1st (Carter’s) Tennessee Cavalry Regiment

Organized November, 1862 by the addition of other companies to what was originally 3rd (Brazelton’s), later 14th (Carter’s) Tennessee Cavalry Battalion. Brazelton’s Battalion was also called the 2nd Battalion and the 5th Tennessee Cavalry Battalion.


  • Colonel-James E. Carter
  • Lieutenant Colonel-Onslow Bean
  • Majors-A. M. Goforth, John B. King, Richard S. VanDyke

The 3rd (Brazelton’s) Tennessee Cavalry Battalion was organized with six companies in 1861 as a twelve month organization, with Lieutenant Colonel William Brazelton, Jr., and Major James C. Bradford as Field Officers. On March 27, 1862 the Adjutant and Inspector Generals Office ordered: “The 3rd Cavalry Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel William Brazelton, Jr., with companies of Captains McHenry, McCaskill, Bledsoe and Sanders, are hereby organized into a regiment to be known and designated as the 1st Tennessee Cavalry Regiment, with Colonel William Brazelton, Jr. and Lieutenant Colonel James F. Brewer as field officers.” This order was apparently never put into effect, for on May 12, 1862, the battalion was reorganized with James E. Carter as lieutenant colonel, and Onslow Bean as major, and was officially recognized as the 14th (Carter’s) Tennessee Cavalry Battalion. Finally on November 14, 1862, the battalion was increased to a regiment by the addition of four other companies; two other companies were added in 1863. The company letters were changed at the reorganization as the 14th Battalion, and again at the organization of the regiment. The original companies, with changes in company Co. “H” letters shown, were as follows:

Regiment 14th Battalion Original  
Co. “A” “B” “B” Organized at Sulphur Springs, Rhea County. Captains Burton Lenty, Green B. Keys.
Co. “B” “C” “C” Organized August 7, 1861 at Cleveland, Brad ley County, with men from Hamilton County. Captains William Snow, John B. King, David N. Montgomery.
Co. “C” “D” “A” Organized August 3, 1861 at Athens, McMinn County. Men from Mc- Miun and Monroe. Cap tains J. A. Gouldy, Richard S. Van Dyke, Andrew I. Thompson.
Co. “D” “F” “E” Organized August 5, 1861 at Knoxville, with men from Rhea, Roane and Bledsoe Counties. Captains Tim Bradley, William T. Gass, Weath erston S. Greer.
Co. “E” “E” “D” Organized August 8, 1861 at Knoxville, with men from Union and Knox Counties. Captains John Robertson, E. Hurst, John I. Jarnagin, D. C. Smart.
Co. “K” “A” “F” Organized July 20, 1861 at Mossy Creek, Jefferson County. Captains John F. Baker, James C. Brad ford, Alex M. Goforth, Richard M. Swearingen.

Additional companies added at organization of the regiment:

  • Co. “F” Organized August 10, 1862 from Claiborne County. No muster roll on file. Captain R. Frank Fulkerson.
  • Co. “G” Formerly Co. “L”, 64th North Carolina Infantry Regiment. Organized September 17, 1862 at Maryville, Blount County. Captains A. P. Wiggs, J. M. Kidd.
  • Co. “H” Formerly Co. “G”, Thomas North Carolina Legion. Organized September 24, 1862 from Jefferson County. Captains David Neff, T. Coursey
  • Co. “I” Formerly Co. “D”, Thomas North Carolina Legion. Organized September 25, 1862 in Blount County. Captain William C. Wallace. No muster roll on file.

Later additions to the regiment.

  • Co. “L” Organized as six month troops August, 1863, in Claiborne County. Ordered by Lieutenant General James Longstreet into permanent organization March 9, 1864. Cap tain William A. Blackburn. No muster roll on file.
  • Co. “M” Organized September 3, 1863 at J onesboro, from a number of con scripts enlisted within the enemy lines. Attached to this regiment by Brigadier General John C. Vaughn, March 11, 1864. Men from Wash ington, Sullivan and Carter Counties. Not accounted for on regimental roster dated February 1865. Captain Edward Gammon.

Prior to the organization of the regiment, the battalion had been operating in the neighborhood of Cumberland and Big Creek Gaps, along the line of railroad. When the regiment was organized it was assigned to Brigadier General John Pegram’s Cavalry Brigade in Lieutenant General E. Kirby Smith’s Department. This brigade was composed of Howard’s Alabama Regiment, 2nd (Ashby’s), 4th (Starnes’), I. E. Carter’s Tennessee Cavalry Regiment, and Marshall’s Battery. Prior to the Battle of Murfreesboro, on December 29, 1862, Carter’s Regiment joined Brigadier General Joseph Wheeler’s Brigade, and participated in his raid around the Federal Army from Jefferson Springs to LaVergue, to Nolensville, to Murfreesboro. It was engaged on December 31 along the Murfreesboro Pike. Following this battle, the regiment returned to Pegram’s Brigade, in the Department of East Tennessee under Brigadier General D. S. Donelson. On February 20, 1863, this brigade was reported as composed of the 1st Georgia, 1st Louisiana, 1st (Carter’s) Tennessee, 2nd

However, Captain B. S. Van Dyke’s Company “C” had been detached to Colonel A. W. Reynolds’ Brigade in the Department of Mississippi and Eastern Louisiana, and served in the campaign around Vicksburg, and the seige of Vicksburg, until the surrender of that city on July 4, 1863, when it was temporarily attached to Colonel T. N. Waul’s Texas Legion.

