3rd Mississippi Cavalry

(from Dunbar Rowland’s "Military History of Mississippi, 1803-1898")

Company A -- Kyle’s Company (raised in Holmes & Madison Counties, MS)

Company B -- Griffin’s Company (raised in Itawamba County, MS)

Company C -- Logan’s Company (raised in Lafayette County, MS)

Company D -- Gwartney’s Company (raised in Lafayette County, MS)

Company E -- Richmond’s Company (raised in Marshall & Yalobusha Counties, MS)

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

Company G -- Daniel’s Company (raised in Tippah County, MS)

Company H -- Kilgore Rangers (raised in Lafayette County, MS)

Company I -- Webb’s Rangers (raised in Lafayette County, MS)

Company K -- Barksdale’s Rangers (raised in Yalobusha County, MS)

The companies were originally organized as Minute Men in 1862, and re-enlisted for twelve months in 1863, under the call of Gen. J. E. Johnston, it being understood between the Governor and President Davis that the men should be exempt from conscription during their term of service. They were understood to be rationed and paid by the Confederate States but the pay was generally several months in arrears. It is first mentioned as Mississippi cavalry, three companies, Col. John McGuirk, with Gen. Chalmers, headquarters Panola, April, 1863. April 8, at Holly Springs ordered to take post near Chulahoma. April 29, detailed to defend Panola, time of Federal raid. May 30, assigned to brigade of Gen Z. George, State troops. Colonel McGuirk was commissioned June 9, 1863; other officers June 11.

The regiment served under General George in the operations attending the raid of Colonel Mizner, June 15-25, 1863, who set out from LaGrange, Tenn., with orders to break the railroad south of Panola, turn on Chalmers and sweep the country of horses, mules, Negroes and the new crop of wheat. Colonel McCulloch skirmished with Mizner after he had crossed the Tallahatchie at Wyatt, and, in view of the Federal strength, Gen. George retreated from Panola across to Yockeney, sending one company to protect the railroad bridge. The whole command moved to that point, but too late to prevent the destruction of the bridge. Colonel McGuirk with his regiment, then pursued the Federal column on its return to LaGrange, swimming the Tallahatchie at Belmont, overtaking Mizner at Tyro and pursuing eighty miles to Hudsonville, "where, on Sunday evening, he overtook and chastised him handsomely, killing and wounding several and capturing 27 prisoners with about the same number of horses and equipments, an extraordinary achievement," considering the arduous service of the command. George's headquarters were at Grenada, and Colonel McGuirk was in command of the brigade in July, 1863.

July 21, General George reported that a detachment from Col. McGuirk's Regiment had cut the railroad and taken 15 prisoners near Germantown. In July regiment was ordered to Vaiden for enlistment in Confederate service. General George reported, "I fear half of McGuirk's Regiment cannot be gotten to Vaiden." The enlistment was not made.

In the field during the Federal raid from the Big Black and LaGrange, Tenn., to Grenada, August, 1863, of which there are no reports. Regiment then in Chalmers' Cavalry command, 200 in number, Colonel McGuirk commanding, but scattered between Panola and Grenada, arresting deserters and conscripts. Chalmers could not collect a command sufficient to hold Grenada, which the raiders occupied August 20, breaking the railroad and burning the rolling stock. The regiment, with Chalmers' command, moved from Grenada to Abbeville September 12. Assigned to Slemon's Brigade October 18. "The battalion under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Barksdale" was in Chalmers' command, September, 1863.

