28th Mississippi Cavalry

 

(from Dunbar Rowland’s "Military History of Mississippi, 1803-1898"; company listing courtesy of H. Grady Howell’s "For Dixie Land, I’ll Take My Stand’)

 

Company A -- McAfee Hussars (raised in Carroll, Holmes, & Yalobusha Counties, MS)

Company B -- Dixie Rangers (raised in Carroll County, MS)

Company C -- Buckner Light Horse (raised in Warren County, MS)

Company D -- Washington Cavalry (raised in Washington County, MS)

Company E -- Mayson’s Dragoons (raised in Bolivar County, MS) and Avent’s Company (raised in Calhoun County, MS)

Company F -- Clanton’s Company (raised in Yalobusha County, MS)

Company G -- Van Dorn Rangers, aka Smith’s Company (raised in Rankin County, MS)

Company H -- Tucker’s Company (raised in Monroe County, MS)

Company I -- Johnson Rebels (raised in Warren County, MS) and Carroll County Cavalry (raised in Carroll County, MS)

Company K -- Bingaman Rangers (raised in Adams County, MS)

Company L -- Morris’ Company (raised in DeSoto & Panola Counties, MS)

 

Colonels -- Peter B. Starke, Joshua T. McBee, commissioned April 1, 1865.

Lieutenant-Colonels -- Samuel W. Ferguson, promoted BrigadierGeneral; Edward P. Jones, commissioned May 10, 1863; S. S. Champion, commissioned April 1, 1865.

Majors -- Edward P. Jones, captured at Franklin, Tenn., April 10, 1863; Joshua T. McBee, commissioned May 10, 1863: C. L. Johnson, commissioned April 1, 1865.

Adjutant -- S. H. Starke. Quartermaster -- R. H. Smith. Commissary--James Hazlett. Surgeons -- R. B. Maury, C. R. Mayson, commissioned February 6, 1863. Assistant Surgeons -- W. S. Ward, W. T. Ward, commissioned May 6, 1862; L. M. Mays, commissioned November 16, 1864.Original officers commissioned 24 February, 1862.

Starke was commanding brigade after 25 December, 1863 -- roll of February, 1864.

This regiment was organized early in 1862, for three years or the war, extra to the requisitions upon the State for infantry. It is numbered consecutively with the infantry regiments. The original officers -- Starke, Ferguson and Jones -- were commissioned February 24, 1862; the regiment was reported May 14 in camp at Jackson, where it was organized. Colonel Starke was a man of prominence, who had been the Whig candidate for Congress in 1846, to succeed Col. Jefferson Davis. He had organized a cavalry company in his home county, Bolivar, early in 1861. Samuel Wragg Ferguson, Lieutenant-Colonel, was a native of South Carolina, graduate of West Point, who resigned a Second Lieutenancy in the First Dragoons, United States Army, to enter the Confederate service. As a Brigadier-General he was associated with Mississippi troops throughout the war. The first active service of the regiment was occasioned by the naval attack on Vicksburg, beginning in May, 1862. Five companies of Starke's Cavalry reinforced Gen. M. L. Smith, at Vicksburg, and were posted to watch the flanks along the Yazoo and below Warrenton on the Mississippi. In June the Secretary of War countermanded order that Capt. W. H. Johnson, stationed on the Big Black River, should burn all cotton in reach, whether liable to fall into enemy's hands or not. Regiment reported 462 present, troops of Gen. M. L. Smith, August 27, 1862.

Later the regiment was at Camp Burrus, in Bolivar County. They operated along the river and in the swampy country, where many contracted fever. September, 436 present; 865 present and absent

There is a Federal report of an expedition from the Missouri shore to Bolivar County and a skirmish with four companies of Bolivar County troops, near Totten's plantation, Coahoma County, August 2, 1862. September 14, part, at least, of the regiment was in a skirmish near Prentiss, Bolivar County; September 19 they attacked some transports at Niblett’s landing on the Mississippi, opposite Island No. 10. Thence they returned to Camp Burrus and from there moved to Panola. In October Colonel Starke was ordered, with his own and Major Blythe's command, to attack a Federal force opposite Helena, but no action appears to have resulted.

