Tennesseans in the Civil War
Confederate Cavalry Units

 


 

19th (BIFFLE'S) TENNESSEE
CAVALRY REGIMENT

Known in field, mustered as, and paroled as 9th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment.

Organized October 3, 1862; officially designated 19th; paroled at Gainesville, Alabama May 1865.

Colonel Jacob B. Biffle was originally lieutenant colonel, 2nd (Biffle's) Battalion; then colonel of 6th (1st) Tennessee Cavalry Regiment; into which his battalion was merged in May, 1862. When this regiment was reorganized June 12, 1862, with James T. Wheeler elected as colonel, Biffle set out to raise a new regiment, which had no connection with the other two organizations except for the fact that Biffle was at different times commanding officer of all three. He completed organization of the regiment, and was com.missioned as its colonel, as of October 3, 1862.

FIELD OFFICERS

CAPTAINS

On November 27, 1862, General Bragg ordered Colonels Biffle and Napier to report, with their commands, to General Joseph Wheeler for duty at Lavergne, Tennessee. However, on December 11, Federal reports placed Biffle and Cox on Indian Creek, 20 miles east of Savannah, from which place they moved with General Forrest on his raid into West Tennessee the last half of December. General Forrest reported that Biffle, with about 400 men, was with him in the attack on Jackson, December 19, and Colonel Dibrell reported Biffle's regiment engaged at Parker's Crossroads, December 31, 1862.

On January 25, 1863, General Gideon I. Pillow, Chief of the Conscript Bureau, reported Biffle's regiment was engaged in making a sweep of Bedford County, rounding up stragglers and conscripts. On March 5, Biffle's regiment was in Forrest's Brigade in the capture of Thompson Station, and was again with Forrest as a part of Starnes' Brigade at Brentwood, March 25, although it did not take part in the actual assault and capture of that position. It was engaged in skirmishes at Chapel Hill, April 10, and near Savannah, May 29.

For the next several months, the regiment was in West Tennessee, enforcing the conscript act, and engaging in frequent skirmishes with the Federal forces. During this time it was reported as part of a brigade commanded at times by Colonel Cox, at other times by Colonel Dibrell, in Forrest's Division, consisting of Starnes' 4th, Cox's 10th, Holman's 11th, Dibrell's 8th, and Biffle's Regiments.

At Chickamauga, September 19-20, this brigade, under Colonel George G. Dibrell, increased by the addition of Shaw's Battalion: Allison's Squadron, and Morton's and Freeman's Batteries, was in Forrest's Corps as part of Brigadier General F. C. Armstrong's Division.

A report from a Federal spy dated October 14, stated that at Lawrenceburg "There is one, Captain M. L. Kfrk (sic), that has a company there belonging to Colonel Biffle's rebel regiment. Kirk has killed several Union men in cold blood, and is a terror to all Union sentiment."

Following the Battle of Chickamauga, Armstrong's Division was placed in General Joseph Wheeler's Cavalry Corps, and on October 31, the 1st Brigade in his division was reported as composed of McKenzie's 5th, Baxter Smith's 8th, Cox's lOth, Dibrell's 8th (or 13th), and Biffle's Regiments. On November 20, Brigadier General W. Y. C. Humes was reported as in command of this brigade, with a note that all except McKenzie's Regiment were with General Wheeler. General Wheeler, on September 30, had started on a raid around the Federal Army, moving up the Sequatchie Valley to McMinnville, across to Murfreesboro and Pulaski, and recrossing the Tennessee River at Decatur, Alabama, and rejoining the Army October 17. This may account for the presence of Kirk's Company in Lawrenceburg in October.

However, a diary kept by Private Stephen A. Jordan, of Co. "G", said that from Chickamauga the regiment went to Cleveland, from there to Philadelphia, Loudon County, "drove Yankees from Charleston, Bradley County, to Philadelphia, returned to Cleveland, and then went to Sweetwater, Monroe County, and had several fights between Sweetwater and Philadelphia." Colonel Dibrell, commanding the brigade, reported this expedition, stating that the move against Sweetwater, after the return to Cleveland, did not get under way until October 19.

