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Dated:  October 1, 2015


 from Dunbar Rowland’s "Military History of Mississippi, 1803-1898"
with supplement by H. Grady Howell


The 5th Mississippi Cavalry was formed from the 19th Battalion Mississippi Cavalry, when their term of enlistment expired.  Lt. Col. J. Z. George commanded the regiment.  The regiment was consolidated with the 18th Battalion Mississippi Cavalry.  Company L, Saunder's Company, was consolidated with Company B, 18th Battalion Mississippi Cavalry to form Company B, 18th Regiment Confederated Cavalry.

Name of Companies and Counties of Muster:
Company A -- Mississippi Rangers -  Carroll County, MS
Company B -- Trotter’s Company - Carroll County, MS
Company C -- Curtis’ Company  -  Carroll County, MS
Company D -- Scales’ Company - Carroll County, MS
Company E --  Love’s Company -  Attala County, MS
Company F -- Povall’s Company -  Madison County, MS
Company G -- Allen’s Company  - Lauderdale County, MS
Company H -- Hill’s Company  - Panola County, MS
Company  I -- Turner’s Company -  Attala County, MS  (See related article below)
Company K -- Ward’s Company -  DeSoto County, MS
Company L -- Saunders’ (county of origin not specified)
Colonel:   James Z. George wounded and captured at Collierville, TN, Nov 3, 1863.
Lieutenant-Colonels -- James A. Barksdale, killed at Okolona;
                      Wiley M. Reed, killed at Fort Pillow, April 12, 1864;
                      Nathaniel Wickliffe, P.H. Echols.
Majors:    W.G. Henderson, William B. Peery.
Surgeon:  George W. Henderson, promoted as Chief Surgeon, Chalmer’s Division, November 9, 1864.
{J. Z. George had served as Inspector General of State of Mississippi.  Later, he was given command of the 3rd Brigade of Mississippi State Troops for northern Mississippi and retained the rank of General.  When he took command within of the 5 Mississippi Cavalry in the Confederate Army, his rank was Colonel.  However, he was quite often referred to as General George.}


   In his report of operations preceding the raid on Collierville, October 1863, General Chalmers wrote that when he moved from Oxford to Salem on the 5th, he left "the new regiment, commanded by Colonel George, which was not fully organized, to picket the river." The regiment did not take part in the raid into Tennessee, but Colonel George with sixty men met the forces on their retreat and participated in the fight at Wyatt, October 13, first along the main street of the town and next at a ford of the river above the main crossing, where he drove away a Federal picket. After the Confederate forces began to retreat, George and a few of his men returned and were on guard in the breastworks near Wyatt until four in the morning, when it was discovered that the Federals also were falling back. October 22 Chalmers reported the regiment 350 strong. "Colonel George’s regiment of cavalry" was assigned to Slemon’s Brigade of Chalmer’s command, October 18, when Chalmers made his headquarters at Abbeville after the Collierville raid.

November 3, 1863, Chalmer’s made a second attempt at Collierville, his command then consisting of McCulloch’s Brigade -- Hovis’ Partisans, McCulloch’s Missourians and Chalmers’ Battalion, and Slemon’s Brigade -- George’s and Barksdale’s Regiments and Second Arkansas. The plan of Chalmers was to make a demonstration upon Collierville, to hold the Union cavalry while Ferguson and Gholson broke the railroad west of Corinth, over which troops were being carried toward Chattanooga. Chalmers reported that his scouts informed him that Collierville was held by a single regiment of cavalry, "and feeling able to encounter, even behind entrenchments, the two regiments of cavalry, I changed my plan and determined to attack Collierville." There arriving, he ordered an assault, "but we discovered at the first fire that the enemy were in position with infantry, artillery and cavalry, and I determined at once to draw off as soon as we could do so successfully." The town was held by eight companies of the Seventh Illinois with two howitzers, but Hatch was at Germantown with the Sixth Illinois and Second Iowa, and with this force on the gallop, he arrived at Collierville in time to meet the assault. The Iowa Regiment dismounted, took position at the railroad, with their howitzers, and received the attack of Slemons' Brigade, Colonel George's Regiment on the right, at the Mount Pleasant road, Barksdale on the left, with the Arkansans, dismounted, as flankers. "Mounted and dismounted men came forward in fine style," Hatch reported, "the howitzers of the Second Iowa firing rapidly. The regiment, lying on the ground, waited till the enemy's cavalry were within fifty yards, sprang to their feet and poured in a severe fire from revolving rifles{Colt model}. A few men reached the guns; among them General George and two officers." Slemons reported that this fatal fire was from "rifle pits of the existence of which he was totally ignorant." The attack by McCulloch on the other side served to screen his withdrawal, and the whole command fell back to the Coldwater, where there was a brisk fight until after dark, for the possession of the bridge. Hatch reported that he was not able to force a crossing until the next morning, when he pursued as far as Chulahoma. Chalmers reported his loss as 6 killed, 63 wounded, 26 prisoners. "Among the last Col. J. Z. George and my Chief Surgeon, Dr. William H. Beaty. Colonel George led the charge made by Slemons' Brigade and rode into the town, followed by Captain Scales and Lieutenant Lamkin of his regiment and a few of his men." The other casualties of the regiment were 4 killed, 14 wounded. Hatch reported a loss of 60 and the taking of 57 prisoners.