Company I, Captain Johnson, was at Vicksburg in December, 1862, and took part in the Chickasaw Bayou campaign, while the remainder of the regiment, according to Federal reports, was engaged with Steele's expedition from Helena, in the vicinity of Panola, in the same month. In January, 1863, the regiment was assigned with Pinson's and Ballentine's Regiments, to the First (Cosby's) Brigade of Gen. W. T. Martin's Division of the cavalry under General VanDorn, about 7,500 strong, which made the campaign in Middle Tennessee early in 1863, supporting General Bragg's army, then on the Shelbyville line. Starke's Regiment moved from Okolona to Columbia, Tenn., in February, about 625 strong. They were present at the battle of Thompson's Station, March 5, but held in reserve; were in the skirmish with Minty's Cavalry at Thompson's Station, March 9, and actively engaged in the attack on Franklin, April 10. Gen. Granger reported that the Fortieth Ohio Infantry, after a stubborn fight, "was finally forced to fall back through the town to the river, and it was followed by a part of the Twenty-eighth Mississippi Cavalry, under command of Major Edward P. Jones. But few of this regiment who came into town returned." The regiment suffered a heavy loss in killed, wounded and captured. In General Orders, April 10, 1863, Gen. W. H. Jackson mentioned "the gallant and meritorious conduct of officers and men of the Twenty-eighth Mississippi Cavalry, in the charge upon Franklin today. When ordered to charge into the town, they did so promptly at their swiftest speed, and although in the face of the enemy’s batteries and houses lined with sharpshooters, they drove everything resistlessly before them and pushed their victorious columns to the bank of the Harpeth River, killing and wounding a considerable number of the enemy, and upon returning formed in good order in an open field in easy range and under the well-directed fire of the enemy's heavy guns. To show the danger to which they were exposed, attention is directed to the official report of killed, wounded and missing. The charge today into Franklin, under such adverse circumstances, finds no parallel in this war, and will embellish another page of the history of our country with the martial achievements and glory of Southern arms."

Van Dorn's campaign, during which he lost his life in a private affair, left Mississippi open to Grierson's raid and Grant's advance from Bruinsburg to Jackson and the Yazoo River. The Twenty-eighth, leaving Tennessee May 17, reached Mechanicsburg June 7, a march of 400 miles. During the following operations Cosby's and Whitfield's (Texas) Brigades constituted the division of General W. H. Jackson. June 22, 1863, Lieut-Col. R. C. Wood, with Starke's Regiment, Major J. T. McBee commanding, and Adams' Regiment, Capt. S. B, Cleveland commanding, attacked a detachment of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry, under Major Parkell, which had been sent to blockade the road at Birdsong's Ferry on the Big Black. Parkell had with him one howitzer, which was posted at the head of a narrow lane, strongly fenced on each side, and repeated charges were made up this lane before the Federal force could be started and the gun captured. Wood reported 5 killed, 16 wounded and 1 missing, and that he took 33 prisoners. Parkell reported 8 killed and 16 wounded, 4 mortally. Wood, in his report recorded "the great gallantry and elan displayed by Major McBee and the officers and men of his command." This famous affair is known as the battle of Bear Creek. Companies A and F, under Captain Clanton, were particularly distinguished. In his final report, General Pemberton mentioned Privates E. G. Walker and Charles McInroe, of Maj. W. H, Johnson's Cavalry, part of this regiment, as among those who carried dispatches through the Federal lines to or from General Johnston.

July 4 the regiment moved from Mechanicsburg to Birdsong's Ferry, and as Johnston's army fell back to Jackson, they skirmished with Sherman advance July 7, and fell back covering Johnston's retreat, skirmishing frequently and resisting a charge of cavalry at Clinton. Just before the evacuation of Jackson, July 16, they went to the Federal rear, and recrossed Pearl River after the retreat of Johnston to Morton.

After the evacuation of Jackson by Sherman, the regiment was at or near Clinton until moved to Brownsville in September. October 10 detachments from Starke's and Wirt Adams' Regiments were attacked, near Port Gibson by a force of Illinois and Wisconsin Cavalry, whose commanding officer reported 11 of the two regiments killed. October 14th McPherson's expedition set out from Vicksburg intending to go to Canton but on account of the effective resistance made, proceeded no further than Clinton. There were engagements at Brownsville, October 15; on the Canton road near Brownsville, October 15-16; near the Clinton and Vernon cross roads, October 16; at Bogue Chitto Creek, and near Livingston, October 17; and near Clinton, October 18, in which all or parts of the regiment were engaged. After this the regiment was on guard between the Pearl and Big Black Rivers to the close of the year. December 25, 1863, Colonel Starke was put in command of the brigade, then including the First, Fourth, Twenty-eighth and Ballentine's Regiments. His headquarters was Clinton. He continued in this command, in Jackson's Division, under the organization of the cavalry, early in 1864, under Maj.-Gen. S. D. Lee.

At the outset of Sherman's raid to Meridian, the brigade met the advance of Hurlbut's column near the Joe Davis plantation, giving battle there February 4, the Twenty-eighth being commanded by Major McBee. Gen. Wirt Adams likewise encountered McPherson's column, but neither Confederate force was strong enough to make serious resistance. Next day, having retired through Clinton, and Captain Ratliff reporting a flank movement on the Springs road, Starke fell back through Jackson and out on the Canton road. General Sherman reported that February 5 was "one continued skirmish for eighteen miles, but we did not allow the enemy's cavalry to impede our march, but got into Jackson that night on his heels....Loring and French were marching at the time to concentrate with the cavalry at Jackson, but were too late. We got into Jackson first, secured their pontoon bridge, repaired it and commenced crossing, Pearl River on the 6th and on the 7th marched into Brandon." Starke, under the immediate direction of General Jackson, followed, and had a brisk engagement before Meridian on the 14th, with Winslow's Cavalry fighting on foot. Sherman then began the destruction of Meridian, as the great military center of the Southwest. He reported: "For five days 10,000 men worked with a will. Meridian, with its depots, storehouses, arsenal, hospitals, offices, hotels and cantonments no longer exists." The railroad was also destroyed from Jackson to Meridian, from Meridian north to Lauderdale Springs, south to Quitman and east about twenty miles. This all was preparatory to the campaign against Atlanta. Forrest and Chalmers were busied with Sooy Smith's Cavalry raid from Memphis, which was easily routed in the woods, on Sakatonchee Creek. Starke waited three days about Meridian and then he also went to help against Sooy Smith, but found on reaching Starkville that Smith was routed. Sherman having marched to Canton expecting to meet Smith, Starke moved to that vicinity, and near Sharon, February 27-29, the brigade skirmished with the enemy, McBee and his regiment having a serious encounter. On Sherman's retreat an attempt was made to attack the Federal train at Brownsville, but before McBee had a favorable opportunity the Federal infantry and cavalry formed line of battle and Starke retired. The brigade loss during the campaign Starke reported as 49 killed, wounded and missing. He estimated the Federal loss occasioned by his command as 128 killed and captured.

