Company B--AKA--Company D, 2nd N. Y. Cavalry
DURING the grand
uprising of loyal men which, was the immediate result of the Union disaster at
Run, and while the infantry regiments from the Sixth to the Eleventh were forming, Major William H. Mallory of Bridgeport, who "had served from the outbreak of the war in a New York regiment known as Duryea's Zouaves, obtained from Governor Buckingham authority to recruit in Connecticut a squadron of cavalry.
At this early period the cavalry branch of the Union army was lamentably weak, and a plan wa.3 matured for raising a regiment of twelve companies for the regular service, by recruiting six squadrons from as many different States, it being agreed upon between the State authorities and the general government that each State should have the same credit for enlistments, and control of appointments in the companies it furnished as in the regiments of volunteers which it furnished complete. Under this arrangement the First Squadron of Connecticut Cavalry was recruited in August, 1861, Major Mallory being assisted in the work by Capt. Thomas B. Thornett and Lieut. Lucien H. Southard of Hartford, and Lieut. Marcus Coon of Waterbury. Before the end of August the squadron was mustered into the United States service.
Connecticut had thus fulfilled to the letter its part of the agreement, but from the date of the acceptance of the squadron by the general government that agreement was entirely ignored by the war department, and thereafter not an officer could be appointed in these companies by the Governor of Connecticut. The squadron was almost Governor of Connecticut. The squadron was almost immediately consolidated with the Second New York, otherwise known as the "Harris Light Cavalry," and Connecticut was further defrauded by the official assignment of the entire number of officers and men to the quota of New York. One result of this was that no muster-rolls or reports from these companies were forwarded to the Adjutant-General of Connecticut during all their term of service, consequently no records are now in possession of the State from which an adequate account of their service can be obtained.
While the regiment was en-route for Washington, on September 8th, near Cockeysville, Maryland, Quartermaster-Sergeant Edwin L. Lyon and Private William A. German, both of Captain Thornett's company, met death as bravely as ever soldiers could in the field. The engineer in charge of the train, who was an ardent rebel, made a desperate attempt to bring about a disaster by running the train at such a fearful rate of speed as to throw the rear cars from the track. To foil this purpose the soldiers named attempted to check the speed by manning the brakes of the rear car, but being unable to keep their footing upon the platform were thrown from the car and instantly killed. Sergeant Lyon was a nephew of Gen. Nathaniel Lyon, who fell at Wilson's Creek, Missouri, a month later, the first Union general killed in the war.
The regiment encamped on Arlington Heights, where it remained in camp of instruction until thoroughly fitted for the arduous duty it afterwards performed. It was among the very first of the volunteer cavalry regiments to prove that Union cavalry could match and overmatch the rough riders of the Confederacy. With this regiment Davies and Kilpatrick both won their first distinction as cavalry
commanders; and the rapid promotions of its Connecticut men, as also the many casualties accorded them in the rosters of the two Connecticut companies, render it matter of peculiar regret that a fair and circumstantial history of their active service cannot be given. On almost every field where the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac was engaged throughout the war, the Connecticut squadron left its record of bravery, unmarred by any sign of faltering, however hotly pressed. Among the earliest in the field, it was in at the death of the rebellion. Most of its members re-enlisted as veterans, and the organization was finally mustered out of service June 23, 1865.
Reference: Connecticut Volunteer Organizations,(Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery) in the Service of the United States 1861-1865, with additional enlistments, casualties, etc, etc, and Brief Summaries, Showing the operations and service of the several regiments and batteries. Prepared from records in the Adjutant-General's Office.
C.M. INGERSOL, Adjutant-general.