Early in December the regiment participated in another raid against the railroad, Chalmers' command cooperating with the movements of S. D. Lee and Forrest. One company of the Fifth was in the gallant fight made at the Wolf River bridge, December 4, by Colonel McCulloch, against Hatch's Cavalry, in which Hatch was severely wounded.

Fifth Regiment, Col. James Z. George, part of Slemons' Brigade of Chalmers' Division, in organization of cavalry under Maj.-Gen. S. D. Lee, January, 1864. General Forrest brigaded the regiment under Col. Jeff E. Forrest. * The regiment was with General Forrest in the Okolona campaign of February, 1864, which resulted in the defeat of Gen. Sooy Smith's expedition from Memphis, at the time General Sherman advanced from Vicksburg to Meridian. In the desperate fight about five miles from Okolona, February 22, where Colonel Forrest was killed, Lieut-Colonel James A. Barksdale, commanding the regiment, fell mortally wounded.{See photo below.}  The casualties of the regiment were 3 killed, 3 wounded, 3 missing. The regiment was with Chalmers and Forrest in the famous Tennessee raid of March and April, 1864. In the assault upon Fort Pillow, April 12, Lieut.-Col. Wiley M. Reed, temporarily commanding George's Regiment, was "shot in three places," General Forrest reported, "and it is feared that his wounds may prove mortal. The country can ill afford to lose the services of so good and brave an officer at this time."
{ * Gen Forrest took 5th Miss Cavalry away from Chalmers.  Battle of Okolona was costly to Forrest, as his brother was killed and the commander of the 5th Mississippi Cavalry.  Col. McCulloch was wounded in the hand.}
{ My research of Fort Pillow identified 5th Miss Cavalry as suffering the highest number of casualties for this battle.  They had 8 killed or mortally wounded and 10 wounded.  Lt.-Col Reed was taken to Jackson, TN, where he died 19 days later.  In 1877 he was re-buried at Nashville.}

In the engagements between Pontotoc and Tupelo, July 10-15, 1864, including the battle of Harrisburg, the regiment had 5 killed, 7 wounded.

The regiment was with Wade’s Brigade in August, 1864, contesting the advance of Hatch's Federal Division to Oxford, the main part of which town was burned August 22. They skirmished with the raiders in front of Oxford, and on the 23d attacked the retreating column at Abbeville, where the Fifth fought dismounted, and lost 4 killed, 10 wounded, 12 missing.

Return of May 10, 1864, Fifth Mississippi, Capt. William B. Peery, in McCulloch's Brigade, Forrest’s Cavalry. General Chalmers' assigned Lieut.-Col. N. Wickliffe to command, May 12. He was relieved at his own request, August 15.   Maj. W. G. Henderson commanding, in Forrest's organization of August 30. Maj. William B. Peery commanding, August 31 return.

General Chalmers advanced within five miles of Memphis, October 8, but finding no opportunity for surprise, moved into West Tennessee with his escort and the Fifth Regiment.

