4th Cavalry Regiment (United States)

4th Cavalry Regiment (United States)

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name=4th Cavalry

caption=4th Cavalry Regiment coat of arms
nickname=Fourth Cav
{1st Squadron "Quarterhorse"}
{2nd Squadron "Raiders"}
motto=Prepared and Loyal
colors=Red and White
type=Armored Cavalry
branch=Regular Army
dates=26 March, 1855 {founded as US 1st Cavalry Regiment-Changed to 4th Cavalry on 3 August, 1861} – present
country=United States
battles=American Civil War
Indian Wars
World War II
Vietnam War
War in Southwest Asia
Global War on Terrorism
Iraq Campaign
notable_commanders=Robert E. Lee
Joseph E. Johnston
J.E.B. Stuart
Ranald S. Mackenzie
Edwin V. Sumner
George B. McClellan
identification_symbol_label=Distinctive Unit Insignia
previous=3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment
next=5th Cavalry Regiment
The 4th Cavalry Regiment is a United States Army cavalry regiment, whose lineage is traced back to the mid-19th century. It was one of the most effective units of the Army against Indians on the Texas frontier. Today, only two elements remain of the original regiment, the 1st and 2nd Squadron of the 4th Cavalry. The 1st Squadron of the 4th Cavalry's official nickname is "Quarterhorse," which alludes its being the only operational element of the old 4th Cavalry. The 2nd Squadron of the 4th Cavalry's official name is "Raiders." Today the "1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry" and "2nd Squadron, 4th Cavalry" are parts of the 1st Infantry Division, while the "3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry" serves as part of the 25th Infantry Division. On March 28th, 2008, the "5th Squadron, 4th Cavalry" officially stood up at Fort Riley, Kansas as part of the 2nd "Dagger" Brigade, 1st Infantry Division.

Origins and early service

The 4th United States Cavalry regiment was established as an outcome from the growth of mounted U.S. Army units that started in the early 1850s. It was officially organized on March 26, 1855, at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, as the U.S. 1st Cavalry Regiment.

One year after its establishment, the 1st Cavalry Regiment's first military action was a peacekeeping mission in "Bleeding Kansas," where pro-slavery and free state factions clashed violently. It also fought against hostile Plains Indians. Its first commanders were Col. Edwin V. Sumner and Lt. Col. Joseph E. Johnston, both future Civil War generals. The regiment first fought in combat on July 30, 1857, at the Battle of Solomon River in Kansas against a large force of Southern Cheyenne warriors.

The regiment was Col. Robert E. Lee's last command in the Federal Army before the American Civil War. With the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, the 1st Cavalry Regiment was dissolved and reorganized. Many of its commissioned officers rose to prominence during the war, including Lee as well as George B. McClellan and J.E.B. Stuart.

Civil War


As early as 1854, the War Department had been wanting to redesignate all mounted regiments as cavalry and to renumber them in order of seniority. As the 1st Cavalry Regiment was the fourth oldest mounted regiment in terms of active service, it was redesignated as the 4th United States Cavalry Regiment on August 3, 1861.

Most of the regiment was assigned to the Western Theater and fought against Confederates in Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, and the Indian Territory. In 1861–62, two companies served with distinction in Virginia in the Army of the Potomac before being reunited with the rest of the regiment in Tennessee. Those companies fought in the major battles of First Bull Run, the Peninsula Campaign, Fredericksburg and Antietam.

The bulk of the regiment fought gallantly and continuously in the western theater from Shiloh to Macon, participating in the fights at Chickamauga, Stones River, and Battle of Nashville.

Details of Civil War service

With so many regiments being sent east for the war effort, the 1st U.S. Cavalry was initially kept on the frontier until militia-type units were raised to protect against Indian raids. On June 22, 1861, former 1st Cavalry officer George McClellan, now a major general, requested Company A and Company E to serve as his personal escort. These two companies saw action in the Bull Run, Peninsula, Antietam and Fredericksburg campaigns, not rejoining the regiment until 1864. The rest of the 1st Cavalry was committed to action in Mississippi and Missouri.

Since 1854 it had been advocated to redesignate all mounted regiments as cavalry and to renumber them in order of seniority. This was done on August 3, 1861. As the 1st Cavalry was the fourth oldest mounted regiment, it was redesignated as the 4th Cavalry Regiment.

