Colonels-Robert V. Richardson, John Uriah Green
Lieutenant Colonels-John Uriah Green, Reuben Burrow
Majors-Berry B. Benson, Reuben Burrow
CAPTAINS-Ed Daly, Patrick Strickland, Co. "A". Organized October 1, 1862. Men from Fayette County. Became Co. "G", 3rd (Consolidated) Tennessee Cavalry.
James H. Murray, William T. Carmack, Co. "B". Organized October 18, 1862. Men from Fayette County. Illegally transferred in August, 1863 as Co. "A", 16th (Logwood's) Regiment. Ordered back by Forrest December, 1863. Became Co. "I", 3rd Consolidated Tennessee Cavalry.
John U. Green (to colonel), John L. Payne, Co. "C". Organized October 18, 1862 in Tipton County. Originally in Lieutenant Colonel Aaron Burrow's Battalion, State Troops.
James H. Hazelwood, John G. McCalla, Co. "D". Organized November 15, 1862 in Shelby County.
Reuben Burrow (to major), A. Beaty, S. M. Stewart, Cyrus M. Stuart (or Stewart), Co. "E". Organized October 11, 1862 in Shelby County. Originally in Lieutenant Colonel Aaron Burrow's Battalion, State Troops. Became Co. "H", 3rd Consolidated Tennessee Cavalry Regiment.
W. A. Bell, Co. "F". Organized October 20, 1862, in Fayette County. Became Co. "K", 3rd Consolidated Tennessee Cavalry Regiment.
Robert A. Feild, Co. "G". Organized February 1, 1863 in Tipton County.
J. Slaughter Caruthers, Co. "H". Organized February 13, 1863 in Fayette County.
John H. Hicks, Co. "I". Organized February 13, 1863 in Haywood County. Illegally transferred in August, 1863 to 17th (Marshall's) Regiment, but ordered back by Forrest in December, 1863.
Robert J. Morris, Co. "K". Organized February 13, 1863 in Fayette County.
When reorganized on February 4, 1864, Companies "G", "H", "I" and "K" were disbanded and the men distributed to other companies. Some men listed as absent without leave from Co. "I" appeared on the rolls of the 14th (13th) Tennessee Cavalry. Four new companies were added, two of them from an informal organization known as George W. Bennett's Battalion, one from the 16th (Logwood's) Regiment and one independent company as follows:
Captains-G. W. Bennett, 2nd Co. "G". Organized July 16, 1863 in Gibson County. Formerly in Bennett's Battalion.
W. M. Craddock, 2nd Co. "H". Organized October 1, 1863 in Gibson County. Formerly in Bennett's Battalion.
John B. Scarbrough, 2nd Co. "I". No rolls on file, and no information. Organized November 14, 1863.
Benjamin I. McSpadden, 2nd Co. "K". Men from Shelby County. Formerly Co. "C", 16th (Logwood's) Regiment.
Colonel Richardson was appointed Brigadier General December 3, 1863, but his nomination was withdrawn by President Jefferson Davis February 9, 1864. Lieutenant Colonel Green was promoted to colonel "for gallantry on the field," and prior to his appointment had been in command of the regiment while Colonel Richardson was in command of a brigade.
No rolls were found on Lieutenant Colonel Aaron Burrow's Battalion. Colonel Green, in Lindsley's Annals, said Lieutenant Colonel Burrow was killed in an attack on the bridges between Jackson and Humboldt in the fall of 1862 and the battalion was broken up. George W. Bennett's battalion was another of the informal organizations raised within the Federal lines, and is not to be confused with the 7th (J. D. Bennett's) Battalion.