When General Forrest took command at Florence, Ala., of Jackson's Division (with Hood's army) and his own, for the campaign in Tennessee, General Chalmers joined him with Rucker's Brigade, which included the Fifth Mississippi, with Alabama and Tennessee commands. They crossed the Tennessee River at Florence November 17, 1864, and remained several days on Shoal Creek, during which time they had several skirmishes, part of their wagon train being taken and retaken. They began the march north November 21, and on the 23d fought Capron's Brigade at Henryville, capturing 65 prisoners. General Forrest aided them by a charge with his escort. Next day they pursued the Federal cavalry into Columbia, taking 30 prisoners, but losing Colonel Dawson, of the Tennessee Regiment, killed. They skirmished about Columbia until the evacuation November 28, when they moved toward Franklin and struck the head of the Federal column toward Spring Hill, and, supported by Jackson and Buford, holding it in check several hours. In the night they were sent to intercept a Federal column, supposed to be on another road, but found nothing, the Federals moving on in the night, past the Confederate infantry, on the road upon which Rucker and Chalmers had met them. November 30, in the assault upon the entrenched lines at Franklin, Rucker's Brigade formed on the extreme left of the line. After driving in the outposts, Chalmers reported: "My line was pressed forward until the skirmishers were within sixty yards of the fortifications, but my force was too small to justify an attempt to storm them, and I could only hold my position, which we did during the night and an early hour in the morning, when the skirmish line was pushed forward and was the first to enter the town, capturing some 20 prisoners. Our loss up to this time 116 killed and wounded." The casualties of the Fifth, included in this total, were 2 killed, 8 wounded. December 3 Rucker's Brigade took position on the Hillsboro Pike near Nashville, where the Federal troops were concentrated, and on the 6th, being relieved by infantry, moved, with two additional pieces of artillery, to the Charlotte pike, to blockade the Cumberland River. A monitor defeated and driven back on the 7th and other gunboats on other occasions. December 14, Chalmers and Rucker, with Ector’s Brigade, held a line of about four miles with 900 men. The Federal attack of the 15th opened up the Harding pike and Chalmers’ ordnance train was taken, the Federals advancing in his rear. Rucker had been fighting a gunboat on the river and cavalry on the Charlotte pike, but his men made good their retreat and were cut off from the army until the 16th, when they received orders, and moving promptly to Brentwood, rendered valuable services in protecting the wagon trains. In the evening of that day, under orders to hold the Granny White pike at all hazards, Rucker's Brigade fought desperately until after dark, when they were driven toward the Franklin pike, Rucker being wounded and captured in the hand-to-hand struggle. The loss of these two days was heavy. The remnant of the brigade was with Forrest and the rear guard on the retreat to the Tennessee River.

Companies A, B, F, G, I, of Fifth Cavalry, assigned to Armstrong’s Brigade, Chalmers’ Cavalry, February, 1865. Companies C, D, E, H, K, Fifth Mississippi Cavalry, with Lieut.-Col. A. H. Chalmers, assigned to Starke's Brigade, February, 1865.

March 1, the regiment having been consolidated, Capt. W. B. Peery, Company A, being over military age, was relieved from duty, at his own request.  {Capt. Peery was acting commander after death of Wiley Reid and for most of the next year.  At one time I had contact info of one of his descendants.}

In an order, March 16, General Chalmers said: "There being no field officers of the Fifth Mississippi Cavalry present and able for duty and only two companies of that regiment having 32 men present, the companies composing that regiment and not included in this order (consolidating E, H and K with Chalmers' Battalion), have been consolidated with other companies and regiments from the same State."

