Misssissippi 7th Cavalry Regiment
The Mississippi 7th Cavalry Regiment [also called 1st Partisan Rangers] was organized during the early summer of 1862 under authority granted by General Price and in July had 35 officers and 817 men present for duty.
About the time of its organization President Davis forbade the organization of partisan commands, ordering that all men not over thirty-five years of age in such troops, enrolled after July 31, should be taken as conscripts for the regular regiments. The conscript officers would not recognize General Price's authority, though no action was immediately taken. Colonel Falkner had served with distinction at Manassas, Va., as Colonel of the Second Infantry, and was a veteran of the Mexican War.
Colonel Falkner left Ripley with his command, August 24, 1862, passed north of Corinth, capturing some stragglers from the Federal troops, and on the 26th engaged Sheridan's command near Rienzi. Sheridan reported that Colonel Falkner made a narrow escape, and that eleven prisoners were taken, 200 shotguns, twenty horses, and a large number of pistols. Hatch's Second Iowa Cavalry, which was in this fight, again engaged Falkner September 20, near Peyton's Mill. Falkner lost 5 killed, including a Lieutenant, 10 wounded, 6 captured, and some of his tents and stores. Falkner's reports not available.
October 2, part of the regiment raided the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, near Ramer's crossing, attempting to tear up the track, but was repulsed by the guard, Company A, Seventeenth Wisconsin Infantry.
November 20, Col. A. L. Lee, commanding the Western cavalry at Holly Springs, taking a thousand men, surprised the town of Ripley before daylight and captured Lieutenant-Colonel Hovis of Falkner's Regiment, Major Rogers of the Second Infantry, and several private soldiers. Thence Lee proceeded to Falkner's rendezvous south of Ripley, but Falkner escaped. Seven officers and forty-six men were captured. Lee considered that Falkner's Regiment was "now broken beyond any hope of reorganization, and a great source of petty annoyance to our forces entirely removed." The regiment had been disbanded before this.
The conscript officers had attempted to conscript the men, and, according to General Chalmers, "the regiment was disbanded and the men fled in every direction." (November 15). Colonel Falkner made application to the War Department and was authorized to reassemble his regiment, both conscripts and non-conscripts, except such as had been regularly enrolled in other commands, and under this authority he reassembled his regiment at Pontotoc, February 1, 1863, but the number reassembled never constituted a full regiment.
Falkner seems to have had some force in the field in January, 1863, when he was ordered to remain with the infantry in the vicinity of Grenada when VanDorn started on his Tennessee campaign.
March 30, 1863, Federal scouts reported Barteau's Brigade of Cavalry between Baldwyn and Corinth and west of Barteau the commands of Ham and Falkner, along line of Tallahatchie. April 8, enemy crossing Coldwater, opposed by Falkner and Blythe. On the Federal retreat Falkner followed, skirmishing, to Nonconnah. May 16, Capt. R. R.
White's company ordered to scout toward LaGrange from Cockrum's cross roads. May 30, when Chalmers organized his brigades, attached to Col. Robert MeCulloch's Brigade, with Second Missouri and Waul's legion cavalry.
Colonel Bryant, commanding Federal Brigade, in expedition to Hernando from Memphis, April 18, reported breaking up the camp of Colonel. Falkner north of Hernando, and a fight at that place with Falkner's command, which attacked and was repulsed with the loss of about 40 killed (Chalmers' report) and 72 captured (Bryant's report), including seven officers. On the 19th Bryant was met at the Coldwater by General Chalmers, and a severe engagement followed, which resulted in his abandoning the attempt to cross that day. Major Hayes, Fifth Ohio Cavalry, was badly wounded. June 3, Falkner ordered by Chalmers to collect all his men, not busy in saving wheat crop, and defend crossings near Rocky Ford, Tallahatchie River, against expected expedition from LaGrange.
