Research Clanton's Alabama Battery service record

Feb 11, 2019
Heart of Dixie
Does anyone have a detailed battle record for this unit? I've seen several differing ones... Pardon my ignorance, just want to trace where my ancestor was during the war.

Forever grateful for any help.


Member of the Year
Regtl. Staff Shiloh 2020
Mar 22, 2009
Collierville, TN
Does anyone have a detailed battle record for this unit? I've seen several differing ones... Pardon my ignorance, just want to trace where my ancestor was during the war.
I've heard of this unit. Probably saw it in some Org Table. Maybe I am thinking of Clanton's 1st Alabama Cavalry regiment that was at Shiloh.

Are you looking for what brigades and armies it was with or a complete history?


Feb 20, 2005
From another message board by a poster with in depth knowledge of Alabama units.

Posted By: Alan J. Pitts <Send E-Mail>
Date: Mon, 12 May 2003, at 4:56 p.m.

In Response To: Re: 6th Regt Ala Cav (Henry Drake)

James H. Clanton certainly had political contacts in Montgomery, but his war record doesn't indicate strong command abilities. His lack of accomplishments & recognition cannot all be ascribed to opposition by Bragg. Others -- Nathan Bedford Forrest, for instance --incurred Bragg's displeasure & still managed to rise to higher command.

Maj Gen Dabney H. Maury generated much of the criticism of Clanton during the “Peace Society” affair:

Hqs Dept of the Gulf, Maury to Sec of War [copy to Gen Polk]: That Gen Clanton's command is full of this disaffection is not surprising when we consider the elements of which it is made up & the manner in which they were brought into service.... Some of them are conscripts, some substitutes. Unusual influences & inducements have been used to recruit them & to keep them. They have been kept near their homes, have received many indulgences, & have never been in real field service. It is now developed that they have many of them bound themselves to each other by solemn oaths never to fight against the enemy, to desert the service of the Confederacy; to encourage & protect deserters, & to do all other things in their power to end the war & break down the Gov’t & the "so-called Southern Confederacy." In all of this they are...encouraged & assisted by people of their own section of country, many of whom are said to be members of the secret organization.... It seems to me desirable to place Gen Clanton & his Bgde in active field service, far away from their homes, & distribute his Regts among other troops.

Clanton's men enlisted long after passage of the Conscript Act & cannot be classified as volunteers. Consequently Maury's comment about disaffection is understandable. Clanton was absolved of all responsibility for neglect of duty by a military court, but several field & Co officers were cashiered. Certainly the 57th & 61st Regts, as well as the 7th Cav, performed much better after being reassigned & placed under other cdrs.

Clanton's rebuttal of the charges leveled against him sounds persuasive, but it isn't clear that Gen Polk became his advocate & patron in the Army of Tenn. If Polk indeed complimented Clanton for his services, it was for some action Clanton took as a volunteer aide & not as a field cdr, since Clanton never served as such in the Army of Tenn. I've not seen Polk's actual comments on record anywhere.

Capt C. S. Hardman suggests that Clanton was going to be given command of the Ala Cav Bgde, but that obviously never happened. Gen Wheeler was in great need of qualified Bgde cdrs, but doesn't seem to have regarded Clanton as a good candidate. Gen Johnston's comments about Clanton appear in a footnote to an order of battle for the Army of Tenn. When the War Dept questioned the disappearance of the 6th Cav from Johnston's rolls, Johnston replied along these lines:

Clanton had reported for duty with his Regt, offering that it had done good service in Ala collecting conscripts & pursuing deserters. Johnston replied that since Clanton had been achieving these goals with such great success, he should take his Regt back to Ala & continue his good work.

In any case, Clanton was back at Blue Mountain by early July. His command -- the 6th & 8th Cav, the latter a Bn-sized unit -- was roughly handled by Rousseau. Clanton's personal staff was decimated, & two field officers of the 6th Ala Cav captured. At least one of Livingston's Capt’s was left dead on the field, & many more casualties never reported.

Rousseau enjoyed a great advantage in numbers. His Regts were better armed, better equipped & had been in service for quite some time. Given the numbers involved, the condition of his command & its lack of combat experience, Clanton was foolhardy to have sacrificed it in an attack. He might have delayed Rousseau's crossing of the Coosa & bought time for CS reserves to be collected, but that's about it.

