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Union Forces of Dyer County

Union enlistments in Dyer County were relatively small in comparison with Confederate troops. Most men enrolled individually or in small family groups and consequently there were no companies that could be said to belong to Dyer County. However Company A of the 14th Tennessee Cavalry was commanded by Capt. Theodorick Bradford a Dyersburg lawyer and the majority of Dyer County Federal troops belonged units listed below.

For More Information on Union veterans of Dyer County see: "Home Made Yankees" and "Under the Black Flag"

6th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment, U.S.A. Also called the 1st West Tennessee Cavalry Regiment. Organization began in August of 1862 at Bethel, McNairy County. Composed of two companies regular companies formed in March of 1863 and four companies from the 1st West Tennessee Infantry Regiment (also known at the 7th Infantry). It was mustered in on July of 1863. Later it consolidated with the 14th Tennessee Cavalry on Feb. 14, 1865 and mustered out at Pulaski on July 16, 1865.

7th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment, U.S.A. Also called the 2nd West Tennessee Cavalry Regiment. Organized at Trenton, November 14, 1862. The units was mustered out at Nashville, August 9, 1865.

14th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment, U.S. A. - Erroneously called the 13th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment and the 13th West Tennessee Cavalry Regiment. Organized at Union City on October of 1863. The unit was consolidated with the 6th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment U.S.A. on Feb. 14, 1865. The unit was commanded by Major Wm. F. Bradford who had practiced law in Dyer County.

Union Units Involved in Combat in Dyer County

2nd Illinois Cavalry Regiment - At 1st and 2nd Skirmishes of Merriwether's Ferry
6th Illinois Cavalry Regiment - At Wood's Springs Skirmish and Obion River Skirmish
11th Illinois Cavalry Regiment - At Dyersburg Bridge Skirmish (also at Yorkville Skirmish)(two men from Dyer County enlisted in this regiment)
15th Illinois Cavalry Regiment - At Plank Road Crossing Skirmish (Snow's Ferry)
54th Illinois Infantry Regiment - At 1st Merriwether's Ferry Skirmish (at least Colonel Harris was present)
3rd Michigan Cavalry Regiment - At Dyersburg Bridge Skirmish and deployed for an ambush on the Obion River
22nd Michigan Cavalry Regiment - Arrived late at the Dyersburg Bridge Skirmish (also at Yorkville Skirmish)

Units that Camped at Porter's Farm

Located south of Sharp's Ferry on the Obion River. These units were stayed from March 24th to March 26th 1864 and were on there way to Okolona:

Units on Expeditions and Scouts through Dyer County

Degoylyer's Michigan Battery - (1 section) Deployed for an ambush on the Obion River)
52nd Indiana Infantry Regiment- At Chestnut Bluff Expedition, Obion River Crossing and Key Corner incident
Elements of Colonel Fielding Hurst's Command - (Scouting etc.) This group was known to have captured Rev. G.W. D. Harris of Dyer County. Harris was held prisoner at Fort Pillow and is believed to be part of the reason that Forrest attacked the fort. There is at least one other report of this unit in Dyer County.

Bushwackers of Dyer County

Dyer County Jay Hawkers - This band of men was lead by Tom mays a former Confederate who later swore an oath to the North whe he was captured at an engagement at the Dyersburg bridge. It was Tom Mays that burned down the Dyer County Court House in 1864 (supposedly because of legal records kept on him). The following was found on Mays in the records at the Tennessee State Archives, "His history, exploits, robberies etc. - He was finally killed by Private Tom Hamilton of Ogesby's Squad." another account written in 1910 about Mr. John Hurt says, "Mr Hurt is the authority for the statement that a renegade by the name of Tom Mays was the leader of a jayhawking band composed of the offscourings of the county, who wouldn't go to war and remained at home to commit all sorts of depredations. This gang committed several murders and were summarily punished when the men returned from the war."

By Earl L. Willoughby, Jr.

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