In the last year of the Civil War
, the Union formed a traditional European cavalry
unit known as the New Jersey Butterflies. They enticed men to join a galloping, dashing, romantic cavalry unit that would charge its enemy armed only with sabers. Officially named the Third New Jersey Cavalry and also called the First American Hussars, the unit fought in decisive battles with General George Armstrong Custer and General Philip Sheridan
in the Shenandoah Valley
, forcing and following Lee’s retreat. Many of them German and Irish immigrants, these “Jersey” men lie buried in their native soil from one end of the state to the other. Author Peter T. Lubrecht traces their histories, providing detailed information on their lives before, during and after the war.
American Civil War lasted from the bombardment of Fort Sumter in 1861 to the surrender of the Confederacy in 1865. The Shanendoah Valley, the scene of much bitter fighting during the Civil War, stretches through Virginia until the Shenandoah River meets the Potomac at Harpers Ferry. Cavalry originally consisted of armed men on horseback, but in the modern army refers to men on mechanized horses, such as tanks.