Attala County, Mississippi

5th Regiment Mississippi Cavalry



Colonel—James Z. George
Lt. Colonel—James A. Barksdale (killed at Okolona)
Lt. Colonel—Wiley M. Reed
Lt. Colonel—Nathaniel Wickliffe
Lt. Colonel—P. H. Echols
Major—W. G. Henderson
Major—William B. Perry
Surgeon—George W. Henderson (promoted - Chief Surgeon, Chalmers’ Div Nov 9, 1864)


Company A—Mississippi Rangers, Carroll County, Mississippi
Company B—Trotter’s Company, Carroll County, Mississippi
Company C—Curtis’ Company, Carroll County, Mississippi
Company D—Scales’ Company, Carroll County, Mississippi
Company E—Love’s Company, Attala County, Mississippi
Company F—Povall’s Company, Madison County, Mississippi
Company G—Allen’s Company, Lauderdale County, Mississippi
Company H—Hill’s Company, Panola County, Mississippi
Company I—Turner’s Company, Attala County, Mississippi
Company K—Ward’s Company, DeSoto County, Mississippi
Company L—Sander’s Company, origin unknown

The Fifth Regiment Mississippi Cavalry was mustered into the service of the Confederate States Army in Columbus, Mississippi in late September, 1863. Assigned to the First Brigade of Brigadier General James R. Chalmer’s Command.

On October 5, 1863 General Chalmers’ command moved from Oxford to Salem, leaving the 5th Mississippi behind at Oxford on picket duty. The Regiment did not take part in this raid into Tennessee, but Colonel George with sixty men met the forces on their retreat from Collierville and participated in the fight at Wyatt on October 13th. First along the main street of the town of Wyatt and next at the ford of the river above the main crossing, where the unit drove away a Federal picket. After Chalmers’ forces began their retreat, Colonel George and his men returned and were on guard in the breastworks near Wyatt until four in the morning, when it was discovered that the Federals also were falling back. On October 22nd Chalmers reported the regiment’s strength at 350. Colonel George’s Regiment of cavalry was assigned to Slemon’s Brigade of Chalmer’s command, when Chalmers made his headquarters at Abbeville, after the Collierville raid.

November 3, 1863, Chalmers made a second attempt at Collierville, his command then consisting of McCulloch’s Brigade (Hovis’ Partisans, McCulloch’s Missourians and Alexander Chalmers’ Battalion) and Slemon’s Brigade (George’s and Barksdale’s Regiments and the Second Arkansas). The plan of Chalmers was to make a demonstration upon Collierville, to hold the Union Calvary while Brig. Gen. Samuel W. Ferguson and Gen. Samuel J. Gholson broke the railroad west of Corinth, over which troops were being carried toward Chattanooga. Chalmers reported that his scouts informed him that Collierville was held by a single regiment of cavalry, “and feeling able to encounter, even behind entrenchments, the two regiments of cavalry, I changed my plans and determined to attack Collierville.” There arriving, he ordered an assault, “but we discovered at the first fire that the enemy were in position with infantry, artillery and cavalry, and I determined at once to draw off as soon as we could do so successfully.” The town was held by eight companies of the Seventh Illinois with two howitzers, but the commanding officers, Colonel Edward Hatch (3rd Cavalry Brigade) was at Germantown with the Sixth Illinois and Second Iowa, and with this force on the gallop, he arrived at Collierville in time to meet the assault. The Iowa Regiment dismounted, took position at the railroad, with their howitzers, and received the attack of Slemons’ Brigade, Colonel George’s Regiment on the right at the Mount Pleasant road, Barksdale on the left, with the Arkansans, dismounted, as flankers. “Mounted and dismounted men came forward in fine style, “ Hatch reported, “the howitzers of the Second Iowa firing rapidly. The regiment, lying on the ground, waited till the Confederate cavalry were within fifty yards, sprang to their feet and poured in a severe fire from revolving rifles. A few men reached the guns; among them Colonel George and two officers.” Slemons reported that this fatal fire was from “rifle pits of the existence of which he was totally ignorant.” The attack by McCulloch on the other side served to screen his withdrawal, and the whole command fell back to the Coldwater, where there was a brisk fight until after dark, for the possession of the bridge. Hatch reported that he was not able to force a crossing until the next morning, when he pursued as far as Chulahoma. Chalmers reported his loss as 6 killed, 63 wounded, 26 prisoners. “Among the last Colonel J. Z. George and my Chief Surgeon, Dr. William H. Beaty. Colonel George led the charge made by Slemons’ Brigade (Colonel W. F. Slemon) and rode into the town, followed by Captain Scales and Lieutenant Lamkin of his regiment and a few of his men.” The other casualties of the 5th Mississippi Cavalry were 4 killed and 14 wounded. Hatch reported a loss of 60 and the taking of 57 prisoners.

