Hams 1st Battalion Mississippi State Cavalry,
aka 16th Battalion State Cavalry
(from Dunbar Rowlands "Military History of Mississippi, 1803-1898"; company listing courtesy of H. Grady Howells "For Dixie Land, Ill Take My Stand)
Company A -- Tishomingo Rangers (raised in Tishomingo County, MS)
Company B -- Hams Company (raised in Tishomingo County, MS)
Company C -- Yates Company (raised in Tishomingo County, MS)
Company D -- Whites Company (raised in Tishomingo County, MS)
Company E -- McNeils Company (raised in Yalobusha County, MS)
Company F -- Gilstraps Company (raised in Itawamba County, MS)
Company G -- Mayes Company (raised in Itawamba & Tishomingo Counties, MS)
Company H -- Rees Company (raised in Itawamba County, MS)
Colonel -- Thomas W. Ham. Surgeon -- M.W. Bynum. Quartermaster -- W.L. Williams. Adjutant -- G.W. Bynum. Sergeants -- A.W. Petty, T.W. Jones, W. Smith.
The above companies were organized under the call of Gen. J. E. Johnston, March 20, 1863. Gen. Daniel Ruggles, commanding at Columbus, reported "Weatherall's, Ham's, Carpenter's, Warren's and Cox's State Cavalry organizing."
Captain Ham, with four companies, and Smith's State Regiment and Inge's Battalion, and the Second Tennessee, all under Colonel Barteau, of the latter regiment, fought the battle of Palo Alto, April 22, 1863, with Hatch's Iowa Cavalry Squadron, which had been detached from Grierson's main column to strike at Macon. Barteau reported that Colonel Smith and Captain Ham acted gallantly, but he blamed their commands with allowing the enemy to escape. Hatch reported that he was being worsted in the fight, one of his companies cut off and nearly captured, and his whole command attacked from all sides, when he changed front to rear, and at close range opened with his artillery and broke the lines, cut his way out and recaptured his lost company. Grierson abandoned his purpose and turned north pursued by Barteau, with frequent skirmishing and a fight of over two hours at Camp Creek, near Birmingham, where Hatch burned the bridge, stopping the pursuit.
Major Ham's Battalion, entitled the First Battalion, Mississippi State Cavalry, was organized at Guntown, May 18, 1863, including Companies A, B, C, D, E. Companies F, G, H, were added during 1863. "It appears that by an agreement understood by the President, the Governor and General Pemberton, the upper tier of counties and one-half of the second tier, being considered outside our military lines, were exempted from conscription, and State and partisan companies were authorized to be raised and the conscripts in them were not to be interfered with." (S. D. Lee, report September, 1863). The Governor stated that the men were mustered in for twelve months, but their rolls were never verified by Confederate States officers. Many of the men also attended to their home duties, and threats to conscript them, and the general uncertainty of their enlistment did not encourage them as efficient troops. They were unpaid for months also. They were under orders of the Confederate authorities and rationed and paid by the Confederate States. Generals Chalmers and Ferguson, commanding in the north of the State, were directed to assume command of them. Samuel J. Gholson, commissioned Major-General of State troops, April 18, 1863, took command of State troops in the northeast.
General Ruggles was notified June 4, 1863, of the order by Governor Pettus that Smith's Regiment and Ham's Battalion should be turned over to the Confederate authorities, but only 35 men of Ham's Battalion could be assembled for that purpose. In October they were yet State troops under General Gholson's command, on the front line, but not under the orders of Colonel Richardson, the district commander in the northeast. September 7, the battalion drove back a Federal battalion through Jacinto.
November 3, 1863, while General Chalmers made his second attack on Collierville, General Gholson organized a force of 270 men, including part of the battalion under Major Ham, which, under the command of Colonel Neely, left camp at Knight's Mill, and burned three trestles on the railroad and the depot, barracks and stockade at Middleton.
In February. 1864, they took part in Forrest's campaign against Sooy Smith (see Second Cavalry, Lowry). In March their strength was reported 320 aggregate.
The battalion was re-enlisted early in 1864, in the State service, and transferred early in May to the Confederate States service. Soon afterward it was increased to Ham's Regiment, which see.
Do you have an ancestor in this unit? If so, contact the Mississippi Department of Archives and History for his service record. Then contact us for a membership application.