browser icon
You are using an insecure version of your web browser. Please update your browser!
Using an outdated browser makes your computer unsafe. For a safer, faster, more enjoyable user experience, please update your browser today or try a newer browser.

Yankee Horse Soldier

My Great Great Grandfather and Uncle fought with the 9th Pennsylvania, so I found this story written by Tom Renick and added to my site. Tom gets full credit and his contact information is included at the end. Hope you enjoy the story as much as I do.

Yankee Horse Soldier

9th Pennsylvania Cavalry

Civil War

My Great Great Grandfather Reuben Rhoades lived until 1925 and cursed the doctor that let him die at age 95 with blood poisoning from an amputated toe, he left his “Pennsylvania Dutch” home at age 15, and later joined the Cavalry early in the civil war. His discharge has disappeared but I remember seeing it many times in my youth.

The Search

I looked at his actual discharge many times while growing up however my Grandfather Hall sold the old Indiana Homestead and all contents about 1961 and the discharge has not been seen since.

The national archives had no records on file of military service or pensions for Reuben Rhoads but the Indiana State archives found the G.A.R. annual report for 1925 recording the death of Reuben during that year and confirming that he served for three years in the Ninth Pennsylvania cavalry. This story is compiled from “History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers” by Samuel Bates pub. 1870, (Reuben Rhoads is listed on the muster roll on page 268), “The Civil War” by Shelby Foote, Ken Burns PBS series, Civil War Pictorial pub.1912, Morgan’s Raiders pub.1959 by Dee Brown, Yankee Cavalrymen by John Rowell pub.1971 by The University of Tennessee Press, the Internet and other sources.

The Ninth Cavalry

Reuben Rhoads enlisted as a Private on 29 Oct. 1861 for three years, and was assigned to Company H, Ninth Pennsylvania Cavalry, 92nd Regiment of the line, Volunteer. Rueben was recruited in Cumberland County, and served until he was mustered out on 27 Dec. 1864. According to Samuel Bates in his history of the Pennsylvania volunteers the Ninth Cavalry, was organized August 29th 1861. It was composed of 12 companies, and formed at camp Cameron near Harrisburg. Officers were Col. Edward C. Williams, Lt. Col. Thomas C. James and Major Thomas Jefferson Jordan, of Harrisburg. Jordan served until the end of the war attaining the rank of Brevet Brig. General. Williams was a famous soldier in central Pennsylvania, a bookbinder from Harrisburg who had been a hero in the Mexican war. The officers of the Ninth were politically appointed but were above average in military ability. Thomas James had served as captain of Troop 1 of the Philadelphia cavalry, a unit active since the Revolutionary war. Lt. Col. James brought a great knowledge of cavalry organization, and tactics and the Ninth was one of the most respected Union volunteer cavalry units in the Civil War. (Rowell-“Yankee Cavalrymen”) They fought against the famous Rebel leaders, Forrest, Wheeler and Morgan among others. Even early in the war when Confederate cavalry was superior to most Union forces they won most of their battles. They were never routed or captured during the entire war and kept high morale and ‘Espirit de Corps’. On November 20th the secretary of war ordered the Ninth moved by train to Pittsburgh, and then by boat to Louisville Kentucky. The Ninth camped across the Ohio River, at Jeffersonville Indiana where mounted drill commenced.(Bates-“History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers”) The men were issued obsolete Belgian rifles but did have Colt Revolvers in good condition, and Sabers. Most Confederate cavalry did not use Sabres,Shotguns being favored. By Jan.10, 1862 Reuben Rhoads of company H and the troopers had become proficient in the use of these arms and they were ordered to the front lines.

