As mentioned in a previous post, the 1st Dragoons was the farthest and most dispersed of the five mounted regiments in January 1861. Primarily located along the west coast, its companies served in three different departments. As a result, the regiment spent the majority of 1861 involved in skirmishes with hostile indians and consolidating for shipment to the east coast.
The regiment was transferred to Washington DC during November and December 1861, with the exception of Companies D and G. The regiment arrived at Camp Sprague just outside of the city by the end of January 1862. They were eventually assigned to 2nd Brigade, Cavalry Reserve, Army of the Potomac for the Peninsula campaign. As the senior regimental commander, Colonel George A. H. Blake also commanded the brigade. He was the third regimental commander in a year, as Col Fauntleroy resigned in may 1861 and Col B.S. Beall retired in February 1862.
It was two long years before the regiment fought at full strength. Companies D and G remained in New Mexico until June 1863, when the two companies were dissolved. The officers and noncommissioned officers transferred to Carlisle Barracks, where they reorganized the two companies. Both joined the regiment at Camp Buford, Maryland, in October 1863.