2nd (Ashby’s) Tennessee Cavalry Regiment

Reported as First Tennessee Cavalry Regiment until December, 1862. Organized May 24, 1862 by consolidation of 4th (Branner’s) and 5th (McLellan’s) Battalions; last reported April 9, 1865 in General Joseph E. Johnston’s Army.

This regiment is not to be confused with another 2nd Tennessee Cavalry Regiment commanded by Colonel E. S. Smith, nor with Barteau’s 22nd Regiment which was sometimes mustered as the 2nd Tennessee Cavalry Regiment.


  • Colonel-Henry M. Ashby
  • Lieutenant Colonel-Henry C. Gillespie
  • Major-Pharaoh A. Cobb Captain John H. Kuhn was later major, and then lieutenant colonel. Captain William M. Smith later became major


  • John H. Kuhn, Co. “A”, formerly “H”, 5th Battalion
  • Henry C. Gillespie (to lieutenant colonel). John R. Rogers, John H. Burke, Co. “B”, formerly “C”, 5th Battalion
  • William F. Ford, James Ford, Co. “C”, formerly “D”, 5th Battalion
  • William P. Owen, Co. “D”, formerly “C”, 4th Battalion
  • William M. Smith, Co. “E”, formerly “D”, 4th Battalion
  • Spencer C. Stone, Co. “F”, formerly “F”, 4th Battalion
  • William L. Clark, Co. “G”, formerly “B”, 4th Battalion
  • Clark Rhodes, Co. “H”, formerh “A”, 4th Battalion
  • N. C. Langford, Co. “I”, formerl~- “E”, 4th Battalion
  • Will Wallace Gillespie, Co. “K”, formerly “E”, 5th Battalion

For date and place of organization of these companies see the histories of the 4th and 5th Tennessee Cavalry Battalions.

The regiment was placed in the 1st Cavalry Brigade, Major General E. Kirby Smith’s Department of East Tennessee. The brigade was commanded by Colonel Ben Aliston. The other member of the brigade was listed as 2nd Tennessee Cavalry, commanded by Colonel I. B. McLin. On June 12, Captain Owen’s company was ordered to Mavuardsville, to observe and report on crossings of the Clinch River. On June 20, Colonel Ashby took command of Allston’s Brigade, and was instructed to have his cavalry to give information to Headquarters at Knoxville of everything of importance that transpired on his front.

On July 3, 1862, Colonel Benjamin Allston was again in command of the brigade, which was reported in Brigadier General Henry Heth’s Division, and was composed of the 1st Georgia Regiment, 1st Tennessee (Ashby), 2nd Tennessee (MeLin), 3rd Tennessee (Stames) and Huwald’s Battery. On July 5, instructions were issued that “Captain Owen’s Company, constituting the escort of the Commanding General, must be withdrawn from Maynardsville, and be replaced by other troops.”

Federal reports indicate that four companies of the 1st Georgia, with one company of Ashby’s Regiment surprised a force at Lead Mines Bend on the Powell River on June 30, capturing a number of prisoners. Again on August 17, a Federal force at Cumberland Ford reported the loss of 60 men as the result of an attack by Ashby’s Cavalry, 600 strong. On August 29, Captain Rhodes’ Company was surprised at Rogers’ Gap, and suffered the loss of six killed, six or eight wounded, and 19 taken prisoner, including Captain Rhodes.

On October 22, Major General John P. McCown, at Cumberland Gap, was instructed to send Smith’s Legion, together with the commands of Colonel Ashby and Major Slaughter to Flat Lick, Kentucky. On October 31, Ashby’s Regiment, together with Carter’s 1st, Starnes’ 3rd, the 3rd Confederate Regiment, and Huwald’s and Kain’s Artillery were reported in Brigadier General John Pegram’s Cavalry Brigade of Heth’s Division. Heth’s Division was reported at Cumberland and Big Creek Gaps, and along the line of railroad on November 20, 1862, but shortly thereafter Pegram’s Brigade moved to join the Army of Tennessee at Murfreesboro.

Here Ashby’s Regiment was detached to Brigadier General John A. Wharton’s Brigade of General Joseph Wheeler’s Cavalry Corps. As part of Wharton’s Brigade it operated in the rear of the Federal Army, and participated in an attack upon Federal cavalry along the Nashville pike, Tuesday, December 30, 1862, capturing a wagon train and several pieces of artillery as a result of the charge. Ashby’s Regiment was then ordered to report to General Pegram “early Thursday morning.”