July, Major Coon, Second Iowa Cavalry, reported that Capt. R. R. White's company burned the Big Hatchie bridge as he advanced toward Jackson, Tenn., and he caught up with them at Clover Creek, when they "skedaddled." Mentioned by Ruggles, in his report of operations against the Phillips raid toward Okolona in June, 1863. Falkner, of Chalmers' command, joined him at New Albany with 200 men, and joined in chasing Phillips as far as Ripley. The regiment, about 240 men, was in the field during the Federal raid to Grenada, August, 1863, under the command of General Chalmers, but was unable to reach Grenada until after the raiders evacuated. This regiment and Major Chalmers' Battalion were then the only troops in the Confederate States service under the command of General Chalmers, who changed his headquarters to Abbeville September 12. October 18 they were assigned to McCulloch's Brigade, with Chalmers' Battalion, Twelfth Regiment, and McCulloch's Missouri Regiment. The regiment, under the command of Lieutenant-Col. Hovis. was on outpost duty early in October, 1863, when General Chalmers was preparing for a raid upon the Memphis and Charleston Railroad in obedience to orders from Gen. S. D. Lee. Chalmers sent out reports that he intended to attack Corinth, causing considerable activity among the Federal cavalry, which had headquarters at LaGrange, Tenn. Hatch, their General, sent expeditions of some strength to Holly Springs, Lockhart's Mill and Salem. Hovis joined Chalmers on his march to Salem, and was left there October 8 to watch the Federal force on the Ripley road while Chalmers set out for Collierville, Tenn., where he hoped to capture the garrison. destroy the military stores and break the railroad. Hovis picketed the various roads and placed Companies I and H, dismounted, on top of the hill at John H. Meacham's house. He had hardly done this when the Union cavalry, under McCrillis, advanced on the upper Ripley road driving in the picket commanded by Captain Stansell. Hovis was then attacked in his position, which he had held for over an hour, notifying Chalmers of his danger. Being outflanked he fell hack to Terry's field and from there to the hill at Mrs. Youngs. McCrillis reported that he had encountered the enemy in force and attacked with a battalion of the Sixth Tennessee, the Ninth Illinois with a howitzer battery, and then with the Tennessee Regiment dismounted supported by the Third Illinois Cavalry mounted. He took a strong position where Chalmers attacked him. After three hours of hard fighting, lasting until dark, in which Hovis joined on the right flank, "bravely and successfully," Chalmers said, the enemy retreated towards LaGrange.
In the attack on Collierville, Tenn., October 11, the duty assigned this regiment, about 150 strong, brigaded with McGuirk's under the command of the latter officer, was to gain possession of the town and attack the fort from the rear. They attacked the camp northwest of the town and drove out the cavalry and infantry there. Captain H. L. Duncan, with Company F, the advance guard, charged the Federal outpost or town guard and pursued them near the stockade, capturing fifteen prisoners. Colonel Hovis reported that when he was within seventy-five yards of the camp the enemy opened a scattering fire, and "my men stopped to fire and ruined everything. I immediately ordered the regiment to dismount and charge on foot, which was done, I am proud to say, in gallant style. The enemy made a short resistance and fled, closely pursued by the men of both regiments, capturing a good many prisoners. I was ordered by the Colonel commanding to burn the camp and property that could not be got away (a large amount), which was executed." The fort was held by a battalion of the Sixty-sixth Indiana, reinforced and encouraged by the accidental presence of General Sherman and his escort, a battalion of regulars. General Chalmers, after this repulse, went to his home, leaving Colonel Richardson to conduct the retreat. There was severe fighting on the retreat, near Byhalia on the 12th and at the river near Wyatt on the 13th. Here Hovis and his regiment, with McGuirk's, recrossed the river and relieved the rear guard under Colonel Inge, which was closely pressed, and the regiment behaved gallantly, though half the guns were useless on account of the rain. Colonel McGuirk reported that the regiment behaved nobly and sustained a heavy loss.
