Here’s an impressive cavalryman you might like to meet: Charles L. Leiper of Rush’s Lancers – the 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry.

Although cavalry units were not significantly engaged at Antietam on 17 September, they battled all across Maryland in the week or so before.

On the 7th [September 1862], Lieutenant Charles L. Leiper was placed in command of Company ‘A,’ which he retained until the beginning of October. On the march to Antietam, when near Frederick, Maryland, on the 13th of September, he came upon a body of dismounted rebel cavalry in a wood. Although largely outnumbering his small force, he drove them in confusion, and made some prisoners. The enemy were armed with carbines, and though our men had only the lance and their pistols, by one determined charge they succeeded in dislodging the enemy, who fled in dismay.

This was Leiper’s habit through the war – taking aggressive action apparently without regard for the odds or his own safety.

He was seriously wounded twice as a result, and was promoted to Captain, Major, Lieutenant Colonel, and Colonel of his regiment by early 1865, and had been their commanding officer in practice since mid-1864. In March 1865 he was breveted – honorarily ranked – Brigadier General of Volunteers for his service.

Amazingly, he was then just 22 years old.

Please Leave a Reply