5th Tennessee Partisan Ranger Battalion

Also called Black’s Battalion, Forrest’s Cavalry

A muster roll of a Detachment of Exchanged Prisoners at Camp Lee, Virginia, dated July 15, 1863 showed a number of men as belonging to Company “A”, 5th Battalion Partisan Rangers. No muster rolls or record of organization of the battalion were found. This may have been one of the skeletal commands raised in West Tennessee within the enemy lines, under authority granted to Colonel Robert V. Richardson, which commands were broken up by casualties, or by failure of the men to come within the Confederate lines. It would appear that the 5th Partisan Rangers Battalion existed only on paper, and that the men were subsequently distributed among other commands in Forrest’s Division.

The arrival rolls at Alton Military Prison during May, 1863 showed a number of the same, or similar names, as being captured in Gibson County, Tennessee, during the month of April, 1863. These prisoner-of-war records show 15 men enlisted at Newbem and Eaton, West Tennessee by a “Captain” Parks, some of whom listed themselves in Cotter’s Company, some in Forrest’s Cavalry. If it is assumed that “Black” was the commander of the battalion, and “Cotter” captain of the company and that the Battalion was part of the forces under Forrest, this discrepancy would be accounted for.

The prisoner-of-war lists mentioned above contain a total of 26 names. One individual reports himself as having been an orderly sergeant, Forrest’s Cavalry, the others are reported as being privates, Forrest’s Cavalry, Conscripts, Forrest’s Cavalry or recruits, Forrest’s Cavalry, with some reporting themselves as from Cotter’s Company.

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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