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16th Cavalry Regiment
Civil War
Sprague Light Cavalry

The following is taken from New York in the War of the Rebellion, 3rd ed. Frederick Phisterer. Albany: J. B. Lyon Company, 1912.

Left the State in detachments: June 19 to October 23, 1863
Consolidated with the 13th regiment of cavalry and designated 3rd provisional regiment of cavalry: August 17, 1865

January 17, 1863, Col. Spencer H. Olmstead, succeeded September 3, 1863, by Col. Henry M. Lazelle, received authority to recruit the Sprague Cavalry. July 27, 1863, Col. W. W. Hammill received authority to recruit the Washington Light Cavalry. July 29, 1863, Col. E. Schnepf received authority to reorganize the 20th N. Y. Volunteer Infantry, discharged by reason of the expiration of its term of service. October 14, 1863, these organizations were consolidated and the 16th Regiment of Cavalry formed, with Henry M. Lazelle as Colonel. The regiment was organized at Plattsburg, and the companies were mustered in the service of the United States for three years, at Plattsburg, A, B, C and D June 19th; E, G and H August 13th; and F August 1, 1863; at Staten Island, I September 2d; K September 22d; L October 18th, and M September 5, 1863. October 22, 1863, some of the men recruited for this, were transferred to the 18th Regiment of Cavalry.

The companies' were recruited principally: A at Plattsburg, Syracuse, Massena, Mooers, Champlain and New York city; B, C and D at Buffalo; E at Plattsburg, Buffalo and Massena; F at Troy, Ogdensburg, Plattsburg and Albany; G at Rochester, Plattsburg, Oswego and Buffalo; H at Plattsburg, Buffalo and New York city; I at New York city, Buffalo and Plattsburg; K at New York city, Mt. Pleasant, Yonkers, Greenburg, Rochester and Troy; L at New York city, Buffalo, Brooklyn, Greenburg, Schoharie and White Plains; and M at New York city and Greenburg.

Companies A, B, C and D left the State June 19, 1863; and took part in the Pennsylvania Campaign in June and July, 1863; Companies E, F, G and H, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Olmstead, left the State August 19, 1863; Companies I, K and L in September, and M October 23, 1863; the regiment served in the Cavalry Brigade of the 22d Corps, defenses of Washington, D. C., until August 17, 1865, when, commanded by Col. Nelson B. Sweitzer, it was consolidated with the I3th N. Y. Volunteer Cavalry; the new organization receiving the designation, 3d Provisional Regiment, N. Y. Volunteer Cavalry; the companies of the 16th Cavalry forming part of the companies of the consolidated force, as follows: A of H, B of C, C of I, D of K, E of D, F of B, G of A, H of L, I of E, K of M, L of F, and M of G.

During its service, the regiment lost by death, killed in action, 1 officer, 12 enlisted men; of wounds received in action, 8 enlisted men; of disease and other causes, 119 enlisted men; total, 1 officer, 139 enlisted men; aggregate, 140; of whom 44 enlisted men died in the hands of the enemy.

Battles and Casualties Table from Phisterer

Civil War Newspaper Clippings

16th Cavalry Standard 16th Cavalry Standard

16th Cavalry Marker 16th Cavalry Marker

Muster Roll

Unit Roster

Further Reading
This is meant to be a comprehensive list. If, however, you know of a resource that is not listed below, please send an email to with the name of the resource and where it is located. This can include photographs, letters, articles and other non-book materials. Also, if you have any materials in your possession that you would like to donate, the museum is always looking for items specific to New York's military heritage. Thank you.

Carson, James O. Vienna Cavalry Timeline 1861 - 1865. 2012
Contributed by the author.

Carson, James. Chasing Mosby, Killing Booth:The 16th New York Volunteer Cavalry. McFarland & Com., Inc. Publishers,Jefferson, NC, 2017.
An in-depth regimental history that draws on personal letters, diariesand memoirs by men of the 16th, and the recollections of Mosby’smen. The book covers the regiment’s service from its initial mustering andtraining through its operations against John Mosby’s Confederate Rangers whileparticipating in the defenses of Washington, DC, and the capture of Lincoln assassinJohn Wilkes Booth by a patrol of the 16th New York.

Doherty, Edward P. Papers, 1865.
Description: 19 items.
Note(s): Collection includes other material./ Bio/History: Captain, 16th New York Cavalry, during Civil War; commanded troops who captured John Wilkes Booth and David Herold, Abraham Lincoln's assassins; captain, 5th U.S. Cavalry, 1866-1870.
General Info: Organization: Arrangement: chronological./ Preferred citation: Edward P. Doherty Papers, Illinois State Historical Library./ Original or duplicate materials: Illinois State Historical Library/ Old State Capitol, Springfield, IL 62701.

Hagadorn,Francis T. Reminiscences (1863-1864). 2 volumes (3 parts).
125th New York Infantry, Co. K; 13th Connecticut Infantry; 16th New York Cavalry, Co. F.
Held at the New York State Library, Albany, NY
Collection Call Number: BD12212.

Martin, Albert G. Papers, 1863 May 29-1884 May 7.
Abstract: Martin's letters are not particularly eloquent, but are nonetheless interesting for their point of view. The anguish expressed in the first three of his letters is particularly moving, as he attempted to come to grips with the feeling that he had abandoned his mother and to console her and let her know that he intended to behave as a moral man. While in the service, Martin provides two very good, though brief, descriptions of scrapes with Mosby's Rangers, and his reactions to the desertions in his regiment and his thoughts on the war are of interest because they represent the views of a Canadian citizen, rather than a native New Yorker. Finally, the single letter written from Belle Isle stands in stark contrast to the miserable impressions of the prison found in other Union soldiers' letters: "I cant complain of the useage for we get used vary well here all is a fellow cant run about as much is if he was in his own Lines" (1863 November 6).
Located at William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan, Schoff Civil War Collection - Soldiers' Letters 41.


New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military History
Last modified: August 2, 2018

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