In August, 1861, Capt. Lewis Merrill, 2nd Cavalry, U.S. Army, received authority from Gen. Fremont to organize and concentrate a cavalry regiment at Benton Barracks for immediate service in the field. At this particular juncture recruiting for the United States service was of a slow and tedious nature; other officers had received similar authority, and after a severe effort abandoned the project as impracticable. Capt. Merrill, however, recruited and enlisted eight hundred men in less than one month, commenced a system of military instruction and drill as soon as he organized the first squadron, and by dint of hard labor succeeded in raising the regiment to a high standard of discipline. In September, 1861, before thoroughly organized and equipped, this regiment received orders from Gen. Fremont to march to Springfield, Mo. It subsequently operated successfully against guerilla organizations in different portions of the State. [Source: History of St. Louis City and County, by J. Thomas Scharf, 1883]
Regimental Field and Staff
- Col. Lewis Merrill
- Lt. Col. William F. Schaffer
- Maj. George C. Marshall
- Maj. Charles B. Hunt (later promoted to Lt. Col.)
- Maj. John Y. Clopper (later promoted to Lt. Col.)
- Maj. Garrison Harker
- Maj. Jabez B. Rogers
- Adjt. Joshua W. Roher
- Q. M. George Merrill
- R. B. Hughes (commissary)
- Andrew S. Phelps (commissary)
- S. B. Thayer (surgeon)
- Henry Douglas (surgeon)
- W. H. Knickerbocker (asst. surgeon)
- A. D. Thomas (asst. surgeon)
- J. W. O. Snider (asst. surgeon)
- Robert W. Landis (chaplain)
2nd REGIMENT CAVALRY.--("MERRILL HORSE")
Organized at Benton Barracks, Mo., by Captain Lewis Merrill, U.S. A., under authority of General Fremont, September 3 to December 11, 1861. (Co. "L" organized at St. Louis, Mo., January 1, 1863, and Co. "M" at Warrenton June 30, 1863.) Before organization of Regiment was completed ordered to march to Springfield, Me., September, 1861. Fremont's Campaign against Springfield, Mo., September-October. At Sedalia, Mo., till January, 1862. Scout through Saline County December 3-12, 1861. Expedition to Milford December 15-19. Shawnee Mound or Milford, Blackwater River, December 18. Roan's Tan Yard, Silver Creek, January 8, 1862. Knobnoster January 22. Attached to Dept. of Missouri September, 1861, to January, 1862. District of Northeast Missouri, Dept. of Missouri, to June, 1863. District of Southeast Missouri, Dept. of Missouri, to August, 1863. 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Arkansas Expedition, to December, 1863. 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Army of Arkansas, to January, 1864. 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, 7th Army Corps, Dept. of Arkansas, to May, 1864. 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 7th Army Corps, to September, 1864. 2nd Brigade, Cavalry Division, 7th Army Corps, to February, 1865. 2nd Brigade, Cavalry Division, District of West Tennessee, to muster out.
SERVICE.--Moved to Northern Missouri and duty at Columbia, Glasgow, Sturgeon, Paris, Huntsville, Palmyra and Warrenton, operating against guerrillas January, 1862, to June, 1863. Expedition into Schuyler and Scotland Counties, Porter's and Poindexter's guerrillas, July 12-August 8, 1862. Near Memphis, Mo., July 18. Brown Springs July 27. Moore's Mills, near Fulton, July 28. Kirksville August 6 (Detachment). Pursuit of Poindexter August 8-15, with skirmishes at Grand River, Lee's Ford, Chariton River and Walnut Creek, near Stockton, August 9. Switzler's Mill August 10. Little Compton Ferry, Yellow Creek, August 11. Roanoke September 6 (Detachment). Scotland and Boone Counties September 30 (Detachment). Joined Davidson's Cavalry Division at Pilot Knob June, 1863. Expedition to Little Rock, Ark., July 1-September 10. Grand Prairie August 17. Brownsville August 25. Bayou Metoe or Reed's Bridge August 27. Reconnaissance from Brownsville August 29. Bear Skin Lake, Ashby's Mills, September 7. Bayou Fourche and capture of Little Rock September 10. Pursuit of Price September 11-13. Near Little Rock September 11. Duty at Little Rock till March, 1864. Steele's Expedition to Camden March 23-May 3. Benton Road March 23-24. Okolona April 2-3. Prairie D'Ann April 9-12. Camden April 15-18. Moro Bottom April 25-26. Jenkins' Ferry, Saline River, April 30. Scatterville July 28. Duty in Arkansas till September. Operating against Price September and October. Booneville, Mo., October 9-12. Little Blue October 21. Big Blue, State Line, October 22. Westport October 23. Battle of Charlot October 25. Mine Creek, Osage River, Marias des Cygnes, October 25. Grierson's Expedition from Memphis against Mobile & Ohio Railroad December 21, 1864, to January 15, 1865 (Co. "E"). Near Memphis February 9 (Detachment). Moved to Chattanooga, Tenn., and duty operating against guerrillas in Georgia and Alabama and escorting trains from Chattanooga to Atlanta January to September, 1865. Mustered out September 19, 1865.
Regiment lost during service 3 Officers and 53 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 1 Officer and 205 Enlisted men by disease. Total 262.