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The Rushslancers

THE SIXTH PENNSYLVANIA CAVALRY

“RUSH’S LANCERS”

The men of the Sixth Pennsylvania were the cream of Philadelphia society. Most of the officers came from the leading families of the City of Brotherly Love. Many of them served in the First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry, a militia unit that was originally formed to serve as George Washington’s personal body guard during the Revolutionary War. These bright, talented young men left their mark on many battlefield of the Civil War, earning them the proud title of “the Seventh Regulars.”

This regiment, raised mostly in Philadelphia was one of the finest volunteer cavalry regiments of the American Civil War, the Lancers had a storied history marked by hard combat and long marches.

“A superb regiment, noted for intelligence, bravery and stalwart service, the 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry was an elite outfit, in the truest sense. That they were accepted and admired by the Regulars, alongside whom they served on many a hard-fought field, speaks volumes of the gallantry and dash of these sons of the Keystone State.” Historian Brian C. Pohanka, February, 2000.

Matthew Brady took this photograph in May 1863. It depicts Company I of the Lancers, then serving as headquarters escort for Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker, the commander of the Army of the Potomac. If you click on the photo, you can get a larger view. Note the stacked lances in the background. The man in civilian garb on the left side of the photograph is the famous war time artist Alfred Waud. (photo courtesy of Library of Congress)

CAMPAIGNS OF THE SIXTH PENNSYLVANIA CAVALRY

 The Sixth Pennsylvania Cavalry was also known by its nickname or local designation of Rush’s Lancers.  In addition to this name, the regiment, like almost all Civil War units, was frequently known by an alternate designation derived from the name of its commanding officer.  Names of this type used by or for the regiment are shown below.

                                                Richard H. Rush’s Cavalry

                                                Charles L. Leiper’s Cavalry

                                                John H. McArthur’s Cavalry

                                                C. Ross Smith’s Cavalry

                                                Albert P. Morrow’s Cavalry

                                                Robert Morris, Jr.’s Cavalry

                                                John H. Gardner’s Cavalry

                                                George H. Clymer’s Cavalry

                                                Henry C. Whelan’s Cavalry

                                                J. Henry Hazeltine’s Cavalry

                                                William P.C. Treichel’s Cavalry

                                                James Starr’s Cavalry

                                                Abraham D. Price’s Cavalry

                                                Charles B. Coxe’s Cavalry

                                                Bernard H. Harkness’s Cavalry

 On December 10, 1861, the Sixth Pennsylvania Cavalry was ordered to Washington, D.C.  There it joined the Army of the Potomac.  It served on provost duty with that Army until the following May, remaining with the Army of the Potomac until August 1864.  It then joined the Army of the Shenandoah.  In November 1864, the regiment returned to service in that Army for the remainder of its career.  Listed below are the specific higher command assignments of the regiment.

Emory’s Brigade, Cooke’s Cavalry Division, Cavalry Reserve, Army of the PotomacDec. 1861-July 1862
Emory’s Second Brigade, Cavalry Division, Army of the PotomacJuly 1862-Aug. 1862
Third Brigade, Pleasonton’s Cavalry Division, Army of the PotomacJuly 1862-Nov. 1862
Headquarters, Left Grand Division, Army of the PotomacNov. 1862-Feb. 1863
Reserve Brigade, Cavalry Corps, Army of the PotomacFeb. 1863-June 1863
Reserve Brigade, First Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the PotomacJune 1863-Aug. 1864
Third (Reserve) Brigade, First Cavalry Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the ShenandoahAug. 1864-Nov. 1864
Third (Reserve) Brigade, First Cavalry Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the PotomacNov. 1864-June 1865

The Sixth Pennsylvania Cavalry participated in a large number of various engagements during its career.  These are identified below.

