21st Pennsylvania Cavalry

   

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Editor’s Note: Do you have information on this unit’s role at the Siege of Petersburg?  Please contact us using the Contact button in the menu at the top of the screen.  We are happy to exchange information with other researchers.

Note: This unit fought as infantry in the Union Fifth Corps until the end of the Fifth Offensive.  They were sent to City Point to be mounted on October 5, 1864.

Muster In: Organized at Harrisburg February, 1864.1
Muster Out: July 8, 18652

Commander(s):
Colonel Oliver B. Knowles
Commander Image

Major Robert Bell
Commander Image

Commander 3
Commander Image

First Offensive Order of Battle: Second Brigade | First Division | V Corps | Army of the Potomac | Union Army3,4

  • Commander:
  • Unit Strength:
  • Weapons:

Second Offensive Order of Battle: Second Brigade | First Division | V Corps | Army of the Potomac | Union Army5,6

  • Commander: Major Oliver B. Knowles (June 30, 1864)7
  • Unit Strength:
  • Weapons:

Third Offensive Order of Battle: Second Brigade | First Division | V Corps | Army of the Potomac | Union Army8,9

  • Commander: Major Oliver B. Knowles (July 31, 1864)10
  • Unit Strength:
  • Weapons:

Fourth Offensive Order of Battle: Second Brigade | First Division | V Corps | Army of the Potomac | Union Army11,12

  • Commander: Major Oliver B. Knowles (August 31, 1864)13
  • Unit Strength:
  • Weapons:

Fifth Offensive Order of Battle: First Brigade | First Division | V Corps | Army of the Potomac | Union Army14,15

  • Commander:
  • Unit Strength:
  • Weapons:
  • Sent to City Point October 5 and mounted.16

Sixth Offensive Order of Battle: Third Brigade | Second Division | Cavalry Corps | Army of the Potomac | Union Army17,18

  • Commander: Major Oliver B. Knowles (October 31, 1864)19
  • Unit Strength: <348 officers and men PFD20
  • Weapons:

Seventh Offensive Order of Battle: Third Brigade | Second Division | Cavalry Corps | Army of the Potomac | Union Army21,22

  • Commander: Major Robert Bell (December 31, 1864)23
  • Unit Strength:
  • Weapons:
  • Note: This regiment participated in Warren’s Stony Creek, or “Apple Jack” Raid to Belfield and Hicksford, Virginia from December 7-12, 1864.24
  • Note: Company E of the 21st Pennsylvania Cavalry under Captain William H. Boyd, Jr. was serving with the Sixth Corps, Army of the Potomac as the escort to Major General Horatio G. Wright at this time.25

Eighth Offensive Order of Battle:

Third Brigade | Second Division | Cavalry Corps | Army of the Potomac | Union Army (January 1-February ?, 1865)26,27

Second Brigade | Second Division | Cavalry Corps | Army of the Potomac | Union Army (February ?-28, 1865)28

  • Commander:
    • Colonel Oliver B. Knowles (temporarily commanding the Third Brigade while Brevet Brigadier General Charles H. Smith took a leave of absence starting January 16) (January 1-16 & February 28, 1865)29,30
    • Major Robert Bell (January 16-31, 1865)31
  • Unit Strength:
  • Weapons:
  • Note: Company E of the 21st Pennsylvania Cavalry under Captain William H. Boyd, Jr. was serving with the Sixth Corps, Army of the Potomac as the escort to Major General Horatio G. Wright at this time.32,33
  • Note: This unit is listed in the casualty returns for the Battle of Hatcher’s Run, February 5-7, 1865, implying it was present during the Eighth Offensive and the battle.34

Ninth Offensive Order of Battle: Second Brigade | Second Division | Cavalry Corps | Army of the Potomac | Union Army35,36

  • Commander: Colonel Oliver B. Knowles (March 31, 1865)37
  • Unit Strength:
  • Weapons:
  • Note: Company E of the 21st Pennsylvania Cavalry under Captain William H. Boyd, Jr. was serving with the Sixth Corps, Army of the Potomac as the escort to Major General Horatio G. Wright at this time.38,39

Dyer’s/Sifakis’ Compendium Info:
Siege of Petersburg Battles40:

  • Before Petersburg June 16-18.
  • Siege operations against Petersburg and Richmond June 16, 1864, to April 2, 1865.
  • Weldon Railroad August 18-21.
  • Poplar Springs Church September 29-October 2.
  • Sent to City Point October 5 and mounted.
  • Boydton Plank Road, Hatcher’s Run, October 27-28.
  • Warren’s Expedition to Hicksford December 7-12.
  • Bellefield December 9-10.
  • Dabney’s Mills, Hatcher’s Run, February 5-7, 1865.
  • Appomattox Campaign March 28-April 9.
  • Dinwiddie C. H. March 30-31.
  • Five Forks April 1.
  • Paine’s Cross Road April 5.
  • Sailor’s Creek April 6.
  • Appomattox C. H. April 9.
  • Surrender of Lee and his army.

