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Some Personal Reminiscences of Service in the Cavalry of the Army of the Potomac   By:

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Some Personal Reminiscences of Service in the Cavalry of the Army of the Potomac by Hampton Sidney Thomas is a remarkable memoir that offers an intriguing glimpse into the hardships and heroism experienced on the battlefields of the American Civil War. Thomas's personal account provides a captivating firsthand perspective of life as a cavalryman, offering readers a deeper understanding of the sacrifices made by those who fought in this tumultuous period of history.

One of the most striking aspects of Thomas's memoir is the vividness with which he describes the chaos and intensity of the battlefield. His detailed recollections paint a picture of the constant danger faced by cavalry soldiers, highlighting their unwavering courage and perseverance in the face of overwhelming odds.

Thomas's writing style is engaging and evocative, easily transporting readers to the frontlines of the war. His vivid descriptions capture the sights, sounds, and emotions of battle, making it almost feel as if one is experiencing it firsthand. From thundering charges to skirmishes with Confederate forces, the narrative is filled with thrilling moments that keep the reader on the edge of their seat.

Beyond the battlefield, Thomas also shares glimpses of the camaraderie and bonds formed between soldiers. His anecdotes of camp life and interactions with fellow soldiers provide a humanizing touch to the narrative, reminding readers that behind the uniform, these were ordinary men with hopes, dreams, and aspirations.

Furthermore, the memoir offers valuable insights into the strategic aspects of warfare during the Civil War. Thomas details the tactics employed by the Union cavalry and their critical role in various battles, shedding light on the larger picture of military operations during this tumultuous period. This historical perspective adds depth and context to the personal reminiscences, providing a well-rounded account of the author's experiences.

However, there are a few aspects of the memoir that might disappoint some readers. While Thomas's storytelling is engaging, the narrative occasionally becomes fragmented and lacks a cohesive structure. This can make it challenging to follow the chronology of events and may confuse readers who are not well-versed in the history of the Civil War.

Additionally, although Thomas offers glimpses into the emotional toll of war, the memoir tends to focus more on the action and strategical aspects rather than delving deeply into the psychological effects on the soldiers. For readers seeking a more introspective exploration of the war's impact on individual lives, this may leave them wanting for more.

Overall, Some Personal Reminiscences of Service in the Cavalry of the Army of the Potomac by Hampton Sidney Thomas is a compelling memoir that sheds light on the experiences of cavalrymen during the Civil War. Thomas's engaging storytelling and vivid descriptions make for an immersive reading experience, transporting readers to a tumultuous era in American history. While the narrative structure and lack of introspection might be minor drawbacks, the memoir remains an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the lived experiences of Civil War soldiers.

First Page:




Reprinted from "The United Service," January, 1889.

Philadelphia: L. R. Hamersly & Co. 1889.


At the earnest solicitation of my many military friends, I have thrown together some reminiscences of my personal experience as a cavalryman during the late War of the Rebellion. Though my four years of campaigning began with a three months' tour of tramping with the "dough boys" under General Patterson in the spring and early summer of 1861, the latter was only a prolonged picnic. Two days before I was mustered out of the Ninth Pennsylvania Infantry I enrolled myself in the First Pennsylvania Cavalry, and soon discovered that I was more fitted for riding a horse than for trudging through the slush and mud with a heavy "Harper's Ferry" musket on my shoulder.

I will pass over the tedious instructions of the school of the trooper, mounted and dismounted, and begin my reminiscences as a full fledged Yankee cavalryman.

The First Pennsylvania Cavalry, which originally belonged to the Pennsylvania Reserve Corps, began its experience as a fighting regiment in a skirmish and charge near Dranesville, Virginia, on November 26, 1861, and, strange to relate, the first man killed was our assistant surgeon, Dr... Continue reading book >>

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