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College Cavaliers

William Arba Ellis published two versions of his history of Norwich University, a one-volume edition in 1898, and an expanded 3-volume edition in 1911. Each edition contained an article on the College Cavaliers, which are presented here.


Of all the various military organizations that went into the great Rebellion, perhaps none held so unique a position as the so-called Dartmouth Company of Cavalry. This was practically the only company composed of college men who went into the great struggle. From the time a little previous to the breaking out of the war and at the beginning, the feeling of patriotism knew no bounds at Dartmouth. Mr. Sanford S. Burr '63 conceived the idea of enlisting a company at Dartmouth. This was a popular move, and for a time it seemed as though the whole college would offer its service. No doubt their enthusiasm was increased by their seeing so many of the cadets of Norwich University, then just across the river, entering the army. But their action alarmed the parents of the students and brought a restraining influence from the faculty, so that when the day came for them to enroll their names, it was found that there were not men enough to complete the company. Additional men were recruited from other colleges and a few from Woodstock, Vt. Mr. W. S. Dewey, Norwich University '63, took an active part in the enlistment of the company. We give below the number of men from each college.

Colleges Represented.

Norwich University23
From Woodstock, Vt17


Captain Sanford S. Burr, Dartmouth.

First Lieutenant T. H. Kellogg, Norwich University.

Second Lieutenant Charles F. Tillinghast, Norwich University.

Sergeant Major Charles E. Bush.

First Sergeant Henry E. Alvord, Norwich University.

Corporal Douglas Lee, Norwich University.

Veterinary Surgeon Arthur W. White, Norwich University.

After the company was enrolled and officers selected, it remained for them to get a chance to go to the war. They offered their services to the governor of New Hampshire, but were re fused. Then application was made to the governors of Maine and Massachusetts with no better success. The captain then applied to the governor of Rhode Island and was accepted. On June 18, the company left Hanover for White River Junction, escorted by a large number of students, who wished them God-speed in their desire to help preserve the Union. They took the train at this station for Providence, R. I., where they were to be mustered into the service of the United States.

Col. A. C. Eddy of the governor's staff, who was then in Providence, conducted them to a sumptuous repast of crackers, cheese, and hot coffee. They took the oath of enlistment and received their uniforms from the quartermaster's department. They were then marched to "Camp Codman," located on Dexter Training Ground, where they elected their officers as before given, and flipped a cent with the Rhode Island company there rendevouzed to determine which should be the A company. The Rhode Islanders won, and our "Cavaliers'" became Co. B, 7th Squadron Rhode Island Volunteers. They were treated very kindly by the people of Providence. On the evening of Thursday, June 24, they were given a reception and banquet by ex-Governor Hoppin and Colonel Gardner. At this reception they were extolled to the highest degree for showing such an example of patriotism.

They were ordered to Washington June 28, and on arriving there went into camp in Gates's Woods, a mile north of the capitol. The 3d of July they were mustered into the United States service by Captain J. Elwood, United States Artillery, the muster rolls dating June 24. From there they entered active service.

Their record was such that any college or country might well be proud of them. A book could be written rilled with incidents, both ludicrous and thrilling, of their exploits. Who ever heard of a band of college fellows who could not make things merry? It is of interest to us to see the feeling that existed between Dartmouth and Norwich University at that time. They laid aside all petty prejudices and feuds. The men, who before this were ever on the alert to pick quarrels, were willing to fight side by side, sharing alike the dangers and privations.

When it was seen that Harper's Ferry would fall into the hands of the Confederates, the cavalry officers formed plans for escape, which were successfully carried out, and after various adventures arrived at Greencastle, Pa. Colonel Vose, who was in command, reported to General McClellan. Company B remained with Colonel Vose until the Rattle of Antietam was ended, although the time of enlistment expired before then. The company returned to Providence on September 20. On the 2d dav of October they were mustered out, received their pay, and returned to Hanover and Norwich University.

