Bradford’s Scouts [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’)

Capt. Nelson’s Company?

Capt. Owen’s Company?

No reliable company listing available.

An act of Congress, approved June 10, 1864, authorized the appointment of a Major and four Captains, to raise four companies to do service as scouts in the Mississippi Valley. General S. D. Lee was instructed that two of the companies were to be raised on the east shore, one in North Mississippi and West Tennessee, and the other from South Mississippi and East Louisiana. "Capt. Thomas M. Nelson's company might be taken from the first named locality, and Capt. Owen's company, which has been operating in Wilkinson County, from the last. The corps will be commanded by Capt. Thomas M. Nelson, who will be appointed Major." Maj. J. D. Bradford, however, was assigned to command. According to Federal information, the scouts, 60 in number, were ordered to report at Canton, then at Mechanicsburg, where they arrived November 30. "Their main object is to facilitate communication between the Mississippi and Trans-Mississippi departments."

In Federal’s report of action near Rolling Fork, September 22, 1864, commands of Bradford and Montgomery reported 150 men. Their camp on the Helen Johnston Plantation destroyed by Colonel Osband, and buildings burned. The scouts, under the command of Major Bradford, were in battle as skirmishers for Griffith's (Mabry's) Brigade, in the action at Concord Church, Yazoo County, December 1, 1864, and were given honorable mention in Griffith's report of his victory.

February 24, 1865, Inspector-General J. F. Girault reported that the practice of selecting men for this battalion from any other command at the will of the Major commanding had caused much evil and that it would be difficult to discover any benefit resulting from the organization. "I am satisfied that this command has not performed the service assigned it when the authority was given."