8th (Baxter Smith’s) Tennessee Cavalry Regiment

Usually called 4th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment

Organized November 24, 1862, but annulled; organized again January 23, 1863; paroled at Charlotte, North Carolina May 3, 1865.


  • Colonel-Baxter Smith
  • Lieutenant Colonel-Paul F. Anderson
  • Major-Willis S. Bledsoe


  • David W. Alexander, Co. “A”. “The Marshall Rangers.” Organized June 8, 1861 at Nashville. Men from Marshall County.
  • Cyrus H. Ingle, Co. “B”. “The McClellan Troop.” Formerly Co. “F”, 5th Battalion (q.v.); then in Spiller’s Battalion; then Co. “C”, 4th (Murray’s) Regiment (q.v.). Men from Sullivan County.
  • Francis Cunningham, George C. Moore, Co. “C”. Formerly Co. “H”, 4th (Murray’s) Regiment (q.v.). Men from Smith County.
  • James M. Phillips, Co. “D” (also called “E”). Formerly in Davis’ Battalion (q.v.). Men from Dekalb and Wilson Counties.
  • H. A. Wiley, Co. “E”. Men from Cannon County. Formerly in Davis’ Battalion. (q.v.).
  • James R. Lester, Co. “F”. Formerly in Davis’ Battalion (q.v.). Men from Wilson County.
  • Jonathan W. Nichol, Co. “G”. Formerly in Davis’ Battalion (q.v.). Men from Cannon and Rutherford Counties.
  • Samuel H. Clover, Co. “H” (also called “D”). Formerly Co. “B”, 5th Battalion, then in Spiller’s Battalion; then Co. “I”, 4th (Murray’s) Regiment (q.v.). Men from Hamilton County and Alabama.
  • R. H. Anderson, Co. “I”. Formerly Co. “F”, 4th (Murray’s) Regiment (q.v.). Men from Fentress County.

Paul F. Anderson (to lieutenant colonel), James H. Britton, Co. “K”. “Cedar Snags.” “Paul’s People.” Organized July 1, 1862 at McMinnville, Warren County. Men from Davidson, DeKalb, Sumner and Wilson Counties. Formerly Escort Company for General Wharton, July 1 to September 1, 1862. Later Escort Company to General Hood, Ma?ch 1864.

These were the original ten companies. On August 1, 1863, another company was assigned as Co. “L”, Captain John I. Parton (or Partin). Organized September 20, 1862 at Knoxville. Men from Blount and Knox Counties. Formerly part of Hardy’s Squadron, Escort to General John P. McCown.

Colonel Smith was captured May 9, 1863 while on patrol on the Caney Fork River, and Lieutenant Colonel Paul F. Anderson was in command of the regiment for the remainder of the war. Colonel Smith was not exchanged until February 1865, and upon return to duty was given command of Harrison’s Brigade, Brigadier General W. Y. C. Humes’ Division, of which his regiment was a member.

Captain Alexander’s Company “A” had a wide and varied experience before joining this regiment. On July 17, 1861 it moved to Bristol, Virginia, under orders from Brigadier General S. R. Anderson; engaged in the Cheat Mountain Campaign under Generals Lee and Loring; in April, 1862 was ordered to report to General E. Kirby Smith in East Tennessee; spent May and June scouting in Middle Tennessee; under Colonel Starnes, took part in an engagement at Readyville, Tennessee in which “69 Yankees were captured and a few killed”; returned to Knoxville July 1; to Clinch Mountain under General Taylor July 10; to Kingston, Tennessee August 1; crossed the Cumberland Mountains again under General Forrest August 18, fought at Morrison’s Depot August 19-21; marched for Kentucky under General Bragg: engaged at Munfordville, Bardstown, Perryville; returned to Middle Tennessee and engaged in Battle of Murfreesboro, December 31, 1862.

A regimental report dated June 30, 1863, gives an account of the regiment’s activities up until that time; “The regiment marched from Shelbyville to Fort Donelson via Franklin, Triune and Charlotte, a distance of 125 miles, the men suffering greatly both to and from the place. The fight resulted in our losing 26 men killed and wounded. Back to Shelbyville, then to Woodbury (60 miles); engaged several times with the enemy, being on picket duty there we were twice surrounded, losing about 70 killed wounded and missing, the killed and captnred about 80 men. (sic). From there to Hadley Bend on the Cumberland River where we aided in destroying a train of cars. From there to Sparta, thence to Trousdale where we remained on picket four weeks: several skirmishes with the enemy. From this place to Beech Grove, from there to Fosterville, where we remained on picket till Bragg’s retreat, when we were marched to Rome, Georgia, for the purpose of recruiting horses and men, the whole being a distance of about 500 miles.”

The attack on Fort Donelson took place on February 3, at which place the regiment was in Brigadier General Wharton’s Brigade; while at Woodbury, the regiment was with Brigadier General John H. Morgan in skirmishes at Milton, March 20; at Woodbury, March 27, and at Readyville, April 2.

