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Colonel Amos H. White, U.S.V.

Colonel Amos H. White is a direct descendant of the Puritan Elder John White, who sailed from London, England, about June 22, 1632, in the ship " Lyon," Captain Pierce, and arrived at Boston, Massachusetts, September 16 following. He was one of the first settlers of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Colonel Amos H. White, the subject of this sketch, was born June 27, 1835, in Montgomery County, New York. After the death of his father, his mother moved to New York City. At the outbreak of the Civil War he was an accountant for an importing house.

He helped to raise Company D, Fifth New York Volunteer Cavalry, and was mustered first lieutenant of this company September 21, 1861, and captain December 9 following.

In March, 1862, he was with his regiment in the Shenandoah Valley, and participated in that campaign under General Banks. At the battle of Front Royal, May 23, 1862, he was knocked insensible from his horse, taken prisoner, and sent to Salisbury, North Carolina. He was exchanged September 21, 1862, and immediately rejoined his command.

He was with his regiment during the fall campaign, and winter of 1862 and 1863, on outpost duty for the defence of Washington, with head-quarters at Fairfax Court House, and participated in all of its raids, scouts, skirmishes, and battles. He was promoted to major January 30, 1863.

The last of May, 1863, General Kilpatrick took command of what became that famous body of cavalry, the Third Division Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac, afterwards commanded by Generals Sheridan and Custer. The Fifth New York Cavalry belonged to the First Brigade of this division, and on many a battle-field proved itself to be one of the most reliable fighting cavalry regiments of the war.

He was in the Gettysburg campaign, and was shot in the right foot at Hanover, Pennsylvania, June 30, 1862. After recovering from this wound he rejoined his command at Hartwood Church. In the fall campaign of 1863 he participated in all its actions in central Virginia.

He was in the Wilderness campaign, his battalion being the first troops to cross the Rapidan at Germania Ford, May 4, 1864. He participated in all the daily engagements of his command in this campaign, and at Ashland Station June 1, 1864. While in command of the regiment he was shot through the body, taken prisoner, and sent to Libby Prison. He was exchanged September 12, 1864 He was promoted to lieutenant-colonel September 15, 1864, and colonel November 14, 1864. He rejoined his regiment at Winchester, Virginia, when it was detached from the brigade and became escort for General Sheridan.

Colonel White brought the regiment home at the close of the war, and was honorably mustered out with it at Hart's Island, New York harbor, July 19, 1865.

In the " Life of the Confederate Cavalry General J. E. B. Stewart," by his chief of staff, Major H. B. McLellan, about the only time he admits that the Confederate cavalry was defeated is on page 380, at the battle of Brandy Station, October 11, 1863, when he states that "the Fourth and Fifth North Carolina Cavalry was suddenly opposed by a small body of the enemy, one battalion of the Fifth New York Cavalry charging in columns of squadrons with drawn sabres. Huddled together in the lane, these regiments, which had on this day done gallant service in previous charges, turned and ran from less than half their own numbers; nor could their flight be checked until a few determined officers, pressing their horses to the head of the column of fugitives, blocked the road with drawn pistols."

The battalion of the Fifth New York Cavalry that made this charge was commanded by Major White, who was supporting a section of Elder's regular battery. Instead of this Confederate brigade being "huddled together in the lane," they were in the open field, in columns of squadrons, with drawn sabres, and charging these guns. Major White with his battalion met this charge by a counter-charge, striking the head of this column, turning it, doubling it up, routing it, and chased this confused mass for nearly a mile, killing and wounding many, and returned without the loss of a man or horse.

After the close of the war, Colonel White returned to New York City, and engaged in mercantile pursuits. His present home is in Detroit, Michigan, where he has for many years been the Western representative of one of the oldest importing houses engaged in the China and Japan tea-trade.

Source: Officers of the Volunteer Army and Navy who served in the Civil War, published by L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1893, 419 pgs.

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