Tennesseans in the Civil War
Confederate Cavalry Units

 


 

4th (MURRAY'S) TENNESSEE
CAVALRY REGIMENT.

Organized August 1862 by addition of other companies to Spiller's Battalion (q.v.); disbanded January 23, 1863 and companies distributed to other organizations.

This regiment should not be confused with 4th (Starnes-McLemore's) Regiment, but it does have a direct connection with Baxter Smith's 8th (4th) Tennessee Cavalry Regiment into which a number of the companies went after this regiment disbanded. The exact date and place of organization is not known.

FIELD OFFICERS

CAPTAINS

Reports from Companies "D" and "F" give accounts of their operations, both before and after they became a part of this regiment. These reports, not verbatim, but in substance, were as follows: Company "D" on Kentucky-Tennessee border until January 15, 1862, when ordered to report to General Felix K. Zollicoffer, but the Battle of Fishing Creek was fought before reaching him. Ordered by General George B. Crittenden to Decatur, Alabama, when the army retreated to that place; then ordered back to Kentucky border by General A. S. Johnston. "Remained on border till August 1862, during which time we had various skirmishes with the enemy. Made two trips with General John Hunt Morgan through Kentucky. At Cave City, Kentucky on first trip, helped to destroy two large trains. Marched over 300 miles in three days. Next trip within 50 miles of Cincinnati, had ten or 12 skirmishes, and severe fights at Cynthiana, Lebanon, and Tompkinsville, Kentucky. Were gone 17 days. In August, went into Murray's Regiment. Went to Kentucky with Bragg's Army, via Lebanon, Murfreesboro, Nashville, to Glasgow, Kentucky to Munfordsville, Kentucky, there having heavy skirmish. In fact, were skirmishing almost daily from time they left Sparta to the Battle of Perryville, in which they were engaged. Retreated with army to Tennessee. On December 12, lost Captain J. M. McMillan in skirmish near Nolensville. Was in Battle of Murfreesboro; charged the Infantry at various times; helped capture and burn great many enemy wagons between Nashville and Murfreesboro. During all fights lost but one killed, two wounded, but had good many horses killed."

"Company "F" armed with Navy pistols. Attached to Zollicoffer's Brigade. Had four skirmishes prior to Fishing Creek. Engaged in that battle as advance guard; in the retreat as the rear guard. Lost all horses in crossing the river (ordered by Colonel Cummings, commanding brigade to leave horses on north side of the river). Remounted themselves and went to Decatur, Alabama, with the army under General A. S. Johnston. Ordered by him to return and guard Tennessee-Kentucky border. Severe skirmish near McMinnville March 25, 1862; lost four killed, three wounded. Remained on border fill September, 1862 when ordered to join General Bragg on march to Kentucky, being attached to Colonel Murray's Regiment. Skirmished at Munfordsville, Shepherdsville, Salt River, Bardstown. Also engaged and charged the enemy at Perryville; two wounded, seven horses killed. In rear during retreat under General John A. Wharton. Had five skirmishes while on picket in vicinity of Brentwood between December 1st and 25th. On that day engaged the enemy as advance pickets on McCook's march to Nolensville. Skirmished with enemy every day until December 31, when as part of Wharton's Brigade were in the different engagements and charges made on the enemy's rear and wagon trains during the battle. Engaged again at LaVergne January 1, 1863."

As indicated in these company reports, the regiment was first assigned on September 14, 1862 to General N. B. Forrest's Brigade. When Forrest was sent back to Tennessee by General Bragg on September 25, the regiment was placed in Colonel (later Brigadier General) John A. Wharton's Brigade. On September 26, Wharton, near Bardstown, Kentucky, reported: "Ifind that I have now in camp seven companies of Colonel Murray's Regiment." On the 27th, at High Grove, Kentucky, Wharton reported he had placed three companies 4th Tennessee Cavalry, under Captain C. H. Ingles, at Salt River on the Louisville and Bardstown Pike. Another dispatch, on the same date, stated: I have three Cavalry Regiments; the Texas Rangers, 2nd Georgia, Murray's Tennessee Regiment, and three Kentucky Companies. Three companies of Murray's Regiment were sent to Bragg yesterday. I have sent all Murray's Regiment subject to my orders on the Shepherdsville Road. As soon as the other companies of Murray's Regiment report, I will dispose of them as ordered."

On November 25, Wharton's Brigade was reported as consisting of the 3rd Confederate, 2nd Georgia, 4th Tennessee, Bledsoe's Battalion, 8th Texas, White's Artillery, and Captain Anderson's Cavalry Company. There seems some confusion here, as Bledsoes Battalion was presumably a part of the 4th (Murray's) Regiment. It seems that somewhere about this time when Colonel Murray was elected to the Confederate Congress, an attempt was made to make two regiments out of Murray's Regiment, for in the history of Baxter Smith's Regiment in Lindsley's Annals, (officially designated as the 8th, but usually known as the 4th), the organization date is given as November 1, 1862, at Nolensville, Tennessee. Also on November 27, Brigadier General Joseph Wheeler was authorized to increase Bledsoe's Battalion to a regiment when practicable, and on December 25 complained: I cannot get the companies to complete Smith's and Murray's Regiments, although they have been promised to me for some fime." From the above, it would seem that the 4th Tennessee Regiment reported in Wharton's Brigade on November 25, was the forerunner of Baxter Smith's Regiment which was not officially organized until January, 1863.

This is further confirmed by the fact that in the Battle of Murfreesboro, December 31, 1862, Wharton's Brigade was reported as composed of the 14th Alabama Battalion; 1st Confederate, 3rd Confederate, 2nd Georgia, a detachment from 3rd Georgia, 2nd (Ashby), 4th (Baxter Smith) Regiments, John R. Davis' Battalion, 8th Texas, Murray's Tennessee Regiment, under Major W. S. Bledsoe, Anderson's Escort Company, Hardy's Escort, and White's Battery. Of the battle, General Wharton reported that Major Bledsoe rendered prompt and efficient service in burning wagons which could not be removed; also that the loss in Murray's, Smith's, Cox's Regiments, and Malone's Battalion in officers and men was considerable.

The attempt to organize separate regiments for Baxter Smith and Bledsoe failed, and Baxter Smith's Regiment was not officially organized until January, 1863, when Murray's Regiment was broken up, and four companies were placed in Baxter Smith's Regiment, of which Bledsoe became Major.

 



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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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