During the early years of the Civil War, Union commanders scattered their cavalry regiments, conducting company, squadron (two company) and battalion (four company) operations. The 4th Cavalry was no exception, with its companies scattered from the Mississippi River to the Atlantic Coast carrying out the traditional cavalry missions of reconnaissance, screening and raiding.

In the first phases of the war in the West, companies of 4th Cavalry saw action in various Missouri, Mississippi and Kentucky campaigns, as well as the seizure of Forts Henry and Donelson and the Battle of Shiloh. On December 31, 1862, a two-company squadron of the 4th Cavalry attacked and routed a Confederate cavalry brigade near Murfreesboro, Tennessee. In 1863–64, companies of the 4th saw further action in Tennessee, Georgia and Mississippi. On June 30, 1863, another squadron charged a six-gun battery of Confederate artillery near Shelbyville, Tennessee, capturing the entire battery and three hundred prisoners.

By the spring of 1864, the success of the large Confederate cavalry corps of J.E.B. Stuart had convinced the Union leadership to form their own Cavalry Corps in the East under General Philip Sheridan. The 4th Cavalry was ordered to reunite as a regiment and, on December 14, 1864, it joined in the attack on Nashville, Tennessee, as part of the Western Cavalry Corps commanded by General James Wilson. In the hard-fought battle, the 4th help turn the Confederate flank, sending them in retreat. As the Confederate forces attempted a delaying action at West Harpeth, Tennessee, an element of the 4th Cavalry led by Lt. Joseph Hedges charged and captured a Confederate artillery battery. For his bravery, Hedges received the Medal of Honor, the first one to be bestowed on a member of the 4th Cavalry.

In March 1865, General Wilson was ordered to take his cavalry on a drive through Alabama to capture the Confederate supply depot at Selma. Wilson had devoted considerable effort in preparing his cavalry for the mission, and it was a superbly trained and disciplined force that left Tennessee, led by the 4th Cavalry. As the column moved south into Alabama, it encountered the famed Confederate cavalry leader Nathan Bedford Forrest. With superior numbers and firepower, Wilson's force defeated the Confederates, allowing the Union troopers to arrive in Selma the next day. On April 2, 1865, the attack on Selma commenced, led by the 4th Cavalry in a mounted charge. A railroad cut and fence line soon halted the mounted attack. Dismounting, the regiment pressed the attack and stormed the town. Selma's rich store of munitions and supplies were destroyed, along with the foundries and arsenals.

Wilson next turned east to link up with General Sherman. His force took Montgomery, Alabama, and Columbus, Georgia, before arriving in Macon, Georgia, where word came of the surrender of Lee's and Johnston's armies. The regiment remained in Macon as occupation troops. After participating in the Battle of Columbus—the last battle of the war—the regiment assisted in capturing fugitive Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

Indian Wars

In August 1865, the 4th Cavalry was sent to Texas. At various times during the next thirteen years, units from its twelve companies occupied military posts between the Rio Grande River and Jacksboro, and between San Antonio and San Angelo. {See Fifth Military District for reports of the 4th Cavalry in Texas between 1867-1869}. Before 1871, the operations of the regiment were limited to guarding the mail and settlements against Indians and to desultory attempts to overtake bands of Indian raiders. The regiment's commander during this period, Col. Lawrence Pike Graham, never had to lead a major campaign, and none of the regiment's fourteen skirmishes with Indians was of major significance.

However, in December 1870, Col. Ranald S. Mackenzie was assigned command of the 4th Cavalry, with orders to put a stop to Comanche and Kiowa raids along the Texas frontier. On February 25, 1871, Mackenzie took command of the 4th Cavalry at Fort Concho. A month later, he moved the headquarters of the regiment to Fort Richardson, near Jacksboro; some companies of the 4th remained at Fort Griffin and Fort Concho. In May, while General William T. Sherman, then the commanding general of the army, was at Fort Richardson, the Kiowas brutally mutilated some teamsters from a wagon train on nearby Salt Creek Prairie (see Warren Wagon Train Raid). A few days later at Fort Sill, Sherman had three leaders of the raid, Satanta, Satank, and Big Tree arrested and had Mackenzie return them to Jacksboro to stand trial for murder. On the way, an enlisted trooper killed Satank when he tried to escape; Satanta and Big Tree were later sentenced to life imprisonment.

