Five companies were in Camp Curtin on July 21, 1861, and were sent to Washington after General McDowell's defeat at Bull Run with the rest of the Reserve Corps. Soon two additional companies joined them in Washington. They were under the command of Colonel Hastings.
In September, through the influence and advice of General Stoneman, then Chief of Cavalry, and in conjunction with the Governor and his advisers, the services of Lieutenant George D. Bayard, previously with the Fourth US Cavalry, were secured as Colonel. He commenced command and immediately started drilling, and fitting it for active service. Another three companies, from a disbanded regiment, were attached to this command.
The other Regimental Officers were: election of Captain Jacob Higgins to the post of Lieutenant Colonel, the appointment of S.D. Barrows as Adjutant and Lieutenant R.R. Corson, as Regimental Quartermaster. The appointment of Surgeon David Stanton, Assistant Surgeon Samuel Alexander and Chaplain J. Hervey Beale completed the regimental staff.
The Regiment also consisted of Company A (Juniata County)- Captain Robison; Company B (Montgomery County)- Captain Stadelman; Company C (Mifflin County)- Captain Taylor; Company D (Cameron & Clinton Counties)- Captain Gile; Company E (Centre, Clinton & Clearfield Counties)- Captain Wolf; Company F (Greene County)- Captain Harper; Company G (Blair County)- Captain Gardner; Company H (Fayette County)- Captain J.B. Davidson; Company I (Washington County)- Captain McNulty; Company K (Allegheny & Washington Counties)- Captain Boyce.
On January 7, 1862, two independent companies from Berks County, Company L - Captain Hoffeditz and Company M - Captain Richards were attached to the regiment, thus making it a complete regiment of twelve companies.
The Regiment was originally armed by the United States Government, with sabre and pistol to each man, and ten carbines to each company, with the number of carbines increasing at different times, until the whole regiment was ultimately supplied with them in September 1862.
The greater part of the original horses of the regiment were selected with great care, and purchased by some of the officers in the State of Pennsylvania; the remainder were selected by Colonel Bayard himself from the Government horses at Washington. These horses, under good care and training during the succeeding winter became notably the best regiment of horses in the United States, and some of them remain stil the best horses, after a dozen new lots have been worn out in the service of the regiment.
The material of this regiment was choice in its character, the Governor refusing all applications for the formation of companies for the regiment from large towns and cities, it was gathered from various sections of a great State, at a time when infantry was the favorite arm of service.
The men who joined this regiment chose the service for the love of it, and because they were horsemen. They were mostly country laborers and farmers, accustomed to the use and care of horses, and at least good, if not properly trained riders. Very few of the men were dismounted by accident or awkwardness during their drilling, or since then, in the service they have performed. Most of them were accustomed to labor and fatigue, and well calculated to endure the hardships incident to a cavalryman in the field. A few old soldiers, among both officers and men, contributed much more than their personal labor toward the proper training of the regiment.
After Colonel Bayard was established in his position, and his regiment armed, equipped, and mounted, the work of drilling was immediately commenced, and prosecuted with all the energy for which that officer was so much noted. This was not done after the usual manner of drilling cavalry by a course of gradual training, but the attempt was made to bring the regiment to the most effective condition for actual contact with the enemy, in the shortest possible time, as the cavalry arm of the service must be made and not improved merely. To this end the officers were called to meet the Colonel, once or twice daily, to study tactics, and the fear of the Examining Board kept constantly before them to stimulate their energies to the utmost.
Company, squadron and regimental drill and sabre exercise, on foot or mounted, were pushed to the utmost, morning and afternoon of every day, under the personal direction of Colonel Bayard and his field officers, while various scouts and daily picket duty, by detail, served to impress their lessons by actual practice of duty near the enemy.
Drainesville - Dec 20, 1861 - advance skirmishers and supporting batteries
Harrisonburg - June 6, 1862 - supporting Bucktails
Cross Keys - June 8, 1862 - Jackson's rear guard and supporting batteries
Cedar Mountain - August 9, 1862 - supporting batteries - charge of first battalion against the enemy
Gainesville - August 28, 1862 - flanking and skirmishing to the front
Bull Run - first day - August 29, 1862 - skirmishing and flanking
Bull Run - second day - August 30, 1862 - flanking
Fredericksburg - December 13, 1862 - skirmishing to left grand division, Brigadier General Bayard, in command of the Cavalry Corps was struck and killed by Rebel artillery.