Arthur W. Coombs '64 died of dysentery at the hospital in Winchester, and was the only man lost from the command, although several were captured and taken to Richmond, and confined in Libby prison, but were let out in time to go home with the rest. We give below the names and residences of the men who went out with this company from Norwich University:

H. E. Alvord, Greenfield, Mass.; G. A. Bailey, Woodstock, Vt.; A. F. Bayard, Brooklyn, N. Y.; Charles E. Bush, Shoreham, Vt.; Arthur W. Coombs, Thetford, Vt.; William S. Dewey, Queehee, Vt.; William S. Goodwin, Boston, Mass.; C. W. Gragg, Boston, Mass.; A. T. Hastings. West Medway, Mass., W. S. Hazelton, Stratford, Vt.; S. H. Kellogg, Ilillsboro, Ohio; Wallace A. King, Woodstock, Vt.: Douglass Lee, Lenox, Mass.; Arthur P. Morey, Norwich, Vt.. E. H. Noyes, Springfield, Mass.; Augustus L. Papanti, Boston, Mass.; James J. Parker, Woodstock, Vt.; H. M. Phillips, Greenfield, Mass.; C. M. Smith, Washington, Vt.; Charles F. Tillinghast, Pittsburg, Pa.; Ellis P. Wolcott, Utica, N. Y.; F. H. Wolcott, Nyack, N. Y. ; Arthur P. White, Columbus, Ohio. Many of the above re-entered the army and gained distinction, as Col. Henry M. Phillips, Major Alvord, Major A. P. Morey, Douglass Lee, T. H. Kellogg, and Charles A. Tillinghast.

Source: William A. Ellis, Norwich University. Her History, Her Graduates, Her Roll of Honor, (The Rumford Press, Concord, NH, 1898), 85-88.


Of all the various military organizations that served in the Civil War, the " College Cavaliers'' stand unique.

So far as known this was the only company composed of college men that entered the service. The honor of forming the company belongs to Sanford S. Burr, of the class of 1863, Dartmouth College.

In May 1862, Burr proposed the organization of a cavalry troop composed of Dartmouth men. For a time the war spirit ran high at Dartmouth. One hundred of the students offered their services and it seemed for a time that the whole student body would offer their services.

^ i The parents of the men became alarmed lest the students carry out their rash (?) idea and enlist before they could forbid it. President Lord and the faculty at Dartmouth counseled against it, arguing it "would be more beneficial for the students to keep to their books than to go the war." The pleading letters of the parents, and the counsel of President Lord, greatly dampened the ardor of the men.

Burr's patriotic scheme seemed doomed. He then turned for assistance to the rival college across the river, where the men were trained for their country's service and where the President and faculty were only too glad to aid the cadets in their efforts to go to the war. A compromise was agreed upon as to the selection of the officers. Dartmouth was given the captaincy; Norwich the first lieutenant, second lieutenant, and first sergeant.

In the Dartmouth College and New Hampshire publications, this organization is called the "Dartmouth Cavalry." The Reveille of March 1863, designates the organization as the "Norwich Cavalry." This last name seems t he proper one as the chief officers were "N. II." men and the captain as well as the company was drilled by the "N. U." officers. Mr. Samuel B. Pettingill, a graduate of Amherst College, class of 1863, published in 1883, the history of the company under the title of the "College Cavaliers," and this title seems more appropriate as it includes all the colleges.

As the recruiting progressed it was found necessary to obtain more men and several colleges were written to for recruits. Bowdoin responded with four men, Union with four, Amherst one, and Williams one. More men had to be recruited to fill the company. William S. Dewey, '63, of Quechee, George A. Bailey, '63, and Mr. John S. Eaton of Woodstock, joined the company and recruited ten men from Woodstock; two men were enrolled from other Vermont towns, one from Massachusetts, and four from New Hampshire, making the total enrollment eighty-five men.