American Cavalry

Before 1776 many American colonists were expert Riflemen and in the mountains of Tennessee and Kentucky they were the finest horsemen in the world. Though ignorant of textbook Cavalry maneuvers they distinguished themselves at Kings Mountain, South Carolina where two thousand “Mountain Men” defeated 1,200 British Regulars in 1780. Col. Henry Renick led a mounted Regiment from Barren County, Ky. against the Great Indian Tecumseh In the war of 1812, Henry was the older brother of James Renick (My ancestor) who fought at New Orleans alongside many other Kaintucks. The Renick family and friends founded Barren Co. Kentucky ca.1797 and later kinfolk fought against Yankee soldiers in the Civil War as part of “Renick’s Raiders”, Volunteer cavalry C.S.A. Possibly against my mothers Great Grandfather from Pennsylvania.

Into Battle 1862

After guard duty for awhile in Kentucky, on March 5th the unit moved into Tennessee, where the third battalion engaged the 2nd Kentucky Cavalry C.S.A. commanded by Capt. John Morgan (Morgan’s Raiders) at Lebanon. Helped by the 7th Pennsylvania and 3rd.Kentucky Cavalry they defeated the Raiders capturing 293 men including Lt. Col.Wood, Morgans second in command. Morgan escaped on his fleet horse “Black Bess”, however she had broken her bridle causing Morgan to lose control over the spirited mount and Morgan was forced to leave her and board a small ferry, just before the oncoming Union cavalry reached the river. On May14, 1862 the 3rd. Battalion was again after Morgan and came upon his rear guard at Spring Creek, after a spirited fight the guard was captured. The Ninth chased Morgan into the Cumberland Mountains where at Sparta the Rebels divided into small bands and headed for Chattanooga by different routes.

The Ninth then marched to Tompkinsville, Kentucky where on June 6th. Capt. Hugh McCullough and I company defeated a Rebel force. Capt. McCullogh was shot in the stomach and killed during the battle. On July 9th Morgan with a large number of troops advanced toward Tompkinsville. The Ninth Pennsylvania had divided their regiment into smaller units and had a detachment of only 230 men commanded by Major Jordan to counter the rebels. After two hours of fighting the Ninth withdrew to Burksville. Major Jordan’s horse was shot out from under him and Jordan was taken prisoner.

Brought before Morgan, Jordan refused to sign a Parole and accused the Kentuckians of being marauders, as regular confederate soldiers would not be operating so far behind enemy lines! Jordan was sent to Georgia and put on a train to Richmond. Charges were brought against him for insulting the women of Sparta, but he denied them saying he only demanded meals cooked for his men. Jordan was a Lawyer in civilian life and appeared to be an honorable man, so he was exchanged and reported back to Louisville to rejoin his troops. Jordan in his “Reminiscences” records that he was sent to Knoxville and then Castle Thunder in Richmond where he was exchanged in December.


Cavaliers and Outlaws

John Hunt Morgan the Alabama born leader of the 2nd Kentucky Cavalry C.S.A. considered himself a gentleman and true Knight of the South. Reuben Rhoades like most northerners considered Morgan’s band as raiders and outlaws. Morgan’s 2nd Cavalry, created from the Lexington Rifles was the farthest ranging Confederate unit of the war, fighting in ten States. The 2nd Kentucky was camped in Sparta on July 7th when they heard the story that angered John Morgan and his men. According to the townsfolk it was reported back in May that a certain Major Thomas Jordan of the Ninth Pennsylvania, had made an order on the ladies of the town to cook for his men within one hour or he would not be responsible for what might happen to them. The womenfolk understood this a threat of rape and complied with the order. Through civilian informants Morgan learned that the Ninth Pennsylvania was based at Thompkinsville and the 2nd Kentucky had detoured to Thompkinsville to settle accounts. The rebels considered it their duty as true Knights, to seek out the offenders and do battle with the scoundrels.

