Organized on authority of Major General A. E. Burnside in East Tennessee; nine companies mustered in at Strawberry Plains, October 28 and November 8, 1863; mustered out at Knoxville, September 5, 1865.
The regiment moved from Strawberry Plains to Camp Nelson, Kentucky, where it was equipped, and where, on December 31st, Governor Andrew Johnson ordered the number to be changed from the 12th to the 13th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment.
At Camp Nelson, on December 31, 1863, it was reported as the 12th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment, in the District of Northern Central Kentucky. However, it had no connection with Colonel George Spalding's Regiment which was officially designated the 12th Regiment. On January 1, 1864, the 12th Tennessee Volunteer Cavalry Regiment, under Colonel Miller, was listed as part of the troops of which Brigadier General S. S. Fry was directed to take command, place in marching condition, and march to Knoxville, with orders to report to Major General J. G. Foster, Commanding Army of the Ohio. The report of Adjutant General J. P. Brownlow, State of Tennessee, stated that the regiment marched from Camp Nelson to Nashville, and remained in Nashville during the spring of 1864. Presumably, it moved first to Knoxville, and from there to Nashville.
The next report in the Official Records was dated April 30, 1864, at which time, as the 13th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment, under Major George W. Doughty, it was reported in Colonel Miller's 3rd Brigade of Brigadier General Alvan C. Gillem's 4th Division, Cavalry Corps, Department of the Cumberland. The regiment remained in this brigade until July 20, 1865. The other regiments in the brigade were the 8th, 9th, and later the 10th Tennessee Cavalry Regiments. On May 31, the regiment, under Lieutenant Colonel William H. Ingerton, was reported at Gallatin, where it remained until early August, 1864.
In August, the brigade, with the 10th Regiment now included, was designated the Governor's Guard, and with General Gillem commanding the expedition, and Colonel Miller the troops in the field, the 9th and 13th Regiments left Gallatin August 4, 1864 on a march to Strawberry Plains. The regiment spent the rest of its service in the East Tennessee area. On August 21, and again on August 23, the regiment was engaged at Rogersville, reporting the killing of 36, and the capture of 59 Confederates in the two engagements. General Gillem reported: The 9th and 13th are improving rapidly, and will require but little more experience to make excellent soldiers." On August 30, a detachment under Captain Wilcox drove off a Confederate force near Cumberland Gap, and occupied the gap until the arrival of the rest of the brigade.
On September 3, the regiment took part in an engagement with the forces of General John Hunt Morgan, at Park's Gap, near Greeneville, Tennessee; and early the next morning, a squadron under Captain Wilcox surprised General Morgan where he was spending the night in Greeneville. As General Morgan tried to escape, he was shot and killed by Private Andrew Campbell, of Co. "G", 13th Regiment. In his report of these actions, General Gillem commended Colonel Miller for his "reckless gallantry," and Lieutenant Colonel Ingerton for his promptness and efficiency in carrying out orders. On September 27 the regiment left Bulrs Gap with forces under Brigadier General Jacob Ammen, and took part in a series of skirmishes with Confederate forces under Generals J. C. Vaughn, and John S. Williams at Rheatown, Jonesboro, and Carter's Station, the last one on September 30, 1864.
On October 27 and 28, the regiment was engaged at Panther Springs, and at Morristown, in fights with Confederate forces under General John C. Vaughn, in which General Vaughn was wounded. General Gillem especially commended Lieutenant Colonel Ingerton, who, with the 13th Regiment, led the first charge that broke the enemy lines.
On November 12, at Bull's Gap, the regiment successfully fought off an enemy attack, and General Gillem especially commended Colonel Miller, Lieutenant Colonel Ingerton, Major Wagner, and Captain Wilcox for distinguished gallantry. General Gillem, with most of his forces, left Bull's Gap on November 13, but left the 13th Regiment, with Colonel Miller, at Bull's Gap to conceal his movement, and act as rearguard, with instructions to remain at the Gap until 10:30 A.M. Gillem's main force was attacked, and disastrously defeated near Russellville, and fell back to Strawberry Plains, where Colonel Miller and the 13th rejoined his force. From Strawberry Plains, the force retreated to Knoxville, where it remained for some time.
On December 10, Gillem's forces left Knoxville to join with Major General George Stoneman on an expedition into western Virginia. The regiment was engaged at Big Creek, near Kingsport, on December 12; at Wytheville, Virginia, December 16; and at Saltville, Virginia, December 20. In his report of the capture and burning of the salt works at Saltyille, General Stoneman reported: "To Lieutenant Colonel Stacy, and the 13th Tennessee Cavalry, is due the credit of having acted the most conspicuous part." Lieutenant Colonel Stacy led the charge which captured the Confederate breastworks, and forced the evacuation of the position. The regiment got back to Knoxville on December 29, 1864, where it remained until March 18, 1865.
The division was concentrated at Mossy Creek, Tennessee, on March 22, 1865, and from there went with General Stoneman on his expedition through western Virginia into North Carolina, culminating with the battle of Salisbury on April 12, 1865. General Gillem's forces separated from General Stoneman on April 17 and on April 23 were at Hendersonville, North Carolina, marching on Asheville, when General Gillem received news that a truce had been concluded with Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston. On receipt of this news, he returned to Greeneville.
During this time, some detachments of the regiment were with Brigadier General Davis Tillson, Commanding 4th Infantry Division, for on April 22, General Tillson, at Greeneville, ordered Major Dyer, 13th Tennessee Cavalry, to gather together the detachments of his regiment, and with other detachments of cavalry serving with his command, to proceed to Asheville and open communications with General Gillem, and having done so, to return to Tillson's command.
On April 27, the 8th and 13th Tennessee Cavalry were part of the forces which General Stoneman said he wanted sent to Asheville, and under the command of Brigadier General W. J. Palmer; to pursue and capture President Jefferson Davis, and the store of specie he was reputed to have with him.
On May 4, General Palmer reported he had reached Athens, Georgia, ahead of President Davis's Escort, and had sent the 13th Tennessee Cavalry to Lexington, with instructions to send one detachment to Elberton, Georgia, and another to Washington, Georgia. Following the capture of President Davis on May 10, 1865, the regiment returned to East Tennessee.
On July 20, 1865, General Gillem, Commanding District of East Tennessee, assigned the 8th, 9th, and 13th Tennessee Regiments, along with others, to the Cavalry Brigade, commanded by Major General Emory Upton, which went into camp at Sweetwater, Tennessee. The regiment was mustered out of service on September 5, 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.
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