2nd Mississippi State Cavalry (Smith’s/Lowry’s),
aka 6th MS State Cavalry,
& aka Smith’s Regiment Partisan Rangers
(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 -- Citizen Guards (raised in Tippah County, MS)
Company B -- Johnson Partisans (raised in Chickasaw County, MS)
Company C -- Martin’s Company (raised in Monroe County, MS); also, Tuscumbia Rangers
Company D -- Wilson’s Company (raised in Pontotoc County, MS)
Company E -- Mississippi Rangers (raised in Pontotoc County, MS)
Company F -- Johnson’s Company (raised in Monroe County, MS)
Company G -- Isbell’s Company (raised in Chickasaw County, MS)
Company H -- J.V. Harris Guards (raised in Monroe County, MS)
Company I -- Clarke’s Company (raised in Chickasaw County, MS)
Company K -- Pettus Rangers (raised in Tippah & neighboring counties, MS)
Company L -- Lowry’s Company (raised in Tishomingo & neighboring counties, MS)
This regiment was also known in the State records as the 6th Mississippi State Cavalry.
Colonels -- J.P. Smith, of State troops; William L. Lowry, of Confederate States troops. Lieutenant-Colonels -- William L. Lowry, Joseph A. Johnson. Major -- L.L. Marshall. Adjutant -- Sidney Randall. Quartermaster -- O.H. Pollard. Surgeon -- S.N. Walker.
This regiment was organized partly from companies of Partisan Rangers, of which Sol. G. Street's company (Citizen Guards, eventually Co. A of the regiment) was one of the most famous. This company was on active duty in December, 1863. Major Emerson, West Tennessee Cavalry, reported an encounter January 25, 1863, between Bolivar and Ripley, with 15 men, who "were dressed partly in Federal uniform and were a portion of the noted Sol. Street's command of guerrillas who infest that section of the country." General Brayman, at Bolivar reported, March 25, Colonel Miller of Confederate troops killed, "Sol. Street said to be desperately wounded." In April, reported by General Chalmers as Mississippi Cavalry Company, Capt. Sol. G. Street, under his command at Panola. Colonel Richardson, commanding in Northeast Mississippi, reported in October, 1863, that he had with him two companies under Major Street. January 15, 1864, assigned by General Forrest to Richardson's Brigade of Forrest's Cavalry.
Congress repealed the act permitting partisan companies, February, 1864. But, before this, General Forrest had given them energetic attention, reorganizing, consolidating and appointing officers. "This consolidation of commands took place principally in troops of Richardson's command and some scattered bands and battalions, claimed to have been raised by Collins, Dawson, Street, Bennett and others." (Report of Col. George W. Brent, Adjutant-General, June 10, 1864.) These organizations were principally merged in Gholson's Brigade (which see).
This regiment was organized in the State service April, 1863 (see Minute Men), the original field officers being commissioned April 16, date of their election. Lowry was elected Lieutenant-Colonel. The regiment was organized under the call of Gen. J. E. Johnston, and direction of President Davis, the men were not to be interfered with by conscript officers during their term of service. They were rationed and paid by the Confederate States. April, 1863, "in addition to Smith’s Regiment of State troops (65o men) seven other companies are reported by General Gholson, tolerably well mounted and armed with shotguns.” (Columbus Committee of Defense.)
At the outset of Grierson's raid, Hatch's Iowa Regiment moved through Ripley, April 18, skirmishing through the day, Hatch reported, "with Smith's Regiment of Partisan Rangers, organized near there at a place called Chesterville.” After Hatch left Grierson below Houston and started for Macon, he was encountered at Palo Alto, April 22, by Col. Barteau with his Tennessee Regiment, Smith's Regiment, and Inge's and Ham's commands, and the battle was going against Hatch when he changed front to rear and, opening artillery fire at short range, cut his way through the commands of Smith and Ham, though those officers gallantly strove to check the attack. Smith's Regiment after this was engaged in pursuit of Hatch as far as Camp Creek, near Birmingham, where a two hours' engagement was fought, and the bridge burned to stop the pursuit.
April 27, Colonel Barteau reported his regiment and Smith's near Prairie Mound, Chickasaw County.
