8th Mississippi Cavalry

[formerly 19th Battalion Mississippi Cavalry (Duff’s)]


(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’)




COMPANIES COMPRISING THE 19TH BATTALION MS CAVALRY:


Company A -- Williams’ Company (raised in Calhoun County, MS)


Company B -- Mitchell’s Company (raised in Calhoun County, MS)


Company C -- Duff Guards (raised in Yalobusha County, MS)


Company D -- Cochran’s Company (raised in Choctaw County, MS)


Company E -- Walker’s Company (raised in Chickasaw County, MS)


Company E [sic] -- Abert’s Company (raised in Lowndes County, MS)


Company F -- Shackelford’s Company (raised in Itawamba County, MS)


Company F [sic] -- Fields’ Company (raised in Lowndes County, MS)


Company G -- Matthews’ Company (raised in Lowndes County, MS)


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




COMPANIES COMPRISING THE 8TH MS CAVALRY:


Company A -- Williams’ Company (raised in Calhoun County, MS)


Company B -- Mitchell’s Company (raised in Calhoun County, MS)


Company C -- Duff Guards (raised in Yalobusha County, MS)


Company D -- Cochran’s Company (raised in Choctaw County, MS)


Company E -- Walker’s Company (raised in Chickasaw County, MS)


Company F -- Shackelford’s Company (raised in Itawamba County, MS)


Company G -- Duke’s Company, aka Duke’s Company of Independent Scouts (raised in Itawamba County, MS)


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


Company I -- Robinson’s Company (raised in Oktibbeha County, MS)


Company K -- Cox’s Company (raised in Calhoun County, MS)




Lieutenant-Colonel -- William L. Duff. Major -- William L. Walker.

Major William L. Duff, formerly of the Seventeenth Mississippi Infantry, Army of Northern Virginia, returned to Mississippi and received authority from the Secretary of War to raise a battalion for the defense of Northern Mississippi. Col. R.V. Richardson, commanding in Northeast Mississippi, October 28, 1863, reported: "There are now several new battalions and regiments forming in my district. Lieutenant-Colonel Duff has a battalion nearly ready for the field. They need about 500 guns, and saddles, accouterments and equipments."

General Chalmers secured their transfer to his command, and assigned the battalion to McCulloch's Brigade, with Chalmers' Battalion and the First Partisans. Their first active service was in the raid on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad in December, 1863, and several were killed and wounded in the fight at Moscow, December 4.

Being transferred in January, 1864, to Col. Jeff Forrest's Brigade, they were with Jeff Forrest in his repulse of Gen. Sooy Smith at Sakatonchee Creek, February 21, 1864, and aided in driving Smith's command through Okolona, and took part in the severe fighting five miles beyond (February 22), when Col. Jeff Forrest was killed. Duff's Battalion had 8 killed, including Lieuts. J. T. Morris, N. Rayburn and A. Swain, and

9 wounded. A newspaper report gave it 1I killed, 67 wounded.

In his report of the capture of Fort Pillow, General Chalmers especially commended "the lion-hearted McCulloch, with his fighting brigade of Missourians, Texans and Mississippians."

In May, 1864, the battalion was filled to form the Eighth Regiment, and attached to Rucker's Brigade, Forrest's Cavalry.

At the battle of Brice's crossroads, or Tishomingo Creek, June 10, General Forrest reported that in forming his line of battle he held Rucker's Third Regiment, under Colonel Duff, mounted, as a reserve. As the attack was ordered, he placed Duff's Regiment and his escort at the extreme left of the line, beyond the Guntown and Ripley road. "Colonel Duff and my escort, dismounted, were ordered to charge the enemy's position in front of Newsom's Regiment (after it was repulsed), and succeeded in driving the enemy to his second line." After two hours' hard fighting along the whole line, the Federal troops, under Sturgis, gave way and were pursued to Salem during the following day. In this famous victory the Eighth had 9 killed, including Lieut. W. R. Welch and Ensign W. R. Hogg, and 47 wounded. Forrest's Loss, out of 3,500 engaged, was 96 killed, 396 wounded; Sturgis' loss, out of 8,000 in the expedition, was 223 killed, 394 wounded, 1,623 captured. One of Sturgis' brigades was Negroes. Of the white troops engaged, the losses on both sides in killed were practically equal.

The regiment was also engaged with A. J. Smith’s expedition to Tupelo in July. Col. Lyman M. Ward, commanding a Federal brigade of cavalry, reported that the Fourteenth Wisconsin, guarding the wagon train, was furiously attacked July 13 by a brigade of cavalry commanded by Colonel Duff, of the Nineteenth Mississippi. Another Wisconsin regiment was sent into the fight, on the flank, and Duff retreated before a charge, "leaving his dead on the field and the battleflag of the Nineteenth Mississippi, which was captured and brought off by Capt. C. G. M. Mansfield, Fourteenth Wisconsin."

General Chalmers reported that in this affair, at Bartram’s shop, he attacked with Rucker's Brigade, got possession of the train and killed all the mules, so that the enemy was compelled to burn several wagons, but "his infantry rallied, and by superior numbers forced us to retire." General Forrest, who was in the rear with two brigades, came up, and they moved toward Tupelo. In the battle of Harrisburg, July 14, when Gen. S. D. Lee attacked with the commands of Chalmers and Forrest, the Federal command being strongly posted, Rucker's Brigade made a gallant charge in which many fell from heat and exhaustion, and many were killed and wounded. Colonel Rucker and Colonel Duff were both severely wounded.

The following statement of casualties, July 13-15, 1864, is condensed from a newspaper report at the time:

Field and staff -- Colonel Duff, severely wounded; Capt. C. W. Johnston, Slightly; Sergt.-Maj. A. A. Gillespie, slightly; Color Bearer W. H. Bart, killed.

Company A, Lieut. T. J. Kennedy commanding -- Killed, Lieut. W. N. Cox and Private Wiley Morgan; wounded, Lieut. J. T. Clayton and 6 others.

Company B, Capt. W. T. Therrell commanding -- Killed, Lieut. E. W. Jennings and Private C. Harden; wounded, 6.

Company C, Lieut. Thomas J. Bell commanding -- Killed, Private A. McKinney; wounded, Lieut. W. D. Thornton and 15 others.

Company D, Capt. E. B. Cochrane -- Killed, Private J. T. Stone; wounded, Captain Cochrane and 5 others.

Company E, Lieut. T. W. Atkins commanding -- 8 wounded.

Company F, Lieut. R. L. Bean commanding -- Killed, J. B, Pearson; wounded, 8.

Company G, Lieut. W.W. Stone commanding -- Killed, Sergt. E. G. Suggs; wounded, Lieut. L. G. Knowles and 7 others.

Company H, Lieut. E. B. Kilpatrick commanding -- 3 wounded.

Company I, Capt. W. W. Robinson commanding -- Wounded, Captain Robinson, Lieut. E. R. Yerger and 5 others; missing, Sergt. Ira P. Beasley.

Company K, Lieut. B. B. Duke commanding -- Killed, privates D.H.H. Berry, and D.W. Quinn; wounded, 7.

Order of the Secretary of War, July 19, 1864: “The Nineteenth Mississippi Battalion, Lieut.-Col.. W. L. Duff, having been increased to ten companies by the addition of four companies raised within the enemy’s lines, will constitute the Eighth Regiment. Mississippi Cavalry." Lieut.Col. William L. Walker commanding in August.

In September McCulloch's Brigade was sent to Mobile. The Union commander at Pensacola reported October 25, 1864, that McCulloch's Brigade was stationed at Pollard, Ala., and companies of the Eighth Mississippi at Milton, Fla., and Pine Barren bridge.

A newspaper scrap undated records an accident in the camp of the Eighth Mississippi, McCulloch's Brigade, Forrest's Cavalry. Companies H and D were occupying au old building for shelter from severe cold weather, when it was blown down by the storm about 1 o'clock at night, killing 3 and wounding 15.

Federal expedition to Milton, Fla.. reported skirmish with 70 or 80 of the Eighth Mississippi Cavalry, October, 1864. Mobile papers reported that about 50 of the regiment were captured.

General Davidson, U. S. Army, led an expedition from Baton Rouge against the Mobile and Ohio Railroad in the latter part of November, and after pontooning the Amite, Pearl and Black Rivers and Red Creek, sent the Second New York Cavalry across the Leaf and Chickasawhay. The regiment was met by McCulloch’s Brigade, including the Eighth Cavalry, and driven back. Davidson finding the river impassable December 9, moved his command to Pascagoula.

In the spring of 1865, the Sixth Cavalry was consolidated with the Eighth, Colonel Duff commanding.