May 7, Gen J. H. Wilson ordered an officer sent to Forsyth, Ga., to receive the surrender of the Fifth Mississippi Cavalry.

~~~ end of history   ~~~

Historical Marker - Okolona

Historical Marker for Death of Col. Jeffrey Forrest
This is one of the markers for the Battle of Okolona located North on Hiway 41.
Marker also records the death of Lt-Col. James Barksdale of the 5th Mississippi Cavalry.



General Chalmers advanced his cavalry brigade from Oxford, Miss. and attacked the Union fort at Collierville, Tenn., which was situated on the Memphis & Charleston Rail.  The 5th Mississippi Cavalry was left to defend their return route at Wyatt's Ferry on the Tallahatchie River.  The 5th Mississippi Cavalry was not at full strength and not equipped.  The first Battle of Collierville took place on October 11th.  Just prior to the attack, a train arrived from Memphis carrying a contingent of the 13th US Regular Infantry Regiment and General Tecumseh Sherman.  The Confederate attack managed to destroy the train and capture General Sherman's horse but they attack was repulsed.  General Chalmers fell back to Mississippi and were pursued all the way to Tallahatchie River.
    Casualties of 5th Mississippi Cavalry :  1 Officer wounded.                                  (Source OR, Gen. Chalmer's Report)

Oranization of General Chalmers' Brigade as of Oct. 3, 1863
      o  2d Arkansas Cavalry  - Capt. Cochran
      o  1st Mississippi Partisan Rangers - Lieut-Col. Hovis
      o  18th Misssippi Battalion - Major Chalmers
      o  2d Missouri Cavalry - Col McCulloch
      o  7th Tennessee cavalry - Lieut-Col. Duckworth
      o  Texas Battalion - Lieut-Col. Willis
      o  5th Mississippi Cavalry (new regiment) - Colonel J. Z. George
      o  McLendon's Battery - Capt. J. M. McLendon  (Two 6-pounders- Oct 1864)

                   Total Present:   154 Officers & 1,600 Men
                   Arms:     Serviceable 1,387     Unserviceable  35

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Quote from General Chalmers' Report:

   Finding it impossible to put Colonel Richardson's brigade (which had been transferred to my command on the 2d) in readiness to move before the 6th, I ordered my whole command to move on the morning of that day, directing Richardson's brigade, the First Mississippi Partisans, and Second Missouri Cavalry, which were on outpost duty, to join me at Salem.  But hearing on the evening of the 4th that the enemy intended to disturb the election which was to be held in Holly Springs on the 5th, I left the new regiment, commanded by Colonel George, which was not fully organized, to picket the river, an dmoved at daylight on the next morning with the other troops under my immediate command---consisting of the Seventh Tennesessee, Third Missisippi (State), Eighteenth Mississippi Battalion, and one rifled gun, the whole amounting to about 850 men---to Holly Springs, and threw out pickets to protect the place.

Quote from Union Report:

   In accordance with orders from brigade headquarters, my command, consisting of the Second Iowa Cavalry, 860 strong, and 4 pieces of artillery, 12-pounder mountain howitzers, left this place at 3 a.m., moving on the Mount Pleasant road; at 10 a. m. reached the Coldwater at Miller’s Mills, and after some trifling repairs on the road passed the swamp and took the Byhalia road, arriving at that place at 3.30 pm.   At this place found Capt. Charles C. Horton, commanding First Battalion, Second Iowa Cavalry, armed with Colt revolving rifles, who had been sent to make necessary repairs at the crossing of the Coldwater, in advance of the command.  From Byhalia we took the Chulahoma road for 5 miles and turned east some 4 miles, where we camped for the night.
   At 8 am of the 12th, Capt. C. C. Horton, commanding First Battalion, was sent to Chulahoma and to Wyatt Ferry, on the Tallahatchie, if necessary, to communicate with Colonel McMillen, commanding a brigade of infantry. At 8 am the brigade was in motion, the Second Iowa Cavalry having the advance. During the forepart of the day there was very little skirmishing with a party of scouts, who were placed in the vicinity of Tallaloosa, 8 miles southwest of Holly Springs, to watch the movements of our cavalry.  Passing to the right of Tallaloosa, we took the road to Cox’s plantation, thence turned east, taking the Waterford road. Parties were sent in all directions to ascertain the whereabouts and probable force of the enemy, but no information could be gained of a large force at any point on the Tallahatchie River; but that night pickets were placed at all available crossings on that river, with small scouts or patrols on all roads running north to the Memphis and Charleston Railroad.

    During tho afternoon it was pretty well understood that General Forrest’s main force had left Oxford, Miss., his late headquarters, and gone south, some supposed to Grenada. At sunset we reached Old Waterford at dark the depot and new town of Waterford.

Report of Colonel J. Z. George:

No. 27.
Report of Col. James Z. George, Fifth Mississippi Cavalry.  
CAMP NEAR WATER VALLEY, October 17, 1863.  

    CAPTAIN: On Tuesday evening (the 13th instant), about 3 o'clock, I was ordered by Colonel Richardson to march my command to the town of Wyatt to meet the enemy, who were then nearly arrived at that place.  In a few moments I was on the ground with 60 men, they being all for whom I had ammunition except those absent on  detached service.  My command was at first, by order of Colonel Richardson, placed in line on the east side of the main street of the town with the view of preventing a flank movement of the enemy under the edge of the hille and in the bottom.

    After a short reconnaissance of the ground, I discovered that it was impossible from the nature of the ground for the enemy to flank us in that direction.  I moved my command west of the [main] street, and placed them in position in front of the enemy.  The distance betweeen the two forces was so great that every little execution was done by the firing of either party.  Soon after this I was ordered by Colonel Richardson to move my command to a ford which was about three-fourths of a mile above the main crossing of the Tallahatchie River.  This I did, and drove away the enemy's pickets stationed at the ford, and in pursuance of my orders I held the ford until the fighting was over and our forces had been withdrawn from the field.

     During the night it was determined to fall farther back, owing to the scarcity of ammunition and the wearied condition of the men and horses.  The command falling back, had proceeded about 4 miles when General Chalmers ordered us to return and prevent the advance of the enemy.  I accordingly returned with such of my men as had ammunition, and remained in position in the breastworks near Wyatt until next morning about 4 o'clock, when it was discovered that the enemy had fallen back.  The affair at Wyatt was a small one, our action being defensive, the enemy not pressing much.

   Respectfully submitted.
   J. Z. George  
   Colonel, Commanding. 
Capt. W. A. GOODMAN, Assistant Adjutant-General.


  General Chalmers made another attempt on the Union posts at Germantown and Collierville, Tennessee in November.  Relying on faulty intelligence, they chose to attack the fort at Collierville thinking it was lightly defended.  Their attack was repulsed.  The 5th Mississippi Cavalry made this charge but not all the companies participated.  

