2. Oregon Cavalry Volunteers Uniform

This uniform, belonging to Col. Thomas R. Cornelius of Company “D,” First Regiment in the Oregon Cavalry Volunteers, is representative of those worn by soldiers in the Union Army during the Civil War. Although the regular army units were sent east when the war started, the federal government maintained volunteer soldiers in Oregon—not only to defend the important Pacific ports against possible Confederate attacks (including from mercenary ships called Commerce Raiders which went after whalers and supply ships), but to maintain the efficient resettlement of the Northwest region by white emigrants and to secure the region’s resources. Although the Civil War battles between the Union and Confederate armies reached as far west as Arizona (Battle of Picacho Pass, 1862), the federal government extended its Union army to the West in order to subdue an entirely different "enemy": Native Americans.

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