Brigadier-General Wirt Adams, of Mississippi, was one of the most dauntless cavalry leaders of the war. He was a commissioner from Mississippi to Louisiana to ask that State to go with Mississippi in secession and the formation of a Confederacy, and as soon as Mississippi seceded he went to work to recruit soldiers for the Confederate army. He raised a regiment known as the First Mississippi cavalry, and was commissioned colonel on October 15, 1861. Until the spring of 1862 he was engaged generally in scouting and picket duty, keeping the Confederate generals apprised of the movements of the enemy and occasionally skirmishing with detached parties. In the spring of 1862 he was given charge of the companies organized under the call of Governor Rector, of Arkansas. Accompanying Van Dorn to Mississippi he served on his staff as chief of artillery in the battle of Corinth. In the campaign in north Mississippi, both before and after Shiloh, he was ever on the move with his command until the name of Wirt Adams was famous throughout the West. When the Federals were advancing upon Chattanooga under Negley in the summer of 1862, Adams, with a smaller force, impeded their march and brought their schemes to naught. In the campaign resulting in the battles of Iuka and Corinth he performed very important services. During the Grierson raid in the spring of 1863, Colonel Adams did the best that could be done with the means at his command to check and impede the movements of the great Federal raider. At Union Church, though unable to defeat Grierson, he did cause him to turn aside from his intended attack upon Natchez. For his important services during the Vicksburg campaign he was made brigadier-general in the provisional army of the Confederate States, being commissioned on September 28, 1863. During 1864 the scene of Adams' operations was in north Alabama, Mississippi and west Tennessee. As the year 1865 opened it was evident that the days of the Southern Confederacy were about numbered. The army of the Tennessee had been worn down to a feeble remnant. What was left of it had been sent into North Carolina to help the forces in that section make some sort of headway against Sherman. General Wilson was preparing his great cavalry expedition to sweep through Alabama and Georgia. Forrest, with a remnant of his once splendid and invincible cavalry, attempted to make head against the numerous and splendidly equipped body of horsemen led by Wilson. If he could have concentrated his bands, widely scattered for the purpose of guarding many points, he might have repeated the victories of Okolona and Guntown. But the various regiments belonging to his command, with their broken-down horses, could not get together in time to offer effective resistance. Wirt Adams with his brigade formed part of the force with which Forrest tried to stem the tide of disaster. Though the Confederates fought with the old-time spirit, it was all in vain. At last news came of the capitulation of the main armies of the Confederacy. Then Forrest and all the bands led by him laid down their arms also, and peace again reigned throughout the land. General Adams returned to his home in Mississippi and resumed the vocations of civil life. On May 1, 1888, he was killed in Jackson, Miss., by John H. Martin. Thus perished a man who had once led Mississippi's sons in the thickest of the fray and who had gone unscathed through many a storm.
Confederate Military History, Vol. VI.