Bibliography:

Siege of Petersburg Documents Which Mention This Unit:

Sources:

  1. A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion by Frederick H. Dyer (Part 3)
  2. A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion by Frederick H. Dyer (Part 3)
  3. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XL, Part 1 (Serial Number 80), p. 223
  4. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XL, Part 2 (Serial Number 81), p. 545
  5. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XL, Part 1 (Serial Number 80), p. 223
  6. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XL, Part 2 (Serial Number 81), p. 545
  7. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XL, Part 2 (Serial Number 81), p. 545
  8. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XL, Part 1 (Serial Number 80), page 255
  9. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XL, Part 3 (Serial Number 82), page 732
  10. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XL, Part 3 (Serial Number 82), page 732
  11. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XLII, Part 2 (Serial Number 88), page 614: “Organization of the Army of the Potomac…August 31, 1864”
  12. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XLII, Part 1 (Serial Number 87), page 123: “Return of Casualties in the Union Forces (August 1864)”
  13. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XLII, Part 2 (Serial Number 88), page 614: “Organization of the Army of the Potomac…August 31, 1864”
  14. Sommers, Richard J. “Grant’s Fifth Offensive at Petersburg: A Study in Strategy, Tactics, and Generalship.  The Battle of Poplar Spring Church, the First Battle of the Darbytown Road, the Second Battle of the Squirrel Level Road, the Second Battle of the Darbytown Road (Ulysses S. Grant, Virginia).” Doctoral Thesis. Rice University, 1970. Print. p. 1300.
  15. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XLII, Part 1 (Serial Number 87), page 139: “Return of Casualties in the Union Forces (September-October 1864)”
  16. A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion by Frederick H. Dyer (Part 3)
  17. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XLII, Part 3 (Serial Number 89), page 464: “Organization of the Union Forces” (October 31, 1864)”
  18. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XLII, Part 1 (Serial Number 87), page 160: “Return of Casualties in the Union Forces…Boydton Plank Road, Va., October 27-28, 1864”
  19. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XLII, Part 3 (Serial Number 89), page 464: “Organization of the Union Forces” (October 31, 1864)”
  20. Army Correspondence.” Cleveland Plain Dealer. November 14, 1864, p. ? col. ?: “I have also heard from the 21st Pennsylvania Cavalry.  They done better than we did.  The result of their voting was 244 for Lincoln and 104 for McClellan.” I assumed that this number was the number of officers and men present, and also assumed everyone voted.  Note that more men would be “present” than “present for duty”.  “Present” also takes into account men who would never go into battle but were essential to the operations of the army and had to be fed.  It is not consistently possible to estimate a present for duty strength from the number of men present, so I have not attempted to do so here.
  21. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XLII, Part 3 (Serial Number 89), page 1122: “Organization of the Union Forces” (December 31, 1864)
  22. Calkins, Chris. “The Apple Jack Raid: For This Barbarism There Was No Real Excuse.” Blue & Gray Magazine Summer 2005: 18-25 (OOB on page 60).
  23. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XLII, Part 3 (Serial Number 89), page 1122: “Organization of the Union Forces” (December 31, 1864)
  24. Calkins, Chris. “The Apple Jack Raid: For This Barbarism There Was No Real Excuse.” Blue & Gray Magazine Summer 2005: 18-25 (OOB on page 60).
  25. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XLII, Part 3 (Serial Number 89), page 1119: “Organization of the Union Forces” (December 31, 1864)
  26. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XLVI, Part 2 (Serial Number 96), page 333: “Organization of the Union Forces” (January 31, 1865)
  27. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XLVI, Part 1 (Serial Number 96), page 68: “Return of Casualties in the Union forces at Hatcher’s Run (otherwise known as Dabney’s Mill, Armstrong’s Mill, Rowanty Creek, and Vaughan Road)… (February 5-7, 1865)”
  28. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XLVI, Part 2 (Serial Number 96), page 746: “Organization of the Union Forces” (February 28, 1865)
  29. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XLVI, Part 2 (Serial Number 96), page 333: “Organization of the Union Forces” (January 31, 1865)
  30. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XLVI, Part 2 (Serial Number 96), page 746: “Organization of the Union Forces” (February 28, 1865)
  31. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XLVI, Part 2 (Serial Number 96), page 333: “Organization of the Union Forces” (January 31, 1865)
  32. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XLVI, Part 2 (Serial Number 96), page 329: “Organization of the Union Forces” (January 31, 1865)
  33. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XLVI, Part 2 (Serial Number 96), page 743: “Organization of the Union Forces” (February 28, 1865)
  34. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XLVI, Part 1 (Serial Number 96), page 68: “Return of Casualties in the Union forces at Hatcher’s Run (otherwise known as Dabney’s Mill, Armstrong’s Mill, Rowanty Creek, and Vaughan Road)… (February 5-7, 1865)”
  35. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XLVI, Part 1 (Serial Number 95), page 576: “Organization of the Union Forces” (March 31, 1865)
  36. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XLVI, Part 1 (Serial Number 95), page 592: “Return of casualties in the Union Forces commanded by Lieut. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, March 29-April 9, 1865”
  37. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XLVI, Part 1 (Serial Number 95), page 576: “Organization of the Union Forces” (March 31, 1865)
  38. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XLVI, Part 1 (Serial Number 95), page 571: “Organization of the Union Forces” (March 31, 1865)
  39. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XLVI, Part 1 (Serial Number 95), page 586: “Return of casualties in the Union Forces commanded by Lieut. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, March 29-April 9, 1865”
  40. A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion by Frederick H. Dyer (Part 3)

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