With Pegram’s Brigade, the regiment took part in operations in Lincoln, Boyle and Garrard Counties of Kentucky, and was engaged March 30, 1863 at the junction of the Stanford and Crab Orchard Roads where it was under the command of Colonel 3.5. Scott, of the 1st Louisiana Regiment. General Pegram’s comment on this operation is interesting: “For Colonel Scott’s operations, I refer you to the accompanying report. Touching this curious document I have only to say that I cannot but admire the ingenuity with which Colonel Scott has attempted to account for disobedience of orders and dilatoriness of action which it is my sincere belief lost us the fight.” Colonel Carter reported five officers and 32 men as casualties in this operation.

On April 25, 1863, Colonel J. I. Morrison was reported in command of the brigade, now listed as composed of 1st Georgia, 1st and 2nd Tennessee Regiments, 12th and 16th Cavalry Battalions, and Huwald’s Battery. The brigade was at Albany, Kentucky on May 1; at Travisville, Fentress County, Kentucky on May 2. On July 23, the Chief of Staff, at Knoxville, ordered Colonel Scott, then commanding the brigade, to send 300 horses of 1st (Carter’s) Regiment to Loudon, Tennessee. On July 31, Pegram’s Brigade, consisting of 1st and 6th Georgia Regiments, 7th North Carolina Battalion, 1st Tennessee Regiment, Rucker’s Legion, and Huwald’s Battery was reported at Ebenezer. On August 15, Carter’s Regiment was reported as operating near Clinton. It participated in the fighting around Cumberland Gap which resulted in the capture of that point by the Federal troops on September 9, 1863, but the regiment had escaped up the valley before the surrender, and on September 11 Colonel Carter was reported in command of the brigade near Lee Courthouse. On September 18, Carter’s Regiment was driven from the ford above Kingsport after a severe fight.

Somewhere about this time, the regiment was assigned to Brigadier General John S. Williams’ Cavalry Brigade, composed of the 16th Georgia Battalion, 4th Kentucky Regiment, 10th Kentucky Battalion, May’s Kentucky Regiment, 1st Tennessee and 64th Virginia Regiments, which on October 31, 1863 was reported at Saltyille, Virginia. On the same date, October 31, 1863, Special Order Number 282 of the Army of Tennessee placed 1st (Carter’s) Regiment in the 2nd Brigade of Major General Joseph Wheeler’s Cavalry Corps, and on November 19, 1863 an order from the Headquarters of the Cavalry Corps near Knoxville ordered “Brigadier General W. Y. C. Humes will proceed to Dalton, Georgia and report to Brigadier General H. B. Davidson for assignment to a cavalry brigade composed of the following regiments; 1st (6th) Wheeler’s, 1st (Carter’s), 4th (Baxter Smith’s), 11th (Holman’s). On November 20, 1863, General Bragg’s organization of the Army of Tennessee showed the regiment in Brigadier General Henry B. Davidson’s Brigade, Major General John A. Wharton’s Division, Major General Joseph Wheeler’s Cavalry Corps. This listed the brigade as composed of 1st (Carter’s), 2nd (Ashby’s), 4th (McLemore’s), 6th (James T. Wheeler’s), and 11th (Holman’s) Regiments.

Despite these orders, Carter’s Regiment was reported near Rogersville on November 1, in Williams’ Brigade, with Colonel H. L. Gutner commanding. On November 30, and on December 31, Colonel Carter was reported as commanding the brigade. Perhaps the explanation for this apparent contradiction may be found in a statement by Colonel Carter in his sketch of the regiment in Lindsley’s Annals. He stated that Captain Swearingen’s Company “K” was with General Johnston on his memorable march from Dalton to Atlanta, and did some hard fighting. Apparently this company was listed in orders of battle as the 1st Tennessee Cavalry Regiment, for it was mentioned in Federal reports of the fighting around Marietta, Georgia on June 20, 1864, and was shown as a member of Ashby’s Brigade, of Humes’ Division on June 30, 1864.

In the meantime, Captain Van Dyke’s Company “C” had returned from Mississippi, and on November 24, 1863 was at Charleston, Tennessee with Colonel John C. Carter’s 38th Tennessee Infantry Regiment. Colonel Carter highly commended Captain Van Dyke and his 44 men for the part they played in helping his forces to evacuate Charleston without being captured. Captain Van Dyke’s Company later rejoined the regiment, and Van Dyke became major, but it is not known whether or not Swearingen’s Company was ever reunited with the rest of the regiment. On April 16, 1864, the regiment was transferred to Vaughn’s Brigade, of Brigadier General J. C. Vaughn’s Division, and reported 248 men present. It remained in this brigade until the end of the war. As part of Vaughn’s Brigade, the regiment moved into Virginia in early 1864, fought at the Battle of Piedmont, or New Hope Church, and in the subsequent campaign in the Valley of Virginia under General Early. On August 22, 1864, Major General Ransom recommended the consolidation of the 12th and 16th Tennessee Cavalry Battalions with the 1st Tennessee Regiment under Colonel Carter, whom he called “a fine officer.” This recommendation was not accepted and these units continued in the same brigade, as separate organizations. The last record of the regiment on February 28, 1865, showed it still in Vaughns Brigade, with Brigadier General John Echols in command of the Department. Echols disbanded his forces upon learning of the surrender of General Lee at Appomatox Courthouse.

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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