Scout to Hunter’s Mills, VAMarch 19, 1862
Advance from Fortress Monroe to Yorktown, VAMay 3-5, 1862
Reconnaissance to New Castle and Hanovertown Ferry, VAMay 22, 1862
Reconnaissance to Hanover Court House, VAMay 24, 1862
Skirmish, Hanover Court House, VA (Company C)May 25, 1862
Operations about Hanover Court House, VAMay 27-29, 1862
Skirmish, Hanover Court House, VA (Company A)May 27, 1862
Occupation, Ashland, VAMay 30, 1862
Reconnaissance to Hanover Court House, VAJune 10-12, 1862
Operations against Stuart’s Raid about White House, VAJune 12-15, 1862
Skirmish, Garlick’s Landing, Pamunkey River, VAJune 13, 1862
Seven Days Battles, VAJune 25-July 1, 1862
Affair, Beaver Dam Station, VA (Companies B, C, G, and H)June 26, 1862
Battles, Gaines Mill, Cold Harbor, Chickahominy, VAJune 27, 1862
Battle, Glendale, Frazier’s Farm, Charles City Crossroads, New Market Crossroads, Willis Church, VAJune 30, 1862
Battle, Malvern Hill, Crew’s Farm, VA (Company F)July 1, 1862
Skirmishes, Falls Church, VASept. 2-4, 1862
Maryland CampaignSept. 6-22, 1862
Skirmish, South Mountain, MDSept. 13, 1862
Skirmish, Jefferson, MDSept. 13, 1862
Battle, Crampton’s Gap, South Mountain, MD (Companies B, G, and I)Sept. 14, 1862
Battle, Antietam, Sharpsburg, MD (Companies, B, G, and I)Sept. 16-17, 1862
Action, Sharpsburg, Shepherdstown, and Blackford’s Ford (Boteler’s Ford) and Williamsport, MDSept. 19, 1862
Operations in Loudoun, Fauquier, and Rappahannock Counties, VAOct. 26-Nov. 10, 1862
Actions, Bloomfield and Upperville, VANov. 2-3, 1862
Battle, Fredericksburg, VADec. 12-15, 1862
Skirmish, Occoquan River, VA (Companies B and G)Dec. 19, 1862
Burnside’s “Mud March”, VA (Companies A, D and E)Jan. 20-24, 1863
Chancellorsville CampaignApril 27-May 6, 1863
Stoneman’s Raid, VA (Company L)April 29-May 8, 1863
Skirmish, Raccoon Ford, VA (detachment)April 30, 1863
Engagement, Brandy Station and Beverly Ford, VAJune 9, 1863
Reconnaissance to Ashby’s Gap, VA (Company A)June 14, 1863
Gettysburg CampaignJune 9-July 24, 1863
Skirmish, Greencastle, PAJune 20, 1863
Battle, Gettysburg, PAJuly 1-3, 1863
Action, Williamsport, MDJuly 6, 1863
Action, Boonsborough, MDJuly 8, 1863
Skrimishes at and near Funkstown, MDJuly 10-13, 1863
Skirmish, Aldie, VA (detachment)July 11, 1863
Skirmishes, Kelly’s Ford, VAJuly 31-Aug. 1, 1863
Action, Brandy Station, VAAug. 1, 1863
Advance from the Rappahannock to the Rapidan, VASept. 13-17, 1863
Bristoe CampaignOct. 9-22, 1863
Skirmish, Manassas Junction, VAOct. 17, 1863
Skirmish, Bristoe Station, Kettle Run, VAOct. 18, 1863
Advance to the line of the Rappahannock, VANov. 7-8, 1863
Mine Run Campaign, VANov. 26-Dec. 2, 1863
Demonstration on the Rapidan, VAFeb. 5-7, 1864
Custer’s Raid in Albemarle County, VAFeb. 26-Mar. 1, 1864
Skirmish near Charlottesville, VAFeb. 29, 1864
Skirmish, Burton’s Ford, Rapidan River, VAMarch 1, 1864
Skirmish, Stannardsville, VAMarch 1, 1864
Wilderness CampaignMay 4-June 12, 1864
Engagement, Todd’s Tavern, VAMay 7-8, 1864
Sheridan’s Raid from Todd’s Tavern to the James River, VAMay 9-24, 1864
Engagement, Ground Squirrel Church, South Anna River, and Yellow Tavern, Richmond, VA (separate detachments involved in separate actions)May 11, 1864
Engagement, Meadow Bridge, Chickahominy River, VAMay 12, 1864
Combat, Mechanicsville, VAMay 12, 1864
Operations on the line of the Pamunkey River, VAMay 26-28, 1864
Action, Hanovertown, Pamunkey River, VAMay 27, 1864
