The celebrated 2nd U.S. Cavalry, like its brother regiment the 1st U.S. Cavalry, was formally created by an act of Congress in March 1855. Both units were the brainchild of Secretary of War Jefferson Davis, who lobbied long and hard for their creation to safeguard American immigrants on the Western frontier. A remarkable number of future Union and Confederate generals served in the ranks of the two regiments, including such luminaries as Robert E. Lee, Albert Sidney Johnston, Joseph E. Johnston, J.E.B. Stuart, John Bell Hood, Edmund Kirby Smith, Earl Van Dorn, William Hardee, Fitzhugh Lee, George H. Thomas, John Sedgwick, and Charles Field. A stray Indian arrow here or there might well have changed the entire course of the Civil War. Of the two regiments, the 2nd undoubtedly had the harder task. While the 1st was assigned to the rolling grasslands of Kansas, Nebraska, and eastern Colorado, the 2nd had to cover the more inhospitable region of Kansas, Oklahoma, and northern Texas, home to the most fearsome tribe on the plains, the Comanche. There were more than 15,000 Comanche warriors within its borders, almost four times as many as the dominant tribe, the Cheyenne, had in the 1st Regiment’s area of responsibility. The 2nd Cavalry: U.S. Frontier Guard Prior to the Civil War, the 10 companies of the 2nd Cavalry were spread across Texas in small, far-flung garrisons. The companies guarded the frontier, escorted streams of immigrants crossing the plains, and fought unceasing


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