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The Second Mass and Its Fighting Californians

A Reference site of images, articles, artifacts of the Second Massachusetts Cavalry including the Cal 100 and the Cal Battalion.

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Medal of Honor Winners

The regiment boasted two men who were singled out to received their country's highest honor for bravery in two different actions.

Phillip Baybutt

Captured a Rebel flag  and was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at Luray, Va., on 9/24/1864.

Residence: Fall River MA.
Enlisted on 2/25/1864 as a 25 year old Private on 2/25/1864 into "A" Company and was Mustered Out on 7/20/1865 at Fairfax Court House, Va.

Private Baybutt was born in in 1844 in Manchester, England and returned to his homeland where he died 4/17/1907.  He is buried in Manchester.

To read a letter from the field from Baybutt, click here.

Following is a transcription from The Union Army, vol. 6, p. 576

1st Cavalry Division, Army of the Shenandoah.

In the pursuit of the Confederates from Fisher's hill Custer's brigade encountered two brigades of Wickham's cavalry near Luray and engaged them.

Lowell's brigade was hurried to Custer's support, and after a brilliant action of 30 minutes the enemy was routed with a loss of nearly 100 prisoners and a battle flag belonging to the 6th Va. cavalry.


Henry H. Crocker

click here to see his picture

Led a charge that captured 14 Confederates during the crucial holding action at Cedar Creek on 10/19/64.

Residence CA; 23 years old.
Enlisted on 3/19/1863 as a 2nd Lieutenant of E Company and was Mustered Out on 7/20/1865 at Fairfax Court House, Va.  He was promoted to 1st Lieutenant on 3/1/1864 and Captain on 9/3/1864.  Transferred from company E to F.

Captain Crocker was born on 1/20/1839 in Colchester, CT, listed California as his residence when enlisting, and was buried in Washington Cemetery, Washington, NJ in 1913.

Following is a transcription from Deads of Valor Perrien Keydel, Co., 1903.

    When Longstreet and Early planned to annihilate Sheridan's Army in the Shenandoah Valley, the Federal forces were at the little village of Middletown, Va., and around the immediate neighborhood, between the village and Cedar Creek.  The Confederate attack mad at early dawn, October 19, 1864, was a complete surprise, and came so unexpectedly that many of the Union soldiers had no time to put on their clothes.  About ten o'clock in the forenoon General Sheridan reached the scene of action, and the battle of Cedar Creek - which continued throughout the day - was transformed from defeat, rout and confusion to order and victory.

    The Second Massachusetts Cavalry, Lieutenant-Colonel Casper Crowninshield commanding, was attached to Lowell's Brigade and was stationed near the village of Middletown.  Captain Henry H. Crocker, of Company F, a part of the so-called California Battalion attached to this regiment, refers to the battle as follows:

    "We were aroused early in the morning by the attack of the enemy.  As the enemy came upon us with force we were compelled to fall back slightly, but as we did so we inclined toward the pike at our right, thus keeping our line of communication open.  It was a bitter contest, the enemy coming at us in several distinct charges, in each of which they were repulsed.  Colonel Lowell, our brigade commander, who was killed later in the day, rode up and down our line encouraging the men to stand together, and assuring them that General Sheridan would soon be on the field with re-enforcements.

   "About this time a body of the enemy was seen to emerge from the woods and advance upon our front.  My mind was immediately set upon checking those fellows, so I rode up to Colonel Crowninshield and asked permission to charge them.  The colonel gave his consent, but cautioned me not to advance too far, and 'if possible,' he added, 'come back with a few prisoners.'

"I hurried back to my company and told the boys, very much to their satisfaction, of the work before us.  We waited until we knew that the advancing forces could give us but one volley before we could reach them, then I gave the command: 'Forward! Trot! Gallop! Charge!' and away we went with sabres flashing in the sunlight.  The expected volley was received, saddles emptied and horses went down, but on we went.  In less time than it takes to tell it we were among them, their line was broken and we demanded their surrender, Many ran back into the woods where we could plainly see the enemy in force, but they did not fire upon us for fear of hitting their own men.  We brought back fourteen prisoners on the run.

"In the heat of our charge I had felt a dull, throbbing pain in my right leg and knew that I had been wounded, but that did not prevent me from stopping, on our return to pick up Lieutenant McIntosh, whose horse had been killed and who was loosening the cinch from his saddle.  When he had completed his task he mounted my horse behind me and thus we rode back to our lines just as General Sheridan came dashing along the road on his famous ride from Winchester."

The prisoners captured by Captain Crocker in this charge were, according to the statement of Colonel Crowninshield, the first rebels captured that day, and therefore of great importance to General Sheridan , who had them questioned closely as to the strength and formation of the opposing army.  They also gave the valuable and assuring information that General Longstreet had not united forces with General Early, as had been believed by leaders of the Union forces.  This was information of such importance that it naturally changed arrangements of manoeuvres and the expected defeat of the morning was changed into a grand victory by evening.


 - Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors and Marines in the Civil War
 - Deeds of Valor.  How our Soldier-heroes won the Medal of Honor
 - Medal of Honor Recipients 1863-1994
- The Union Army