Starke was succeeded in brigade command by Brig.-Ben. Frank C. Armstrong, and the brigade moved into Alabama in the spring of 1864. A detachment under Captain Woods, with a detachment under Lieutenant-Colonel Maxwell. left Tuscaloosa April 19, to operate against "tories" in Walker and Winston Counties, Ala.

May 5, 1864, the brigade moved from Carthage to Montevallo, Ala.; 14th, arrived at Rome, Ga.; 17th, reached Adairsville and engaged the enemy with considerable loss in killed and wounded; May 20, fought at Cassville, crossed the Etowah, and moved to Dallas, skirmishing. May 28 the brigade was dismounted temporarily and put in the trenches on the extreme south of the line extending from northeast of New Hope Church, southwest of Dallas. At four in the evening, after lying in the trenches under a scorching sun all day, they formed in line of battle and charged, driving in the Federal skirmishers and encountering a heavy fire of musketry and artillery from the main line of the enemy. The Twenty-eighth drove the gunners from their battery, but were forced to retire before taking possession of the guns. In falling back Captain Clanton was killed and Lieut. T. N. Fowler severely wounded. The regiment had 20 killed and wounded, "a severe price to pay for feeling the enemy," one of the men wrote home.

After this they skirmished continually as the armies moved to the Marietta line, skirmished on that line and in the Federal rear near Powder Springs, picketed the Chattahoochee River, moved to West Point July 17 to meet Rousseau's expedition, took part in the battle of July 28 near Atlanta, skirmished at Herring's Mill July 30, was in the battle of August 6, and fought near Jonesboro, August 30.

The regiment, in Armstrong’s Brigade, Jackson's Division, crossed the Tennessee River, near Florence, November 16-17, and began the march into Tennessee November 21, under the command of Major-General Forrest. Armstrong's Brigade was in battle at Lawrenceburg, Campbellsville, Columbia, Spring Hill and Franklin; in November, followed the Federal army to Nashville, thence moved to the investment of Murfreesboro, and was particularly distinguished in battle there December 7. In the rear guard of the army during the retreat from Nashville they fought at Columbia, Warfield's, Richland Creek, Pulaski, King's Hill and Sugar Creek, December 22-26. The casualties of the regiment were 10 killed, including Lieut. W. W. Wyatt, and 49 wounded. (See notice of brigade, First Cavalry). Gen. W. H. Jackson, commanding the division, indorsed on the campaign report of General Ross, of the Texas Brigade: "Lieutenant Hunt, of Twenty-eighth Mississippi, particularly distinguished himself; commanding a squadron of cavalry, dismounted his men in an open field."

Colonel Starke was promoted to Brigadier-General November 4, 1864, and the regiment is assigned to his brigade in General Chalmers' orders of February, 1865. When Gen. J. H. Wilson started on his raid through Alabama and Georgia in March and April, 1865, the brigade moved from Pickensville, Ala., to meet him, and after three days and nights of marching and countermarching arrived near Selma during the assault upon the fortifications there, April 2, but were cut off from the town by the Federal troops and were unable to render any assistance. When Selma was taken they were compelled to retire in the night, thirty miles, across the Cahawba River, after which they moved to Livingston and went into camp. There the last muster rolls were made, up to April 31, 1865. The capitulation by Gen. Richard Taylor occurred May 4, 1865. The cavalry commands under General Forrest were surrendered at Gainesville, Ala., May 22, 1865.

 

[Transcriber’s Note: The following information on Brig.-Gen. Frank C. Armstrong’s Escort Company is included at the end of the history of the 28th MS Cavalry in Rowland’s epic of Confederate Mississippi. None of the soldier’s mentioned below are listed as members of the 28th MS Cavalry in H. Grady Howell’s best-ever index of Mississippi Confederates. However, in deference to Rowland, this information is included below. It seems to have no relation to the 28th MS Cavalry.]

 

Armstrong's Escort, enlisted at Monroe, La., 4 April, 1862. Captain -- Junius Y. Webb. First Lieutenant -- Lynn B. Watkins. Second Lieutenant -- Nathaniel M. Martin.

Third Lieutenant -- John J. Carter. Escort company for Brig.-Gen. Frank C. Armstrong.

 

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