18th (Newsom’s) Tennessee Cavalry Regiment

Usually called 19th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment

Organized May 11, 1864; consolidated March, 1865 with 20th (Russell’s) Regiment; paroled at Gainesville, Alabama May, 1865 as the 19th and 20th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment.

When Major General N. B. Forrest took command of the cavalry forces in West Tennessee and North Mississippi late in 1863, he found things in a chaotic condition, with many skeletal organizations, some of which existed mainly on paper. He informed the commanders that unless they assembled their commands by February 5, 1864, he would reconstruct them, consolidating skeletal companies into full companies, and skeletal battalions and regiments into new regiments, to which he assumed and executed the power of appointing the field officers. His actions were approved and confirmed by the Adjutant and Inspector General’s Office in July 1864. This regiment was one of the new regiments so constructed, Six companies being composed largely of men who had served in Newsom’s Regiment, the other four being the Tennessee companies in Colonel Jeffrey E. Forrest’s Alabama Regiment. Colonel Jeffrey E. Forrest had been killed before the transfer took place.


  • Colonel-John F. Newsom
  • Lieutenant Colonel-Dew Moore Wisdom
  • Major-W. Y. Baker


  • William N. Barnhill, Co. “A”. Formerly Co. “A”, Forrest’s Alabama Regiment.
  • Robert M. May, Co. “B”. Some men from Co. “E”, Newsom’s Regiment. Enrolled May 1, 1864 at Jackson, Madison County.
  • William Wilson (or Willson), Co. “C”. Some men from Co. “D”, Newsom’s Regiment. Enrolled March 28, 1864 in Hardeman County.
  • T. H. Taylor, Co. “D”. Disbanded about May 15, 1864, and men transferred to other companies. Some from Henry and Lake Counties. Enrolled April 30, 1864 at Cotton Grove, Lake County.
  • John B. Michie, Co. “E”. Formerly Co. “E”, Forrest’s Alabama Regiment. Men from McNairy County.
  • John Robert Damron, Co. “F”. Formerly Co. “F”, Forrest’s Alabama Regiment. Men from McNairy County.
  • Joseph J. Sharp, Co. “G”. Some men from Co. “G”, Newsom’s Regiment. Enrolled April 1, 1864 at Lexington, Henderson County. This company became 2nd Co. “D” after 1st Co. “D” was disbanded.
  • Thomas I. Dick, 2nd Co. “G”. Some men from Co. “A”, N ewsom’s Regiment, plus transfers from other companies. Enrolled April 10, 1864 at Rose Creek, McNairy County.
  • J. G. Sharp, Co. “H”. Formerly Co. “H”, Forrest’s Alabama Regiment. Enrolled February 1, 1864 at Monterey, McNafry County.
  • L. C. McClerkin, Co. “I”. Some men from Co. “F” Newsom’s Regiment. Enrolled May 1, 1864 at Jackson, Madison County.
  • W. D. Stratton, Co. “K”. Enrolled April 10, 1864 at Jackson, Madison County.

The regimental roster dated May 22, 1864, bore this notation: “This regiment was raised by authority of Major General Forrest under his authority to organize troops, official copies of which authority I will file at the Adjutant and Inspector General’s Office.” Signed: I. P Johnson, Lieutenant Colonel, Assistant Adjutant and Inspector General.