Early in December the regiment participated in another raid against the railroad, Chalmers’ command co-operating with the movements of Major General Stephen D. Lee and General Nathan B. Forrest. One company of the Fifth was in the gallant fight made at the Wolf River bridge, December 4th, by Colonel Robert McCulloch, against Edward Hatch’s Cavalry, in which Hatch was severely wounded.

The Fifth Regiment, Colonel James Z. George, part of Slemons’ Brigade of Chalmers’ Division, in organization of cavalry under Maj. Gen. S. D. Lee, January, 1864. General Forrest beigaded the regiment under Col. Jeff E. Forrest. The regiment was with General Forrest in the Okolona campaign of February, 1864, which resulted in the defeat of Gen. Sooy Smith’s expedition from Memphis, at the time General Sherman advanced from Vicksburg to Meridian. In the desperate fight about five miles from Okolona, February 22nd, Colonel Jeff E. Forrest was killed, Lieutenant Colonel James A. Barksdale, commanding the regiment, fell mortally wounded. The casualties of the regiment were 3 killed, 3 wounded, 3 missing. The regiment was with Chalmers and Forrest in the famous Tennessee raid of March and April, 1864 In the assault upon Fort Pillow, April 12th, Lieut. Col. Wiley M. Reed, temporarily commanding George’s Regiment, was “shot in three places,” General Forrest reported, and it is feared that his wounds may prove mortal. The country can ill afford to lose the services of so good and brave an officer at this time.”

In the engagements between Pontotoc and Tupelo, July 10-15, 1864, including the battle of Harrisburg, the regiment had 5 killed, 7 wounded.

The regiment was with Wade’s Brigade in August, 1864, contesting the advance of Hatch’s Federal Division to Oxford, the main part of which town was burned August 22nd. They skirmished with the raiders in front of Oxford, and on the 23rd attacked the retreating column at Abbeville, where the Fifth fought dismounted, and lost 4 killed, 10 wounded, 12 missing.

Return of May 10. 1864, Fifth Mississippi Cavalry, Capt. William B. Peery, in McCulloch’s Brigade, Forrest’s Cavalry. General Chalmers’ assigned Lieut. Col. N. Wickliffe to command, May 12. He was relieved at his own request on August 15th. Major W. G. Henderson commanding, in Forrest’s organization of August 30th. Major William B. Peery commanding, August 31 return.

General Chalmers advanced within five miles of Memphis, October 8th, but finding no opportunity for surprise, moved into West Tennessee with his escort and the Fifth Mississippi Regiment.