The regiment was with the forces of General Gholson and General Ruggles, attacked at Tupelo, May 5, 1863, by Cornyn's Brigade of Dodge's Division, at the time of the Streight raid from Eastport to the Atlanta and Chattanooga Railroad.
June 22, General Ruggles reported that the regiment was turned over to Confederate service about June 4, but had virtually disbanded before the inspecting officer arrived. "The following day the enemy burned New Albany, near which it had been stationed. I respectfully recommend that the regiment be disbanded and that the conscripts be immediately put into Confederate service. The regiment has in the meantime been directed to concentrate for inspection at Pontotoc, preparatory to receiving them into Confederate service."
In July, 1863, when conscript age had been extended to forty-five years, General Ruggles reported that Smith's Regiment and Ham's Battalion "classed strictly as State troops, had virtually disbanded, no inspecting officer having been able to identify the enrollment as sufficiently legal to authorize taking them into Confederate service."
August, 1863, attached to Chalmers' command, during the Federal raid from the Big Black River and LaGrange, Tenn., to Grenada. Then disbanding on account of expiration of service, but some new companies were recruiting near Carrollton. August 31, Capt. J. T. Lawler, of the Seventh Tennessee, was sent to De Soto County to take command of the companies composing the regiment. Lieut.-Col. Lowry was reported in command in September. General S. D. Lee urged that the regiment, then near West Point, should be reorganized.
General Chalmers assigned the regiment and other State troops in the northeastern district to the command of Colonel Richardson, who was succeeded by General Ferguson. Colonel Lowry's Regiment was on the front line of the district of Northeastern Mississippi in October, 1863, under the command of General Gholson, State troops.
At the visit of President Davis in 1863 Governor Pettus made an agreement with him for the turning over of the State Cavalry organizations to the Confederate service, but in November, 1863, General Johnston reported that Governor Pettus never carried out the agreement and that Governor Clark had referred the subject to the Legislature. Governor Clark hoped all obstacles to immediate transfer would be removed. October 28, 1863, Colonel Richardson, commanding in Northeast Mississippi, reported: "Colonel Lowry, Major Ham and Major Harris have been assigned to me, but they are State troops and refuse to obey my orders, but promise co-operation. They are under the command of General Gholson, and are now in the front line of my district." There was a clash between Colonel Lowry and General Ferguson in December, which led General S. D. Lee to write that the State troops "have been inefficient from the want of proper understanding between the Confederate States and State authorities and from no fault of the men."
In General Forrest's arrangements to meet the cavalry expedition from Memphis under Gen. Sooy Smith in February, 1864, he sent "Major-General Gholson with the State forces under his command to Pale Alto to watch any movement of the enemy from the direction of Houston.” General Smith reported that in his advance he was met by an outpost of State troops under Gholson. This was ten miles south of Okolona, at an important road forking, where Gholson's camp had been, and where the General was found with part of his command, who made a warm fight before retiring. The battles about Pontotoc followed, after which Gholson was ordered to press the retreating Federals across the Tallahatchie, Forrest's command having been exhausted in repelling the Federal cavalry charge ten miles from Pontotoc. Gholson kept up the pursuit toward Memphis.
At Dresden, Tenn., having returned from his raid to Paducah, March 27, General Forrest wrote to Lieutenant-General Polk at Demopolis: "Have dispatched Gholson, at Tupelo, to meet prisoners at Corinth and take them to you." General Gholson covered Forrest's communications with the Confederate headquarters while he was in Tennessee. Gholson had about 550 prisoners at Aberdeen, April 9.
General Gholson reported with him near Buena Vista, March 17, 1864, Lieut.-Col. Lowry's Regiment, aggregate 350, with McGuirk's Regiment and Ham's and Harris' Battalions.
The brigade was transferred to the Confederate States service May 1864, as a result of the efforts of General Forrest, who went into North Mississippi in October, 1863, to reorganize the scattered companies, particularly in the northeast, General Chalmers having the northwest pretty well in hand. Lowry, Johnson, and Marshall were commissioned May 3, 1864, as field officers of the "Sixth Regiment Cavalry."
