6th Air Cavalry Combat Brigade (1982) AH-1S Model
Fly with 6th Air Cavalry Combat Brigade again in this hand crafted AH-1S model. Each piece is carved from wood and hand painted to provide a piece you’ll love.
Length: 16 inches
The 6th Cavalry (“Fighting Sixth'”) is a regiment of the United States Army that began as a regiment of cavalry in the American Civil War. It currently is organized into aviation squadrons that are assigned to several different combat aviation brigades.
The 3rd US Cavalry Regiment was organized on 3 May 1861 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was commanded by COL David Hunter, and second in command was LTC William H. Emory. The Regiment’s designation was changed to the 6th U.S. Cavalry on 10 August 1861 due to a reorganization of US Cavalry regiments; the Regiment of Mounted Rifles took on the name of the 3rd Cavalry instead. The troopers were recruited from Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Western New York. Arriving in Washington D.C. by company between 12 October and 23 December, the regiment joined the Union Army of the Potomac and began its training with a strength of 34 officers and 950 men. Due to supply shortages, all but one squadron was equipped as light cavalry, armed with pistols and sabers. It wasn’t until 10 March that the rest of the regiment received carbines. The 6th Cavalry left winter quarters on 10 March 1862 and was assigned to General Philip St. George Cooke’s command, who ordered them to make a reconnaissance of Centreville, VA, Manassas, and Bull Run. On 27 March, the regiment embarked for Fort Monroe and arrived three days later.
Upon arrival, the 6th Cavalry served as forward scouts for the Army of the Potomac’s advance units throughout the Peninsular Campaign and received its baptism of fire on 5 May 1862 after the Siege of Yorktown. After pursuing General Joseph E. Johnston’s force of retreating Confederates through the city, the armies met at the Battle of Williamsburg on 5 May, and the 6th Cavalry made a name for themselves when CPT Sanders executed a bold counter charge into the teeth of Confederate artillery and a superior force of horsemen and managed to drive them off. The 6th Cavalry continued to serve as scouts for the Army of the Potomac until the evacuation at Harrison’s Landing, where they served as rear guards for the evacuating forces. Arriving in Alexandria, Virginia on 2 September 1862, the 6th was in near constant contact with the Confederates for three months and engaging in skirmishes such as those at Falls Church, Sugar Loaf Mountain, Middletown, and Charleston. The regiment marched to the Rappahannock River on 24 November and remained in the vicinity until the men marched on Fredericksburg, Virginia on 12 December.
During the Battle of Fredericksburg, the 6th Cavalry sent a squadron across the pontoon bridge over the Rappahannock River in order to reconnoiter the enemy positions. The Confederate’s infantry line was developed, and the squadron withdrew after receiving fire from an enemy artillery battery, losing 2 men and 8 horses wounded. After reporting this information to General Ambrose Burnside, the Union commander, the regiment was withdrawn to Falmouth, Virginia, where it remained encamped until 13 April 1863. The 6th was one of the Union cavalry regiments that participated in Stoneman’s 1863 raid, and during the action, LT Tupper and 10 troopers managed to capture General J. E. B. Stuart’s chief quartermaster.
On 9 June 1863, the 6th Cavalry fought in the Battle of Brandy Station after crossing the Rappahannock River. During this famous engagement, the regiment charged the Confederates and lost 4 officers and 63 men killed, wounded, or captured out of 254 engaged. Charging the Confederate guns, LT Madden was hit by an exploding shell, and LT Kerin was captured when the regiment began reforming from the charge. The troopers were moved to the extreme right of the line in order to repulse a Confederate flank attack and charged into the action. Here, LT Ward was killed, and LT Stroll was wounded. LT Stroll was fired upon as he fell and the soldiers who attempted to bear him away were shot down by rebel gunfire. The 6th was to be rear guard of the retiring Union force, and, led by LT Tupper, it checked the enemy at every stop and prevented the harassment of the column. This was one of the most serious cavalry actions of the war, and the 6th lost a quarter of its troopers.
Battle of Fairfield
Main article: Battle of Fairfield
During the Gettysburg Campaign, and overseen by larger events ongoing nearby, on 3 July 1863, Major Starr with 400 troopers dismounted his men in a field and an orchard on both sides of the road near Fairfield, Pennsylvania. Union troopers directed by their officers took up hasty defensive positions on this slight ridge. They threw back a mounted charge of the 7th Virginia Cavalry (CSA), just as Chew’s Battery (CSA) unlimbered and opened fire on the Federal cavalrymen. Supported by the 6th Virginia Cavalry (CSA), the 7th Virginia charged again, clearing Starr’s force off the ridge and inflicting heavy losses. Jones (CSA), outnumbering the Union forces by at least 2 to 1, pursued the retreating Federals for three miles to the Fairfield Gap, but was unable to catch his quarry.
