1st Alabama Cavalry - Est. 1862
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It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of Glenda McWhirter Todd. She passed away on September 3, 2017 surrounded by her family. She was a historian, genealogist, and author who prided herself on being a descendant of Andrew Ferrier McWhirter of the 1st Alabama Cavalry, USV. Her work over the past two decades and her dedication to the 1st Alabama Cavalry has created a legacy that will last for years to come.

Her life's work has touched thousands of people through the years, and I am glad that I had the pleasure to work with her as long as I did. My hope is that her work will live on for years to come to educate and inspire a new generation.


Stories about Troopers from the 1st Alabama

Picture Tombstone Combined Service Record

Henry C Peek
Henry Clay Peek was born October 12, 1837 in Vermont. His parents were Lucretia Lamb and John Peek. Lucretia was a sister to the wife of John Deere who founded the tractor company out of his blacksmith shop. Siblings of Henry were: Samuel, William, George Janette, Melona, John and Horace Peek. In 1864, while on leave, Henry married a school teacher by the name of Adeline S. Chase on November 28, 1864. Adeline was born in Rochester, NY in 1839. Henry was elected sheriff of Ogle County, Illinois in 1874 and re-elected four times. He and Adeline had five children: Harry, Elizabeth, Carlton, Burton and George. Adeline died in 1889 and in 1892, Henry married Julia Waterbury. Julia died in 1923 and Henry died December 9, 1924. Henry is buried in Riverview Cemetery in Ogle County, Illinois.

Hdqrs. Fourth Division, fifteenth Army Corps, Savannah, GA, January 15, 1865, "...at 3 a.m. of the morning of the 10th Captain Peek, of the First Alabama Cavalry, brought in some prisoners belonging to Walthall's and Loring's division, of Stewart Corps. The captain having gallantly assaulted the enemy's outpost, drive them into their reserve; they in turn fell back into the main body, creating great commotion and confusion, under cover of which the captain made his escape, bringing with him quite a squad of prisoners, from whom I obtained positive information of the locality of Hood's different corps...."

On March 28, 1865, Maj. S. Tramel wrote from Faison's Depot, NC, "

Captain Peek deserves special mention for his gallant daring and coolness during this struggle. The loss of the regiment in the affairs was 4 men killed, 27 wounded, and 41 missing."

Henry Clay Peek

Henry Clay Peek was born in 1837 in Vermont and in 1838 his family moved temporarily to Grand Detour, Illinois but soon moved to a farm south of Polo. Grand Detour conjures up the name of John Deere and his steel moldboard plow. Deere and his wife, a sister of Henry's mother, had also moved from the same Vermont area a short time previous to the Peek removal.

When the Civil War came along, Henry enlisted and was mustered into Company L of the 15th Illinois Cavalry Regiment on 1 January 1862. Peek, after almost two years of service, rose to the rank of Sergeant while the regiment participated in several skirmishes and the Battle of Corinth.

When the Union forces moved into northern Alabama, it was found that in that non-cotton growing area, there were many local Alabamans who were still loyal to the Union. The U.S. government gave the okay for the loyalists to enlist in a Union regiment. The regiment was called the First Alabama Cavalry Regiment.

The Army decided that the regiment would be officered by northerners. Experienced enlisted men were offered commissions to serve in the new regiment, while the ranks were primarily Alabama men.

Henry Peek received a commission and went on to command Company D of the 1st Alabama Cavalry on Sherman's March to the Sea.

Captain Peek was mustered out in October of 1865.

While on leave from the Army, Peek got married. That union produced 5 children, all of whom went to college. Two sons became heads of the John Deere Company, and later were golfing partners of President Eisenhower. FDR had named one of the sons to head up the Agriculture Adjustment Administration ("Triple A") in the early 1930's.

Captain Peek went on to operate a grain elevator in Oregon, Illinois and served 10 years as Sheriff of Ogle County. Peek's home still stands in Oregon. He died in 1924. His gravestone proclaims that he served in an Alabama cavalry regiment. The stone is etched:

Henry Clay Peek
1837-1924
Capt. Co. D 1st Ala. Vol.

Source:http://www.rootsweb.com/~ilcivilw/photos/peekhenry.html

Database created and maintained by Ryan Dupree.

Service records compiled by Glenda Todd and used with her permission. This and other information about the history of the First and the men who fought with the unit can be found in her book, First Alabama Cavalry, USA: Homage to Patriotism.

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