Douglass’ Tennessee Cavalry Battalion

Organized October 1862; companies never lettered; the companies were variously assigned to other organizations, and four remaining companies were consolidated February 25, 1863 with Holman’s Partisan Ranger Battalion, to form the 11th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment.

No muster rolls of the battalion were found, and the information given below was taken from the records of the organizations to which the companies were later assigned.


  • Major-DeWitt Clinton Douglass


  • John Lytle. Organized October 4, 1862 at Salem, Rutherford County. Became Company “D”, 11th Regiment.
  • Chatham Coffee. Organized September 15, 1862 from Coffee and Warren Counties. Became Company “H”, 11th Regiment.
  • Thomas F. Perkins. Organized August 10, 1862 at Franklin, Williamson County. Some men from Davidson County. Became Company “I”, 11th Regiment.
  • 0. F. Bruster or Brewster. Organized July 28, 1862 at McMinnville, Warren County. Became Company “L”, 11th Regiment.
  • T. C. H. Miller. Organized October 28, 1862 at Chapel Hill, Marshall County. Operated with, but not a member of the battalion.
  • James B. Harvey. Organized May, 1862. Became Company “F”, 2nd (Woodward’s) Kentucky Cavalry Regiment.
  • Nathan W. Carter. Organized September, 1862 at LaVergne, Tennessee with men from Davidson and Rutherford Counties. Became Captain Carter’s Company Independent Scouts; later Company “A”, 21st Tennessee Cavalry Regiment.
  • Richard McCann. Organized September, 1862. Became Company “K”, 9th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment. McCann was from Nashville, and the company was probably from Davidson County. It was attached to the battalion for only a very short time.
  • Felix H. Blackman. Men from Davidson County. Became Company “I”, 9th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment. It was attached to the battalion for a very short time.

No muster rolls were found for McCann’s or Blackman’s Companies.

The battalion was organized by Major Douglass, who had formerly been a captain in the 7th Tennessee Infantry Regiment. It should not be confused with the Douglass Battalion which was ordered by Major General Sam Jones, at Chattanooga, on September 16, 1862, to form part of an escort under General Maxey for arms to be sent to Kentucky over the route traveled by General E. Kirby Smith. This battalion was commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel Douglass, initials not given, who was probably Lieutenant Colonel Marcellus Douglass of the 13th Georgia Infantry Regiment. Also the Official Records indicate that Douglass’ Battalion was sometimes called McCann’s Battalion, and a number of the companies mentioned in connection with McCann’s Battalion were in this battalion. Captain McCann was appointed Major of the 9th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment on December 23, 1862, but McCann seems to have continued to operate independently until after the Battle of Murfreesboro.

Brigadier General Joseph Wheeler, in his report of the operations of his Corps just before, and during the Battle of Murfreesboro, commended “Captain” McCann, whom he described as being in command of a detachment, but did not say of what the detachment consisted.

A report from Captain Lytle stated that the battalion was organized by Major Douglass on authority from the War Department; that he completed the enrollment of his company on October 4, 1862 and reported to Major Douglass on October 8, his company being the third to report, but that the battalion was increased to nine companies during the month of October.

On February 5, 1863, General Wheeler instructed Douglass to organize his companies as a regiment, and this was done with the election of Douglass as colonel, Coffee as lieutenant colonel, and Lytle as major. The returns were sent to General Wheeler for approval, but no answer was received, and in a few days his company, and six others were ordered to report to General Forrest. Two companies refused to obey the order, and the other companies were distributed to various regiments, breaking up the organization. Forrest appointed James H. Edmondson, former captain of infantry, as colonel to take command of seven companies from Douglass’ Battalion, Major Holman’s Partisan Ranger Battalion, and two independent companies and form a regiment. Both officers and men protested against the consolidation and claimed the right to elect their own field officers, with the result that Forrest had the officers arrested and confined for several days. Edmondson took command but found so much dissatisfaction he asked to be relieved, and Major Holman assumed command as lieutenant colonel, afterwards as colonel, with no other field officers “in which condition we are at the present time, having been debarred the rights and privileges of free men and Volunteer Tennesseans.” By way of extenuation, Colonel Holman stated that Major Douglass had been captured at Middleton, Tennessee on January 31, 1863, and was a prisoner of war; and that he (Holman) had been seriously wounded at Dover on February 3, and was reported by the surgeons as perhaps mortally wounded; and that Forrest no doubt intended by his course to give the regiment an efficiency not crippled by officers who were unable to assume immediate command.

General Forrest, in reporting on the action on the outskirts of Nashville, stated that on November 4, 1862, Starnes’ and Dibrell’s Regiments, Major Douglass’ Battalion and Freeman’s and Roberts’ Batteries were on the left of the Murfreesboro Pike, coming down the Nolensville, Mill Creek and Franklin Pikes.

On November 27, a Federal report listed Wheeler’s command as consisting of six regiments; 1st and 3rd Alabama, Robertson’s Battalion, Faulkner’s Battalion, Douglass’ Battalion, and Hagan’s Battalion. Brigadier General Wheeler, in his report of the Cavalry actions of his command from December 26 to 31, 1862, listed Douglass’ and Holman’s Battalions in Wheeler’s Brigade. As such, they participated in Wheeler’s sweep around the rear of the Federal Army before Murfreesboro. These are the only references found as to the activity of the battalion as such.

The date of assignment of Captains McCann’s and Blackman’s Companies to the 9th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment is not known, but McCann was appointed Major on December 23, 1862. On February 19, 1863 General Wheeler assigned Captain Harvey’s Company to the 2nd (Woodward’s) Kentucky Cavalry Regiment, and detached Captain Carter’s Company as Independent Scouts. Captain T. C. H. Miller’s Company became Company “C” of the 11th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment, and the remaining four companies, in spite of their protests, became permanent members of the 11th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment on February 25, 1863.

Felix H. Blackman, in a letter dated September 25, 1902, stated he had first served in the 1st (McNairy’s) Battalion, and when that battalion was merged into the 22nd, usually called 2nd, (Barteau’s) Cavalry Regiment, “I gave way, and obtained a commission from General Price, and came back to Tennessee and recruited a company, and we, with Major Dick McCann did service until after the Battle of Murfreesboro as McCann’s Squadron. McCann’s commission having been obtained from General Morgan (John Hunt), we were ordered to report to him and was with him on his Ohio raid. I was surrendered with General Morgan when he surrendered and was not released until June, 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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