~~~  ~~~~~  ~~~ 

Quote from General Chalmers' Report:

Report of Brig. General James R. Chalmers,  C. S. Army   
Oxford, November 16, 1863.  

    COLONEL: On October 26, I received a telegram from General Johnston notifying me that Sherman was moving east, and ordering me to harass his rear and break the railroad behind him. I replied by telegraph, that the road could be most seriously Injured between La Grange and Corinth, but that the enemy could concentrate there more troops and faster than I could, and suggested that I could make a demonstration on Germantown or Collierville, which would draw the enemy’s cavalry from the road between La Grange and Corinth, and that I would order Colonel Richardson with his brigade to watch his opportunity and tear up the road as soon as it was vacated. Major-General Gholson, of the Mississippi Militia, was requested by me to co-operate with Colonel Richardson, and very promptly agreed to do so. My ammunition had not been replenished since my last forward movement, and the waters of the Tallahatchie were then up so high that I was compelled to build two floating bridges to cross it. This prevented me from moving earlier, but on the morning of November 1 my whole command was put in motion. Colonel Slemons’ brigade encamped that night at Looxahoma, McCulloch at Ingram’s Mill, and Richardson at Cherry Creek.

     On the night of the 2d, I concentrated Slemons’ and McCulloch’s commands at Anderson’s house, between the fork of Pigeon Roost and Coldwater, 16 miles from Germantown and 19 from Collierville, threatening both places. Major Mitchell, with two companies of the Eighteenth Mississippi Battalion, had been sent forward on the evening before, and drove in the enemy’s pickets at Quinn’s Mill, expecting that they would cross Coldwater in force the next day after him and we were in a good position to cut them off had they attempted it, but they did not. Before leaving camp I had ordered Captain Henderson to keep scouts in Holly Springs and Hernando, and also on the railroad and State line road, with instructions to report instantly any movement of troops, and to cut the telegraph wires.

    The scouts from near Germantown and Collierville reported on the night of the 2d that the enemy was evacuating the railroad; that the infantry had all been taken away, and that there was only one regiment of cavalry at Germantown and one at Collierville (the Sixth and Seventh Illinois Cavalry). Supposing that the scouts were on the State line road as ordered, and having heard nothing from them of any movement of troops from Memphis or La Grange, and feeling able to encounter, even behind intrenchments, the two regiments of cavalry, I changed my plan and determined to attack Collierville.

    Starting before day on the morning of the 3d, we crossed Coldwater below Quinn’s Mill; moved in rear of the pickets and cut them off, killing 2, wounding 4 too severely to move, and capturing a lieutenant and 26 men. This was about 10 o’clock, and we moved thence by two roads (Slemons on the western and McCulloch on the eastern road) to Collierville. The citizens up to within a mile of the place confirmed the statement of Henderson s scouts, that there was but one regiment at Collierville; and believing that if that were true the enemy would skirmish with me until re-enforcement could arrive, I ordered a charge to take the place by assault. Colonel Slemons moving on the left, and McCulloch on the left, charged up very gallantly. But we discovered at the first fire that the enemy were in position with infantry, artillery, and cavalry, and I determined at once to draw off as soon as we could do so successfully, and for this purpose ordered McCulloch’s brigade to dismount and skirmish with the enemy until Slemons could be formed in his rear to cover his retreat. This was accomplished easily and in good order, each brigade forming alternately in rear of the other until we were out of reach of the enemy, when we moved slowly by the eastern road back to Quinn’s Mill, and crossed Coldwater. The enemy pursued us with his artillery and a small force on the road, while his cavalry moved down the western road and endeavored to cut us off, but did not succeed. The Seventh Tennessee (Colonel Duckworth) was placed on that road to hold them in check until our column crossed. After Duckworth crossed the enemy came up to the river and opened a furious fire of small-arms, which was soon silenced by Captain Bledsoe with a few shots from his rifled gun, by which, it is said, he killed 7 men and 15 horses. We encamped within 3 miles of the mill.  Started at 2 o’clock and crossed Tallahatchie that day before night.

   Colonel McCrillis, with two regiments of cavalry and four pieces of artillery, taken from between La Grange and Corinth, moved through Holly Springs the same day to cut me off from the Tallahatchie; but, anticipating such a movement, we moved rapidly and eluded him.

   My loss at Collierville was 6 killed, 63 wounded, and 26 prisoners. Among the last, Col. J. Z. George and my chief surgeon, Dr. William H. Batty. Colonel George led the charge made by Slemons’ brigade, and rode into the town followed by Captain Scales and Lieutenant Lamkin, of his regiment, and a few of his men. The main body of his regiment did not follow him, and, as we were mistaken about the force at Collierville, it is, perhaps, best that they did not.

