California Sabers

California Sabers

The 2nd Massachusetts Cavalry in the Civil War
McLean, R. James
Distribution: World
Publication date: 12/22/2000
Format: Hardback 24 b&w photos
ISBN: 978-0-253-33786-3
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California Sabers is the story of the California Battalion and Hundred, a group of 500 select men who were the only organized group of Californians to fight in the East during the Civil War. They volunteered their enlistment bounty to pay their passage across Panama and on to
Massachusetts, where they became the cadre of the Second Massachusetts Cavalry.

From mid-1863 to July 1864, the Second Massachusetts fought a bloody guerilla war in northern Virginia against John S. Mosby, the confederacy’s "Gray Ghost." In July 1864 the regiment became part of Sheridan’s Army of the Shenandoah, and that fall it played a major role in the decisive battles of Winchester, Toms Run, and Cedar Creek.

In early 1865 the regiment was in the column that marched across Virginia destroying the vital railroad and canal that carried supplies from the Shenandoah Valley to the besieged Army of Northern Virginia. In late March, the Second Massachusetts was in the forefront of the battles at Dinwiddie Courthouse and Five Forks, the two actions that finally broke the stalemate at Petersburg and forced Lee to retreat to the west. In the ensuing chase, the regiment was the part of the cavalry spearhead that finally blocked Lee’s army at Appomattox Courthouse.

This work, based on extensive research, is the first comprehensive history of this relatively unknown group and will be of great interest to Civil War enthusiasts and historians.

Author Bio

A descendent of a pioneer family that came to San Francisco in 1848, McLean graduated from the University of California in 1956. During his service in the Korean War, he became interested in the Civil War when a Navy Librarian suggested he read Bruce Catton's trilogy on the Army of the Potomac. McLean started collecting volumes of the Official Records and any other books he could find relating to the Civil War. When his brother, the family genealogist, told him they had a great-great uncle who fought in the Civil War, he discovered the California Battalion and Hundred in the Official Records. In 1993 he retired to devote more time to the writing of the history of the Battalion and Hundred. This book is a culmination of this twenty-year effort.

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Table of Contents

Preliminary Table of Contents

List of Maps

1. Join the Cavalry
2. Gone For A Soldier
3. Gettysburg and Guerrillas
4. Inglorious Warfare
5. The Killing Ground
6. Old Jube Invades
7. Hard Marching
8. Sheridan Takes Command
9. Opequon Creek and Fisher’s Hill
10. A Crow Will Have to Carry His Own Provisions
11. The Woodstock Races
12. Sabers at Cedar Creek
13. Burning Mosby’s Confederacy
14. Virginia Mud
15. Dinwiddie Courthouse
16. The Five Forks Shad Bake
17. Road Block at Appomattox

Appendix - Casualties