7th Tennessee Cavalry Battalion

Organized November 15, 1861 at Camp Jim Davis, Macon County; mustered into Confederate service at Camp Sandy Barnes, Gallatin, in December, 1861; reorganized June 13, 1862 and consolidated with 1st (McNairy’s) Battalion to form 22nd, usually called 2nd (Barteau’s) Cavalry Regiment.


  • Lieutenant Colonel-James D. Bennett
  • Major-Baxter Smith


  • Baxter Smith, Henry B. Boude, Co. “A”. Organized October 19, 1861 at Hartsville, then Sumner, now Trousdale County. Men from Sumner or Trousdale County.
  • Christopher L. Bennett, Co. “B”. Organized October 19, 1861 at Hartsville. Men from Sumner or Trousdale County.
  • Edward P. Tyree, Co. “C”. Organized November 1, 1861 at Camp Jim Davis. Men from Castalian Springs, Sumner County.
  • Micajah Griffin, Co. “D”. Organized October 19, 1861 at Epperson Springs, Macon County. Men from Sumner County.
  • Adolphus B. Cates, Co. “E”. Organized November 15, 1861 at Camp Jim Davis. Men from Smith County.
  • Joseph T. E. Odom, Co. “F”. Organized December 3, 1861 at Hartsville. Men from Sumner or Trousdale County.

The Official Records seem to have confused this battalion with C. C. Spiller’s Battalion, of which Major Baxter Smith was later major; and also with E. S. Smith’s Battalion which became the 2nd (E. S. Smith’s) Cavalry Regiment. In the index under the 7th Battalion, notes state that it was also called Smith’s Battalion, and Spiller’s Battalion. This is an error, for there was no connection with E. S. Smith’s Battalion, and the only connection with Spiller’s Battalion was that Baxter Smith served as major in that battalion after he failed of re-election when the 7th Battalion was reorganized in June, 1862.

Camp Jim Davis, where the battalion was organized, was at Epperson Springs, Macon County, in the western part of the county near the Kentucky State line. The battalion, on orders of General A. S. Johnston, moved to Camp Sandy Barnes, near Gallatin, Tennessee on December 1, 1861, where it was mustered into Confederate Service. Company reports state that they did some marching and scouting in Macon County, Tennessee and Allen and Monroe Counties, Kentucky, and captured a few Federal prisoners. On December 19, Lieutenant Colonel Bennett reported that two of his companies were at Carthage, Tennessee, guarding supplies for General Zollicoffer until transportation arrived to take the supplies up the river.

On February 13, 1862, Lieutenant Colonel Bennett, at Gallatin, sent in an application for transfer to his battalion by Captain Kinney’s Company, which was in E. S. Smith’s 10th (also called 11th) Battalion, but no record of action on the application was found. The Official Records, under the heading 7th (Smith’s) Battalion makes reference to an order from General A. S. Johnston to Brigadier General John B. Floyd, dated February 24, 1862: “You will take command of Wharton’s and McCausland’s Regiments, and Starnes’ and Smith’s Battalions and march with them to Chattanooga, and adopt efficient measures for guarding the approaches to that place against the enemy.” This is believed to be E. S. Smith’s Battalion (or regiment) which was reported near Chattanooga early in March, 1862. The 7th Battalion was engaged in guarding the railroad above Gallatin during the withdrawal of Confederate forces from Bowling Green, and joined the army at Murfreesboro in February, 1862.

At Murfreesboro, the battalion was attached to the brigade of Brigadier General T. C. Hindman, of Major General William I. Hardee’s Division. As part of this brigade, the battalion moved to Corinth, Mississippi, where it was placed on outpost duty. About April 1, the battalion moved to Purdy, McMcNairy County, Tennessee, where it reported to Brigadier General B. F. Cheatham. In the Battle of Shiloh, the battalion was on the left wing of Cheatham’s Division, and it was to Lieutenant B. A. High, of Company “E” that the Federal General B. M. Prentiss tendered his sword in surrender.

On April 16, 1862, Lieutenant Colonel Bennett applied for leave of absence on account of ill health, which was granted. On May 27, he tendered his resignation, which was forwarded by Brigadier General William N. R. Beall, commanding the brigade, so the battalion seems to have been in Beall’s Brigade, although no listing of it in that brigade was found. The resignation was finally approved by General Bragg, to become effective July 29, 1862. Lieutenant Colonel Bennett later organized the 9th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment, of which he was the first colonel.

In the meantime, the battalion was reorganized under the Conscript Act on June 13, 1862, and was consolidated into four companies, which were merged into the 2nd- or 22nd-Cavalry Regiment, which was formed at this time. In this merger Companies “A” and “C” were consolidated to form “D” of the 2nd Regiment; “E” and “F” were consolidated to form “G”; “B” formed “E”, and “D” formed “F.” The rest of the regiment was made up of the three companies into which the 1st (McNairy’s) Battalion had been consolidated, plus three independent companies.

Lieutenant Colonel Bennett, Major Baxter Smith, all six of the captains, and a number of lieutenants were left without command, and returned to their homes, although most of them engaged in other service in other commands. Major Smith became major of C. C. Spiller’s Cavalry Battalion, and finally colonel of the 8th (also called 4th) Tennessee Cavalry Regiment. Captain Joseph T. E. Odom later returned to duty with the 22nd Cavalry Regiment.

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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