In a communication dated March 13, 1863, Colonel Richardson stated that on September 6, 1862, he had received authorization from the Secretary of War to organize a regiment of Partisan Rangers in West Tennessee; that he had operated in Tipton, Fayette, parts of Haywood, Hardeman and Shelby Counties, and on February 4, 1863 had completed the organization of one regiment of 10 companies, and had five more companies partly organized, but had lost the muster rolls in an engagement with the enemy, and would forward duplicates as soon as possible. The loss of the muster rolls was confirmed by Major General Hurlbut, U.S.A., who wrote "I have the original books, papers, and muster rolls of the so-called Colonel Richardson, captured at one of the many times he ran away in West Tennessee."
There seemed to be some breakdown in communication between Richmond and the officers in the field as to Richardson's authority, for on March 15, General Hurlbut, speaking of Richardson's command, wrote: I am assured by high Confederate authority that they act without, and against orders, and are simply robbers, to be treated as such. The organization must be exterminated, and the sooner the better." On March 16, General Cooper wrote Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton: "The authority given R. V. Richardson in September by the Secretary of War to raise companies of Partisan Rangers expired on the 10th. * * *You (Pemberton) are authorized to revoke the same, if he is still acting under that authority." As a result, General Pemberton instructed Major Bradford, Assistant Inspector General, to go to West Tennessee and muster into Confederate Service Richardson's Regiment of Partisan Rangers, and to arrest Colonel Richardson. "If Richardson be not present, and not mustered in, he will have nothing to do with the command of the regiment." He also ordered: "Brigadier General I. R. Chalmers will assume command of all the partisan corps in West Tennessee, organizing and reporting the same; if mustered, he will arrest Colonel Richardson, and forward him to these headquarters; if not, he will assist Major Bradford in enforcing and carrying out the instructions of which he is the bearer."
In the meantime, Colonel Richardson was wounded, and Major Benson killed in an attack by Federal troops near Bolivar, and the command so beset that Lieutenant Colonel Green, after consultation with the officers, disbanded it on April 1. The following day, Lieutenant Colonel Green, Captain Hazelwood, four other officers and 28 men were captured. According to Federal Colonel M. K. Lawler, Colonel Richardson escaped across the Mississippi River in a canoe, laden down with a fortune he had secured as extractions and extortions in the enforcement of the Conscript Act, and which he had converted to his own use.
Lieutenant Colonel Green was imprisoned at St. Louis for two months, then sent to Norfolk, Virginia, and thence started to Fort Delaware on the steamer Maple Leaf. He and the other prisoners seized the steamer, ran her aground, and escaped, finally reached Richmond, and from there returned to West Tennessee. Whatever the difficulties were about Richardson's authority had been straightened out, for when Green reached West Tennessee he found Colonel Richardson and the regiment, which moved out of Tennessee into Mississippi and reached Okolona on August 10, 1863, with, according to Colonel Richardson, 600 men, about half from the 12th Tennessee, the balance parts of two other regiments in process of organization. They had come to Mississippi seeking arms and equipment, and Colonel Richardson signed as "Agent, Bureau of Conscription in West Tennessee."
In October, General Chalmers, reporting on an attack on the Memphis and Charleston, Railroad and the engagement at Collierville, Tennessee, October 5-15, 1863, stated: "Colonel Richardson joined me on the 8th with his brigade, the 12th Mississippi, 12th Tennessee, Colonel Neely's and Colonel Stewart's Regiments, about 950 men, near Salem, Tennessee." In the attack on Collierville, Companies "A", "C", "E", "F" and "K" (116 men) under Major Burrow, were absent on detached service. Following this engagement, the regiment moved back to Water Valley, Mississippi, where on October 28, Colonel Richardson made the following impassioned plea: "For God and the country's sake, make your fair promising but never complying Quartermaster send me skillets, ovens, pots, or anything else that will bake bread or fry meat. I want clothing, shoes and blankets for my naked and freezing men. * * *1 say again, send me skillets, 225 in number. I cannot fight any more until I get something to cook in."
Meanwhile, on October 22, General Chalmers reported he had finally succeeded in collecting the scattered and independent cavalry in North Mississippi into some military order, and had divided his command into three brigades, one of which, under Colonel Richardson, consisted of the 12th Tennessee, 300 effectives, Neely's Regiment, 200 effectives, and four battalions of Mississippi Cavalry, 403 effectives. On November 23, Richardson's Brigade was reported as the 12th Mississippi, 12th Tennessee and Neely's Regiments.