Later in the war Morgan was killed by Union cavalry troops, who had breached the sentry line at Greenville on September 4th. One of the Federal troops shouted, “ I’ve killed the damn horse-thief” and Private
Andrew Campbell of the 13th Tennessee Union cavalry then threw the corpse across his horse and paraded back to show Morgan’s body to his officers. There was no proof that Campbell killed Morgan and General Gillem denounced Campbell for his treatment of the dead. He had Morgan’s body placed on a caisson and sent back to Greenville to be given a decent funeral. (Brown-,Morgan’s Raiders)


Greencastle, Indiana and Putnam County had many Pioneer families that had migrated up to the fertile soil of Indiana from Kentucky. My ancestor, William Levi Hall, b.1813 moved to Putnam County from his old Kentucky home, after freeing his 11 slaves at the start of the Civil War. When war broke out some of the young men from Indiana went south and joined the Rebel army. Only about one fifth of Confederate soldiers ever owned slaves, so there were many motives that persuaded men to fight in the Civil War. Sgt. Henry Stone rode with Morgan’s Raiders, he was captured and sent for a time to Camp Morton (Indianapolis) only 40 miles from home. Old friends in the 71st.Indiana gave him clothing and other necessities, and he was allowed a visit from his brothers. Stone was later put on a train to Camp Douglas outside Chicago, the North’s worst military prison. Reuben Rhodes settled in Putnam County after the war, just a few miles from the Stone family.

Rear Guard Action

With the rebels invading Kentucky in force, the Ninth was united again under the command of Col. Williams, at Lebanon, Kentucky. The Ninth Pennsylvania cavalry along with the Ninth Kentucky was beaten soundly at Richmond, Kentucky and on July 30th. The saddle weary troops then fought a rear guard action covering the retreat of Gen. Nelson to Louisville. The Ninth was attacked daily by the “Louisiana Tigers” (1st. Louisiana Cavalry). The Tigers were expert horsemen who skirmished with the “Yankee Boys” at every opportunity. The Louisiana cavalry “Tigers” had hoisted the confederate flag at Frankfort on September 3rd after Federal forces evacuated the Capitol. Then they marched toward Shelbyville and on September 4th after burning bridges, they attacked the Ninth Pennsylvania. The Ninth repulsed the Rebels killing 27 and capturing 44 during this skirmish.

The Ninth Cavalry reached Louisville on September 5th where Gen. Buell and the 2nd. Michigan reinforced the troops. Captain Ebenezer Gay, a regular army officer, was placed in command of a small brigade of cavalry, consisting of the Ninth with 650 men and the 2nd Michigan with 350 men. These were the only two regiments that he could depend on as the 6th7th9th and 11th Kentucky were raw recruits as was the 4th Indiana. The Ninth Pennsylvania took the point and advanced to Perryville, where the Ninth was under intense enemy fire until it was relived by McCooks corps. The 2nd Michigan was well armed with 5 shot Colt carbines an early repeating rifle. Meanwhile Reuben Rhoades and most of the Pennsylvanians were armed only with Sabers and Revolvers. There is some indication that they borrowed carbines from the 9th Kentucky! At Perryville the Ninth formed on the right of the line and repelled every attempt by the Rebel Cavalry to turn its flank. The Ninth had 10 killed, and 27 wounded in this battle. Gen.Buell stated: “The Ninth Pennsylvania Cavalry behaved most bravely, being at one time compelled to stand for almost three quarters of an hour under concentrated fire from three batteries of enemy artillery, and only retiring when ordered to do so.

The Ninth had endured some hard fighting and needed fresh horses. So about half of the troopers were dismounted and they headed back to Louisville for fresh horses and equipment. After receiving the supplies the Ninth along with the 2nd. Michigan prepared for raids into eastern Tennessee and the railroads linking the rebel Capital. On December 22nd the men were issued 100 rounds of ammunition and army rations. Reuben Rhoades and the horse soldiers then started a long trek over the mountains, following deer and Indian trails. The cavalry continued day and night, fording creeks and swimming across both the Cumberland and Clinch Rivers (Bates). On the same day (December 22nd) two brigades of Confederate Raiders left Alexandria, Tennessee under command of Morgan. The raiders had about 3900 men and two light batteries of artillery consisting of seven guns. The artillery was double-teamed but the raiders had no supply wagons to slow them down. Their object was to destroy the Louisville and Nashville railroad. Over 400 men served as horse-holders until such time as arms could be captured for them.
Morgan’s young troopers had no Sabers but the veterans carried one or two Colt pistols and cavalry carbines. Some men carried double- barreled shotguns but the majority used rifles, the Enfield being very prevalent.

