A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE 3rd OF THE 5th CAV
By Don Armstrong
Most of the following information is from a document supplied to me by
Mr Jim Hines who lives in California and was a member of HH3/5 CAV in
Vietnam. I have updated the information with the latest lineage and
history from the Center For Military History.
The 3rd Squadron is a descendant of Company C 2d cavalry. The 2nd
cavalry was constituted on 3 March 1855 and organized on 28 May 1855 in
Louisville Kentucky. Company C was organized in Pittsburgh Pa. From
the start the unit was known as Jeff Davis's own and Jeff Davis's pet in
deference to the then Secretary of war Jefferson Davis. The officers in
this unit would later gain fame as they left and fought for the South
during the civil war/war of northern aggression / southern upheaval.
They were Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston, Lieutenant Colonel Robert E.
Lee, Major William J. Hardee, Captain Edward Van Dorn, Captain Edmund
Kirby Smith, Lt. John B. Hood, and Lt. Fitzhugh Lee. For the North
there was Major George H. Thomas and Captain George Stoneman.
After the unit was formed up they marched to Fort Belknap Texas to
relieve the Regiment of Mounted Riflemen which was later redesignated as
the 3d cavalry. They moved between forts Belknap, Mason and Cooper for
the next 4 years fighting against the Kiowa and Commanche Indians. In
early 1861 the southern officers resigned their commissions and joined
the South. In March of 1861 Robert E. Lee was a Colonel of the 1st
Cavalry when he joined the South. When Texas seceded from the Union the
remaining members of the 2d Cavalry boarded ships from Indianola Texas
and went to New York where they then moved overland to Catrlise Barracks
There first operations of the war included both guarding the nations
capitol and setting up a perimeter in northern Virginia. Four companies
also participated in the disastrous first battle of Bull Run. ON 3
August the Federal Government redesignated all of its unit so on August
of 1861 the 5th Cavalry, part of the Army of the Potomac, came into
Unfortunately the unit was lead by a series of Union Generals that were
lacking in their ability. There was General George Mc Clellan, Ambrose
E. Burnside, Joseph Hooker, And George C. Meade. The unit was involved
in the following battles, Bull Run, Peninsula, Cold Harbor, Petersburg,
Shenandoah and Appomattox. They were in fact at Appomattox for the
surrender of Robert E. Lee.
After the Civil war the unit went out west to be in more of the Indian
wars. One of their scouts was Buffalo Bill Cody. On July 1869 they had
a major fight with the Cheyenne, Sioux and Arapaho Indians at Tall Bulls
village at summit springs Colorado. After this the unit moved to Fort
MCPherson in 1871 then on to Arizona were it spent 4 years fighting the
Apache Indians. From this point they went to Kansas and Oklahoma then
Wyoming and Nebraska for several large battles culminating with a battle
in the Big Horn Mountains. At this time Colonel Wesley Merritt took
command of the regiment. The unit continued moving around the West as
the Indian wars continued. They were not at the battle of Pine Ridge,
White Clay Creek or Wounded Knee. These battles did bring an end to the
Indian wars. During the 22 years of fighting on the frontier 30 members
of the 5th Cavalry were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Don Armstrong (DUCK) an Original "Scavenger"
Pleiku 604th trans 52nd CAB APR 5 68 to July 68
D trp 3/5 cav July 68 to May 28th 69 Bearcat and then Dongtam
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