- Jul 19, 2016
- Spotsylvania Virginia
Captain George Baylor, 12th Virginia Cavalry
Photo from his book Bull Run to Bull Run or Four Years in The Army of Northern Virginia
Cavalry horse by Edwin Forbes – Library of Congress
“The cavalryman and his horse got very close to one another, not only physically but heart to heart. They ate together, slept together, marched, fought and often died together. While the rider slept, the horse cropped the grass around him and got as close up to his rider’s body as he could get. The loyal steed pushed the troopers head aside gently with his nose, to get to the grass beneath it. By the thousand’s men lie reposed in the field fast asleep from arduous campaigns with their horse grazing quietly beside them and nary a cavalier was trod upon or injured.
They were so faithful and unflattering. When the bugle sounded, they were always ready to respond for they knew all the bugle calls. If it were the saddle up, the feed, or the water call, they were as ready to answer one as the other. And they were so noble and brave in battle. They seemed to love the sound of the guns. The cavalryman might lie low on the neck of his horse as the missiles of death hissed about him. But the horse never flinched, except when struck.”
During the course of the war, Captain Baylor served with various commands. He was commissioned a 2ndLieutenant in April 1861 in the 7th Virginia Cavalry, and transferred to the 2nd. Virginia infantry a month later, where he fought at First Manassas. In early 1862, he transferred again to the 12th Virginia Cavalry as a 3rd. Lieutenant. He served most of the war in that regiment. After being captured in February ‘63, he returned to duty with the 12thVirginia in time to fight at Brandy Station in June ‘63. He became involved with John S. Mosby in January 1865 and permanently joined Company H, (Mosby's) 43rd Regiment Partisan Cavalry for the duration of the war. He was wounded in combat twice and had three horses killed from under him during the course of the war. I plan to post his description of losing one of his horses later this year.