The company officers were elected as follows:

Captain, Sanford S. Burr, Dartmouth, '63.

1st Lieutenant, Theodore H. Kellogg, "N. U.," '62.

2d Lieutenant, Charles F. Tillinghast, " N. U.,'' '64.

2d Lieutenant, William H. Stevens, Woodstock, Vt.

1st Sergeant, Henry E. Alvord, "N. IT.,'' '63.

Sergeant, Calvin S. Brown, Dartmouth, '63.

Sergeant, Charles E. Bush, "N. U.," '63.

Sergeant, Henry F. Anderson, Dartmouth, '63.

Sergeant, Frank W. Graves, Concord, N. H.

Sergeant, Joseph N. Whitney, Bowdoin, '63.

Sergeant, Aloiuo Jenkins, Dartmouth, '63.

Corporal, George A. Bailey, " N. U., '63.

Corporal, Charles Caldwell, Dartmouth, '63.

Corporal, John S. Cameron, Dartmouth, '63.

Corporal, Nathaniel Clement, Dartmouth, '63.

Corporal, John S. Eaton, Woodstock, Vt.

Corporal, Isaac W. Heysinger, Dartmouth, '64.

Corporal, Douglass Lee, "N. U.," '63.

Musician, Albion T. Clarke, Strafford, Vt.

Musician, John H. Marsh, Woodstock, Vt.

Sadler, Henry Williamson, Woodstock, Vt.

As soon as the company was recruited, its services were offered to the governors of New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts, but with no success. Their services were finally accepted by Governor Sprague, of Rhode Island. On June 18, 1863, the company left for White River Junction, escorted by a large number of students from Dartmouth and "N. U." They reached Providence, R. I., June 19, and were received by Col. A. C. Eddy of the Governor's Staff. They were then escorted to the "Dexter Training Ground'' where they took the oath of enlistment and received their uniforms.

They were kindly received by the citizens of Providence. On Thursday, June 24, they were given a reception and banquet by Ex-Governor Hoppin and Colonel Gardiner, and their patriotic zeal in leaving their studies to defend the honor of their country was greatly extolled.

On June 26, an entertainment was given them at the rooms of L. H. Humphrey & Co. Ex-Governor William W. Hoppin presided and gave them an address of welcome, which was ressponded to by Captain Burr. Patriotic speeches were delivered by Governor Sprague, Rev. Barnabas Sears, D. D., president of Brown University and others.

On June 24, they were mustered into the United States service and flipped a cent with a Rhode Island troop, rcndezvouzed there, to determine which should be the "A" troop. The Rhode Island troop won, and our "College Cavaliers'' became troop B, 7th Squadron, Rhode Island Cavalry.

In the organization of the squadron, Augustus W. Corliss was commissioned major; Charles F. Tillinghast, "N.U.," '64,2d lieutenant and adjutant; Zebe Oilman, Dartmouth, '63, quartermaster sergeant; Samuel B. Pettengill, Amherst, '63, and Arthur W. White, "N. U.," '65, veterinary sergeants; George F. Gill, Dartmouth, '64, hospital steward.

The squadron left by boat for New York City, June 28, and from there went to Philadelphia by boat, June 29. They were given a cordial reception in Philadelphia, Pa., by the "Soldiers' Welcome Association." They left for Washington by train, June 29, arriving there June 30, and encamped in "Camp Clark" at Gate's Wood, about one mile from the Capitol.

On July 25, the squadron was transferred from General Wadsworth's command to that of General Sturges, and was moved to Alexandria,Va. It camped for a time at "Camp Eddy," near Fairfax Seminary, and then marched to Winchester, Va., and went into camp, at "Camp Segel," near that town, where they remained until September 2, 1862. The command was constantly engaged in picket duty and scouting.