The Union Army used over 825,000 horses in the Civil War paying an average price of $150.00 per head. Sometimes high-class horses were found at purchasing depots but more often the reverse was true. Men of the highest integrity lost all sense of fair play when it came to selling or swapping horses to the Government.

Reuben Rhoades would typically carry enough rations for 5 days in haversacks and 75 to 100 rounds of ammunition along with 30 pounds of feed for his horse. With his other equipment and personal items the horses needed strength and endurance to manage the burdens.

1863 – Boots and Saddles

Once again the Ninth cavalry was
pushing hard to intercept Morgan and his Raiders, the rough school of war had taught private Reuben Rhoades a lot over the past year. He was at home in the saddle, able to ride in battle charges and deliver blows with a saber. His skills would be tested during the forthcoming battles.

On Jan.1, 1863 the Ninth Pennsylvania reached the Virginia and Tennessee railroad at the Watauga Bridge, where about 100 men defended the position. The Ninth dismounted and assaulted the Rebels on foot. The Ninth fought a short battle forcing the defenders to surrender and then burned the bridge and *paroled all captured prisoners. The Pennsylvanians then rode about 11 miles down the railroad to the Holston River where two hundred and fifty men behind stockades and entrenchment’s defended the position. The Ninth attacked this force and captured the rebels, six men of the regiment were killed and 25 wounded. Sergeant Ellis Hamersly was one of the wounded and he and the other wounded men were left with the paroled enemy, the regiment having no ambulances. Hamersly refused to stay behind, and managed to stay on his horse until they reached Kentucky. After destroying nearly a mile of railroad trestle they headed for Kentucky and by rapid maneuvering, eluded rebel cavalry commanded by Marshall, and crossed the mountains to safety. The success of the Ninth angered the Rebel Command and Marshall was relieved of duty. The exhausted men of the Ninth reached Nicholasville on Jan.13 with two thirds of the men dismounted, their horses had not been fed for over 100 miles! * Early in the war the opposing armies would parole a prisoner and he was then free to go home after signing under oath, that he would not fight again until exchanged for a prisoner from the opposing side. This quaint procedure changed during the war and men were later sent to Prison camps.

Nathan Bedford Forrest

Colonel Williams had meanwhile resigned because he could not understand why Captain Gay, who was a Regular Army cavalry officer, should outrank a volunteer Colonel! So Major Jordan was promoted to Colonel on Jan.13th, after the death of Lt. Col. James. After resting a few days, the regiment marched to Louisville and the troops again received fresh horses. They were then transported by railroad to Nashville on Feb.8th. Two days after their arrival they proceeded to Franklin by order of Gen. Rosecrans (a devout Catholic who nonetheless was prone to curse). At Franklin the regiment skirmished with a Brigade under the command of the Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, one of the South’s top Cavalry Commanders. Forrest was a tough fighter who became the first Imperial wizard of the KKK, but later resigned when it became too violent even for him! (Foote) The Ninth fought hard and were glad when the rebels withdrew from the town, the Butternut and Gray boys were tough fighters.

Col. Jordan commanded the right wing of the army of the Cumberland, confronting forces at Liberty on the left, Shelbyville & Tullhoma* at the center and Franklin on the right. At Spring Hill fourteen miles from Franklin was the enemy’s left wing under command of General Van Dorn with General Wheeler and the formidable Forrest each commanding a Division. The joke among Confederates was that in Ancient Greek “Tulla” meant mud and “homa” meant more mud. Many wagons got stuck in the driving rainstorms of that winter.

