General Nathan Bedford Forrest issued orders at Columbia, Tennessee, on February 20, 1863, forming the Eleventh Tennessee Cavalry, composed of 11 companies, including Gordon's and Rivers' companies of Holman's Battalion. General Forrest appointed James M. Edmundson to command the regiment. Daniel W. Holman was appointed Lieutenant Colonel, but was recovering from the wound he had received at Dover and could not immediately rejoin the regiment.
The 11th TN Cavalry was with General Forrest at the capture of Thompson's Station on March 5, where 1200 prisoners were taken; and at the capture of Brentwood on the 25th, where 800 prisoners were taken. On April 19, the regiment was ordered to Florence, Alabama, where it reported to Colonel Philip D. Roddey. The 11th TN Cavalry was part of General Forrest's Cavalry which captured Colonel Abel D. Streight's command, taking 1700 prisoners, roughly three times the force General Forrest had at hand.
"On the 12th of July, 1863, Gen. Bragg sent Capt. Rivers into Middle Tennessee with important papers. Gen. Forrest selected him as the most suitable man that could be found for the mission, and went with him in person to Gen. Bragg. Middle Tennessee was wholly in possession of the enemy. Capt. Rivers performed the prescribed work satisfactorily, and returned within a month, having ridden in all over eight hundred miles to make the round trip."
The regiment then returned to Middle Tennessee, was with General Forrest in the retreat of General Bragg's army to Chattanooga in July, then moved to Post Oak Springs, near Kingston, on August 27, 1863.
They fought at the Battle of Chickamauga on September 19th and 20th, where they suffered casualties, among them Giles Countian William Ballentine, who was killed by a cannon-ball. Ballentine's remains were returned for interment in Maplewood cemetery in Pulaski. The 11th TN Cavalry chased the fleeing Union army within about one-half mile of Chattanooga, taking several hundred prisoners, but losing several killed and wounded. Among those killed was Dr. William McNairy, whose head was torn from his body by an artillery shell. Dr. McNairy at the time was Orderly Sergeant of his River's company, a physician of prominence in Giles County, and a true and faithful soldier. Dr. McNairy is buried in Maplewood cemetery in Pulaski.
Shortly after the Battle of Chickamauga, General Bragg took General Forrest's command away from him, resulting in an altercation which President Jefferson Davis had to resolve by sending General Forrest to Mississippi. The 11th TN Cavalry was placed in General Joseph Wheeler's Cavalry Corps. They moved into East Tennessee as part of General James Longstreet's army and remained there until April, 1864, when they rejoined the Army of Tennessee near Dalton, Georgia.
Around the 1st of October, the regiment was ordered to Cleveland, Tennessee, to rest and recruit. It was during these three weeks at Cleveland that they were taken from General Forrest and turned over again to General Wheeler. From Cleveland, they advanced on a Union brigade camped at Philadelphia, Tennessee, where they captured 700 prisoners, 50 wagons, 12 ambulances, 800 stands of small arms, 6 pieces of artillery, 1000 horses and mules, saddles, etc., and a large amount of commissary and sutlers' stores. "Captain James Rivers, while gallantly charging the retreating Federals with a view of picking up prisoners, was captured, together with several of the men whom he was leading. No exchange could be effected, and he was held a prisoner of war at Johnson's Island till the close of the war."
On November 1, the regiment reached Unitia, a small village on the east bank of the Holston River. A brisk duel ensued, resulting in the death of James Newton Paisley, Orderly Sergeant of Rivers' company, who was shot through the head. The regiment remained in East Tennessee until the following spring. It was exceedingly cold that winter and the men were poorly clad. Many of them, being almost barefooted, wrapped their feet and legs with rags to keep them from freezing. Near the end of March, 864, the 11th TN Cavalry headed for Dalton, Georgia, via Asheville, NC, Greenville, SC, and Atlanta, GA.
The 11th TN Cavalry participated in General Joseph E. Johnston's retreat to Atlanta during the spring and summer of 1864. They fought at Dalton, Resaca, Adairsville, Cassville, and near Dallas, where on May 31, Private C. Buford of Gordon's company was killed and Captain Gordon was severely wounded, never again able for duty. Through the rest of the war, Gordon's company was commanded by Lt. J. M. Edmundson, Lt. Robert Gordon, and Lt. George Rothrock.
The regiment participated in the fighting at Kennesaw Mountain and on the 13th of June, was ordered to report to General Joseph E. Johnston, at Atlanta, for special service. They received much-needed rest, then policed Atlanta, served as scouts, couriers, and almost every duty incident to the army. When General John Bell Hood took command of the Army of Tennessee, the regiment was retained for special service.
After the fall of Atlanta, the 11th TN Cavalry again served under General Forrest. They returned to Tennessee as General Hood made his valiant effort to re-capture Nashville. Following the Battles of Franklin and Nashville, the regiment returned with the remnant of Hood's army south of the Tennessee River. In February, 1865, the 11th TN Cavalry was consolidated with the 10th TN Cavalry and all placed under the command of Colonel Holman. They participated in the aftermath of the capture of Selma, Alabama, on the 2nd of April, 1865, which was to be their last engagement of the war. They made the final surrender at Gainesville, Alabama, in May, 1865.
James H. Edmondson
Daniel W. Holman
Jacob T. Martin
Chatham Coffee. Assignments:
Assigned to Forrest's, Humes', J.B. Biffle's and Dibrell's Brigade.
Hood's operations in Tennessee.
The roster of this unit contains the names of 1557 men.
Co. "B". Organized September 8, 1862 at Chapel Hill, Marshall County.
Co, “D”.Organized October 4, 1862 at Salem, Rutherford County.
Co. "E". Organized September 10, 1862. Men from Cornersville, then Giles, now Marshall County, and Lewisburg, Marshall County.
Co. "G". Organized August 16, 1862 at Thompson Station, Williamson County.
Co. “H”. Chatham Coffee. Organized September 15, 1862 from Coffee and Warren Counties..
Co. “I”. Organized August 10, 1862 at Franklin, Williamson County. Some men from Davidson County.
Co. “L”. Organized July 28, 1862 at McMinnville, Warren County. Bibliography for Research: Source: