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6th Cavalry Regiment
Civil War
Ira Harris Cavalry; Second Ira Harris Guard

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

This regiment was organized originally by Col. O. De Forrest for the Ira Harris Cavalry Brigade, under special authority from the War Department, at New York city, and was, after having been turned over to the State, November 20, 1861, designated the Sixth Regiment of Cavalry, with Thomas C. Devin as Colonel. The companies were mustered in the service of the United States: At New York city, Company A September 12th, B September 27th, D September 28th, and I November 2d; at Staten Island, Company E October 3d, F October 24th, H October 28th, L November 6th, K and M December 19th; at Rochester, Company C September 29th, and at Binghamton, Company G October 24, 1861. At the expiration of its term of service those entitled thereto were discharged and the regiment retained in service.

The companies were recruited principally: A at New York city and Cohoes and Boston, Mass.; B and L at New York city; C at Rochester, Cohocton, Geneseo, Hornells-ville and Dansville; D at Troy, Cherry Valley, Granville and New York city; E at New York city, Albany, Watertown, Cherry Valley, Salt Springs and Cape Vincent; F at New York city and Poughkeepsie; G at Binghamton, Rochester, Hornellsville and Albion; H at New York city, Dover Plains and Washington; I at New York city, Cuba, Franklin-ville, Gouverneur, Angelica and Binghamton; K at Ogdensburg, Geneseo, Lisbon and Canton; and M at Kinderhook and Hudson.

The regiment left the State December 23, 1861, commanded by Col. Thomas C. Devin, appointed in November, 1861, and served at York, Pa., from that time. In March, 1862, Companies D and K, and F and H, 3d Battalion, were mounted and assigned, two each, to the 2d and 4th Corps, Army of the Potomac, respectively; the 1st and 2d Battalions were attached to General Wadsworth's command, and mounted in May, 1862. Companies D and K served with the 2d Corps until July, 1863; in the Department of Washington until October, 1863; and F and H with the 4th Corps until August, 1863, when they rejoined the regiment. The 1st and 2d Battalions served with the 9th Corps from August, 1862 (Company A with the 6th Corps in September, 1862) ; in the 2d Brigade, Pleasanton's Cavalry Division, Right Grand Division, Army of the Potomac, from December, 1862; in the 2d Brigade, 1st Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac, from February, 1863 (Companies B and C with 9th Corps in January and February, 1863; a detachment with 22d Corps in July and August, 1863) ; with the Army of the Shenandoah from October, 1864; and with the Army of the Potomac from March 26, 1865.

June 17, 1865, under command of Col. Charles L. Fitzhugh, the regiment was consolidated into eight companies, and these, with the 15th N. Y. Volunteer Cavalry, formed into a new organization known as the "2d Provisional Regiment, N. Y. Volunteer Cavalry," becoming Companies A, B, C, D, E, I, L and M of the latter.

During its service the regiment lost, by death, killed in action, 5 officers, 49 enlisted men; of wounds received in action, 4 officers, 24 enlisted men; of disease and other causes, 133 enlisted men; total, 9 officers, 206 enlisted men; aggregate, 215; of whom 36 enlisted men died in the hands of the enemy.

Battles and Casualties Table from Phisterer

Monument at Gettysburg

Historical Sketch

Samuel Fanshaw Collection a collection of letters by and about Samuel Fanshaw

Diary of Sergeant James Little

6th Cavalry Flank Marker 6th Cavalry Regimental Flag

6th Cavalry Flank Marker 6th Cavalry Flank Markers

6th Cavalry Flank Marker 6th Cavalry Flank 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.

Clarke, Augustus P. "A cavalry surgeon's experiences in the battle of the Wilderness." US ns XI (1894) 138-64.

Clarke, Augustus P. "The Sixth New York cavalry, its movements and service at the battle of Gettysburg." US ns XVI (1896) 411-15.

Foster, Alonzo. Reminiscences and record of the 6th New York v.v. cavalry, by Alonzo Foster, late Sergeant Co. F. [Brooklyn: 1892].

Heermance, William Laing. "The cavalry at Chancellorsville, May, 1863. JUSCA IV (1891) 107-13 and MOLLUS-NY II 223-30.

Heermance, William Laing. "The cavalry at Gettysburg." MOLLUS- NY III 196-206.

Heermance, William Laing. Oration of Col. W. L. Heermance, at dedication of monument, Sixth New York cavalry, at Gettysburg, Pa., July 11th, 1889. New York: G. H. Burton, printer [1889].

History of the Sixth New York cavalry (Second Ira Harris guard), Second brigade, First division, Cavalry corps, Army of the Potomac, 1861-1865. Compiled from letters, diaries, re-collections and official records by Committee on regimental history, Major Hillman A. Hall, Chairman; Regt. Qr. Mr. Sgt. W. B. Besley, Treasurer; Sgt. Gilbert G. Wood, Historian. Worcester, Mass.: Blanchard press, 1908.

McKinney, Edward Pascal. Life in tent and field, 1861-1865, by E. P. McKinney. Boston: Richard G. Badger [1922].

Parmelee, Samuel S. Samuel Spencer Parmelee Papers, 1845-1911 (bulk 1860-1865)
Letters and diaries of Uriah N. Parmelee, Jr., 6th New York Cavalry, giving detailed accounts of camp life, morale, politics, rumors, and battles, raids, and skirmishes, including the Peninsular Campaign, the battles at Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Bristoe Station, and the Wilderness, and the Richmond Campaign; family and official correspondence concerning the death of Uriah N. Parmelee, Jr., at the battle of Five Forks, Va., during the Appomattox Campaign.
At Duke University, Perkins Library

Petruzzi, J. David. "Biography of Thomas C. Devin." Buford's Boys. <>.

Reunion veteran association 6th New York cavalry II, 1888; VI/VII, 1892/1893; XIV-XV, 1905-1906; XXII, 1913.

Veteran association of the Sixth New York cavalry, organized Sept. 8, 1887, with the names and addresses of the surviving members. New York: C. D. Wynkoop, printer, 1887.


New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military History
Last modified: February 8, 2018

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