   The loss of the enemy at Collierville is not known, but believed to have been heavy. His loss at Quinn’s Mill, including the skirmishes. of the morning and evening, were 9 men and 15 horses killed, a lieutenant and 26 men taken prisoners.

    We have learned since the fight that infantry came down from the east on the 2d, and that Colonel Hatch, with three regiments of cavalry, encamped on that night at Germantown, expecting me there, but holding himself ready to re-enforce Collierville, which was but 7 miles distant, and that he arrived there as we did. Colonel Richardson’s command had been greatly reduced by details sent after clothing and by desertion, and Major-General Gholson, having heard that the enemy were about to move against him, could only spare Major Ham's battalion.
          {Part of report omitted}

   I am, Colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant.
    James R. Chalmers   
     Brigadier-General, Commanding   
Col. B. S. Ewell, Assistant Adjutant-General.

  Return of Casualties in Chalmers' command in the action at Collierville, Tenn., November 3, 1863

McCulloch's Brigade
       1st Mississippi Partisan Rangers    KIA:  Oficers 0   Men 0      WIA:  Officers 1  Men 12   Total 13
     18th Mississippi Battalion                KIA:  Oficers 0   Men  1      WIA:  Officers 2  Men 3    Total  6
       2d Missouri Cavalry                       KIA:  Oficers 0   Men  0     WIA:  Officers 2   Men  7   Total  9
  Slemon's Brigade
      3d Mississippi State Cavalry            KIA:  Officers 0   Men 0    WIA:  Officers 3   Men  19   Total  23
      George's regiment [5th Miss Cav]    KIA:  Oficers 0   Men 4     WIA:  Officers 0   Men  14  Total  18
                                         TOTAL          KIA:   Oficers 0  Men  6     WIA:  Officers 8  Men  55   Total  95

~~~  ~~~~~  ~~~

Quote from Colonel Slemons' Report:
{Text describes a skirmish on the Collierville Road, 6 miles outside of the town.}

Report of Col. W. F. Slemons, Second Arkansas Cavalry, commanding brigade
Burlingham, November 7  
   CAPTAIN:  In obedience to orders of this date, I have the honor to forward herewith the following report of the engagement at Collierville, Tenn., and Quinn’s Mill, Miss.:

       About 12 m. on November 3, I received orders from General Chalmers to move on Collierville, my command being at the [time] on the Quinn’s Mill and Collierville [road]. Putting my force in motion—at that time consisting of Georges cavalry, the Third Mississippi, and a detachment of the Second Arkansas, the Seventh Tennessee having been left south of Coldwater as an escort for the artillery—moving rapidly in the direction of Collierville, I encountered the enemy’s skirmishers about 6 miles from town, and drove them back rapidly to a point known as the White House, where the enemy re-enforced, made a stubborn resistance under cover of fences and farm houses, from which position a spirited dash upon their flank by Lieutenant Allen, Second Arkansas, forced them to retire. From this point, the country being open, I was enabled to bring my entire force against them, forming rapidly my line of battle—the right (Colonel George’s regiment) resting on the Mount Pleasant road, my left (Colonel Barksdale, Third Mississippi) resting on the Collierville {road} and Quinn’s Mill road, the Second Arkansas acting as flankers.
    My line of battle had scarcely been formed for the advance when the enemy opened on my right and center with light artillery. Believing it better to advance without waiting for further reconnaissance or re-enforcements than to risk the moral effect upon my troops (most of whom were new) of falling back out of range of the artillery, the order to advance was given and the line moved steadily on to within 300 yards of the enemy’s lines, which were partially concealed behind the crest of a ridge, when he opened upon me a heavy fire of artillery directly in front.  I at once ordered the charge, which was responded to in gallant style. When within 60 yards of the brow of the hill the enemy opened upon us a most destructive fire of small-arms along our whole line. This fire was from rifle-pits, of the existence of which I was totally ignorant. At this shock the whole line wavered and showed signs of confusion.
About this time Colonel McCulloch appeared on the extreme left of the enemy’s lines and attacked them vigorously, but for some time, say fifteen minutes, was unable to attract their attention from me. Having succeeded in drawing their attention, enabled me to withdraw my men in order, after having been under heavy fire for about one hour, the attack upon the place in front being a failure. Received an order from General Chalmers to move around to the support of Colonel McCulloch, who by this time had become closely engaged with the enemy’s left. Moving rapidly to the right, I took position in rear of Colonel McCulloch, who withdrew upon the Mount Pleasant road; thence on the road to Quinn’s Mill, on Coldwater, the enemy pursuing us closely with two pieces of artillery.

    At Coldwater they made a dash upon the rear guard, under Lieutenant Allen, Second Arkansas, who being thrown from his horse fell into the hands of the enemy. My rear was attacked in its passage of the bridge, but no damage done. I formed on the south bank of the stream, and a brisk engagement sprang up for the possession of the bridge, which lasted until after dark, when the enemy withdrew. Leaving a force to guard the bridge and crossings in vicinity, I withdrew 3 miles and went into camp, from which point I moved to this place on the 4th.

    My loss in these engagements was considerable, as you will see from list of casualties forwarded herewith. The conduct of the troops under my command, with a few exceptions, in the presence of the enemy was good.

    Colonels George and Barksdale have a reputation too well established for gallantry to be benefited by any comment from me. Colonel George, with a gallantry discarding caution, dashed on ahead of his men and fell into the hands of the enemy.

    It would be doing them injustice were I to omit speaking of the promptness and coolness with which Lieut. H. A. Sandford, my acting assistant adjutant-general, and Capt. P. H. Echols, Second Arkansas, my aide-de-camp, executed every order in the thickest of the fight.
     I am, captain, very respectfully,
  R. W. F. Slemons         
 Colonel Commanding.         
Capt. W. A. Goodman, Assistant Adjutant-General.
~~~  ~~~~~  ~~~

