Tennesseans in the Civil War
Confederate Cavalry Units

 


 

9th (GANTT'S) TENNESSEE
CAVALRY BATTALION

Organized November 28, 1861; into Confederate service December 23, 1861; surrendered Fort Donelson February 16, 1862; exchanged Vicksburg September, 1862; reorganized Jackson, Mississippi; paroled at Charlotte, North Carolina, May 3, 1865.

FIELD OFFICERS

This battalion is the only battalion of Tennessee Cavalry to serve throughout the war as a battalion. It was originally organized with six companies, and mustered into Confederate service at Camp Maury, near Nashville, on December 23, 1861. A seventh company was added in October, 1864. These companies were as follows:

CAPTAIN

At the reorganization in September 1862, Captain J. H. Akin succeeded Porter as major. Lieutenant Colonel Gantt was wounded and taken prisoner in the fall of 1863, and Major Akin was in command of the battalion. From that time on it was sometimes referred to as Major Akin's Battalion.

The battalion remained in Camp of Instruction until January 16, 1862, when it moved to Fort Donelson. It served as Brigadier General Tilghman's escort from Fort Donelson to Fort Henry, where it was placed in Colonel A. Heiman's Brigade. As part of this brigade, it fell back from Fort Henry to Fort Donelson, where Colonel N. B. Forrest was placed in command of all cavalry units. With the exception of Company "C" it was surrendered at Fort Donelson, February 16, 1862.

Colonel Forrest had these comments to make: "Colonel Gantt was sent for and urged to get out his battalion as often as three times, but he and two Kentucky companies (Wilcox's and Huey's) refused to come.

* * * *I cannot speak too highly of the gallant manner in which my officers and men conducted themselves on that occasion, as well as others that came under my observation, with the exception of Lieutenant Colonel Gantt, commanding a battalion of Cavalry, who failed to fight on Saturday, and refused to bring his men out with my regiment on Sunday morning when ordered to do so."

On March 19, 14 men from the 9th Battalion appeared on a list of prisoners at Camp Butler, Illinois, who desired to take the oath of allegiance and return to their homes. Whatever may have been the shortcomings of the battalion at Fort Donelson, it had a long and honorable record thereafter, fighting till the bitter end in various theatres of war, until the surrender in North Carolina.

A Battalion report dated March 16, 1864, at Tunnel Hill, Georgia gives a sketch of the battalion's history up unfil that date. "The battalion remained prisoners until exchanged at Vicksburg September 16, 1862. It was re-organized at Jackson, Mississippi, and was then consolidated for a time, until it could be remounted, with the 1st Mississippi Infantry Regiment, and ordered to report to Major General Van Dorn in North Mississippi. It moved thence to Port Hudson, Louisiana, drilling and fortifying until remounted January 6, 1863, when it was ordered to outpost duty until the commencement of the seige of Port Hudson, during which it had frequent skirmishes, of which one was worthy of particular mention when a portion of the battalion met and engaged at Wall's Bridge, on the Tickfaw River on May 1, 1863, the notorious Grierson, killing Lieutenant Colonel Blackburn and six men, and wounding 15 others." It is interesting to compare this with Grierson's report, who described the affair at Tickfaw River as a Federal victory and reported the Federal loss as one killed, Lieutenant Colonel Blackburn and four men wounded.

The report goes on: "The battalion was then ordered to report to Colonel John L. Logan, commanding a brigade, and participated in all the engagements in which this brigade was engaged, among which were the defeat of Grierson at Clinton, Louisiana, the rout and capture of the greater portion of the 14th New York Cavalry at Newport, the defeat and rout of the enemy at Fluker's Lane, Springfield Landing and Jackson, Louisiana. After this, the battalion was in Brigadier General Wirt Adam's Brigade and participated in all engagements in which the brigade was engaged in the 'vicinity of Natchez and Port Hudson, also during the advance of Sherman from Vicksburg to Meridian, from which place it was ordered by General Polk to report to General Jobnston at Dalton, Georgia." Company reports give the dates of the affair at Wall's Bridge as May 1; Clinton, Louisiana June 2; Fluker's June 22; Springfield Landing July 2; and Jackson, Louisiana as August 3, 1863. The last report was dated at Hardeeville, South Carolina December 31, 1864, and stated "Been in all engagements of Major General Wheeler's command since last muster."