On September 2, the command was sent on a scouting expedition to Newton and Middletown, taking several prisoners. On their return at 11 o'clock, the same night, they found the town a-blaze, and were ordered to retreat to Harper's Ferry. Marching all night and the next day, they reached their destination at 9 P. M. On September 5, they crossed the Potomac with the 32d Ohio Volunteers (Major Hewitt's regiment), (q. v.) and encamped in the woods at Maryland Heights, opposite the river, and with the 12th Illinois, 8th New York, and four companies of Maryland Cavalry, under the command of Colonel Ford, did picket service at the river.

This was^aniimportanttpost of over! 11,000 men under command of Colonel Miles. It soon became evident that the Union forces would have to retreat from this position as the Confederates were surrounding the place with superior forces. A conference of the officers was held, and it was decided to escape if possible. On September 14, the cavalry force managed to elude General Longstreet's army, and on the 15th reached Greencastle, Pa., without the loss of a single man or horse. THE ST. ALBANS RAID.

The cavalry under the command of Colonel Vose, reported to General McClellan, and the squadron was ordered to Jones'Cross Road, near Hagerstown. Although their term of enlistment had expired, they remained with Colonel Vose until the battle of Antietam was ended, then returned home reaching Providence, September 26. October 2, they were mustered out, and the men dispersed to their respective colleges. The N. H. History states that the faculty of Dartmouth were at first determined to force the men to pass examinations on the studies they had lost during the campaign, but learning that Brown University would admit them without examination, the matter was given up.

The faculty of "N. U.'' was very liberal with the men who left to enter the service and degrees were promised the cadets if they enlisted.

Arthur W. Coombs. '64, died August 15, 1862, of dysentery at the hospital in Winchester, Va., being the only man lost in the command. Two were captured by the Confederates, but were released in time to go home with the others.

Their services were highly commendable, and they received the praise of the various officers under whom they served, for t heir efficient work.

We give below the roster of the " N. U." men serving in troop B:

'63. Alvord, Henry E., 1st Sergeant.

'63. Bailey, George A., Corporal.

'05. Bayard, Alfred F. Private.

'63. Bush, Charles E.. Sergeant, Later appointed Sergeant Major.

'64. Coombs, Arthur W., Private.

'63. Dewey, William S., Private.

'64. Goodwin, William S., Private.

'65. Gragg, Charles W., Private.

'63. Hastings, Addison T., Private.

'64. Hazelton, Walter S., Private.

'62. Kellogg, Theodore H., 1st Lieutenant.

'59. King, Wallace A., Private.

'64. Lee, Douglass, Corporal.

'64, Morey, Arthur P., Private.

'64. Noyes, Edward H., Private.

'65. Papanti, Augustus L., Private.

'63. Parker, James V., Private.

'64. Phillips, Henry ML, Private.

'67. Smith, Charles W., Private.

'64. Tillinghast, Charles F., Corporal, Later 2d Lieutenant and Adjutant.

'64. Walcott, Ellis P., Private.

'64. Walcott, Franklin H., Private.

'67. White, Arthur W., Private, Later appointed Veterinary Sergeant.

Source: William Arba Ellis, Norwich University, 1819-1911: Her History, Her Graduates, Her Roll of Honor, (The Capital City Press, Montpelier, VT., 1911), i:410-415.

Vermonters in the College Cavaliers

Arms, Charles Carroll
Bailey, George A.
Bodwell, Joseph C. Jr.
Brown, Henry H.
Bush, Charles Edson
Cameron, John Stark
Chapman, Joseph Stanley
Coombs, Arthur W.
Dewey, William Strong
Eaton, John Stearns
Fuller, Edwin
Garey, George Q.
Hazelton, Walter S.
King, Wallace A.
Marsh, John H.
Morey, Arthur Paine
Neal, Joseph Perkins
Parker, James V.
Perrin, William Burton
Putnam, Eugene
Smith, Charles W.
Stevens, William H.
Tewksbury, Eugene Paschal
Williamson, Henry