“The fight made at Fairfield by this small regiment (6th U.S. Cavalry) against two of the crack brigades of Stuart’s cavalry, which were endeavoring to get around the flank the Union army to attack the (supply) trains, was one of the most gallant in its history and no doubt helped influence the outcome the battle of Gettysburg. The efforts of these rebel brigades were frustrated and their entire strength neutralized for the day by the fierce onslaught of the small squadrons. The regiment was cut to pieces, but it fought so well that the squadrons were regarded as the advance of a large body of troops. The senior officer of those attacking CSA brigades was later adversely criticized for allowing his command to be delayed by such an inferior force. Had the regiment not made the desperate stand, the two brigades of Virginians might have caused grave injury in the Federal rear, before sufficient force could have been gathered in their front.”
Private George Crawford Platt, later Sergeant, an Irish immigrant serving in Troop H, was awarded the Medal of Honor on 12 July 1895, for his actions that day at Fairfield. His citation reads, “Seized the regimental flag upon the death of the standard bearer in a hand-to-hand fight and prevented it from falling into the hands of the enemy.”
His “commander,” Lieutenant Carpenter, of Troop H, was one of only three officers of the 6th U.S. Cavalry to escape from the deadly melee at Fairfield. He was an eyewitness and documented Private Platt’s “beyond the call of duty” behavior that day. Louis H. Carpenter was brevetted from lieutenant to lieutenant colonel for his actions that day and later during the Indian Wars he was awarded the Medal of Honor.
Shortly after the Battle of Fairfield, the regiment made a reconnaissance of Funkstown, Maryland on 10 July 1863, and was heavily engaged in the Battle of Funkstown losing 1 officer and 85 men killed, wounded, and missing. Arriving at Germantown, Maryland on 8 August, the 6th Cavalry replaced its tremendous casualties and trained and occasionally fought in minor battles with rebel scouts. Leaving winter quarters on 4 May 1864, the Cavalry, under General Sheridan were heavily engaged four days later in the Battle of Todd’s Tavern. The 6th US Cavalry participated in several other raids and battles in 1864 under the command of General Sheridan and as a part of the Union Cavalry Corps. These battles include, the Battle of Yellow Tavern, where J. E. B Stuart was killed, the Battle of Trevilian Station, the Battle of Berryville, the Battle of Opequon, and the Battle of Cedar Creek.
On 27 February, the 6th Cavalry broke camp from its winter quarters and engaged the Confederate Army on 30 March 1865 at the Battle of Dinwiddie Court House. Here, the men of the 6th held out against repeated enemy attacks until their ammunition was exhausted, and during their withdrawal, Confederate troops captured a LT Nolan and 15 6th Cavalry troopers. On 1 April 1865, at the Battle of Five Forks, the 6th Cavalry wheeled to the right of the enemy’s positions and advanced until sunset when the battle was won. The regiment then began a pursuit of the retreating enemy and participated in the Battle of Sailor’s Creek, resulting in the capture of roughly 7,000 Confederate prisoners. During this battle, the 6th was ordered to capture a series of log huts. Some of the men in the ranks hesitated; they were cautious and wary of death so close to the perceived end of the war, but LT McClellan, a veteran of the antebellum Army, turned and exclaimed, “Men, let us die like soldiers!” Soon the troopers charged under heavy fire and took the log huts with the loss of three wounded.
At the Battle of Appomattox Courthouse on 9 April 1865, the 6th charged at a gallop on the enemy’s left flank, but were met with a white flag of surrender. Soon after (at 4 p.m. that day), the rest of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia would surrender, precipitating the end of the Confederacy and the American Civil War. According to the US Army Center of Military History, “The records of casualties during the Rebellion show seven officers killed, 53 men killed in action and 53 other deaths; 122 wounded in action and 17 by accident; 438 missing, most of these being captured at Fairfield and in other charges,—making a total of 689 enlisted men.”
In 1875, the 6th Cavalry marched south to relieve the 5th Cavalry Regiment in Arizona, and the various Troops were sent across the territory to occupy forts and patrol the area in search of hostile Apaches. On 9 January 1876, A and D Troops, posted at Fort Apache, were the first of the 6th Cavalry to engage the Apache. One Indian was killed, five were captured, and the others were driven away. In the spring and summer of 1876, the entire 6th Cavalry Regiment went into the field to move the Chiricahua onto the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation. There was a small engagement on 10 April, but the majority of the Indians were moved onto reservation land. However, many of the warriors fled to the mountains and continued a guerrilla war from there. The cavalry continued to occupy forts and patrol the Arizona Territory and fought recorded engagements against the Apache on 15 August, and 5 October 1876. In January 1877, LT John A. Rucker led a detachment of Troopers from Troops H and L overtook an Apache band in the Pyramid Mountains, New Mexico on 9 January 1877. They killed 10 Indians, and captured 1, along with their entire herd, weapons and ammunition supply, stolen goods from settlers, and $1,200 in Mexican silver. Capt. Whitside and two Troops of the 6th Cav founded Fort Huachuca, SE of Tucson, in March of 1877.