The Ninth Pennsylvania aided by 300 men of the 2nd Michigan Cavalry confronted the rebel force and made daily attacks upon the advance positions for 18 successive days in order to hide their inferior strength of numbers. The strategy worked until March 4th when General Van Dorn attacked in force. A Division of infantry commanded by Col. John Coburn from Indiana had reached Franklin during the night and joined up with the Union cavalry, the combined force then engaged the enemy four miles from Franklin. The ensuing battle lasted from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. when the rebel force was finally forced back to Thompson’s Station.

Col. Colburn pursued the retreating rebels with the Ninth Pennsylvania engaging the enemy at the hills in front of the station. The rebels were forced back until the infantry advanced. Unfortunately Col. Coburn and over 3000 troops were captured when Brig. Gen. “Red” Jackson’s dismounted 2nd. Division made a frontal attack as Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest swung to the rear. After three attempts Jackson’s troops carried the Union hilltop position. Gen. Forrest had meanwhile captured Coburn’s wagon train. Surrounded and out of ammunition, Coburn surrendered. The detachment of Pennsylvania cavalry fought their way out, then joined up with the rest of the Ninth and retreated to Franklin. The Ninth was able to bring back the artillery and many wounded soldiers, along with over 200 prisoners.

Brigades and Brigands

During this time the Ninth Pennsylvania cavalry was under the command of Major General Stanley as part of the First brigade, First division, Army of the Cumberland, Cavalry.

Meanwhile General Van Dorn had set up residence at the home of Dr. Peters, after the fighting. He evidently had an affair with the doctor’s wife, while the doctor was away making his calls, so Doctor Peters walked into Van Dorns headquarters and killed him with a pistol shot to the head. The Doctor then rode to the Union lines and went to Nashville until the war ended. Jordan wrote: “Thus perished General Earl Van Dorn, a graduate of West Point who was a Major in the old second cavalry before the war. He deserted his regiment, took office in the Confederate army and died the death due a rebel to the flag of his country that had educated him and given him position. He was a serpent in a virtuous family and a profligate who knew not what it was to have an honorable sentiment or exalted feeling. With all his talents he groveled in the slime of licentiousness and met the fate due his crimes”.

At Chickamauga

Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg, a harsh disciplinarian, disliked by his own troops, was about to meet the Pennsylvania Cavalry. The Ninth was now combined into the 1st Division of Cavalry, commanded by General Stanley. They fought skirmishes at Rover, Middletown and Shelbyville. At Shelbyville the Ninth charged the enemy left flank while the Seventh Pennsylvania attacked the center. Closing fast on the flank the cavalry was suddenly in the midst of confederate troops and Reuben Rhoades was in hand-to-hand combat. After a determined effort the Ninth captured about 1000 of the enemy and their artillery battery but Capt. Gilbert Waters was killed in the fight. The Ninth then fought battles at Elk River and Cowan were they captured 200 of Bragg’s rear guard. Shortly before the battle at Chickamauga the cavalry had ridden all the way to Lafayette, Georgia (about 35 miles south of Chattanooga) capturing an advance guard of Gen. Longstreet’s who were marching from Lee’s army in Virginia to re-inforce Bragg.

At Chickamauga the Ninth held the right side of the union line and after the defeat of McCooks corps they moved to the right of Gen. Thomas and defended the flank. This obstinate stand by two brigades of Union cavalry against the confederate infantry gave time for formation of union lines. Col. Jordan and the Ninth Pennsylvania were again complimented for their gallantry.

The Rock of Chickamauga

Gen. Thomas was a Virginian who chose to fight for the Union. “Pap” Thomas was a large man who was well liked by his troops, a fearless and unassuming leader and cool under fire. Chickamauga was called “The
River of Death” by the Indian tribes of that area because many warriors were killed in ancient battles, long before the Blue and Gray armies made the river again run red with blood. Chickamauga was the fiercest battle of the war in the western campaign and both armies suffered horrific losses. One of the devastated units was a Georgia regiment of adventurous young men that had “Gone to see the Elephant” on May 11th of 1861. The boys had only enlisted for a year, the last regiment taken for such a short term.

