The 1st Virginia Cavalry Regiment was formed in the spring of 1861 around the nucleus of several cavalry companies from the valley of Virginia which had been placed under the command of J.E.B. Stuart.
Regimental organization was completed by the appointment of Stuart as Colonel on 16th July 1861.
The 1st Virginia Cavalry Regiment was often illustrated in the newspapers during the early days of the war. Especially during the First Manassas when Stuart, with companies H and B under R. Welby Carter and John Blair Hoge, made a dashing charge upon the 11th New York Zouaves. Artists on both sides were inspired by the episode, and reporters dubbed the companies the "Black Horse Cavalry".
The troopers performed well during this engagement, and it was in no time, especially under the inspiring leadership of Stuart and Fitzhugh Lee, that they grew into one of the crack mounted outfits of the Confederate service.