Thursday, July 15, 2010

7th Virginia cavalry...

Just to let you know that all wargaming activity in Steve the Wargamers life hasn't completely halted in the face of perfect sunny days, and force four breezes and that while, with weather like this, sailing is taking a bit of a lead (especially as I've only just got the boat back from an extended repair, and am absolutely gagging to get out on it as much as possible!), some painting is being done in the odd remaining minutes left over from said activity, sleeping, and working...

So - no hanging about - this and the next post will detail the first cavalry to join the ACW collection. In both cases, as mentioned before, these represent regiments present at Kernstown. As usual, please feel free to click on any of the pictures for a gratifyingly bigger view...

The following are the Confederate cavalry, and represent the 7th Virginia in dismounted mode - the horse holders are already on the painting table and after that will be the mounted version..

I'm behoven to Wikipedia for a lot of the following - the entry for the regiment is very good, but happily there are also a number of other websites dedicated to the regiment as I think it is fair to say that the 7th Virginia Cavalry were one of the elite regiments of the Confederate States army..

The regiment was also known as Ashby's Cavalry (after a later colonel - read on for a little more about him) and was raised in the spring of 1861 by Colonel Angus W. McDonald, Sr.

The regiment was comprised primarily from men from the counties of the upper Shenandoah Valley as well as from the counties of Fauquier and Loudoun. Two companies contained men from the border counties of Maryland.

The regiment was initially assigned to guarding the upper Potomac and was attached to the command of Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson in the Valley.

On July 23, 1861, Brigadier General Joseph E. Johnston appointed Turner Ashby lieutenant colonel of the 7th Virginia Cavalry (his nickname was the "Black Knight of the Confederacy" due to his striking dark hair and beard - that's him to the left - Wikipedia has an entry here that is a good read, and there is also some good info here).

Due to the fact that McDonald was ill, Ashby had effective control of half of the regiment which he operated separately. When McDonald retired in February 1862 as a result of his continued ill health, Ashby assumed command of the entire regiment on March 12th.

In the spring of 1862 the regiment took part in Jackson's Valley Campaign, where Ashby's reconnaissance and screening skills were factors in the success of Jackson's campaign. At the First Battle of Kernstown, however, he "mucked up" and Jackson ended up attacking a retreating Union column that Ashby had estimated to be four regiments of infantry, about the size of Jackson's force. It turned out to be an entire division of 9,000 men (!), and Jackson was forced to retreat. Ashby was eventually killed on June 6th, he was only 33...

The regiment was reorganized at the end of the campaign as it had swelled to 29 (!) companies; the original 10 companies remained, with the excess forming the 12th and 17th Virginia. Together with these two regiments, the 7th would become the nucleus of the famed Laurel Brigade.

They served to end of the war, but managed to get home after Appamatox and disbanded rather than having to hand in their parole.

As ever these figures are Newline 20mm and a joy to paint... they are depicted in a very uniform/tidy way - in all likelihood the regiment would probably have been considerably scruffier than this... I have also seen documentation to show a quite bewildering array of armament in the regiment - all sorts or rifles, carbines, muskets, shotguns & pistols. These guys are all shown with the Spencer breech loading carbine - beautifully sculpted by the way!

If anyone has a good source for decent yellow acrylic paint by the way - please let me know - I have several types/versions, but none of them are satisfactory...

Next post will feature the 1st Michigan, a Union cavalry regiment


  1. Lovely figures!

    For yellow I use Foundry "Ochre" 4B. Excellent coverage (on my pot at least-I have known the odd duff/watery pot when I have replaced used up ones).

  2. Not my era, but a great painting job
    Enjoy the breeze!

  3. A wonderful read (as always), Steve. Thank you for the update, research and photos.

    -- Jeff

  4. Great work as ever.
    A friend of mine only ever played as commander of the Confederate cavalary purely because of the array of weaponry they had.
    For yellow I use GW Yellow foundation paint with GW Golden yellow on top. Yellow is a notoriously difficult colour to get right and it all depends on the undercoat.