Brandy Station - June 9, 1863 - charge against Stuart's Cavalry Corps
Aldie - June 21 & 22, 1863 - against Stuart's Cavalry Corps
Gettysburg - July 2 & 3, 1863 - stationed in left rear center
Shepherdstown - July 16, 1863 - Lee's infantry, cavalry & artillery
Culpepper - September, 13, 1863 - enemy's cavalry
Auburn - October, 14, 1863 - Lee's infantry, cavalry & artillery
New Hope Church - December 27, 1863 - Ewell's Corps of infantry, cavalry & artillery
Todd's Tavern - May 5 & 6, 1864 - Rebel Cavalry Corps
Childsburg - May 9, 1864 - enemy's cavalry
Richmond Heights and Meadow Bridge - May 12, 1864 - enemy infantry, artillery & cavalry
Haw's Shop - May 28, 1864 - Rebel Cavalry Corps
Cold Harbor - June 1, 1864 - skirmishing
Barker's Mill - June 2, 1864 - enemy infantry & artillery
Trevillian Station Raid - June 12 to 20, 1864 - enemy cavalry, infantry & artillery
White House (Black Creek) VA - June 21, 1864 - enemy cavalry & artillery
St. Mary's Church - June 24, 1864 - enemy's cavalry corps
Malvern Hill - July 28, 1864 - division of rebel infantry
Lee's Mill - July 31, 1864 - Butler's rebel cavalry
Gravel Hill - August 14, 1864 - enemy's cavalry & infantry
Ream's Station - August 25, 1864 - Hill's rebel corps
Drainesville - November 27, 1861 - guerrillas - Assistant Surgeon Samuel Alexander
and Pvt. Joseph Hughling were killed. Several others wounded including Col. Bayard, who had his horse killed.
Falmouth - April 17 & 18, 1862 - infantry and cavalry
Gray's Farm - May 10, 1862 - infantry pickets along the Rappahannock
Strasburg - June 1- Jackson's rear skirmishers
Woodstock - June 2 - Jackson's artillery
Edinburg - June 3 - Jackson's infantry
Mt. Jackson - June 4 - engaged with Jackson's rear guard, infantry, and artillery
New Market - June 5 - engaged with Jackson's rear guard
Rapidan River - August 1 to 6 - guarding fords against Jackson's infantry and cavalry
Robinson River - August 8 - Jackson's infantry & artillery
Rappahannock Station - August 20 - Stuart's cavalry
Rappahannock River - August 20 to 26 - enemy cavalry and infantry
Centerville - September 1 - Longstreet's Army
Fairfax Court House - September 2 - Longstreet's Army
Middleburg - October 30 - enemy infantry & cavalry
Aldie - October 31 - enemy infantry & cavalry
Salem - November 4 - enemy cavalry
Warrenton - November 6 - enemy cavalry & artillery
Rappahannock Bridge - November 7 - enemy cavalry & artillery
Fredericksburg - December 12 - left wing of Jackson's Army
Port Conway - April 22, 1863 - guerrilas, three men killed
Gettysburg - June 28 to July 3 - Company A & B - advance for Sixth Corps
Hazel River - August 4 - enemy cavalry
Carter's Creek - September 6 - guerrilas
Rappahannock River - September 14 to 20 - enemy cavalry patrols
Sulphur Springs - October 12 - enemy cavalry & artillery
Warrenton - November 17 - picket duty
Culpepper Ford - December 2 - picket duty
Ashby's Gap - February 17, 1864 - Moseby's guerrilas
Charlotteville - on raid with Gen. Custer's Brigade
Salem - March 19 - Moseby's guerrilas
Gravel Hill - August 16 & 17 - enemy cavalry
Ream's Station - August 21 to 23 - enemy cavalry & infantry
On Sept 1, 1864, the regiment was withdrawn and proceeded to Philadelphia and were mustered out on Sept 9, 1864.
Most of the replacements were transferred to the 2nd Pennsylvania Provisional Regiment for the remainder of their enlistment.