At about this time, General N. B. Forrest arrived to assume command of all the Cavalry forces in North Mississippi, and proceeded to break up, consolidate into full regiments, and reorganize all the fragmentary, skeletal, independent, and paper organizations with which he found himself confronted. He appointed the field officers of the new organizations, and his actions were eventually confirmed by the Adjutant and Inspector General's Office, although not until some months later.
As one of the first steps, on January 25, 1864, he formed Richardson's Brigade, Chalmers' Division, with the following components: 12th Tennessee, Marshall's Regiment (the 17th), Bennetfs Battalion, 15th (Stewart's) Regiment, Street's Battalion, Collins' Command, 14th Tennessee (Neely's), 16th Tennessee (Logwood's). Shortly thereafter Bennett's Battalion was consolidated with the 12th Tennessee to form the reorganized regiment.
Richardson's Brigade, known as the West Tennessee Brigade, moved to Grenada, Mississippi on February 23, and made an attack on Yazoo City March 5. On March 7, it was reported as consisting of the 12th Tennessee, 7th (Duckworth's), 14th (Neely's) and 15th (Stewart's) Regiments. On March 20, Duckworth took command of the brigade which remained with the same components until June 10, when Duckworth's regiment was transferred, and Colonel Neely took command of the brigade.
On June 24, the brigade was a part of Brigadier General Gideon J. Pillow's forces in an attempted move against General Sherman's rail connections in Georgia, which ended in an attack on Federal forces at La Fayette, Georgia. Here the standard of the 3rd Kentucky Cavalry, U.S.A. was captured, but the attack was only partially successful. The regiment was next heard of as a part of General Forrest's forces in his raid into the heart of Memphis on August 21, 1864. On August 30 Forrest formed Colonel E. W. Rucker's Brigade Chalmers' Division composed of Duckworth's, Green's 12th, Neely's, and Stewart's Regiments, and the 26th Battalion (Forrest's Old Regiment). This brigade continued with the same members until February 13, 1865.
On October 10, Forrest's Old Regiment and the 12th Tennessee attacked and drove back a Federal force, supported by gunboats, which was attempting a landing at East Port, Mississippi. On November 16, Rucker's Brigade was at Florence, Alabama with General Forrest, as he was preparing to move into Middle Tennessee with General Hood's Army of Tennessee. It participated in all the fighting in that campaign, culminating in the Battle of Nashville. A Federal report of the fighting on the Granny White Pike on December 16, reported: "It was in this melee, amidst intense darkness, that the two regiments of 12th Tennessee Cavalry, Federal and Confederate, met and mixed in mad confusion, neither knowing the other save by the usual challenge, "Halt. Who comes there?" It was in this melee that Colonel Rucker lost an arm and was captured.
Following the retreat from Tennessee, and the withdrawal into Mississippi, General Forrest, on February 13, 1865, ordered all Tennessee troops in his command, fragments, independent companies, detachments, or detached individuals to report to Brigadier General W. H. Jackson; all Mississippi troops to report to Brigadier General I. R. Chalmers. At the same time he ordered General Jackson to consolidate and organize all these troops into six regiments, to constitute two brigades, one of which was to be commanded by Brigadier General Tyree H. Bell, the commander of the other to be assigned later.
As a part of this consolidation and reorganization, the 3rd (Forrest's Old Regiment), and at least a portion of the 12th Tennessee were consolidated to form the 3rd Consolidated Tennessee Cavalry which was paroled at Gainesville, Alabama, May, 1865.
This unit history was extracted from Tennesseans in the Civil War, Vol 1. Copyrighted © 1964 by the Civil War Centennial Commission of Tennessee and is published here with their permission. This history may not be republished for any reason without the written permission of the copyright owner.