When General Forrest took command at Florence, Alabama, of Jackson’s Division (with Hood’s army) and his own, for the campaign in Tennessee, General Chalmers joined him with Col. Edmund Rucker’s Brigade, which included the Fifth Mississippi, with Alabama and Tennessee commands. They crossed the Tennessee River at Florence on November 17, 1864, and remained several days on Shoal Creek, during which time they had several skirmishes, part of their wagon train being taken and retaken. They began the march north November 21st, and on the 23rd fought Capron's Brigade at Henryville, capturing 65 prisoners. General Forrest aided them by a charge with his escort. Next day they pursued the Federal cavalry into Columbia, taking 30 prisoners, but losing Colonel Dawson, of the Tennessee Regiment; killed. They skirmished about Columbia until the evacuation November 28th, when they moved toward Franklin, Tennessee and struck the head of the Federal column toward Spring Hill, and supported by Jackson and Buford, holding it in check several hours. In the night they were sent to intercept a Federal column, supposed to be on another road, but found nothing, the Federals moving on in the night, past the Confederate infantry, on the road upon which Rucker and Chalmers had met them. On November 30th, in the assault upon the entrenched lines at Franklin, Rucker’s Brigade formed on the extreme left of the line. After driving in the outposts, Chalmers reported: “My line was pressed forward until the skirmishers were within sixty yards of the fortifications, but my force was too small to justify an attempt to storm them, and I could only hold my position, which we did during the night, and an early hour in the morning, when the skirmish line was pushed forward and was the first to enter the town, capturing some 20 prisoners. Our loss up to this time 116 killed and wounded.” The casualties of the Fifth, included in this total, were 2 killed, 8 wounded. December 3 Rucker’s Brigade took position on the Hillsboro pike near Nashville, where the Federal troops were concentrated, and on the 6th of December, being relieved by infantry, moved with two additional pieces of artillery, to the Charlotte pike, to blockade the Cumberland River. A monitor defeated and driven back on the 7th and other gunboats on other occasions. December 14th, Chalmers and Rucker, with Ector’s Brigade (Brig Gen. Mathew Duncan Ector), held a line of about four miles with 900 men. The Federal attack of the 15th opened up the Harding pike and Chalmers; ordnance train was taken, the Federals advancing in his rear. Rucker had been fighting a gunboat on the river and cavalry on the Charlotte pike, but his men made good their retreat and were cut off from the army until the 16th, when they received orders, and moving promptly to Brentwood, rendered valuable services in protecting the wagon trains. In the evening of that day, under orders to hold the Granny White pike at all hazards, Rucker’s Brigade fought desperately until after dark, when they were driven toward the Franklin pike, Rucker being wounded and captured in the hand-to-hand struggle. The loss of these two days was heavy. The remnant of the brigade was with Forrest and the rear guard on the retreat to the Tennessee River.

Companies A, B. F. G. I, of the Fifth Cavalry, assigned to Armstrong’s Brigade, Chalmers’ Cavalry, February, 1865. Companies C, D, E, H, K, Fifth Mississippi Cavalry, with Lieut. Col. A. H. Chalmers, assigned to Starke’s Brigade, February, 1865.

In an order, March 16th, General Chalmers said: “There being no field officers of the Fifth Mississippi Cavalry present and able for duty and only two companies of that regiment having 32 men present, the companies composing that regiment and not included in this order (consolidating E, H and K with A. H. Chalmers’ Battalion), have been consolidated with other companies and regiments from the same state.”

May 7, General J. H. Wilson ordered an officer sent to Forsyth, Georgia, to receive the surrender of the Fifth Mississippi Cavalry.

That portion of the Fifth Mississippi that was consolidated under A. H. Chalmers, companies E, H and K were assigned to the 18th Battalion Mississippi Cavalry which was subsequently reorganized and designated the 18th Regiment Mississippi Cavalry, commanded by Captain R. L. Watson and was surrendered at Citrunelle on May 4, 1865, and paroled at Gainesville on May 12, 1865.



Sources:
Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Archives and Library Division, Jackson, Mississippi.
“Military History of Mississippi 1803-1898” by Dunbar Rowland.
"Battles and Leaders of the Civil War"—Volumes I, II, III, and IV by Thomas Yoseloff.
"Bedford Forrest and His Critter Company" by Andrew Nelson Lytle





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