The Eighth Tennessee Cavalry was originally organized on ‘November 24, 1862. For some reasons no longer clear, however, this original regimental organization was annulled by the Confederate War Department. Quickly reorganizing, the regiment was finally accepted into Confederate Service on January 23, 1863.
More detailed information has been found on the various companies of the regiment. This material is shown below.
“A” Nicknamed the Marshall Rangers; organized June 8, 1861, and independent cavalry company; men from Marshall County.
“B” Nicknamed the McClellan Troop; men from Sullivan County; originally organized as Company “F” 5th Tennessee Cavalry Battalion, subsequently served attached to Spiller’s Tennessee Cavalry Battalion.
“C” Fourth (Murray’s) Tennessee Cavalry men from Smith County; had been Company “H”, Fourth (Murray’s) Tennessee Cavalry.
“D” Men from Dekalb and Wilson counties; often incorrectly known as Company “E” had served attached to Davis’s Tennessee Cavalry Battalion.
“E” Men from Cannon County; had served attached to Davis’s Tennessee Cavalry Battalion
“F” Men from Wilson County; had served attached to Davis’s Tennessee Cavalry Battalion.
“G” Men from Cannon and Rutherford Counties; had served attached to Davis’s Tennessee Cavalry Battalion.
“H” Men from Hamitlon County; also contained a small number of men from Alabama; often incorrectly called Company “D” originally organized as Company “B” Fifth Tennessee Cavalry Battalion; later served attached to Spiller’s Tennessee Cavalry Battalion; had been Company ““I”, Fourth (Murray’s) Tennessee Cavalry Battalion prior to joining this regiment.
“I” Men from Fentress County; had been Company “F” Fourth (Murray’s) Tennessee Cavalry Battalion.
“K” Nicknamed the Cedar Snags (also known as Paul’s People): men from Davidson, Dekalb, Wilson, and Sumner Counties; originally organized July 1, 1862 at McMinnville to serve as General Wharton’s Escort Company.
Like almost all Civil War units the Eighth Tennessee Cavalry was often known by an alternate designation derived from the name of its commanding officer. Unofficial names of this type used by or for the regiment are shown below;
Baxter Smith’s Cavalry, Paul F. Anderson’s Cavalry, Willis S. Bledsoe’’s Cavalry, James M. Phillips’ Cavalry, James R. Lester’s Cavalry, Samuel H. Glover’s Cavalry, and James H. Britton’s Cavalry.
The regiment’s original commanding officer, Baxter Smith, was captured along with four enlisted men while on patrol along the Caney Fork River in May 1863. Smith was held by Federal authorities, originally as a “Highwayman” but later as a prisoner of war, for almost all of the remainder of the war. Smith was finally exchanged in late February 1865, and placed in command of a brigade.
The Eighth Tennessee Cavalry was assigned to duty in the Army of Tennessee upon being mustered into Confederate service. During the spring of 1864 it served in the Department of East Tennessee. Returning to the Army of Tennessee, the regiment served in that army until early in 1865. It then joined the Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. The unit returned to the Army of Tennessee in the spring of 1865. The list below identifies the specific higher command assignments of the regiment.
March 1, 1863 Attached to Wheeler’s Division, Cavalry Corp Army of Tennessee
July 31, 1863 Second Brigade, Wharton’s Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of Tennessee
Sept. 1, 1863 Forrest’s Brigade, Armstrong’s Division, Forrest’’s Cavalry Corps, Army of Tennessee
Jan. 20, 1864 Biffle’s Brigade, Armstrong’s Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of Tennessee
April 30, 1864 Dibrell’s Brigade, Armstrong’s Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of Tennessee
Jan. 31, 1865 Harrison’s Brigade, Hume’s Division, Cavalry Corps Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida
March 15, 1865 Harrison’s Brigade, Hume’s Division, Cavalry Corps Army of Tennessee
The Eighth Tennessee Cavalry participated in more than ninety various types of engagements during its career. These are identified below. Number after the events locate them on the maps following this history;
Battle of Perryville, Kentucky Company “A” Oct. 8, 1862
Retreat from Perryville to London, KY. Co. “A” Oct. 10-22, 1862
Skirmish near Nashville, Tenn. Detachment Dec. 11, 1862
Operation against the Reconnaissance from Nashville, to Franklin Tenn.
Skirmish, Lexington, Tenn. Detachment Dec. 18, 1862
Engagement Salem Cemetery near Jackson, Tenn.
Affair, Carroll Station, Tenn. Detachment Dec. 19, 1862
Affair Rutherford’s Station, Tenn. Detachment Dec. 21, 1862
Capture, Union City, Tenn. Detachment
Skirmish Wilson’s Creek Pike between Brentwood and Petersburg, Tenn.
Skirmish Prim’s Blacksmith Shop, Edmondson Pike, Tenn.
Operations against the advance on Murfreesborough, Tenn.
Battle of Murfreesborough, Stone’s River, Tenn.
Skirmish, Nolensville, Tenn. Detachment Dec. 30, 1862
Skirmish, Jefferson, Tenn. Detachment Dec. 30, 1862
Action, Overall Creek, Tenn. [Battle of Murfreesborough]
Action, Wilkinson’s Cross Roads, Tenn. [Battle of Murfreesborough]
Action, Rover, Tenn.
Action, Cumberland Iron Works, Fort Donelson, Tenn. [Dover]
Skirmish, near Woodbury, Tenn. Detachment
Skirmish, Woodbury, Tenn. Detachment Mar. 6, 1862
Action Vought’s Hill, Tenn. [near Milton] Mar, 21, 1863
Skirmish, Salem, Tenn.
