Spiller’s Tennessee Cavalry Battalion

No muster rolls, nor record of organization of this battalion were found. However, it is mentioned several times in the Official Records, with C. C. Spiller as lieutenant colonel, and Baxter Smith as major. C. C. Spiller was captain of Company B”, 5th (McClellan’s) Battalion until that battalion was merged into 2nd (Ashby’s) Tennessee Cavalry Regiment in May, 1862. Baxter Smith was major of the 7th (Bennett’s) Battalion until June 13, 1862.

Both Spiller’s Company “B” and David McClellan’s Company ‘F” of the 5th Battalion were later mustered as part of the 4th (Murray’s) Tennessee Cavalry Regiment, which was organized in August, 1862, and both companies were later in the 8th (also called 4th) Tennessee Cavalry Regiment, of which Baxter Smith was colonel.

This battalion was a temporary organization, lasting only a few months, the nucleus of which was the two companies of MeLellan’s Battalion which did not join the 2nd (Ashby’s) Regiment. The first mention of the battalion in the Official Records was on June 30, 1862, in a report of the troops in the Department of East Tennessee under Major General E. Kirby Smith. A Tennessee Cavalry Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel C. C. Spiller, was listed as one of the unattached organizations in the Department.

On July 6, General Smith ordered Colonel J. J. Morrison, at Kingston, “Push on by the most expeditious route to McMinnville, and there await orders from Forrest. **** You will attach to your command two companies of Colonel Spiller’s Battalion, provided two companies fit for service can be found. You should at all events have with you some portion of Colonel Spiller’s command, as the men are acquainted with the country, and may render you valuable service.” This was in preparation for the raid which Colonel (later General) N. B. Forrest made from Chattanooga, resulting in the capture of Murfreesboro on July 13, 1862.

In his report of the expedition, Forrest listed as his command at the start Wharton’s Texas Rangers and the 2nd Georgia Cavalry Regiment. He stated that on the night of the 11th, at McMinnville, he was joined by two companies of Colonel Spiller’s Battalion under Major Smith, and two companies of Kentuckians under Captains Taylor and Walt-ham. Major Smith’s command did valiant service in the capture of Murfreesboro, which followed two days later.

On August 30, the 18th Ohio Infantry reported it was attacked at Short Mountain Cross Roads by Forrest’s Cavalry, consisting of one Regiment Texas Rangers, one battalion Alabama Cavalry under Captain Bacot, one battalion Tennessee Cavalry under Major Smith, and one Kentucky cavalry battalion.

This was the last record found of Spiller’s Battalion. His company was next reported in the 4th (Murray’s) Tennessee Cavalry Regiment, which was formed in August 1862, with C. C. Spiller as lieutenant colonel, and Baxter Smith as major.

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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