This regiment, the Seventh Tennessee (Colonel Duckworth), A. H. Chalmers' Eighteenth Battalion, and one rifled gun of McLendon's Battery, in all about 850 men, constituted the immediate command of General Chalmers when he was collecting forces for the raid to Collierville, Tenn., in October, 1863. With this command Chalmers was about to move to Salem for a juncture with Richardson's Brigade, when a column of Illinois cavalry, under Colonel McCrillis, advanced from LaGrange, Tenn., against Holly Springs, whither Chalmers moved on the 5th. McCrillis, with 750 cavalry, heard on his approach that Chalmers was ahead of him, and began to recross the Coldwater, when Chalmers attacked at Lockhart's Mill, October 6. There was a brisk skirmish, in which the four howitzers posted by McCrillis on the north bank of the river, played an important part. Chalmers then moved to Salem and on the morning of the 8th set out for Collierville, leaving Hooves' Regiment to occupy Salem. Meanwhile McCrillis had returned from LaGrange to the vicinity of Salem with 1,250 cavalry and mounted infantry and six guns. He attacked Hooves and drove him from the town, and Chalmers, learning of this, at a distance of ten miles, returned rapidly and attacked McCrillis, who occupied a strong position on a long ridge, with his skirmishers through the town. Chalmers had been reinforced and had 1,200 in the battle, but only one piece of artillery, which was useless after the third fire. After three hours' hard fighting, said Chalmers, the enemy was driven from every position. "In this affair the Second Missouri Cavalry (Lieutenant-Colonel McCulloch), Third Regiment Mississippi State Cavalry (Colonel McGuirk), and the Eighteenth Mississippi Battalion (Major Chalmers) bore the brunt of the conflict, and although the last two were composed almost entirely of untried men, they behaved with a gallantry equal to that which has ever distinguished the veterans of the Second Missouri Cavalry." Colonel McGuirk, who moved from his camp at Wyatt, was the first to reinforce Hooves, and was ordered to take the two regiments and command the front attack, but Chalmers decided to also attack in front. The regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel Barksdale, charged the Federal position at Hamer's house, drove the skirmish line from the village, and compelled the retreat of the artillery from a hill. Captain Hartin and Lieutenant Kennedy were wounded in the fight. Captains Logan, Farris, Griffin, Barksdale, McKie, Webb and Lieutenants Thornton and Towns gallantly commanded the companies. The casualties of McGuirk's Regiment was 1 killed, 22 wounded; of the rest of Chalmers' troops 5 wounded. General Sweeney, commanding LaGrange, reported that on October 8, "our cavalry, under Color McCrillis, with the mounted infantry and a section of Captain Tannrath’s Battery, under Colonel Phillips, were attacked by the enemy at Salem and driven back on the railroad with considerable loss." In the night following, Chalmers was reinforced by Richardson's Brigade, about 850 men. Colonel Hatch on the other side came up from LaGrange with 750 Union cavalry, and no artillery, expecting to join McCrillis and Phillips, but finding them gone, he sent for reinforcements from Davis’ Mills. Chalmers remained most of October 9 in line of battle at Hamar’s house, with his force of over 2 ,000 men and six guns, believing that Hatch had against him "nine regiments and nine pieces of artillery." He reported that "there was some slight skirmishing, but the enemy did. not make his appearance in force." Hatch received orders to fall back to LaGrange, which made it possible for Chalmers to carry out his plan of a raid on Collierville, while Hatch, with a force of 2,200, returned again to hunt for him at Salem and Holly Springs. Chalmers moved to Holly Springs on the 10th for food and ammunition, and approached Collierville early on the 11th. In the disposition for attack, Col, McGuirk, with his own regiment and First Mississippi Partisans, was sent to gain possession of the town and attack the fort from the rear. The movements on the left and right drove the garrison to the rifle pits and part of them into the fort, and possession was taken of the train of cars on which General Sherman was traveling with a battalion of regulars as an escort, but the movement on the rear was not so successful. General Chalmers ascribed this to Colonel McGuirk's delay at the cavalry camp northwest of town. In the attack upon the cavalry camp, 1st Lieutenant-Colonel Barksdale commanded the regiment, about 175 men. He reported that after the First Partisans were repulsed, his regiment advanced upon the camp, firing steadily, and drove the enemy to shelter in the woods and swamp, and that he never saw men, even in the Army of Northern Virginia, deport themselves with more gallantry. He gave special mention to the conduct of Maj. B. M. Kilgore, who fell wounded while leading a charge, and to Captains Logan, Barksdale, Griffin, Gwartney, and Lieutenants Towns and Thornton, company commanders, Lieutenant Turner, Company H, and Lieutenants Thornton and Tyler, Company K, collected the prisoners, 89 in number. Lieut. J. H. Alexander brought off 18 wagons with mule teams. Sergeant Grizelle color bearer, distinguished on this as on former fields for gallantry, fell with a severe wound as he was carrying the flag, with a captured flag in his other hand. Lieutenant White, Company D, carried the colors forward. The casualties of the regiment were 1 killed, 6 wounded. The attack on Collierville failed, and General Chalmers retreated. At the crossing of the Tallahatchie, near Wyatt, October 13, the Confederate command, under Col. R. V. Richardson, was attacked by Hatch. McGuirk recrossed the river with his two regiments, about 300 men, dismounted, and two guns of the Buckher Battery, and took position to check the pursuit. A body of Federals under the famous Captain Hodgman, Seventh Kansas Jayhawkers, occupied a log house, which Barksdale and his men charged in the face of a heavy artillery fire from two batteries. The house was taken and Hodgman wounded and captured. About dark the regiment was again in action with Hooves' Regiment, repelling twice the Federal attack. It came up with a charge and a yell, said McGuirk. About 9 o'clock the rear guard, volunteers from this regiment, crossed the river. The casualties were 1 killed, 6 wounded, 3 missing. Captain Logan, Acting Major; Captain Barksdale, Lieutenant Hurt (commanding Company G), were mentioned for gallantry. For their service in this expedition, including the engagements at Salem, Collierville and Wyatt, honorable mention was given to Lieut.-Col. James A. Barksdale, Major; B. M. Kilgore, Adjutant; (Captain) W. Joseph Walker, Sergeant-Major E. L. Richmond, Orderly C. C. Harris, Capt. H. E. Williamson, Quartermaster,; Lieut. P, M. Morgan, Commissary; W. F. Baker, Acting Commissary.

