8th (Baxter Smith’s) Tennessee Cavalry Regiment (2nd)

See also: 8th (Baxter Smith’s) Tennessee Cavalry Regiment (1st)

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.

As is in the case with most Tennessee cavalry units, a great deal of confusion exists regarding the proper identification of the unit. Throughout most of the regiment’s career it was known as the Fourth Tennessee Cavalry. There were, however, two other Tennessee cavalry units bearing that designation. Numerous references to the regiment are found identifying it as the Fourth(Baxter Smith’s)  Tennessee Cavalry.  

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. 

                                    Detachment                 Dec. 11-12, 1862

Skirmish, Lexington, Tenn.  Detachment               Dec. 18, 1862

Engagement Salem Cemetery near Jackson, Tenn.

                                    Detachment               Dec. 19, 1862

Affair, Carroll Station, Tenn.  Detachment               Dec. 19, 1862

Affair Rutherford’s Station, Tenn.  Detachment               Dec. 21, 1862

Capture, Union City, Tenn.   Detachment               Dec. 21, 1862

Skirmish Wilson’s Creek Pike between Brentwood and Petersburg, Tenn.

                                    Detachment               Dec. 25, 1862

Skirmish Prim’s Blacksmith Shop, Edmondson Pike, Tenn.

                                    Detachment               Dec. 25, 1862

Operations against the advance on Murfreesborough, Tenn.

                                    Detachment        Dec. 26-30, 1862

Battle of Murfreesborough, Stone’s River, Tenn. 

                                    Detachment    Dec. 30, 1862-Jan. 3, 1863

Skirmish, Nolensville, Tenn.  Detachment              Dec. 30, 1862

Skirmish, Jefferson, Tenn.   Detachment              Dec. 30, 1862

Action, Overall Creek, Tenn.  [Battle of Murfreesborough]

                                    Detachment                           Dec. 31, 1862

Action, Wilkinson’s Cross Roads, Tenn. [Battle of Murfreesborough]

                                    Detachment               Dec. 31, 1862

Action, Rover, Tenn.                                          Dec. 31, 1862

Action, Cumberland Iron Works, Fort Donelson, Tenn. [Dover]

                                                                        Feb. 3, 1863

Skirmish, near Woodbury, Tenn.  Detachment                Mar. 1, 1863

Skirmish, Woodbury, Tenn.  Detachment               Mar. 6, 1862

Action Vought’s Hill, Tenn. [near Milton]                            Mar, 21, 1863

Skirmish, Salem, Tenn.                              Mar. 21, 1863

Skirmish, Woodbury, Tenn.                            Mar. 27, 1863

Operations against the Expedition from Readyville to Woodbury, Tenn.

                                                                                        Apr. 2, 1863

Action, Snow Hill, Tenn.                                Apr. 3, 1863

Skirmish, Woodbury, Tenn.                                                      Apr. 4, 1863

Engagement at Franklin, Tenn.                                                    Apr. 10, 1863

Affair near Caney Fork, Tenn.  Detachment                            May 9, 1863

Operations against the reconnaissance from Murfreesborough to Lebanon and Liberty, Tenn.

                                                                     May 12-16, 1863

Operations against the scout to Smithville, Tenn. And skirmishes

                                                                             June 4-5, 1863

Occupation of Middle Tenn. Passage of Cumberland Mountains, and Chickamauga, Georgia Campaign

                                                        Aug, 16-Sept. 22, 1863

Skirmish, Calf Killer River near Sparta, Tenn.                           Aug. 17, 1863 Skirmish, Rossville, Georgia                             Sept. 11, 1863

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.                              Sept. 26-Oct 17, 1863

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             Nov. 4-Dec. 23, 1863

Skirmish, Loudon, County, Tenn.                               Nov. 5, 1863

Skirmish, Maryville, Tenn.                  Nov. 14, 1863

Siege of Knoxville, Tenn.   Detachments  Nov. 17-Dec. 4, 1863

Action, Kingston, Tenn.   Detachment                           Nov. 24, 1863

Skirmish, Rutledge, Tenn.                                 Dec. 7, 1863

Skirmishes at or near Bean’s Station, Tenn.

                                                             Dec. 9-15, 1863 

Action, Bean’s Station                              Dec. 10, 1863

Skirmish, Peck’s House near New Market, Tenn.

                                    Detachment   Dec. 24, 1863

Action, Hay’s Ferry, near Dandridge, Tenn.    

                                    Detachment   Dec. 24, 1863

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              Mar. 14, 1864

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

                                                            June 10-July 2, 1864

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.                                  Feb. 6, 1865

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)

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