Skirmish, Woodbury, Tenn.
Operations against the Expedition from Readyville to Woodbury, Tenn.
Action, Snow Hill, Tenn.
Skirmish, Woodbury, Tenn.
Engagement at Franklin, Tenn.
Affair near Caney Fork, Tenn. Detachment
Operations against the reconnaissance from Murfreesborough to Lebanon and Liberty, Tenn.
Operations against the scout to Smithville, Tenn. And skirmishes
Occupation of Middle Tenn. Passage of Cumberland Mountains, and Chickamauga, Georgia Campaign
Skirmish, Calf Killer River near Sparta, Tenn. Aug. 17, 1863 Skirmish, Rossville, Georgia
Battle of Chickamauga, Georgia Sept. 19-21, 1863
Pursuit to Chattanooga, Tenn. Sept. 22-24, 1863
Wheeler’’s and Roddey’s raid on Rosecran’s Communications above Chattanooga, Tenn.
Action, McMinnville Oct. 4. 1863
Skirmish near Philadelphia, Tenn. Oct. 15, 1863
Engagement, Philadelphia, Tenn. Oct. 20, 1863
Skirmish, Sweetwater, Tenn. Oct. 23, 1863
Skirmish, Philadelphia, Tenn. Oct. 25, 1863
Skirmishes, Sweetwater, Tenn. Oct. 26-27, 1863
Knoxville, Campaign Detachments
Skirmish, Loudon, County, Tenn.
Skirmish, Maryville, Tenn. Nov. 14, 1863
Siege of Knoxville, Tenn. Detachments Nov. 17-Dec. 4, 1863
Action, Kingston, Tenn. Detachment
Skirmish, Rutledge, Tenn. Dec. 7, 1863
Skirmishes at or near Bean’s Station, Tenn.
Action, Bean’s Station
Skirmish, Peck’s House near New Market, Tenn.
Action, Hay’s Ferry, near Dandridge, Tenn.
Skirmish, Talbot’s Station, Tenn. Dec. 27, 1863
Skirmish, Mossy Creek, Tenn. Dec. 27, 1863
Operations about Dandridge, Tenn. Jan. 16-17, 1864
Engagement near Fair Garden, Tenn. Jan. 17, 1864
Skirmish, Sevierville Road, Near Knoxville, Tenn. Feb. 20, 1864
Skirmish, Claysville, Alabama Detachment
Atlanta Campaign May 1-Sept. 8, 1864
Action, Varnell Station, Georgia May 9, 1864
Battle of Resaca, Georgia May 14-15, 1864
Skirmish, Pine Log Creek, Georgia May 18, 1864
Combat near Cassville, Georgia May 18-19, 1864
Skirmish, Huntsville, [Burnt Hickory] Georgia May 24, 1864
Operations on the line of Pumpkin Vine Creek, Battles about Dallas, New Hope Church, and Allatoona [Pass] Georgia May 25-June 5, 1864
Skirmish Allatoona Road, Georgia May 28, 1864
Action, Ackworth, Georgia June 2, 1864
Skirmish, Big Shanty, Georgia June 4, 1864
Action, Big Shanty, Georgia June 6, 1864
Skirmishes, Big Shanty, Georgia June 6-8, 1864
Operations about Marietta and against Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia
Action, McFee’s Cross Roads, Georgia June 11, 1864
Skirmish, Spring Place, Georgia June 25, 1864
Combat, Noonday Creek, Georgia June 27,1864
Operations on the line of Nickajack Greek, Georgia July 2-5, 1864
Combat, Ruff’s Mill, Georgia July3-5, 1864
Action, Rottenwood Creek, Georgia July 4, 1864
Operation on the line of the Chattahooche River, Georgia July 5-17, 1864
Action, Campbellton, Georgia July 10, 1864
Siege of Atlanta, Georgia July23-Aug. 25, 1864
Operations against Garrand’s raid to South River, Georgia July 27-31, 1864
Action, Flat Rock Bridge, Georgia July 28, 1864
Wheeler’’s Raid in northern Georgia and East Tennessee Aug. 20-Sept. 8, 1864
Skirmish, Woodbury, Tenn. Sept. 21, 1864
Action, Saltville, Virginia Oct. 2, 1864
Campaign of the Carolinas Jan. 30-April 26, 1865
Action, near Fishburn’s Plantation near Lane’s Bridge, Salkahatchie, South Carolina.
Skirmishes, about Orangeburg, South Carolina Feb. 11-13, 1865
Skirmishes, about Columbia, South Carolina Feb. 16-17, 1865
Skirmish, Thompson’s Creek, near Cheraw, South Carolina March 3, 1865
Battle, Averysborough, [Taylor’s Hole Creek] North Carolina March 16, 1865
Battle, Bentonville, North Carolina March 19-21, 1865
Skirmish, Mill Creek, North Carolina March 22, 1865
Skirmish, near Smithfield, North Carolina March 31, 1865
Engagement, Salisbury, North Carolina Detachment April 12, 1865
Surrender, Bennett’s House, Durham Station, North Carolina April 26, 1865
No exact figures have been found showing how many members of the regiment were still with the unit when it finally surrendered. It is known, however, that in early February 1865, only about one hundred twenty- five individuals were still with the unit. There is no reason to believe that its strength increased over that figure during the last few months of the war.
Reference information: Information taken from Capt./Lt. Col. Paul Anderson File, Hill College History Complex, Hills Texas.
©Transcribed by Theodore Urbanski (2006)