The regiment, under the command of Colonel Barksdale, participated with George's Regiment in the gallant cavalry charge at Collierville, Tenn., November 3, 1863, which was repulsed by the unexpected volleys from revolving rifles of the Second Iowa, at the railroad. The advance of this regiment was on the Quinn's Mill road, and the attack was gallantly made, as was testified to both by Chalmers and Hatch, the officers commanding on each side. On the retreat, after crossing the Coldwater near Quinn's Mill, the regiment joined in the stubborn resistance which prevented their pursuers from crossing until the next day. The casualties of this regiment were the heaviest in General Chalmers' command -- 1 killed, 3 officers and 19 men wounded,

November 30, the same two regiments, crossing the Coldwater at very high water, moved into Tennessee with Chalmers' expedition in support of S. D. Lee and Forrest, reaching Moscow December 4. Slemons' brigade burned the railroad trestle over Grisson's Creek, between Moscow and Lafayette.

Colonel Meek, Eleventh Illinois, reported that his command, which had gathered up horses and mules and burned grain and cotton and shops on the Holly Springs road by way of Chulahoma, passed through Holly Springs on the evening of the 21st, stopped to feed on the Hernando road two miles from Hudsonville, and left that road for the LaGrange road when one of his pickets was shot, leaving two companies to bring in the wounded man. Later he sent back Major Funke with one company, hearing that a fight was on. McGuirk had come in by a by-road, and cut off the three companies, which extricated themselves with difticulty, losing 1 killed, 2 wounded and 26 prisoners.

Regiment assigned to Slemons' Brigade in the organization of the cavalry under S. D. Lee, January, 1864.

February 2, 1864, McGuirk skirmished near LaGrange, Tenn. The regiment participated in General Forrest's defeat of Sooy Smith's expedition near Okolona, February 20-22,. 1864, and had 3 wounded (see Second Cavalry). At the outset of the famous raid of Forest and Chalmers through Tennessee in April, 1864, Colonel McGuirk with his regiment and the First Partisans made a demonstration from Holly Springs toward Memphis, which was so effective as to make practicable the capture of Fort Pillow April 12.

