Henderson’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’)

 

This independent company’s county of origin has not been determined.

Captain -- Samuel Henderson. [Note: Capt. Henderson is variously referred to below as either Thomas or Samuel Henderson. H. Grady Howell’s "For Dixie Land, I’ll Take My Stand," the best-ever index to MS Confederates, lists neither a Thomas Henderson nor a Samuel Henderson (or any combination thereof) as a captain of any company. Therefore, the identity of Capt. "Samuel Henderson" and/or Capt. "Thomas Henderson" remains a mystery.]

Operating on the Yazoo, February, 1863. Gen. W. H. T. Walker, at Benton, asked for their aid May 31. July 30, General Johnston asked General Jackson to send the scouts to the Mississippi River, to observe the Federal movements above and below Vicksburg. In his report of operations, including action at Concord Church, near Yazoo City, December 1, 1864, Col. John Griffith, commanding brigade of Adams' Cavalry, mentioned the valuable services of "Capt. Sam Henderson, commanding independent company of scouts, who is ever ready, courteous and gallant on all occasions." Gen. Wirt Adams mentioned Capt. Sam Henderson and his scouts as informing him from Vaiden of the movements of Grierson's raiders in December, 1864. Scout Binford reported the Federal operations on the Big Black November 25. January 20, 1865, Maj.Gen. W. T. Martin, commanding at Jackson, wrote: "I had hoped to retain Henderson's Scouts in this district (Mississippi and East Louisiana), they are almost the only reliable scouts I have, knowing the whole country in front and the people along the river, and having established channels of communication which cannot be easily re-established."

January 24, 1863, General Loring, at Grenada, reported: "Thomas Henderson's Scouts report most of Grant's army at Memphis; 10,000 left on the 20th and the remainder is to follow immediately for Vicksburg. Are pressing all boats and sending up the river for others."

After the disaster at Baker's Creek, Pemberton sent Capt. Thomas Henderson with a message to General Johnston, and he brought back, on May 18th, while Grant's army was closing up on the intrenched line, the answer from Johnston, saying: "If Haynes's Bluff is untenable, Vicksburg is of no value and cannot be held. If, therefore, you are invested in Vicksburg, you must ultimately surrender. Under such circumstances, instead of losing both troops and place, we must, if possible, save the troops. If it is not too late, evacuate Vicksburg and march to the northeast." Captain Henderson then carried back Pemberton's reply that it was the unanimous opinion of his general officers in council of war that it was impossible to withdraw the army with such morale and material as to be of further use to the Confederacy. "I have decided to hold Vicksburg as long as is possible, with the firm hope that the government may yet be able to assist me in keeping this obstruction to the enemy's free navigation of the Mississippi River. I still conceive it to be the most important point in the Confederacy."

Colonel Waring wrote to General Washburn, commanding at Memphis, 1864: "I don't understand why Henderson's Scouts are constantly about us. They usually have some communication with Forrest."

August 12, 1864, General Forrest announced Capt. Thomas Henderson as Chief of Scouts for his department of North Mississippi and West Tennessee. Orders of Maj.-Gen. Forrest, December 2, 1864: "There are four regularly organized and recognized companies of scouts for this command, viz.: Capt. T. Henderson's company, Capt. Kizer's company and Capt. Cobb's company. None others will be recognized." The company was on duty during the Alabama campaign of 1865.

 

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