16th Tennessee Cavalry Battalion

Also called Rucker’s Battalion

Organized October, 1862; reorganized February, 1863; consolidated with 12th Battalion from June, 1863 to March, 1864 to form Rucker’s Legion; served balance of war in Brigadier General I. C. Vaughn’s Brigade.


  • Lieutenant Colonel-John R. Neal
  • Majors-E. W. Rucker, F. 3. Paine

The battalion as originally organized was composed of only four companies, “A” to D”; Company “E” was assigned some time after October, 1862; Company “T” assigned December 26, 1862, and another company, Captain Fitzgerald’s, was assigned in June, 1863, but soon disbanded. These companies were as follows:


  • William C. Eblen, James W. Rogers, Thomas 3. Brown, George C. Montgomery, Co. “A”. Organized May 1, 1862 at Post Oak Springs, Roane County. A note on the muster roll reads: “accepted by General E. K. Smith as mountain guides March 20, 1862.
  • John R. Neal (lieutenant colonel), R. F. Mastin, Co. “B”, also called “C”. Organized May 31, 1862 at Athens, McMinn County. William P. Darwin, Co. “C”, also called “B”. Organized May 31, 1862 at Washington, Rhea County. Some enlistments as early as May 14, 1862.
  • Benjamin T. Brown, D. L. Hassler, Francis M. Murray, Thomas H. Mastin, Co. “D”. Organized September 20, 1862 at Kingston, Roane County.
  • Thomas S. Rumbough, Thomas L. Williams, Co. “E”. Organized August 7, 1862 at Greeneville, Greene County.
  • Michael Staley, Co. “F”. Organized October 1, 1862 at War Gap, Hawkins County.
  • John F. Fitzgerald’s Company. No muster roll. Battalion reports state officers inefficient, and most of men deserted, and company disbanded and men assigned to other companies.

The battalion was originally commanded by Major E. W. Rucker. Major Rucker was given a commission as colonel, Provisional Army Confederate States, and the battalion reorganized February 23, 1862 with John R. Neal as lieutenant colonel; F. J. Paine as major. Company reports show that Companies’ “A”, “B” and “C” were stationed at Post Oak Springs, Roane County, through August, 1862, moved from there to Knoxville during September and October. Company “F” was at Camp Jackson, Hancock County, in October, and at Greeneville during November and December. Company “A” showed station near Rogersville in December, but all the other companies showed station at Knoxville. All the companies showed station at Sweetwater, June 30, 1863, but from then until December, 1864, at which time they were at Greeneville and Kingsport, no other company reports were found.

On October 31, 1862, the battalion was reported in Colonel J. S. Scott’s Cavalry Brigade; on November 20, Rucker’s Battalion, unattached, was estimated at a strength of 175 men; on December 27, the 16th Battalion was reported on conscript duty.

On February 20, 1863, the battalion was reported in Brigadier General John Pegram’s Brigade, along with 1st Georgia, 1st Louisiana, 1st (Carter’s), 2nd (Ashby’s) Tennessee Cavalry Regiments. As part of this brigade, the 16th Battalion, except for two companies stationed at Clinton, went with General Pegram on his raid into Kentucky the latter part of March into the territory around Danville, Somerset and Stanford.

On April 25, it was reported in Colonel 1.1. Morrison’s Brigade, at Albany, Kentucky, consisting of the 1st Georgia, 1st Tennessee, 2nd Tennessee, 12th and 16th Battalions and Huwald’s Battery. The 12th and 16th Battalions served in the same brigade from this time until the end of the war, first in Rucker’s Legion, which was formed about the first of June, and later in Brigadier General John C. Vaughn’s Brigade. See the history of the 12th Tennessee Cavalry Battalion for further details.

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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