    Nancy Douglas researched the NARA archive files extensively to locate and identify 36 soldiers of the 5th Mississippi Cavalry who were casualties that listed Collierville.  The casualties included Col. James Z. George and two of his officers.  One report said Col George was knocked off his horse and wounded and taken prisoner. 
   A search was made to locate any soldier who was a casualty of the first battle of Collierville on October 11.  There was one soldier who had two card files with conflicting information; one said he was captured at Collierville and the other said he was captured at Wyatt's Ferry. The latter fits the OR's for the regiment.
   For a Roster of the Casualties of 5th Mississippi Cavalry for 3 November, 1863, click here.
   Rowland's history of the 3rd
Mississippi Cavalry for 3 November, 1863, said they joined the 5th Mississippi Cavarly in the raid and suffered a total loss of 1 killed, 3 officers and 19 men wounded. 


  General N. B. Forrest moved into West Tennessee in March 1864, to recruit more men and obtain horses and supplies.  During the next 30 days, his cavalry corps raided and harrassed the Union forces as he sent regiments and divisions in different directions.  One force attacked and captured the fort at Union City, TN.  Another attacked Paducah and captured the town but not Fort Anderson, which was supported by 2 gunboats.  On April 12, he ordered General Chalmers to lead two brigades to attack Fort Pillow.  General Forrest went along and eventually took command of the attack.
   For more history and casualty rosters, go to the Main Menu:  Fort Pillow .

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    The 5th Mississippi Cavalry suffered the highest number of casualties in the attack on the earthworks at Fort Pillow.   The regiment had a total of 18 casualties, including 4 KIA.  Lt-Col. Wiley Reed was mortally wounded and would die at Jackson on May 1, 1864.

REED, Wiley M.            Lt-Col  - C.O.     -  WIA Dangerously, mortal
BURTON,  N. B.,           Lt          Co. A    - KIA
FLOWERS,  James E.,  Cpl        Co A    -  KIA
TOUNSEND, V. A.,        Pvt        Co A    -  WIA    Dangerously In hip & arm
HARRISON, L. W.       2-Sgt       Co A    -  WIA    Seriously- Right Thigh
CARTLEDGE, S. V.     3-Sgt       Co B    -  WIA    Slightly- In groin
PETEETE, R. W.          Pvt         Co C    -  WIA    Seriously- Shoulder
COLE, Richard W.        Pvt         Co C    -  KIA 
JENKINS, Green H.       Pvt         Co C    -  WIA    Slightly- In face
CHEW, G. B.                Cpl        Co F    -  WIA    Slightly- In throat
BEARD, T. T.                Pvt         Co F    -  WIA    Slightly- In elbow
PEASTER, J. G.           Pvt         Co F    -  WIA    Slightly- In arm
TOWNSEND, R. W.   3-Cpl         Co G   -  WIA 
SMITH, Ben F.             Pvt          Co G    - WIA    Slightly- In shoulder
CAMPBELL, W. C.      Sgt          Co I     -  WIA    Slightly- In thigh
BRIDGES, H. C.          Pvt           Co I    -  WIA    Slightly- Inhead
JONES, Sidney            Pvt          Co K   -  KIA 
CAMPBELL, Percival  M.   Pvt     Co K   - WIA    Slightly- In side

For a complete list of Confederate and Union casualties, go to the Main Menu:  Fort Pillow .

