2nd Mississippi Partisan Rangers Cavalry
(aka Ballentine’s Regiment MS 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 -- Ford’s Company (raised in Carroll County, MS)
Company B -- Lott’s Company (raised in Louisiana)
Company C -- Porter’s Company (raised in Tennessee)
Company D [also listed as Co. L] -- Anderson’s Company (raised in Tennessee)
Company E -- McDowell’s Company (raised in Tippah County, MS)
Company F -- Reason’s Company (raised in Calhoun, Marshall, Tishomingo, & Yalobusha
Company G -- Martin’s Company (raised in Lafayette County, MS)
Company H -- Ballentine’s Guards (raised in Panola County, MS)
Company I -- Eskridge’s Company (raised in Tallahatchie & Yalobusha Counties, MS)
Company K -- Jernigan’s Company (raised in Panola County, MS)
Colonel -- John G. Ballentine, July, 1862, to 1865. Lieutenant-Colonel -- William L. Maxwell, March, 1863, to 1865. Major -- William H. Ford, March, 1863, to1865. Adjutant -- V. V. Moore. Quartermaster -- W. D. Heflin. Assistant Surgeon -- A. Brogden, 1864 to 1865. Non-commissioned staff -- C.F. Bullock, Sergeant-Major; James Hunt, Quartermaster Sergeant; F. L. Burton, Commissary Sergeant; J. J Wilson, Ordnance Sergeant; Allen F. Laird, Bugler.
This regiment was formed in time to participate in the operations attending the battles of Iuka, Corinth and Coffeeville, September-December, 1862, but is not mentioned in the official reports available. The regiment never received a number and was known throughout the war as Ballentine's Battalion or Regiment. Ballentine had been Captain of Company A in the Tennessee Regiment which Col. W. H. Jackson commanded in Mississippi in 1862. He was distinguished for personal valor in the cavalry fight at Lockridge Mills, Tenn., May 5, 1862, where he commanded five companies of Jackson's Regiment.
In January, 1863, "Ballentine's Battalion," 259 strong, was listed among the troops to accompany Van Dorn's expedition into Tennessee. It was assigned to the Second Brigade of W. H. Jackson's Division, and in February to Cosby's (First) Brigade, which was transferred from Jackson's to Gen. Will T. Martin's Division. In parting with the regiment at Okolona, February 6, 1863, Gen. W. H. Jackson, in special orders, expressed his "heartfelt thanks to the officers and men for their cheerfulness and attention to every duty, the hearty cooperation at all times displayed by them, and his admiration of their cool, determined courage in every engagement while under his command, also his regrets at losing them from his division."
Ballentine's Regiment, with Pinson's and Starke's and Woodward's Kentuckians, formed the brigade of General Cosby, in Martin's Division of Van Dorn's Cavalry Corps in the campaign in Middle Tennessee, March and April, 1863. The brilliant achievement of the campaign was the capture at Spring Hill, or Thompson's Station, March 5, of Gen. John Coburn's Brigade. The main fight was made by the brigades of Jackson, Armstrong, Whitfield and Forrest. General Van Dorn reported that General Martin, with Cosby's Brigade, arrived on the field and took position on Coburn's right flank, preparing for a charge and cutting off the only way of escape, when Coburn surrendered. The brigade also participated in the attack at Franklin, April 10, 1863. (See First and Twenty-eighth Regiments). Soon afterward the brigade made a rapid march of 400 miles to the Big Black River, Grant having, in the absence of Van Dorn's Corps, succeeded in establishing his army in a secure position between that river and Vicksburg, with his base of supplies on the Yazoo. The brigade covered the retreat of General Johnston from the Big Black to Jackson after the surrender of Vicksburg, and afterward was stationed between the Big Black and Pearl Rivers, guarding the country from raids.
The Crosby Brigade, in September, 1863, included the Fourth Cavalry, Maj. J. L. Harris; Twenty-eighth Cavalry, Capt. S. B. Cleveland; Col. J. G. Ballentine's Regiment; Wirt Adams' Regiment, Capt. Robert Muldrow; and Lieut. N. M. Martin's escort company. The brigade, under command of Wirt Adams, participated in the operations against McPherson's expedition from Vicksburg towards Canton, October, 1863, skirmishing near Bolton and Clinton, under the command of Gen. W. H. Jackson.
In the organization of cavalry under Maj.-Gen. S. D. Lee, in February, 1864, Ballentine's Regiment, with Pinson's and Starke's, formed the brigade of Colonel Starke, in W. H. Jackson's Division. When Sherman crossed the Big Black on his campaign to destroy Meridian and the railroads and immense army stores, Starke met Hurlbut's column near the Joe Davis plantation, and from that place to Jackson, Ballentine’s Regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel Maxwell, was engaged in skirmishing through February 4 and 5. A flank movement by the Federal cavalry under Colonel Winslow caused the hurried abandonment of Jackson. Afterward the brigade annoyed the advance to Meridian and skirmished briskly with Winslow as Sherman was about to enter the city, February 14. Thence they moved to Starkville, to assist Forrest against the Sooy Smith raid, but found the battle over there. They next operated against Sherman's troops at Canton, skirmishing February 27-29, and picking up several foraging parties. The last skirmish was near Brownsville, March 2, Sherman recrossing the Big Black next day.
Capt. Edward E. Porter was commanding the regiment in April, 1864, Lieutenant- Colonel Maxwell in June and later. Maxwell, with a detachment from his regiment and Starke's, operated against deserters and tories in Walker and Winston Counties, Ala., in April. Gen. Frank C. Armstrong took command of the brigade, which was ordered to Georgia, arrived at Rome May 14, and was engaged at Adairsville, May 17, after which it was constantly on duty and in frequent skirmishes until after the evacuation of Atlanta, September 1. May 28, near Dallas, the brigade dismounted, made a reconnaissance against the Federal intrenched position, suffering heavy loss.
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 during the remainder of November, principally at Lawrenceburg, Campbellsville, Columbia, Spring Hill and Franklin, in the two latter engagements, November 29-30, fighting both as cavalry and infantry. In December they followed the Federal army to Nashville and moved thence to besiege Murfreesboro, where they were particularly distinguished in battle December 7. After the disaster at Nashville, they served as rear guard on the retreat, and fought at Columbia, Warfield's, Richland Creek, Pulaski, King's Hill and Sugar Creek, December 22-26. The casualties of the regiment were 4 killed, 15 wounded. (See also First and Twenty-eighth Regiments).
February 22, 1865, General Chalmers ordered Ballentine's Regiment consolidated with the Seventh, in Armstrong's Brigade. Armstrong's Brigade held the line of works at Selma, Ala., April 2, 1865, which was carried at a heavy cost in killed and wounded by Long's Division of Wilson's Cavalry expedition.
All the troops of the department were paroled under the capitulation of Lieut.-Gen. Richard Taylor May 4, 1865. General Forrest's command surrendered at Gainesville, Ala., May 22, 1865.