Eccentric Senior Officer Sir Percy Wyndham
The son of Royal Navy Captain Charles Wyndham, Percy was born aboard His Majesty’s warship Arab in the English Channel on September 22, 1833. At age 15 he began his military career by fighting in the Revolution of 1848 to help overthrow King Louis Philippe and usher in the Second French Republic. He even join the Austrian army’s 8th Lancers, rising to command a squadron.
When the American Civil War broke out in April 1861, Sir Percy offered his services to the Union. Major General George B. McClellan knew of Wyndham’s fighting reputation and recommended him highly to the governor of New Jersey, who appointed him to command the 1st New Jersey Cavalry (Volunteers).
Wyndham’s personal appearance was as impressive as his soldierly reputation. He affected ornate spurs, high boots and a plumed slouch hat. His men learned that if he twirled his 10-inch-long moustache it meant that he was agitated and someone would pay.