In August 1871, Mackenzie led an expedition into Indian Territory against the Comanches and Kiowas who had left the agency, but he was later ordered to return to Texas. He then led eight companies of the 4th Cavalry and two companies of the 11th U.S Infantry, about 600 men, in search of Quahadi Comanches, who had refused to go onto the reservation and were plundering the Texas frontier. On October 10, he skirmished with a group of them in Blanco Canyon, near the site of present Crosbyton, but the entire band escaped across the plains.

The following summer, Mackenzie, with six companies of the 4th Cavalry, renewed his search for the Quahadis. After establishing his supply camp on the Freshwater Fork of the Brazos River (now the White River) southeast of present Crosbyton, Mackenzie with five companies of cavalry followed a cattle trail across the unexplored High Plains into the New Mexico Territory and returned by another well-watered Comanchero road from Fort Bascom, near the site of present Tucumcari, New Mexico, to the site of present Canyon. At the head of 222 cavalrymen on September 29, he surprised and destroyed Chief Mow-way's village of Quahadi and Kotsoteka Comanches on the North Fork of the Red River about six miles (10 km) east of the site of present Lefors. An estimated 52 Indians were killed and 124 captured, with a loss of 3 cavalrymen killed and 3 wounded. For almost a year, both the Kiowas and Comanches remained at peace.

In March 1873, Mackenzie and five companies (A, B, C, E, and K) of the 4th Cavalry were transferred to Fort Clark with orders to put an end to the Mexican-based Kickapoo and Apache depredations in Texas, which had cost an alleged $48 million. On May 18, 1873, Mackenzie, with five companies of the 4th Cavalry, crossed the Rio Grande into Mexico; they then surprised and burned three villages of the raiders near Remolino, Coahuila; the cavalrymen killed nineteen Indians and captured forty-one, with a loss of one trooper killed and two wounded. The soldiers recrossed the Rio Grande into Texas at daybreak the next morning, with some of the men having ridden an estimated convert|160|mi|km in 49 hours. The raid and an effective system of border patrols brought temporary peace to the area. The John Wayne movie "Rio Grande (film)" (past of the cavalry trilogy) is loosely based on this incident.

When the Southern Plains Indians opened the Red River War in June 1874, the Grant administration discarded its Quaker peace policy and authorized the military to take control of the reservations and subdue all hostile Indians. General Philip H. Sheridan, commander of the Division of the Missouri, ordered five military expeditions to converge on their hideouts along the upper Red River country. In the ensuing campaign, the 4th Cavalry was the most successful. On September 26–27, it staved off a Comanche attack at the head of Tule Canyon, and, on the morning of September 28, descended by a narrow trail to the bottom of Palo Duro Canyon. There it completely destroyed five Comanche, Kiowa, and Cheyenne villages, including large quantities of provisions, and captured 1,424 horses and mules, of which 1,048 were slaughtered at the head of Tule Canyon. Afterward, Mackenzie, with detachments of the regiment, made two other expeditions onto the High Plains. On November 3, near the site of Tahoka, in their last fight with the Comanches, the cavalrymen killed two and captured nineteen Indians. In the spring of 1875, Mackenzie and elements of the 4th Cavalry from various posts in Texas were sent to Fort Sill to take control of the Southern Plains Indians.

Meanwhile, the Indians in Mexico had renewed their marauding in Texas. In 1878 General Sherman, at the insistence of the Texans, transferred Mackenzie and six companies of the 4th Cavalry to Fort Clark. This time Mackenzie led a larger and more extensive expedition into Mexico, restored a system of patrols, and reestablished peace in the devastated region of South Texas.

Outside Texas, Mackenzie and the 4th Cavalry administered and controlled the Kiowa-Comanche and the Cheyenne-Arapaho reservations for several years, and, after the annihilation of George Armstrong Custer's command at the Battle of Little Bighorn in June 1876, forced Red Cloud and his band of Sioux and the Northern Cheyennes to surrender. In the autumn of 1879, Mackenzie with six companies of the 4th Cavalry subdued the hostile Utes in Southern Colorado without firing a shot and in August 1880 forced them to move to a reservation in Utah Territory.

Immediately thereafter, the 4th Cavalry was transferred to Arizona Territory, where Mackenzie was to assume full command of all military forces in the department and subdue the hostile Apaches. Within less than a month, the Apaches had surrendered or fled to Mexico, and on October 30, Mackenzie and the 4th Cavalry were transferred to the new District of New Mexico. By November 1, 1882, when W. B. Royall replaced Mackenzie as colonel, the 4th Cavalry had forced the White Mountain Apaches, Jicarilla Apaches, Navajos, and Mescaleros to remain peacefully on their respective reservations.

