Maryland Independent Cavalry or Cole's Cavalry
The creation of Coles Cavalry was made by a special act of of Congress on July 19, 1861. The state of Maryland was allowed to raise four companies of infantry and four companies of cavalry for the defense of Washington and Maryland from Confederate intrusion. The special order was taken to Frederick, Maryland where recruiting started for the raising of the independent Union cavalry battalion. Now Maryland loyalties during the war were split between Confederate and Union despite Maryland staying in the Union as a slave state. However, Western Marland was primarily pro Union so the four companies of Cavalry were raised primarily from that section of the state although one company was raised in Baltimore. The battalion was commanded by Major Henry Cole. The battalion was designated independent although they only took orders from the Union Department Commander. Throughout the war, Coles Cavalry operated in Western Maryland to West Virginia. They were involved in many battles and skirmishes throighout the war and were one of the best Union Cavalry units at a time when the Union struggled with its mounted branch. The battalion operated with the Union Army of the Shenandoah after 1862. Its most notable skirmish during the war was when Confederate John Mosbys partisan cavalry conducted a surprise attack on the camp of Coles Cavalry and the Maryland Unit held their own and routed Mosby's rangers after a heated confrontation. In 1864. Major Cole became a colonel and Coles Cavalry became a full regiment with an additional four companies raised to supplement the original battalion. Coles Cavalry fought in over 200 battles and skirmishes during the Civil War and received the thanks of Union General in Chief Ulysses S. Grant for their outstanding service to the United States. There will be a podcast on Coles Cavalry coming soon for more in depth look at the Maryland Unit. Stay tuned.