May 10, 1864, Col. William L. Lowry commanding, in independent brigade (Gholson's) commanded by Col. John McGuirk. May 22, by order of General Forrest, Brig.-Gen. S.J. Gholson assigned as commanding officer of the brigade of Mississippi State troops recently turned over to the Confederate States, now commanded by Colonel McGuirk. June 1, brigade attached to Buford's Division, Forrest's Cavalry.
Sherman, to Stanton, June 14: "Forrest has only his own cavalry which had started for North Alabama, and the militia under Gholson. I cannot understand how he could defeat Sturgis with 8,000 men."
The brigade was transferred to Gen. Wirt Adams' command in June 1864, but was ordered northward during Sturgis' raid, which was followed by the raids of A. J. Smith from Memphis and Slocum from Vicksburg. General Slocum marched from Vicksburg July 2, 1864, with 2,200 infantry, 600 cavalry and six guns, to destroy the railroad bridge which had been rebuilt at Jackson. At the same time A. J. Smith's formidable expedition was advancing against Forrest. Gholson's Brigade returned to the vicinity of Jackson in time to move under General Adams' command in an attempt to cut off Slocum's expedition as it retreated from the capital. There was severe figuring on the 6th near Jackson, and Lowry's Regiment was conspicuous in the fight, July 7, about two miles east of Clinton, making a bold but ineffectual attempt to capture a battery. Captain Irby was killed, Captain Crenshaw and Lieut. G. H. Roberts mortally, and Capt. J. R. Watkins, severely wounded. Total casualties 10 killed or mortally wounded, 21 wounded. A newspaper account said that 110 men of the regiment charged a battery supported by four regiments of infantry and were within twenty paces of the battery when withdrawn by General Gholson, who was severely wounded. General Adams had about a thousand men, including Scott’s and Powers' Regiments. The casualties of Gholson's Brigade were 8 killed, 69 wounded, 3 missing. Slocum's casualties were 33 killed, 158 wounded, 30 missing.
In the latter part of July, Gholson's Brigade, about 450 or 500 strong, was in Georgia. They took part, dismounted, in the battle of July 28, near Atlanta, under Gen. S. D. Lee, Major Marshall commanding the regiment, and had Sergt. Niblet, of Company A, killed, and 9 wounded. (See Third Cavalry for notice of brigade.)
General Gholson, with 250 mounted men, skirmished against the advance of General Grierson's raiders from Memphis on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad in December, 1864, falling back through Okolona and meeting reinforcements at Egypt, 700 men under Lieutenant-Colonel Burke and King's Battery mounted on fiat cars, from Mobile. They were attacked at Egypt, on the morning of December 28. General Grierson, with the Fourth Missouri Cavalry, attacked Gholson's command behind a railroad embankment and was held in check until a charge was made by the Fourth Illinois Cavalry. General Gholson was wounded (lost an arm), with 15 or 20 others of his command, and a number captured. Burke took position in a stockade and after a stubborn fight, in which Karge's (U.S.) Brigade had 90 killed and wounded, was compelled to surrender with 500 men. General Gholson was left at Egypt by General Grierson, with 35 or 40 severely wounded of the Second New Jersey Cavalry, under the care of Surgeon Krauter of that regiment.
Colonel Lowry was in command of the brigade at Palo Alto, January 24, 1865. General Gholson, at Aberdeen, was notified in February, 1865, that the Secretary of War had "no authenticated transfer of your brigade to the Confederate service." General Chalmers, by direction of General Forrest, notified him that the regiments of his command would necessarily be consolidated and placed in some other brigade. "He desires me to say that he has a high appreciation of your gallantry and capacity as a soldier and officer, and that if you should ever again be fit for active field duty, which he thinks highly improbable, he will endeavor to give you a suitable command.”
February 18, 1865, Gholson's Brigade ordered consolidated in one regiment to be commanded by Colonel Ashcraft, and assigned to Armstrong's Brigade. (See Ashcraft's Regiment.) The brigade was then near Columbus, Miss. Armstrong's Brigade was distinguished for gallantry in the defense of Selma against assault April 2, 1865. Many were killed, wounded, and made prisoners when the city was carried by Wilson’s Cavalry.
The brigade was paroled under Lieutenant-General Taylor's capitulation of May 4, 1865.