From 1884 to 1886 the 4th Cavalry again operated against the Apaches in Arizona and helped capture Geronimo. Particularly noteworthy was B troops pursuit of Geronimo into Northern Mexico Led by Capt Lawton and Surgeon Leonard Wood. Thus ended the regiment's participation in the Indian Wars.In 1890 the regimental headquarters was moved to Walla Walla, Washington.

Early 20th century

The 4th Cavalry served on the Mexican border in Texas from 1911 to 1913. For the next six years, the regiment served at Schofield Barracks in the Territory of Hawaii and did not participate in World War I.

World War II

By World War II, the regiment had exchanged its horses for armored vehicles/tanks and was redesignated the 4th Cavalry Group. It put ashore the first Allied soldiers of the D-Day invasion on islands off the coast of France. The regiment added to its laurels in fierce fighting among the hedgerows of Normandy and in the Hurtgen Forest during the Battle of the Bulge.

Vietnam War

In 1965, the First Squadron of the 4th Cavalry ("1st of the 4th Cavalry" or 1-4 Cavalry) deployed to the Republic of Viet Nam, spending eight years fighting in the jungles of Southeast Asia. The Squadron's firepower, mobility, and shock effect led to their use as "Fire Brigades" at the scenes of the hottest action.

Gulf War

In 1990, the First Squadron deployed to Saudi Arabia, as part of Operation Desert Shield. This led to the Squadron's spearhead of the division assault into Iraq during Operation Desert Storm in 1991.

On May 4, 1991, the 1-4 Cavalry received the Valorous Unit Award for service in the Gulf. Excerpt from orders: "The 1st squadron, 4th cavalry led the 1st infantry divisions attack across Iraq and Kuwait cutting the Iraqi army's escape route, the Kuwait city/Basra highway. The Squadron continued its rapid advance, culminating with the capture of the Safwan airfield. During this drive the squadron destroyed 65 tanks, 66 armored personnel carriers, 66 trucks, 91 bunkers, and captured 3,000 enemy soldiers."

Balkans Conflict

In 1995, 1-4 Cavalry was the first cavalry unit deployed to Bosnia and Herzegovina, supporting the peacekeeping mission set forth by the Dayton Peace Accord, for a period of eleven months at Camp Molly, the "Dog Pound" and Eagle Camp at Tuzla Main. 1999 and 2000 saw the air cav elements of the Quarterhorse returning to the Balkans, this time Kosovo, as members of Operation Joint Guardian II.

2002-2003 - "K4B" and "Operation Iraqi Freedom"

The Schweinfurt-based "Quarterhorse" was tasked to be part of the 1st Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade task force due to rotate into Kosovo, in late 2002. The squadron was to lead the U.S. contingent's aviation task force of OH-58D Kiowa and UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters, as well as provide force protection personnel for the U.S. headquarters at Camp Bondsteel. In late-October 2002, soldiers with 1st Infantry Division's, 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment were abruptly told they would not deploy to Kosovo for peacekeeping duties, after working for several months to ready equipment they had received for their peacekeeping mission. 1st Infantry Division officials in Kosovo said they could not comment on the change, while a spokesman for V Corps, the division's Corps headquarters, referred all questions to EUCOM, the overall combatant command for V Corps. A EUCOM spokesman said he could not comment on the change, referring all questions back to V Corps. The first trainloads of the squadron's equipment bound for the Balkans from Germany was called back after departing Schweinfurt, en route to the Balkans. [ [http://www.estripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=10680&archive=true "Officials silent on Quarter Cav deployment"] URL accessed 1 February 2007]