On 20 August 1877, several bands of renegade Apaches crossed into Arizona from Mexico, and elements of the 6th Cavalry were deployed to stop them. After tracking the war party through rough country bereft of water, the troopers found that the trail went into the land of the San Carlos Reservation. The detachment commander sent a telegraph asking permission to enter the land, but the troopers were forced to act before a response was given. The Warm Springs Indians, or the Chíhéne, attempted a breakout from the reservation, and CPT Tupper led Troop G with elements of B, H, L, and M on a rapid pursuit. Between 9–10 September, a series of running gun battles left 12 Indians killed and 13 wounded, and the rest were returned to reservation land. Smaller encounters happened on 13 and 18 December 1877, and 7 January and 5 April 1878. While patrolling near the Mexican border, a flash flood swept away LT Henely, so LT Rucker plunged in with his horse in order to save his classmate and friend, only to be swept away himself. The death by drowning of these two officers was universally lamented by the regiment, and by the people of Arizona, who knew them well. The regiment continued to patrol the territory despite the loss of these officers, and engaged the Indians in minor battles until 1880.
While scouting in the San Andres Mountains in New Mexico on 9 April 1880, a detachment of C Troop and L Troop under CPT McClellan happened upon a squadron of Buffalo soldiers from the 9th Cavalry Regiment engaged in a losing fight with Victorio’s Apaches. CPT McClellan led a charge which dispersed the Indians and relieved the 9th. After this incident, Victorio launched numerous raids, but was repelled on 7 May by E Troop under CPT Adam Kramer at the Battle of Ash Creek. Despite a dogged pursuit, Victorio escaped and continued his raids. Nearly the entire regiment was involved in constant patrolling to catch him, but the Apache Chief managed to attack the overland stage near Fort Cummings and killed the young son of CPT Madden, who was visiting from college, and planning on visiting his father for the summer.
In the summer of 1881, Troops D and E along with a company of Apache Scouts were led by General Eugene Asa Carr in the Battle of Cibecue Creek. In this battle, the Apache Scouts revolted and turned on the cavalrymen and in the fierce fight CPT Hentig along with 6 men were killed, and 2 wounded, but the Apache medicine man, Nock-ay-det-klinne, was killed as well. The troopers were forced to withdraw, but they had completed the expedition’s goal. When the command returned to Fort Apache on 1 September, they found it to be under attack, and in the following Battle of Fort Apache, the Indians were driven off for the loss of three soldiers wounded. The White Mountain Apaches surrendered to the Agency shortly after. The year of 1881 was a time of hard scouting in the Arizona and New Mexico deserts and canyons, chasing elusive bands of renegade Apaches, with little reward, until April 1882.
On 28 April 1882, CPTs Tupper and Rafferty led 39 Troopers from G and M Troops, along with 45 Apache Scouts across the Mexican border to the Sierra Enmedio near the town of Los Huerigos. Here, the command discovered a band of Apache in camp, believing that they were safe from the cavalry so long as they were in Mexico. While the men moved into position, they were spotted by a small food gathering party, and the fighting commenced. The Apache chief, Loco, called out to the Apache Scouts in an attempt to get them to betray the Americans, but this angered them and they cursed him and fired faster. Having only three rounds per man remaining, CPT Tupper ordered a withdrawal where he was joined by 9 other Troops of the 6th Cavalry under COL James W. Forsyth. The Indians lost 14 warriors killed and 7 women, for the loss of 1 American killed and 2 wounded. Returning the next day, COL Forsyth found the Apache camp deserted. On 17 July 1882, Troops E, I and K of the 6th Cavalry joined with elements of the 3rd U.S. Cavalry Regiment in the Battle of Big Dry Wash. Here, they defeated Apache war leader Na-tio-tish in a pitched battle, where two 6th Cavalry officers earned the Medal of Honor; LT Frank West and LT Thomas Cruse.
Throughout the rest of 1882 and 1883, the 6th Cavalry was constantly scouting and on guard against the Chiricahua raids from south of the border. In March 1883, GEN Crook took I Troop under CPT Adna Chaffee on an expedition to the Sierra Madres in Mexico where they captured 400 hostile Apache and their chiefs. In June 1884, the 6th Cavalry exchanged stations with the 4th Cavalry Regiment in the New Mexico Territory. They had served in Arizona for nine years and had fought in countless small actions during their time there. In New Mexico, the Regiment was headquartered at Fort Bayard with the Troops spread out across the territory. In May 1885, the regiment briefly returned once more to Arizona to engage their old enemies, the Arizona Apache renegades who had broken from the reservation and fled south. The troopers pursued them 500 miles into Mexican territory and patrolled the border until July 1886, preventing these renegades from returning to raid American settlements. In the meantime, B and F Troops were detached to Colorado in pursuit of hostile Utes and engaged them on 15 July 1885. Aside from frequent scouting in Navajo country to keep peace between the civilians and Indians, the 6th Cavalry was not engaged in any large operations during this period of time.
An 1887 letter from Charles Winters, Troop D of the 6th Cavalry, describes a soldier’s experiences during the Apache Wars in New Mexico