The 5th Georgia Regiment was one of the Rebel units that fought against the Ninth at Chickamauga and Reuben Rhoades was amazed at the courage of these Georgia boys during the battle. The 5th Georgia was torn to shreds at Chickamauga on September 19th and 20th 1863, with the killed and wounded approaching 54% of the regiment. The 5th was made up in part by the “Clinch Rifles” from Augusta, Georgia. The 10 companies that composed the “Clinch Rifles” were all from cities and towns and wore nice Confederate uniforms of varying styles. Originally they had garrisoned Pensacola, Florida where General Braxton Bragg drilled them and called them the “Pound Cake Regiment” because of their unique uniforms. The 5th had also lost heavily at Murfreesboro and would be bloodied at Missionary Ridge and Atlanta when they stood against Sherman. Few regiments in history have suffered such devastating losses and continued to fight. The 5th continued in combat against the Ninth Pennsylvania through the Savannah campaign and into the Carolinas, where the brave Americans from the South finally surrendered on April 20th 1865.

During the winter of 1863 and spring of 1864 the Ninth cavalry fought in eastern Tennessee at Dandridge, New Market, Mossy creek and Fair Garden where the regiment captured several rebel cannons.

1864 – Sabers!

In early April the Ninth Cavalry re-enlisted, and many of the soldiers returned to their homes in Pennsylvania for a 30-day leave. At the end of May, Reuben Rhoades reported back to Louisville, along with newly recruited men and the Ninth now reached it’s full regimental strength of 1200 troops.

While the Ninth was at Louisville waiting for horses and weapons, General Morgan made his last raid into Kentucky and headed for Frankfort, where he crossed the Kentucky River and overpowered the troops scattered along the Louisville and Nashville railroad. Morgan then broke up track and burned bridges, disrupting the supply lines going to Gen. Sherman, then on the march to Atlanta. The Ninth Cavalry, armed with muskets* rode all night, covering 54 miles to relieve the Capital. The Ninth Cavalry forced Morgan to fall back to Pound Gap, where a Union Cavalry division under Gen. Burbridge defeated the Rebels. * Some Cavalry troops, both North and South were at times armed with Spencer repeating rifles and other breech loading rifles. The Henry rifle could fire 15 shots without re-loading and was a prototype of the famous Winchester used by cowboys in the west.

The Ninth rode through Nashville and arrived at Chattanooga on Sept. 2nd Meanwhile General “Fighting Joe” Wheeler and his Rebel forces were crossing into Tennessee. The Ninth arrived at Murfreesboro on September
5th and a day later twelve miles from Murfreesboro, the Ninth Pennsylvania defeated General Dibrell’s brigade and took 294 prisoners, many of who were wounded with Saber cuts from the close encounter. Some Yankee horse soldiers were also wounded by confederate sabers and Reuben Rhoades would in later years show this badge of courage to his children and grandchildren. U.S. Cavalry manual of tactics up until World War I outlined the use of a Rifle then Sabers for close in- fighting.

The next day a telegram placed all Cavalry in Tennessee under command of Col. Jordan, and directed him to pursue the Rebel army. That same afternoon the Ninth defeated part of rebel General Williams division under the command of Col. Anderson.

Numerous bands of Independent Confederate Cavalry had had their own way for two years, under fierce and enterprising leaders like General Forrest and John Morgan. Now seasoned by many battles against the confederates Reuben Rhoades and the Ninth were a match for any Rebel unit and the Pennsylvania Cavalry again pursued the rebels to Sparta, and into the mountains. Gen. Wheeler placed confederate Gen. Williams under arrest for refusing to fight, and he was not released until the end of the war. The Ninth Pennsylvania, which constituted about two thirds of the Union force was issued complimentary orders by

