American history to local schools. The most important thing we do is pay homage to the U.S. Cavalryman, and the hundreds of years old tradition of the American Soldier.
Troop D has detachments in multiple locations: Detachment 1 operates from Reno, NV; Detachment 2 operates from Visalia, CA; Detachment 3 operates from Henderson, NV.
If horses charging, the beating of drums, the sound of the fife and the call of the bugle stir something in your soul, come join us!
The Red Scarf
In early 1863, Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer assumed command of the Michigan Cavalry Brigade. To add color to his uniform, he would wear a bright red scarf made of silk. As his men grew to love him, they decided to adopt his wear of the red tie. The call went out, and within a month, every man in the brigade was wearing the red scarf. The scarf went on to become a symbol of the Michigan Wolverines, as it was distinguishable across the field and known throughout both Armies.
The painting to the left is of the Michigan Cavalry Brigade charging on East Cavalry Field at Gettysburg, as Custer yells, "Come on you Wolverines!"
Today, the red scarf is earned by merit of riding into battle with the 7th Michigan Cavalry, whether in Nevada, California, Michigan or Pennsylvania.
The Nevada Horse Soldiers in Action
Troop D Headquarters Team
CPT Mike Creager
Senior Enlisted Leader:
1SG Tom Harris