Skirmish, Hanovertown Ferry, VAMay 27, 1864
Operations on the line of the Totopotomoy River, VAMay 28-31, 1864
Engagement, Old Church, VAMay 30, 1864
Action, Mattadequin Creek, VAMay 30, 1864
Combat, Bethesda Church, VAMay 31-June 1, 1864
Engagement, Cold Harbor, VAMay 31-June 1, 1864
Skirmish, McClellan’s Bridge, VAJune 2, 1864
Skirmishes, Haw’s Shop, VAJune 4-5, 1864
Sheridan’s Trevillian Raid, VAJune 7-24, 1864
Battle, Trevillian Station, Central R.R., VAJune 11-12, 1864
Action, Newark (Mallory’s Cross Roads), VAJune 12, 1864
Action, Black River (Tunstall’s Station) and White House (St. Peter’s Church), VAJune 21, 1864
Action, Jones’ Bridge, VAJune 23, 1864
Siege operations against Petersburg and Richmond, VAJuly 4-30, 1864
Demonstration on the North Side of the James River and Engagements at Deep Bottom (Darbytown), Strawberry Plains, and New Market Road, VAJuly 27-29, 1864
Engagement, Charles City Cross Roads, VAJuly 27-28, 1864
Engagement, Malvern Hill, VAJuly 28, 1864
Sheridan’s Campaign in the Shenandoah Valley, VAAug. 7-Nov. 28, 1864
Action near Stone Chapel, VAAug. 10, 1864
Action, Toll Gate near White Post, VAAug. 11, 1864
Action near Newtown, VAAug. 11, 1864
Skirmish near Strasburg, VAAug. 14, 1864
Skirmish, Summit Point, WVAug. 21, 1864
Skirmish, Summit Point, WVAug. 23-24, 1864
Action near Keraneysville, WVAug. 25, 1864
Skirmishes, Leetown and Smithfield, WVAug. 28, 1864
Engagement, Smithfield, Crossing of the Opequon, WVAug. 29, 1864
Sheridan’s Expedition from Winchester, VAFeb. 27-March 25, 1865
Engagement, Waynesborough, VAMarch 2, 1865
Appomattox Campaign, VAMarch 28-April 9, 1865
Skirmishes on the line of Hatcher’s and Gravelly Runs, VAMarch 30, 1865
Engagement, Dinwiddie Court House, VAMarch 30-31, 1865
Battle, Five Forks, VAApril 1, 1865
Action, Scott’s Cross Roads, VAApril 2, 1865
Skirmish, Tabernacle Church (Beaver Dam Creek), VAApril 4, 1865
Engagement, Sailor’s Creek, VAApril 6, 1865
Engagement, Appomattox Station, VAApril 8, 1865
Engagement, Clover Hill, Appomattox Court House, VAApril 9, 1865
Surrender, Appomattox Court House, VAApril 9, 1865
Expedition from Burkesville and Petersburg to Danville and South Boston, VAApril 23-29, 1865

On May 2, 1865 the regiment was ordered from Danville to Washington.  On May 23, 1865, it took part in the Grand Review of Eastern Armies held there.  The regiment was consolidated with the First and Seventeenth Pennsylvania Cavalry Regiments on June 17, 1865 to form the Second Pennsylvania Provisional Cavalry.  This regiment was moved to Louisville and Lebanon, Kentucky, a short time later.  It was mustered out of Federal service at Lebanon on August 7, 1865.

 During its career, the Sixth Pennsylvania Cavalry sustained the loss of seven officers and seventy-one enlisted men killed or mortally wounded.  An additional three officers and eighty-six enlisted men died from disease or other non-battlefield causes.

 The Congressional Medal of Honor was awarded to Capt. Frank Furness for his actions at Trevillian Station, Virginia, June 12, 1864.  A quote from his citation is indicated below:

…voluntarily carried a box of ammunition across an open field swept by the enemy’s fire to the relief of an outpost whose ammunition had been almost exhausted, but which was thus able to hold its important position…

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