Also called Bradford’s Tennessee Cavalry Battalion
Erroneously called 13th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment, and
13th West Tennessee Cavalry Regiment
Organization begun at Union City, Tennessee, October, 1863; consolidated into 6th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment February 14,1865.
- Major-W. F. Bradford
- Theodorick F. Bradford, 1st Lt. John F. Gregory, Co. “A”. Commissioned October 26, 1863, with 50 men. Mustered into U. S. service December 5, 1863, at Paducah, Kentucky.
- John H. Porter (1st Lt.), Co. “B”. Mustered into U. S. service December 16, 1863, under 2nd Lt. William Cleary. Men enrolled at Union City, Tennessee.
- Nicholas D. Logan (1st Lt.), commissioned December 16, 1863, Co. “C”. Mustered into U. S. service January 20, 1864, at Columbus, Kentucky. Men enrolled at Union City, Tennessee.
- Fraucis A. Smith (1st Lt.), commissioned December 16, 1863 with 50 men, Co. “D”. Mustered into U. S. service January 20, 1864, at Columbus, Kentucky. Men enrolled at Union City, Tennessee.
- John L. Poston, 5th Company. Ready for muster April 1, 1864, but never mustered into U. S. service. Men from Haywood County.
This battalion is referred to in the Official Records as the 13th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment, but it had no connection with the regiment organized by Colonel John K. Miller in East Tennessee. A report dated January 1, 1865. from Lieutenant and Adjutant Mack J. Leaming, stated the organization was also erroneously called the 13th West Tennessee Cavalry Regiment, but that the companies were raised as part of the attempted organization of the 14th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment.
On January 17, 1864, as the 13th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment, the battalion was ordered to report to the commanding officer at Columbus, Kentucky, for duty. On January 1864, still as the 13th Regiment, under Lieutenant John F. Gregory, it was reported at Paducah.
On February 2, 1864, Major Bradford, commanding the 13th Tennessee Cavalry, was ordered to move with his entire command and occupy Fort Pillow. Adjutant Leaming reported they reached Fort Pillow on February 8, where they were instructed to use all diligence in recruiting and mounting, with authorization “to impress horses from both the loyal and the disloyal, giving vouchers only to those who might furnish unmistakable evidence of their loyalty to the Government of the United States.” By April 1, a fifth company, under Captain Poston, was ready for muster into U. S. Service, and the company was ordered to report to Memphis for mustering. By this time, April 10, Fort Pillow was being threatened by Confederate forces under Major General Nathan B. Forrest, and, at the request of Major L. F. Booth, 6th U.S. Heavy Artillery, Colored, then commanding the post, the company remained to assist in the defense of Fort Pillow.
At Fort Pillow, at this time, the battalion was reported to have 10 commissioned officers and 258 enlisted men. The Fort was attacked by Forrest on April 12; the commanding officer, Major Booth was killed about 9:00 A.M., and the command fell upon Major Bradford. Major Bradford refused Forrest’s demand for surrender, and in the assault which followed, the battalion was virtually annihilated. Those who were not killed were captured, among them Major Bradford. Two days later, at Brownsville, Tennessee, Major Bradford was shot and killed; according to the Federals, executed in cold blood, according to the Confederates, killed while attempting to escape. Adjutant Leaming reported that he, Lieutenant Porter and Lieutenant Logan, were the only officers of the battalion to survive the Fort Pillow battle; that Porter and Logan soon after died in prison, and that he was severely wounded, and incapacitated for several months.
On August 18, 1864, by order of Governor Andrew Johnson, the remnant of the organization who had been absent on detachment at the time of the assault on Fort Pillow, were consolidated into one company, and designated as Co. “A” 14th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment, under Captain John L. Poston. On October 31, 1864, Co. “A”, 14th Tennessee Cavalry, under Lieutenant William Cleary, was reported in the forces along the Nashville and Northwestern Railroad under the command of Colonel Charles R. Thompson. Adjutant Leaming reported that Co. “A”, under Captain Poston, was stationed at the Tennessee Barracks, Nashville, on January 1, 1865.
In February, 1865, 35 men from the 14th Tennessee Cavalry, under Captain Poston, were mentioned as engaged in hunting down guerrillas at Triune, on February 10, and on the Nolensville Pike on February 15 and 16.
On February 14, 1865, the company was ordered consolidated with Co “E” 6th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment, of which company Captain Poston became the commanding officer.
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.