4th Virginia Cavalry

N-SSA Seniority Number 028-TW

The 4th Virginia Cavalry -- composed of companies from Prince William, Chesterfield, Madison, Culpeper, Powhatan, Goochland, Hanover, Warrenton, and Buckingham counties - served from First Manassas to Appomattox Court House [never surrendering its colors] participating in every major battle and campaign which involved the Army of Northern Virginia; producing three brigadier generals.

The 4th was formed at Sangster's Cross Roads in Fairfax County on 4 September 1861. After fighting at Ball's Bluff on 21 October, the unit guarded the Potomac front through the winter before moving to the Peninsula and reorganizing in April. The regiment's commanding officer -- Col. Beverly Robertson --was voted out by the regiment's 550 men in favor of Williams Carter Wickham of Hanover.

After fighting in the May, 1862 battle of Williamsburg, six companies of the 4th participated in Stuart's June "Ride Around McClellan". The companies were praised in the official reports for the gallantry during this historic raid. On 28 July the 4th's 350 troopers -- from a roster of 916 -- was assigned to Fitz Lee's brigade and a month later participated in the "Catlett Station Raid" before capturing Manassas Junction with infantry prior to Second Manassas. Crossing the Potomac on 5 September, the 4th protected the ANV's rear at South Mountain on 14 September. Returning to Virginia after Sharpsburg, the 4th numbered 411 effectives from a roll of 768 on 30 September. During the fall the 4th patrolled Loudoun, Fauquier, Stafford and Prince William counties before riding on Stuart's "Fairfax Raid" of 26-29 December, then moving to picket the Rappahannock River in February 1863.

A diary entry for 17 March 1863 simply read, "Yankees crossed at Kelly's Ford. Great Cavalry fight," which saw the 4th engaged throughout the day and received praise in several reports for its action. On 9 June the 4th rode to Stevensburg to protect Stuart's right flank and rear. During this fight, Wickham's regiment supported the 2nd South Carolina Cavalry. Unfortunately, the 2nd was driven in by the Federal onslaught into the 4th. Retreating, Colonel Wickham rallied his troopers and drove the Federals back to the Rappahannock; but not before losing fifteen wounded and 27 missing. Quit a number of troopers and officers noted the 4th's activities that day as beginning disgracefully, but ending with redemption.

In late June, the 4th screened the ANV's march to Pennsylvania, participating in numerous cavalry engagements. On 1 September, Wickham was promoted to Brigadier General and given command of the

Ist, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th regiments. On 19 October, the 4th participated in the "Buckland Races", before scouting the region between the Rappahannock and the Rapidan for the winter.

During the Wilderness campaign the 4th fought dismounted to halt Grant's move against Richmond and then rode to counter Sheridan's raiders as the Yankees rode for Richmond on 9 May. The regiment participated in the battles of Trevilian's Station, Samaria Church, and Reams' Station - as well as other engagements around Richmond - in June before being sent to the Shenandoah Valley in August. By year's end, one trooper reflected, "The men are in good spirits. There is no chance for us now, but to fight it out -and I expect we will have a rough time before we get through."

By February, the 4th was back around Richmond and participated in all the fighting that preceded the surrender at Appomattox - Five Forks, Namozine Church, Deep Creek, Amelia Springs, New Store, and Appomattox Court House - where fifty-five troopers surrendered. During the war 1,922 men rode with the 4th Virginia Cavalry while 208 were killed and 381 were wounded.

This history is taken entirely from 4th Virginia Cavalry by Kenneth L. Stiles, H.E. Howard Inc, 1985, Lynchburg, VA.