In November, Lieutenant General James Longstreet's Corps was sent into East Tennessee, and the brigade went with him as a part of Major General W. T. Martin's Cavalry Division. On November 30, it was reported as composed of Baxter Smith's 8th, Cox's loth, Dibrell's 8th (or 13th), and Biffle's Regiments, and remained in East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia until the last of March, 1864, when it started through North and South Carolina to Georgia, and rejoined the Army of Tennessee at Resaca, Georgia April 23. Colonel Biffle was reported in command of the brigade on December 31, which by that time had been increased by the addition of McLemore's 4th and Holman's 11th Regiments, and the removal of Baxter Smith's.

When it rejoined the Army of Tennessee, the brigade, with Colonel Dibrell in command, was placed in Brigadier General John H. Kelly's Division of Wheeler's Corps, where it remained throughout the campaign from Dalton to Atlanta, Georgia. On August 20, it went with General Wheeler on his sweeping raid against General Sherman's railroad communications in Tennessee. On this raid, Dibrell's 8th (or 13th) Regiment, and a part of McLemore's 4th, were cut off from Wheeler's Command, and the brigade was never again united. Biffle's regiment went on with Wheeler's main force to the battle near Franklin on September 2, 1864, where Brigadier General Kelly, commanding the division, was killed.

According to Private Jordan's diary, Biffle's Regiment remained in Wayne and Maury Counties of Tennessee until it joined General Forrest on his raid into Middle Tennessee, beginning September 26 and ending with the recrossing of the Tennessee River south of Lawrenceburg October 8, 1864, and then moved into Mississippi with Forrest's forces. From there, on October 20th, it moved into Alabama, and remained in North Alabama while General Hood's Army was moving up to Decatur, Alabama, for his invasion of Tennessee.

On November 17, General Forrest was placed in command of all the Cavalry with the Army of Tennessee, including Brigadier General W. H. Jackson's Division, and a portion of Dibrell's Brigade under Colonel Biffle, amounting to about 2000 men. In November and December, Biffle's Provisional Brigade was listed as composed of the lOth and 19th Tennessee Cavalry Regiments, and as such took part in Forrest's cavalry operations during the Tennessee campaign. It crossed the Duck River near Columbia on November 28; fought on the pike between Spring Hill and Franklin November 30; was on the Harding Pike four miles from Nashville on December 7; moved to the Murfreesboro Pike December 12; fought on the Franklin Pike and Louisville and Nashville Railroad December 16; and was with Forrest in the rearguard of Hood's Army as it retreated out of Tennessee, and then moved into Mississippi.

On January 1, 1865, Forrest instructed Brigadier General Chalmers: "On arriving at Rienzi, you will consolidate temporarily Holman's, Biffle's, Wheeler's Regiments, the 9th Battalion, and 1st Confederate Regiment into four regiments which will compose one brigade." On January 19, in compliance with this order, Chalmers consolidated the 10th and 19th Regiments. On January 20th, Forrest instructed Chalmers: "You will retain Holman's, DeMoss's, Biffle's and Russell's Regiments and release all other parts of regiments and detachments whose commands may be in Georgia."

On February 13, 1865, all Tennessee troops in Forrest's Command were ordered to report to Brigadier General W. H. Jackson at Verona, Mississippi for consolidation into six regiments to constitute two brigades. Biffle's Regiment was one of those specifically mentioned. As a result of this order, Biffle's Regiment was consolidated into seven companies, and placed in Brigadier General Tyree H. Bell's Brigade.

On May 3, just prior to the surrender and parole, Biffle's Regiment reported 22 officers, 281 men present; 257 effectives; aggregate present and absent 508. It was paroled at Gainesville, Alabama as part of Bell's Brigade.



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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.

 




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