At Port Hudson, Louisiana, in the Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana the battalion was first placed in the brigade of Brigadier General S. B. Maxey, but on January 14, Lieutenant Colonel Gantt was assigned "to have command of the outposts, scouts, and pickets for the protection of the approaches from Baton Rouge to this point and Clinton, Louisiana." His command consisted of his own battalion, Wilbourne's Battalion, and six cavalry companies. On February 6, Major General Franklin Gardner ordered: "All of the unattached Cavalry Companies, Hughes' Battalion, and 9th Tennessee Battalion, will be temporarily under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Gantt, now camped at Olive Branch, near Clinton, Louisiana, and doing outpost and scouting toward Baton Rouge."

On June 25, the battalion was reported in the Cavalry and Mounted Infantry under the command of Colonel John I. Logan, 11th Arkansas Infantry, with Headquarters near Clinton, Louisiana. The Oth Battalion was the only Tennessee unit, the others being from Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas. On August 20, Logan's Brigade was reported in the Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana, under General Joseph E. Johnston. On August 27, the battalion was at Georgetown, Mississippi; on September 5, at Crystal Springs, Mississippi.

On September 20, Colonel John Griffith commanded the brigade, which was then in Brigadier General W. H. Jackson's Division of Major General Stephen D. Lee's Cavalry Corps. On November 23, the Brigade was commanded by Brigadier General Wirt Adams, with Major Akin in command of the battalion. Major Akin continued in command from this time on, except for a few times when one of the Captains was reported in command during his temporary absence.

On February 14, 1864, Lieutenant General Leonidas Polk ordered: "The regiment known as Gantt's Tennessee Regiment of Adams' Brigade is hereby transferred to the Army of Tennessee. It will report to Colonel Scott, 1st Louisiana Cavalry, who will move with it to the Army of Tennessee for the purpose of exchanging it for the 1st Louisiana Cavalry." On the 19th, another order, dated at Demopohs, Alabama, read: "Colonel J. S. Scott will move with Gantt's Tennessee Cavalry Battalion at an early hour tomorrow morning, marching 25 miles per day, and making proper arrangements for shoeing horses, and procuring clothing for the command." On arrival, the battalion was placed in Brigadier General Henry B. Davidson's Brigade of Major General Josepb Wheeler's Cavalry Corps, but by April 30, it had been transferred to Brigadier General William Y. C. Humes' Division, Humes' Brigade, cornmanded at the time by Colonel James T. Wheeler, of the 1st (6th) Tennessee Cavalry. On July 10, Colonel Henry M. Ashby was reported in command, and it was known as Ashby's Brigade from tbis time on. It was composed of the 1st (6th), 2nd, 5th Tennessee Regiments, and the 9th Tennessee Cavalry Battalion.

Major General Wheeler, in his report of the Savannah Campaign, stated that on December 4, at Waynesboro, Georgia: I directed the 8th Texas and the 9th Tennessee Battalion (Captain Bromley) to charge the enemy which was gallantly done, meeting and driving back the charge of the enemy." On December 5, General Hood, commanding the Army of Tennessee, just after the Battle of Franklin ordered: "Colonel James T. Wheeler, 1st (6th) Tennessee Cavalry, and Major I. H. Akin, 9th Tennessee Cavalry Battalion, will report with their commands to Major General Forrest, commanding the Cavalry, for temporary duty." Evidently the battalion was at this time divided, part being with Wheeler, in Georgia, and part being in the Tennessee theater. This assumption is confirmed by an order from General Forrest to Brigadier General I. R. Chalmers, dated January 1, 1865: "On your arrival at Rienzi vou will consolidate temporarily Holman's, Biffle's Wheeler's Regiments and 9th Tennessee Battalion, the 1st Confederate, and that portion of the 7th Alabama Cavalry that have horses, into four regiments, which will constitute one brigade."

On January 4, he ordered: "Brigadier General James R. Chalmers will relieve all detachments which properly belong to the regiments now in Georgia, to report to Colonel Harvie, Inspector General Army of Tennessee, at once; those of the 9th and loth Tennessee Regiments, and, should a majority of the Oth Tennessee Cavalry Battalion, Major Akin, be in your command, it will be retained or not as Major Akin may think best, and all unattached and unorganized companies from Middle Tennessee are excepted, which will remain with your command. All others will be relieved and ordered to report as directed."

Major Akin evidently thought best not to remain with Forrest's command, but to return to his regular brigade in Georgia, for the final report, dated April 9, 1865, showed the 9th Tennessee Battalion in Lieutenant General Wade Hampton's Cavalry Corps in North Carolina. Parole records show the battalion was paroled at Charlotte, North Carolina May 3, 1865.

 



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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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