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Confederate Battalion

17th Virginia Cavalry Battalion

Organized: near Harrisonburg, VA; mustered in 06/1862


Commanding Officer at Sharpsburg:
  Maj. Thomas B. Massie


This Battalion's Chain of Command:
  Army - Army of Northern Virginia
  Division - Stuart's Cavalry Division
  Brigade - Robertson's Brigade

Unit history

Formed from 6 of the companies of the "Seventh (Va) Cavalry" - the 27 Company unit later known as the Laurel Brigade - in a reorganization of June 1862 as the 17th Battalion. Captain William Patrick (1822-1862) of Company F, 1st Virginia Cavalry was at that time commissioned Major, commanding. Major Patrick was killed in action at Second Manassas in August.

On the Sharpsburg Campaign

The Seventeenth Battalion, under command of Maj. Thomas B. Massie, and a company of the Twelfth did not participate in the Maryland campaign until after the surrender of Harper's Ferry, September I5th, 1862.

On the 30th of [August] this battalion crossed the Blue Ridge at Snickers Gap, and spent several days scouting in the neighborhood of Winchester.

On the 7th of September Major Massie took his command on a reconnaissance towards Harper's Ferry, and when near Darksville [Darkesville, Berkeley County, VA - now WVa] met with a small force of Federals and charged and pursued them to the neighborhood of Martinsburg. In the charge many prisoners were captured, and Massie's command stringing out in pursuit, lost their proper position in the column. On the return, when near Darksville, they were suddenly attacked by a Federal cavalry force. Forming his men as best he might in the streets of Darksville, he gave battle, and after a contest in which several of the Confederates were killed and wounded he was forced to retreat. In this skirmish the Federals had a force of five companies of cavalry, four companies of infantry, and a section of artillery.

Colonel Voss [12th Illinos Cavalry], who was in command of the Federals, acknowledged a loss of thirteen wounded.

Shortly after this skirmish Major Massie and his command joined Jackson at Harper's Ferry, where they occupied a position on his flanks, picketing the fords of the Shenandoah and Potomac until the surrender of the place.

- from History of the Laurel Brigade1

Battlefield Tablet for this Unit

Tablet #317: Stuart's Cavalry Division - 16 Sep, 9 PM to 19 Sep, 12 PM

After the Sharpsburg Campaign

Two companies from the 5th Cavalry Regiment were added to the eight companies of the 17th Cavalry Battalion on 5 February 1863 (S.O. #36, Headquarters, Army of Northern Virginia) to form the The 11th Virginia Cavalry. The Regiment saw service to the surrender at Appomattox Court House on 9 April 1865.

References & Notes

Details of the 17th Battalion and its commanders from McDonald.1

We have 3 individuals in the AotW database for this unit:


Co. Rank Name Casualty? Details*
APvtFrench, W. A.Died   00/00     We have some details for this person
GPvtDilworth, James K. P.Died   00/00     We have some details for this person
F&SMajMassie, Thomas Benjamin Rust        We have a picture for this person We have some details for this person


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1   McDonald, William Naylor, and Bushrod Corbin Washington, editor, A History of the Laurel Brigade, Baltimore: Mrs Kate S McDonald, 1907, pp. 75-76, 87, 94-95  [AotW citation 908]