The regiment was placed in Brigadier General Abraham Buford’s Division, Colonel (later Brigadier General) Tyree H. Bell’s Brigade. An Inspection Report dated June 10, 1864, of Buford’s Division showed Bell’s Brigade as composed of the 2nd (Barteau’s), 15th (Russell’s), 16th (Wilson’s), also Newsom’s Regiment, “formed recently by the union of a fragment of Forrest’s Old Regiment and Newsom’s Battalion. This entire brigade, except seven companies of the 2nd Tennessee, and four companies of Newsom’s Regiment were newly organized.” This report is indicative of the confusion that existed as to the numbers and organizations of the Tennessee Cavalry Regiments. The Adjutant and Inspector General’s Office designation of Russell’s Regiment was the 2Oth; of Wilson’s, the 21st; of Barteau’s, the 22nd. Also, the Inspector had confused Forrest’s Old Regiment with Colonel Jeffrey E. Forrest’s Alabama Regiment. On June 26, General Forrest reported: “Russell’s, Wilson’s, Greer’s and a portion of Newsom’s Regiments were consolidated into two regiments. I have since organized a third regiment composed of a part of Newsom’s Regiment, the Tennessee companies of Forrest 5 Alabama Regiment and other unattached companies.” General Forrest’s reference here was to the old irregular organizations which existed before he assumed command.

A regimental report dated June 30, 1864 at Tupelo, Mississippi, stated: “This regiment since its organization has been engaged in two actions with the enemy. At Tuscumbia Creek, a detachment of this regiment under its colonel captured a superior force of Yankees, and saved Corinth from destruction by fire and sword, as such was the avowed intention of the Federal raiders. In the Battle of Brice’s Crossroads, or Tishomingo Creek, under Lieutenant Colonel Wisdom, it behaved gallantly as the list of casualties will show. It has done scouting and marching of the most dangerous and important character.” In General Buford’s report of this action, he stated Newsom’s Regiment suffered severely, and had to give way, but upon being reenforced, regained its former position. The report of casualties listed Newsom’s Regiment as the 19th Tennessee and showed 22 casualties.

This was the only report found from the regiment. However, it was also heavily engaged on July 13, in the Battle of Harrisburg, Mississippi when Lieutenant General Stephen D. Lee, with Forrest as second in command, met and drove back the Federal expedition under Major General A. I. Smith. Here it reported 95 casualties including Colonel Newsom, who was wounded.

This was the last report found of any specific engagement in which the regiment was involved, but it continued in Bell’s Brigade until the end. On August 30, Barteau’s Regiment was still listed as the 2nd Tennessee, Newsom’s as the 19th Tennessee, but Russell’s was properly listed as the 20th, and Wilson’s as the 21st. On September 30, Newsom’s was listed as the 18th, one of the few times it was so reported.

On November 20, 1864, Bell’s Brigade was reported as composed of the 7th Alabama, 2nd (Barteau’s), 15th (Russell’s), 16th (Wilson’s), 19th Tennessee, under Lieutenant Colonel William Walker, Newsom’s Tennessee Regiment, and Duff’s Mississippi Cavalry. Here was another example of confusion, with the 19th Tennessee and Newsom’s Regiment being listed as separate organizations. Lieutenant Colonel William Walker has been a major in Duff’s 19th Mississippi Battalion, and later lieutenant colonel of the 8th Mississippi Regiment, which probably accounted for the confusion in listing him in command of the 19th Tennessee Regiment. By March 1865, Belrs Brigade was in Brigadier General William H. Jackson’s Division, which on March 22 had headquarters at West Point, Mississippi. On this date orders were issued: “Colonel John F. Newsom, 19th Tennessee Cavalry, will proceed to West Tennessee to collect all men absent from this command, and keep them in camp under strict rule and discipline.”

On May 3, 1865, the 19th and 20th Cavalry Consolidated reported 29 officers, 217 men present for duty, 283 present, 428 present and absent. These, of course, were Newsom’s and Russell’s Regiments.

On May 13, Lieutenant Colonel Wisdom, 19th Tennessee Cavalry, was advised by Brevet Major General Edward Hatch, U.S.A., then at Eastport, Mississippi, to assemble his men for parole on the same terms as those accorded General Robert E. Lee by General U S. Grant. On May 18, General Hatch advised Major General George H. Thomas, Commanding Department of the Cumberland, that the 19th Tennessee Cavalry was at Corinth, Mississippi to be paroled.

The regiment was paroled at Gainesville, Alabama as part of the 19th and 20th Consolidated Regiments.

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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