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13th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment

Union Army

by Ralph Clark

A history of this regiment was written in 1903.(1) Colonel John K. Miller's regiment was originally called 12th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment. The regiment was mustered in at Strawberry Plains at the beginning of November, 1863, and moved to Camp Nelson. There, on the last day of 1863, it's number was changed from 12th to 13th by order of the governor.

Colonel Miller's regiment must be distinguished from another regiment that was intended to be raised as the 14th Tennessee Cavalry, but in several operations during 1864 was recorded in reports as the 13th Tennessee Cavalry. As such, the main part of the 14th/13th, under Major Bradford, was engaged in the defense of Fort Pillow, and captured there on April 12, 1864. A surviving company was known as Company A of the 14th.(2)

The 13th Cavalry, under Colonel Miller, was stationed at Knoxville and Nashville during the spring of 1864. By May of 1864 the regiment, under Lt. Col. William Ingerton, was assigned to Colonel Miller's 3rd Brigade, in Brig. Gen. Alvan Gillem's 4th Division of the Cavalry Corps. In August 1864 Colonel Miller's brigade was designated "The Governor's Guard."

After marching with the 9th Tennessee Cavalry to Strawberry Plains, the 13th was in battle at Rogersville on August 21 and 23. After engaging General John Hunt Morgan's force at Park's Gap, near Greenville, the 13th surprised General Morgan in his sleeping quarters on September 4. While attempting to escape, General Morgan was killed by a shot from Private Andrew Campbell of Co. G of the 13th, who was promoted to 1st Lieutenant of Co. E.(3)

In late September the regiment fought a number of skirmishes with Confederate General Vaughn's Brigade in eastern Tennessee, and again in late October, at Panther Springs and Morristown, where General Vaughn was wounded. Lt. Col. Ingersoll of the 13th was commended for leading the charge that broke through the Confederate line. November 12, 1864, the regiment was engaged at Bull's Gap, and thereafter moved to Knoxville.

In December 1864 General Gillem's division joined Major General Stoneman's expedition into Virginia. Lt. Col. Stacy of the 13th Cavalry was commended for leading the charge which captured the Confederate defenses at Saltville. At the end of the year, the regiment returned to Knoxville.

On March 22, 1865, General Gillem's division again joined Maj. Gen. Stoneman in an expedition into North Carolina, and was engaged at the battle of Salisbury April 12, 1865. At the end of April, and into May, the 13th Cavalry was involved in the pursuit of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. The regiment was mustered out at Sweetwater, Tennessee, September 5, 1865.

Notes and References

1. Samuel W. Scott and Samuel P. Angel, History of the Thirteenth Regiment, Tennessee Volunteer Cavalry, U.S.A. (Philadelphia, 1903).

2. Tennesseeans in the Civil War : A Military History of Confederate and Union Units with Available Rosters of Personnel (Nashville, TN: Civil War Centennial Commission, 1964), Part I, pp. 351-4, has histories of both the 13th and 14th Regiments, and makes note of the duplication of numbers in reports.

3. Stephen Z. Starr, The Union Cavalry in the Civil War, Volume III: The War in the West 1861 - 1865 (Louisiana State University Press, 1985), p.425.