The Fifth Cavalry, better known as "Curtis' Horse," was organized at Benton Barracks, St. Louis, December 20, 1861. It was composed of various detachments and companies from western states. It did very efficient service, the details of which cannot here be given, as the regiment was constantly moving, mostly by companies or battalions, scouting, foraging, pursuing or harassing the enemy; and, while not participating often as a regiment in large battles, it was constantly having smaller battles. The principal engagements participated in were the second battle of Fort Donelson, where the Fifth Cavalry followed the retreating enemy, charged and routed them; several engagements against Wheeler's cavalry at Wartrace, Duck River Bridge, Sugar Creek, and against Roddy's cavalry in several minor engagements.
The Fifth became veterans February 4th, and went home to report at Davenport, March 5th. They returned to Nashville, Tennessee, and thence proceeded on a most active campaign, tearing up railroads and burning bridges in the enemy's rear, and annoying and crippling them in every possible way. Finally, at a place called Newman, in Georgia, they, with the Eighth Indiana, were surrounded by the consolidated cavalry forces of Wheeler, Roddy, Jackson, Hume and Ross, and compelled to cut their way out, every man for himself, in which way they reached the Union lines. Then, with but a handful of men, the Fifth was assigned to Kilpartrick's command, and operated almost day and night in the vicinity of Atlanta. After going to Louisville, Kentucky, and getting fresh horses, they entered into another active campaign, between Nashville and Athens, having several important engagements with the enemy; and went home at the end of the war, with a record of which every man can justly feel proud.