On November 6, 2002, the 1st Infantry Division published a warning order establishing ARFOR-T (Army Forces Turkey). This mission was enormous, encompassing the subordinate units of 2 heavy mechanized divisions, 4th ID and 1st ID. Normally these missions are assigned to Corps headquarters. The following months involved extensive planning, Command Post Exercises, and a joint warfighter with 1st ID key personnel traveling to Ft. Hood, TX, to conduct planning with the 4th ID staff. During this time the 1st Squadron's Commander, Lt. Col. James H. Chevallier, designated about 40 personnel to comprise an ADVON, and they deployed to Turkey in early February. Their mission was to conduct a detailed route reconnaissance from the sea-port of debarkation (SPOD) at İskenderun, on the Mediterranean Sea coast, in south-central Turkey, to the border crossing near the Tactical Assembly Areas located near the towns of Silopi, Dicle, and Cizre, near the Turkish-Iraqi border. The route reconnaissance conducted by less than 30 Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers is believed to the longest route recon conducted in modern times; the men assigned the task catalogued every bridge, route constriction and obstruction, hill grade, and curve radius for nearly convert|500|mi|km. The goal of ARFOR-T was to open a second front, to crush Iraqi armed resistance from the North. The Quarterhorse, mounted on the hastily drawn, and refurbished, HMMWVs they had prepared initially for their Kosovo rotation, would conduct a screen along one of the 4th IDs flanks as it charged south out of Turkey. While the Quarterhorse was conducting the route reconnaissance, the Turkish government debated at length whether they should to allow Coalition forces to invade from their territory, finally signaling in early March 2003 that the invasion would not be permitted from their soil. By early April, all of the Quarterhorse Troopers returned to Schweinfurt, unsure what the future held, as the Iraqi Regime was toppled by forces assaulting north from Kuwait. The main body of the Squadron never deployed out of Germany, despite being on standby and prepared to move for nearly 2 weeks in early March.

It is worth noting, that despite the invasion from the north that never materialized, the Quarterhorse participated in an accidental, yet convincing and important, deception that caused Saddam Hussein to order 13 armored division to the north to meet the invasion force. Because of this, the enemy force strength, or Order of Battle, was significantly reduced in the South, enabling the rapid assault from Kuwait in the opening days of Operation Iraqi Freedom.


Campaign Participation Credit

*Indian Wars:
# Comanches;
# Solomon River, Kansas; July 1857
# Little Big Horn;
# Red River;
# Ramonlina;
# Pale Duro Canyon;
# Geronimo's Apaches Expedition; 1886

*Civil War:
# First Bull Run;
# Peninsula Campaign;
# Fredericksburg;
# Antietam;
# Chickamagua;
# Murfreesboro;
# Nashville;
# Columbus, Georgia;
# Capture of Jefferson Davis;

*World War II:
# D-Day - hedgerows of Normandy; 1944
# Hurtgen Forest, Battle of the Bulge; 1944

*Korean War:

# Defense;
# Counteroffensive;
# Counteroffensive, Phase II;
# Counteroffensive, Phase III;
# Tet Counteroffensive;
# Counteroffensive, Phase IV;
# Counteroffensive, Phase V;
# Counteroffensive, Phase VI;
# Tet 69/Counteroffensive;
# Summer-Fall 1969;
# Winter-Spring 1970;
# Sanctuary Counteroffensive;
# Counteroffensive, Phase VII;
# Consolidation I;
# Consolidation II;
# Cease-Fire

*Southwest Asia:
# Defense of Saudi Arabia;
# Liberation and Defense of Kuwait;
# Cease-Fire

*Global War on Terror
#Operation Iraqi Freedom II


#Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for BINH THUAN PROVINCE
#Valorous Unit Award for QUANG TIN PROVINCE
#Valorous Unit Award for FISH HOOK
#Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army) for SOUTHWEST ASIA
#Valorous Unit Award for Desert Storm 1st squadron
#Valorous Unit Award for Operation Iraqi Freedom II


* [http://www.us4thcavalry.com/ 4th U.S. Cavalry Regiment Association]
* [http://www.globalsecurity.org/ GlobalSecurity.org (search for 4th Cavalry)]
* [http://www.army.mil/cmh/lineage/branches/cav/004cv.htm United States Army Center of Military History; CMH Publication 60-1; "Army Lineage Series: ARMOR-CAVALRY, Part I: Regular Army and Army Reserve." Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 69-60002] .
*Shelby L. Stanton; "ORDER OF BATTLE: U.S. ARMY, World War II"; 1984; Presidio Press; ISBN O-89141-195-X.
*"Spurs to Glory: The Story of the U.S. Cavalry", Merrill, James M., (Chicago: Rand McNally 1966)
*"Ranald S. Mackenzie on the Texas Frontier", Wallace, Ernest, (Lubbock: West Texas Museum Association, 1964)


External links

* [http://www.texasbeyondhistory.net/redriver/battles.html Battle of Red River]
* [http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Prairie/1746/feud.html 4th US Cavalry and the Lee-Peacock Feud (Texas) 1869]

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