The Fourteenth Cavalry was recruited and organized in the fall and winter of 1862, with headquarters at Peoria. January 7, 1863, the First and Second Battalions were mustered, and February 6 the Third Battalion.
In February and March, 1863, the Regiment received its horses and equipments, and was placed under thorough discipline and well drilled in tactics. March 28, it started for the front. April 17, it arrived at Glasgow being headquarters, the Regiment was almost constantly in the saddle scouting.
In June it pursued and attacked Colonel Hamilton's rebel force near Turkey Neck Bend, driving the enemy into the mountains in Tennessee. It took a number of prisoners, several pieces of artillery, 600 stand of arms, a wagon train filled with supplies and the commander's papers.
It pursued the rebel raider John Morgan from July 4, until he was captured, the expedition covering 2,100 miles; it took part in many of the skirmishes and battles on this raid and was especially conspicuous at the battle of Buffington Island, and in the six days pursuit thereafter, and at the capture of Margan himself.
On the 18th of August, it started on the East Tennessee campaign. It reached Knoxville September 1, two days in advance of the main column, capturing the rear guard of the enemy, and a large amount of stores and munitions of war.
September 9, at the battle and taking of Cumberland Gap, it was active in closing in on the enemy, taking the rebel force and an immense amount of supplies. On the 18th, it pursued and routed Colonel Carter's rebel command as far east as Bristol, killing and capturing many and securing the rebel train with a large quantity of arms, ammunition and supplies. The next day it drove the enemy through Bristol into Virginia, and again engaged him, on the 20th and 22d of September, fighting and driving him at every point. On the 11th of October another severe engagement was fought by the Regiment, and on the 14th of October it again drove him from his cover. During the siege of Knoxville the Regiment did not suffer itself to be cooped up, but operated outside continuously harassing and annoying the rebel forces.
December 19, the Brigade was attacked by a greatly superior force from Longstreet's command. Retreating with skill it inflicted great loss on the enemy, and suffered severely itself. After the siege of Knoxville, the Fourteenth Regiment was closely in pursuit of Longstreet's forces.
On the 14th of December, at Bean Station, the Cavalry alone had an engagement, the enemy's entire Corps attacking and losing 800 men. Here the Battery manned by men of the Fourteenth did signal service. The next day the fight was renewed and the enemy was again severely punished.
December 24, the Cavalry was consolidated under General Sturgis. At Dandridge a severe battle was fought. January 30, 1864, the Fourteenth alone, out of a large number of regiments in the Corps, was designated to fight "Thomas' Legion" of whites and Cherokee Indians in North Carolina. February 2, with the brass pieces, after following a mountainous old Indian trail, it surprised the Legion, killing and capturing the greater part. General Grant in a special dispatch highly complimented the Regiment for this work. May 27, at Cittico, Thomas having re-organized his command, attacked a portion of the Fourteenth guarding the mountain passes, but was handsomely repulsed.
June 13, it started to join General Stoneman's command organized for the Atlanta campaign, reaching the latter on the 19th. July 27, it left Lost Mountain on the famous Macon raid, reaching the city on the 30th, destroying a large amount of public property and capturing many prisoners. At Sunshine Church, after a hot battle with the enemy, General Stoneman decided to surrender his command, Colonel Capron, with the Fourteenth, first receiving permission to cut his way out. This he did, taking his command with him, with success. August 3, at 1 o'clock in the morning, Colonel Capron supposing he was beyond the reach of the enemy, ordered a halt. But he was betrayed by a treacherous guide and the men were attacked about daylight. Being without sleep for seven days and nights they could not be aroused. In this condition many were killed or captured. Those who escaped were hunted by rebel soldiers, guerrillas, citizens and bloodhounds. They came in singly and in squads for weeks. One party traveled over 400 miles before reaching our lines. On this raid the First Battalion was detached, leaving the command, July 29, to make a flank and front movement. In 60 hours, night and day, it marched 160 miles, destroying 4 depots, 500 passenger and freight cars, 40 engines, many miles of railroad track, public buildings, heavy military stores, many bridges, including the great Oconee bridge. Several times it marched near large bodies of the enemy, at one time passing between the rebel picket and Milledgeville, not over half a mile from the city, in which was a large rebel force. It rejoined the Regiment August 1, in time to share in the great disaster of the 3d. After this raid the scattered fragments joined the line of battle in front of Atlanta, having the honor to enter the city with our advance forces.
September 15, the Regiment returned to Kentucky, where it was remounted and re-equipped. November 8, it arrived at Waynesboro, near the Tennessee River, where it disputed Hood's advance. The contest continued three days, every foot of ground being disputed, fighting on the 23d, a strong engagement. On the 24th another fight occurred, when the infantry came to the rescue.
On the 20th, while guarding Duck River fords, the command, at dark, found itself cut off and surrounded. In a gallant charge the Regiment cut its way out. At Franklin it was on the left wing of our army near the town. At Nashville it was on the right, aiding in crushing, pursuing and capturing Bragg's Army.
The battle of Nashville, including the pursuit, capture and destruction of Hood's great army, practically closed the fighting and other aggressive work of the Regiment. With the Brigade, it was afterwards stationed at Pulaski, Tenn., performing the ordinary camp and guard duty, where headquarters continued until it went to Nashville to be mustered out. This occurred July 31, 1865. Without considering the duty done by detachments, the main column of the Fourteenth, during its term of service, marched over 10,000 miles. It was mustered out July 31, 1865.