Bear Flag and Bay State in the Civil War

The Californians of the Second Massachusetts Cavalry

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About the Book

The Second Massachusetts Cavalry included the only organized group (5 companies totaling 504 men) from California to fight in the east during the Civil War. Led by a young Boston aristocrat, Colonel Charles R. Lowell, these men began their wartime careers in Northern Virginia in 1862, clashing with the partisan rangers of Major John S. Mosby, in a deadly world of guerrilla warfare. In August of 1864, the regiment was assigned to Major General Phil Sheridan’s Army of Shenandoah and served through all of the battles in the victorious campaign to clear the valley of Confederates, witnessing the final surrender at Appomattox Courthouse.
This account tells what these men from California and Massachusetts accomplished, how they communicated, and how they viewed themselves. The book contains three appendices that list the battle casualties of the regiment during its largest engagements. Photographs and a bibliography are also included.

About the Author(s)

Since retiring from the Navy in 1998, Thomas E. Parson performs maintenance on monuments, cannons, and historical markers at Shiloh National Military Park. He lives in Corinth, Mississippi.

Bibliographic Details

Thomas E. Parson
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 228
Bibliographic Info: 45 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2007 [2001]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3257-8
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5060-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Preface      1

Prologue      3

1. “What do you mean Gentlemen, drivers of gigs?”      5

2. The California Hundred      20

3. The California Battalion      29

4. “Take care Major, here come the Rebs”      45

5. Northern Virginia      64

6. The Independent Cavalry Brigade      81

7. Dranesville      101

8. Jubal Early’s Washington Raid      125

9. The Shenandoah Valley      140

10. “So strong a love for country”      160

11. “Let them know there is a God in Israel”      176

12. Appomattox      186

Epilogue      202

Appendix A: Casualties at Dranesville, February 1864      203

Appendix B: Casualties at Mt. Zion Church, July 1864      206

Appendix C: Casualties at Rockville, July 1864      208

Bibliography      211

Index      215

Book Reviews & Awards

“well-researched…fascinating”—The Civil War News; “well done, well illustrated”—The Civil War Courier.