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Organization of Forrest's Cavalry
after Battle of Fort Pillow

May 1864

Quote from OR's:
Organization of Forrest's Cavalry, Major General Nathan B. Forrest, C. S. Army, commanding
May 10, 1864.

  -  Brigadier General JAMES R. CHALMERS
  First Brigade. - Colonel JAMES J. NEELY
     7th Tennessee, Colonel William L. Duckworth
     12th Tennessee, Colonel John Uriah Green
     14th Tennessee, Lieutenant Colonel Raleigh R. White
     15th Tennessee, Colonel Francis M. Stewart
     Tennessee Scouts, Captain Wiley Higgs
     Provost Guard, Captain D. J. Murchison 

  Second Brigade
    5th Mississippi, Captain William B. Peery
    7th Mississippi, Major James M. Park
    8th Mississippi, Colonel William L. Duff
    18th Mississippi Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Alex. H. Chalmers
    2nd Missouri, Lieutenant Colonel Robert A. McCulloch
    McDonald's (Tennessee) Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel J. M. Crews
    Waul's (Texas) Legion (battalion), Lieutenant Colonel Leonidas Willis
    Escort, Company C, 18th Battalion Mississippi Cavalry, Captain C. T. Smith

   I am indebted to the discretion of Lieutenant-Colonel Nesbit and the promptitude with which he acted in obeying an order to cover a flanking road, thereby preventing a party of the enemy from passing my right flank and to my rear, the roads to my rear all being exposed after the withdrawal of our troops without my knowledge. 

   August 23, we moved with the brigade after the retreating Yankees. Attacked them at Abbeville. My command was mounted; the Fifth MISSISSIPPI dismounted. We held the position against three regiments of infantry until they had not only flanked us on both sides, but almost closed in our rear. When the order reached me to retire my flag (the staff and material of which are riddled with shot) was in forty paces of the flag of the advancing infantry.
    We lost in this engagement First Lieutenant J. T. Crews, Company E, killed, an officer of highest worth and coolest bravery; Second Lieutenant C. A. Douglas, Company F, severely wounded; Captain Wood, Company E, slightly wounded; 3 privates severely wounded.  Brevet Second Lieutenant Nichols, Company F, is specially worthy of notice for gallantry in the last skirmish.Report of killed, wounded, and missing in engagement on 23rd instant of Second Brigade, First DIVISION, Forrest's Cavalry.
     Casualties of  5th Mississippi Regiment; Killed 4, Wounded 10, Missing 12.     {Skirmish at Oxford and Abbeville}.

       Confusion about the William McCain's from Mississippi 
   There were three men in Mississippi by the name of "William A. McCain" or "McCane".  One of them
   served in  the 5th Mississippi Cavalry.  Further research has proven that the William A. McCain who
   served in the 5th Mississippi Cavalry was NOT the ancestor of Senator John S. McCain.
    This confusion was perpetuated on a recent genealogy show on PBS-TV, "Finding Your Roots"
    with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.  He presented this info to Senator John McCain, and McCain said he
    was not aware of his ancestor's role in the Civil War.  

William Alexander McCain
 William A. McCain
of Attala County

    During the first Presidential debate in 2008 held at Ole Miss, the press began to research the family history of John McCain.  One article reported they discovered that 
McCain's family had a planation in Carroll County, MS, and owned slaves.  Here is the story of Senator John S. McCain's great- great- grandfather.


    William McCain had owned a plantation in Carroll County called "Teoc".  The 1860 Slave census showed he owned 52 slaves. 
The rest of the story of William McCain of Carroll County is not fully known.  Some sources list him as a Physician.  The 1860 Census listed a large family so maybe he was exempt from service.   He died on 20 June 1863 but I have not found the cause of death.   He would have been 46 years old in 1863 when they draft age was expanded.  
  The 1870 Census lists his widow living with a young son,
John S. McCain, the first of the lineage of McCain's.  From this son, the McCain's would have a lineage of men who went on to serve in the US Navy.

  I have told several people in my hometown and on some web forums that this cavalryman was the ancestor of Senator John McCain.  Now I have to go back and correct that and tell everyone the correct story.


  The Archives card on the Right is for a William A. McCain who was from Attalla County, which is where his Company enlisted.  His records report that he deserted on 15 Feb. 1864.    Another file reported that he was held under provost guard in Memphis and he took an Oath of Allegience on 6 April.  His last entry stated he died in a hospital on 26 April, 1864.
   This is NOT the ancestor of Senator John McCain, the 2012 Presidential candidate.

NARA card file for Wm A. McCain

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Click for a parital Roster of 5th Mississippi cavalry

Click for a List of Casualties from Fort Pillow, April 12, 1864.

Click for history of McGuirk's 3rd Mississippi Cavalry.