On July 31, after the withdrawal from Tennessee, the regiment was reported in General Joseph Wheeler’s Cavalry Corps, General Wharton’s Division, Colonel Thomas Harrison’s Brigade, where it remained, with brief exceptions, for the rest of the war. The brigade at this time was composed of the 3rd Confederate, 1st (3rd) Kentucky, 8th Tennessee, and 8th and 11th Texas Regiments. As part of this brigade, the regiment took part in the Battle of Chickamauga, September 19- 20, 1863.

On November 5, Major General Wheeler ordered: “Brigadier General H. B. Davidson will proceed with 1st, 2nd, 4th Tennessee Regiments to take post about ten miles west of Dalton. Colonel Harrison will order 4th Tennessee (Smith’s) to report to Brigadier General Davidson.” On November 19 the Cavalry Corps Headquarters at Knoxville ordered: “Brigadier General W. Y. C. Humes will proceed to Dalton, and report to Brigadier General H. B. Davidson for assignment to a Cavalry brigade composed of the following Regiments: 1st (Carter’s), 2nd (Ashby’s), 5th (McKenzie’s), 6th (Wheeler’s), 8th (Smith’s). But on November 20, Humes Brigade, of Armstrong’s Division, was reported as consisting of Smith’s 8th, McKenzie’s 5th, Dibrell’s 13th or 8th, Biffie’s 9th, and Cox’s 10th Regiments, with a note that all but McKenzie’s were detached with General Wheeler. On November 30, the same brigade, with McKenzie’s Regiment no longer included, was reported as part of Lieutenant General James Longstreet’s forces in East Tennessee.

On December 10, Davidson’s Brigade was listed as composed of Carter’s 1st, Ashby’s 2nd, Wheeler’s 6th, Smith’s 8th and Hdlman’s 11th Regiments: on January 20, 1864 of Ashby’s 2nd, McKenzie’s 5th, Wheeler’s 6th and Smith’s 8th. On April 30, 1864 Colonel James T. Wheeler was in command of this brigade, with the 9th Battalion added, with General Humes now in command of the Division. On June 30, Smith’s Regiment was transferred back to Harrison’s Brigade, where it remained for the rest of the war. The permanent members of the brigade were the 3rd Arkansas, 8th Tennessee, and 8th and 11th Texas Regiments.

No reports were found from the regiment during this period, but from the above it would seem the regiment went with General Wheeler on his raid into Middle Tennessee in October, then moved with Longstreet into East Tennessee in November, and returned to the Army of Tennessee in December, 1863; and took part in the campaign from Dalton to Atlanta in the first half of 1864.

In August, 1864, General Wheeler made another of his sweeping raids into Tennessee, wrecking bridges and destroying railroad tracks on Sherman’s line of communications. Smith’s regiment started with him on this raid, but got cut off from the main body with other troops under Colonel George G. Dibrell, and moved with him up into East Tennessee and Virginia. In Dibrell’s account of his activities, he described the engagement at Saltville, Virginia, on October 2, 1864, which saved the salt works from destruction. He reported: “My brigade, the 13th Tennes see, six companies of McLemore’s Fourth, and Colonel Paul Anderson’s 8th, occupied the extreme right, and fought about 2500 Yankees and negroes, making a most desperate fight, killing in front of our lines over 200, and wounding a great many.

The regiment was next specifically reported on January 23, 1865, when Major General D. H. Hill at Augusta, Georgia, advised General Wheeler: “I had ordered a detachment from Colonel Anderson’s Regiment to Shell Bluff, but as he appeared adverse to the separation of his command, I have sent a local company down. I know nothing of his efficiency.

On January 31, General Humes, at Hickory Hill, South Carolina, reported: “Colonel Paul Anderson and Colonel Colcock are on the Salkehatchie Road. * * * I have ordered Colonel Anderson to retire in the direction of Crockettsville, as forced by the enemy.” On the same date, the regiment was still reported in Harrison’s Brigade, with the same members. On February 3, another report stated:

The 8th Tennessee and 8th Texas under Colonel Anderson, 250 strong, have just crossed Buford’s Bridge near Barnwell, South Carolina.”

On April 9, 1865, the regiment was listed in Lieutenant General Wade Hampton’s Cavalry Corps, of General Joseph E. Johnston’s Army. Finally, on April 17, Colonel Baxter Smith, now Commanding Harrison’s Brigade, wrote General Wheeler: “Various rumors have just come into camp regarding the surrender of the army, which has already induced some men to leave, and it is probable that others will do so in the course of the night, and I therefore desire that you will be kind enough to furnish me by return courier the latest authentic intelligence on this subject.”

The regiment was included in the forces surrendered by General Joseph E. Johnston on April 26, 1865, and paroled at Charlotte, North Carolina May 3, 1865.

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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