On February 20, 1863, Pegram’s Brigade was reported as consisting of the 1st Georgia, 1st Louisiana, 1st Tennessee (Carter’s), 2nd Tennessee (Ashby’s), 16th Tennessee Battalion, Huwald’s Battery, and Captain N. C. Langford’s Company of the 2nd acting as Escort. As part of the brigade it moved in March on a raid into Kentucky to gather cattle and supplies, and participated in a raid through the streets of Danville on March 22, and in an engagement near Stanford on March 29. Colonel Ashby was commended by General Pegram for his conduct in this action.

On April 25, Colonel J. J. Morrison was in command of a brigade with headquarters at Albany, Kentucky, composed of the 1st Georgia, 1st (Carter’s) Tennessee, 2nd (Ashby’s) Tennessee Regiments, and the 12th and 16th Tennessee Cavalry Battalions. The Brigade was at Travisville, Fentress County, Kentucky on May 2nd.

Shortly thereafter, the regiment was transferred to Colonel John S. Scott’s Brigade, composed of the lOth Confederate, 1st Louisiana, 2nd (Ashby’s), 5th (McKenzie’s) Tennessee Regiments, 5th North Carolina Battalion, and Marshall’s Battery. As part of this brigade it took part in a raid into Eastern Kentucky from July 25 to August 6, 1863. The raid started from Big Creek Gap, and reached Irvine, Richmond, and Winchester.

At Chickamauga, September 19-20, 1863, Scott’s Brigade was in General Pegram’s Cavalry Division. The regiment suffered 19 casualties, including Captain Ford and Lieutenant Crozier, who were killed.

On November 20, the regiment was reported in Wheeler’s Corps, Major General John A. Wharton’s Division, Brigadier General H. B. Davidson’s Brigade. The brigade was composed of the 1st (Carter’s), 2nd (Ashhy’s), 4th (McLemore’s), 6th (Wheeler’s) and 11th (Holman’s) Tennessee Cavalry Regiments. Certainly not all of the 1st (Carter’s) Regiment was in the brigade, although it is possible that one company was. On January 20, 1864, the 5th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment had been added, and 11th was no longer included. The 2nd at this time was commanded by Captain William M. Smith. On April 30, the brigade, commanded by Colonel James T. Wheeler, was reported as Humes’ Brigade, of Brigadier General W. Y. C. Humes’ Division. At this time it was reported as composed of the 1st (or 6th), 2nd, 5th (McKenzie’s) Tennessee Cavalry Regiments, and the ~h Tennessee Cavalry Battalion. Captain Kuhn was in command of the 2nd.

On June 30, the brigade was reported as Ashby’s Brigade, and was so known during the rest of the war, with Colonel H. M. Ashby in command. At this time, the 4th was no longer listed as a member of the brigade, but Wheeler’s 1st (or 6th) 2nd (Ashby’s), 5th (McKenzie’s) and the 9th Battalion remained together for the duration.

The brigade took an active part in the fighting from Dalton to Atlanta, and Major General Wheeler, in comm ending the brigade for its excellent record, mentioned among other exploits, the Texas Rangers and the 2nd Tennessee for “marked brilliancy” in the affair at Cass Station.

No records were found on the brigade from September 20, 1864 to December 25, 1864, on which date Brigadier General Robert H. Anderson, at Headquarters, Cavalry Division at Smith’s House, South Carolina wrote: “General Wheeler told me verbally two days ago that he wished me to take charge and picket the line between Union Creek and New River Bridge, and that he would send me in addition to my present force 400 Cavalry to perform the duty. Colonel Pointer’s Regiment of Allen’s Brigade has reported to me, but not the 2nd Tennessee.”

On January 31, 1865, the brigade was reported in the Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, under Lieutenant General William J. Hardee, with the same members. The 2nd at this time was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel John H. Kuhn. The last record dated April 9, 1865, in the final reorganization of General Joseph E. Johnston’s Army in South Carolina, showed the brigade in the Cavalry Corps of Lieutenant General Wade Hampton, which was surrendered at Durham, North Carolina.

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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