Marching through Georgia

The Ninth Cavalry joined up with Gen. Sherman at Marietta Georgia and on Nov.14Th Rueben Rhoads was on the “March to the Sea”. Sherman was determined to make Georgia Howl! he was one of the first modern Generals that understood it was civilians that supplied the military and he made war against them also. Sherman is best remembered for his statement “War is Hell!” Meanwhile General Kilpatrick was in command of 6,000 cavalrymen, including the Ninth Pennsylvania, as part of the 3rd Cavalry Division. General Sherman considered Brigadier Hugh Judson Kilpatrick, a.k.a. “Kill Cavalry Kilpatrick” as a “hell of a damn fool”. However, Sherman had personally requested the headstrong young general to command the cavalry on the campaign because of his recklessness. The troops advanced toward Macon and Milledgeville Georgia where near Atlanta they met a rebel force at Lovejoy’s Station on the Macon Railroad. The rebels were well entrenched and opened fire with four Cannons. The Ninth charged and drove the enemy from their guns, taking over 300 confederates’ prisoner and they used the captured cannon for the remainder of the war, as these same guns had been surrendered to the rebels in a previous battle. The brigade then pushed General Wheeler into Macon in December and fought at Griswoldville where 95 men were killed or wounded. The Ninth then started toward Millen where they hoped to free captured Union soldiers from their prison-pens. At Waynesboro Wheeler made a night attack but two times
was beaten back by the Yankee Horse soldiers. They discovered that the Union prisoners had been moved, so the troops headed back to join Gen. Baird’s Infantry. Wheeler attacked again at Buckhead creek, hoping to cut off the Ninth, then defending the rear of the column. The other troops had already crossed Ogeechee creek, but the Ninth fought off this attack.

The Ninth had the center with the Ohio 9th on the right, Fifth Ohio on the left with the 8th.Indiana, 3rd & 5th Kentucky in reserve. The Ninth rode into the heart of the confederate lines and forced Wheeler’s men to retreat. Wheeler made another stand at Waynesboro but was again forced to withdraw. General Joe Wheeler was a born leader, and later would command American fighting men in the Spanish American War. The Union Army then headed toward historic Savannah, Georgia arriving on Dec. 21st. This was Reuben Rhoads third Christmas spent at war with his fellow Americans and on expiration of his enlistment he was honorably discharged December 27, 1864.

The Ninth fought on with action in South and North Carolina, and on March 8th the cavalry fought a small engagement near Fayetteville against Confederate cavalry commanded by Major General “Fighting Joe Wheeler. The First Brigade under Jordan then scouted the area and dismounted at Blue’s Church to pull wagons and artillery by hand because of the muddy conditions. Way’s Provisional Brigade, made up of dismounted men from the Ninth Pennsylvania, 9th Ohio and 5th Kentucky camped in front of Morganton rd. In the early morning hours the Rebels charged on horseback, firing their pistols and giving the “Rebel Yell” Union troops taken by surprise scattered into the swamps. Kilpatrick escaped in his nightclothes, leaving behind a very pretty female companion. The Union troops regrouped at the edge of the swamp and put up a sustained fire from their Spencer carbines. Under this intense volley about 20 confederates died in the first few minutes, some of these troops were young cadets from the Citadel. From: Kill Cavalry’s nasty surprise by William Mangum II. About April 13, 1865 the horse soldiers entered Raleigh and the city surrendered under orders from the civil authorities. After the cavalry rode through Raleigh, the enemy attacked and then withdrew about 10 miles. The Ninth was ready to
attack the remnants of the confederate force when a flag of truce approached. A dispatch was delivered to General Sherman, who met with Gen. Johnson CSA and accepted the surrender of his command. The Ninth Pennsylvania Cavalry fired some of the final shots in Sherman’s army and after the surrender the Ninth mustered out of service, returned to Harrisburg and disbanded.


Rueben Rhoades and the cavalry veterans returned to peacetime pursuits. The UNITED STATES became one nation again.

For the complete story of the Ninth Cavalry read:
“Yankee Cavalrymen”
John W. Rowell
(University of Tennessee Press)

Tom Renick
Gr,Gr,Grandson of Reuben Rhoades.
27651 S.R.64 E. Myakka City, Fl. 34251


Please feel free to contact me at the address below.

E-mail:[email protected]

Leave a Reply