In criticising the enlistment in State regiments to avoid conscription in the Confederate service, General Chalmers wrote, January 6, 1864; "These State companies have done more harm than good. I do not include in this remark Colonel McGuirk's Regiment -- that has done good service -- but both he and his officers have long since been convinced that the regiment would be more effective if it were regularly in Confederate service."

Regiment ordered to report at Macon to the Governor for special and important service, March 3, 1864. Aggregate of regiment, 325. Governor Clark appointed April 30, 1864, as the day for State cavalry to assemble at Tupelo for transfer to the Confederate service. "As the regiment of Colonel McGuirk is one of those to be transferred, it is very desirable that they should be paid the amount due them for the time they were in Confederate service, some five or six months are due them, also pay for horses killed in battle." The Governor declared they were in as good a state of discipline and as effective as any troops, and he consented to their transfer to the Confederate service. The regiment was reorganized at Oxford in the latter part of April, 1864, and the Colonel commissioned April 25, 1864. May 1, 1864, the Gholson Brigade was turned over to the Confederate States, Colonel McGuirk commanding brigade. May 22, General Forrest ordered Brigadier-General Gholson to take command of his brigade. The brigade was attached for a time to Forrest's command, and then transferred to the command of Wirt Adams before Vicksburg, being ordered to Canton, May 26.

Gholson's Brigade was withdrawn from Adams by General Forrest before Slocum's raid to Jackson, July, 1864, but rejoined General Adams near Jackson, in time to participate in the attack upon Slocum's column about four miles west of Jackson on the evening of July 6, when McGuirk's Regiment charged and attempted to cut off the wagon train. Another attack was made in the morning of the 7th and a third, near Clinton, by Lowry's Regiment. McGuirk's Regiment, commanded by LieutenantColonel Barksdale, had 8 wounded, 1 missing. General Gholson was severely wounded and Colonel McGuirk took command of the brigade.

Later in July the brigade was transferred to Georgia and was temporarily assigned to Walthall’s Division on the Atlanta lines, July 25, and put with Reynold's Brigade. General Reynolds reported that McGuirk's command joined him just before he marched out to the battle on the Lickskillet road, July 28, and they marched out on the left of his line. Reynolds charged the Federal line, behind log works, and was repulsed after a bloody fight. He reported that Colonel McGuirk, under orders from some field officer, charged the works a second time, but was compelled to fall back with considerable loss. "The loss in General Gholson's Brigade, some 450 strong, was 144 killed, wounded and missing." The casualties of McGuirk's Regiment was 8 killed, including Major T. W. Webb and Lieut. S. H. White, commanding Company C. Captain E. L. Richmond was dangerously wounded, Captains Daniel and Orr wounded and missing. Total wounded 43, including Lieuts. James Miller, R. A. Butler, W. O. Cockram, W. H. Thornton and John Griffin.

In the battle of Jonesboro, Ga., August 31, Colonel McGuirk, of Gholson's Brigade, reported to General Granbury with his regiment, dismounted, and a battalion of engineer troops (Major Presstman), and aided in the rout of the enemy in their front. Granbury wrote: "Seeing them endeavoring to rally at a crossing opposite my left flank, I ordered Colonel McGuirk to advance his two battalions in double-quick time, which was executed by that officer promptly and gallantly, and in time for his command to deliver a few volleys before the enemy escaped beyond the river." Moving his whole brigade up to Flint River, Granbury dressed his line on the position of Colonel McGuirk. September

19, General Hood, at Palmetto, ordered Gholson's Cavalry Brigade, then at Opelika, up the west side of the Chattahoochee River, opposite Newnan. September 28, with Ross' Brigade, formed Ross' Division of Jackson's Cavalry. December 12, 1864, McGuirk's Regiment was en route through Montgomery to Mobile. December 16-17, it took part in the pursuit of the Federal expedition to Pollard. January 6, 1865, regiment had been ordered to Brandon. January 20, marching to concentrate with Mabry's Brigade at Canton. February, 1865, McGuirk's Regiment ordered to report to Gen. Wirt Adams.

Paroled under the capitulation of Lieut.-Gen. Richard Taylor made at Citronelle, May 4, 1865.

 

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