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Amos H. White, U.S.V.
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
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,
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
|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
Source: Officers of the Volunteer Army and Navy who
served in the Civil War, published by L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1893, 419
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