November 1 General Chalmers crossed the Coldwater on a second expedition against Collierville, during the transfer of Sherman's troops to Chattanooga. Near Quinn's mill the regiment aided in the capture of the outpost of a Lieutenant and twenty-six men. Pushing on to Collierville, November 3, 1863, McCulloch's Brigade, with the First Partisans, under Hovis, in the center of the line, attacked from the south and east of the town. But Hatch, the Federal cavalry commander, had arrived with reinforcements, and after an hour's fighting the Confederates were repulsed with considerable loss. Hovis formed a line of battle and held the enemy in check while the rest of the brigade moved off, and he was left alone for some time. Having retreated three miles he was attacked by the pursuers, whom Major Park, with three companies, held in check. When in sight of the crossing of the Coldwater the regiment went into line of battle again, while the remainder of the troops crossed. In the crossing of the regiment Major Park was again distinguished for bravery. Dismounting, the regiment held the ford against the enemy until after dark. In this expedition the Partisans had 13 wounded. December 1, crossing the Coldwater at very high water, the regiment moved for Tennessee again, Chalmers leading an expedition in support of the movements of S. D. Lee and Forrest. December 4, at the State line crossing of Wolf River, McCulloch attacked Hatch's Cavalry with the First Partisans, Chalmers' escort, and two other companies. A brisk battle resulted, in which Hatch was severely wounded.
General Chalmers reported, January 8, 1864, that Colonel Falkner had resigned and Colonel Stith had been sent up to take command but had been advised by the officers not to do so. Chalmers thereupon consolidated the first and fourth companies of the Eighteenth Battalion with the regiment, under the following officers: L. B. Hovis, of the regiment, Colonel; A. H. Chalmers, of the battalion, Lieutenant-Colonel; J. M. Park, of the regiment, Major. This was not permanent.
The regiment was listed, Lieut.-Col. L. B. Hovis commanding, in McCulloch's Brigade, with McCulloch's Missouri Regiment, Chalmers' and Duff's Battalions and McLendon's Battery, in the organization of cavalry under Maj.-Gen. S. D. Lee, January, 1864. When the cavalry expedition of Gen. Sooy Smith passed Holly Springs February 12, General Chalmers, with McCulloch's Brigade and Hoole's Battery, moved from Oxford toward West Point to join General Forrest's command. McCulloch took part in the battle at Sakatonchee Creek, February 21, and the fighting at and near Okolona as Smith retreated from the creek. When Chalmers and Forrest made their famous raid through Tennessee, in April following, the First Partisans, under Major Park, and McGuirk's Regiment, made a demonstration toward Memphis, reporting that General Lee was advancing that way, thus securing more freedom of movement for the capture of Fort Pillow.
Forrest sent the regiment up to Corinth in March, 1864, "to breast the country" to Holly Springs and Oxford, to collect absentees and conscripts. In April they were ordered to co-operate with McGuirk's Regiment in a similar expedition toward Memphis. May, 1864, Maj. James M. Park commanding, in McCulloch's Brigade. May 19, Lieut.-Col. S. M. Hyams, Second Missouri, assigned to temporary command until War Department could act on recommendations. July 19, 1864, order of War Department changing the name from First Mississippi Partisan Rangers to Seventh Regiment Mississippi Cavalry.
In July the regiment took part in the fighting between Pontotoc and Tupelo, including the battle of Harrisburg, and had 8 killed, 24 wounded, among the latter Lieut. D. M. Patton, Company A; Lieutenant Hadden, Company F; Lieut. W. A. A. Crook, Company G. With the brigade under Col. W. B. Wade, the Seventh skirmished with Hatch's raid to Oxford, when the town was burned August, 1864; 1 man killed in the engagement at Abbeville, August 23. They were sent to Mobile under Colonel Hyams, arriving September 4. Return of district of gulf, November 10, includes the Seventh Regiment, 244 present, effective 65. December 1, detachment of Capt. Thomas Ford in Mobile district. February, 1865, Seventh Regiment, Col. T. W. White commanding, assigned to Armstrong's Brigade and Ballentine's Regiment consolidated with it. March 11, Captain Ford ordered to report with his command at Columbus. Armstrong's Brigade made a gallant defense of the works at Selma, April 2, 1865, under General Forrest.
Colonels William C. Falkner and Samuel M. Hyams, Jr., Lieutenant Colonels L.B. Hovis and James M. Park, and Majors W.L. Davis and William N. Stansell.
Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana and later was assigned to Chalmer's, R. McCulloc's, and Starke's Brigade.