As freely discussed on this board, CS Cav was most often armed & equipped as mounted Infy. They should have been admirably suited for defense, being armed with muskets & capable of deploying & withdrawing quickly. With better discipline, morale & equipment, Clanton should have been able to delay Rousseau for at least a day.

As for Roddey, only part of his command was in Ms. Stuart's Bn & six Co’s of the 5th Ala Cav under Col Patterson were picketing in the Courtland area. Col Nixon's Tenn Cav was camped in the same area. Positioned eighty miles southeast of Guntersville, it is difficult to see how Clanton could effectively replace or reinforce Roddey's forces in the Tenn Valley.

Based on the Evans account of Cheraw, I'm not sure how we can say that Rousseau's men "fled" the scene. It's also not clear to me how Clanton's Cav figured in that action. Both sides at Pine Barren Creek seem to have been roughly equal in number, the Federal group consisting of two relatively new black Regts. As for Bluff Springs, Clanton was down & his command "cut to smatters" in the words of one forlorn participant long before they reached the Escambia bridge. In fairness to Clanton, few CS units performed very ably at this point in the war.

I give the survivors credit for regrouping at Greenville. Capt Hardman wrote from Benton on Apr. 9, 1865, telling his family about a stampede by a local reserve unit. A panic took place when a planter moved his slaves away from the river. Mistaking them for the Yankees, reserves called for their horses & quickly rode to a point of safety. Hardman complained that these "trifling cowards" wanted to see fighting done, but were unwilling to do it themselves.

To answer your question about Capt Hardman, he clearly meant that he was ashamed to confess that he belonged to Clanton's command. Again, in fairness to these men, they never seemed to have the opportunity to build morale & gain confidence in themselves or their leaders. I'm sure they did the best they could, but Clanton & his Bgde always seemed to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. A hard-luck command if there ever was one.

Posted By: Alan J. Pitts 8 May 2003, In Response to: 6th Regt Ala Calvary (Mike Riley)

A hard-luck group if there ever was one. Electing field officers at Pine Level, Ala, May 1, 1863, Colvin’s Regt was referred to as the 5th Ala Cav until October 14, 1863. The War Dept issued field & staff appointments on that date. Six Co’s had been a mounted Bn in Clanton’s Legion, forming on March 15, 1863. Officers & men enlisted for three years or the war.

The Regt was based at Pollard on the Mobile & Northern RR near the Fla line from the summer of 1863 until the winter of 1864. At that time CS authorities discovered a "peace society" flourishing among members of Clanton's Bgde who were reported to have plans to lay down their arms on Christmas Day & go home. As you might guess, there was loss of confidence in Clanton & most of officers as a result.

Most of Clanton's units were transferred elsewhere, leaving him with only a Btry, Chandler's Cav Bn (the basis of Livingston's 8th Ala) & the 6th Ala Cav. For a time these units were stationed in northeast Ala at Blue Mountain. While here Clanton's men watched as other Confederates passed through on their way to join the Army of Tenn. Capt. Charles T. Hardman of Co "B" wrote home in mid-May 1864, saying I am almost ashamed to say to what command I belong.

The Regt eventually served with Armstrong's Bgde on the west flank of the army from late May until the end of June 1864. However, Gen Johnston evidently did not wish to retain Clanton or the 6th Ala, sending both back to Blue Mountain. Clanton returned in time to be crushed by Rousseau's veterans at Ten Islands on July 14, 1864. That account may be found in David Evans, "Sherman's Horsemen".

The 6th Ala remained in the area through Oct 1864, when Hood's army retreated through the area. In late Nov, dismounted men from the 6th Ala were sent to meet a Federal raid from Ms, getting as far west as Scooba MS on the Mobile & Ohio RR without making contact with the enemy. From there they were sent back to Pollard, which had been burned by Federal raiders just before their arrival. Clanton pursued & defeated the Federals at Pine Barren Creek FL on Dec. 17-18, 1864, his only victory of any significance during the war.

Most of the Regt was captured at Bluff Spring FL, March 25, 1865, imprisoned at Ship Island MS, & exchanged near Vicksburg, May 6, 1865. Survivors collected at Greenville AL fought against Wilson from Benton in Lowndes County through Montgomery & east to Columbus GA. The Regt surrendered at Gainesville AL, May 14, 1865.

Here's a reasonably good link which will provide more data:

I hope my comments don't appear argumentative. I mean them just as friendly debate. Would it be possible to get copies of the Bluff Springs account & Capt Hardman's? Agree that Clanton's command faced difficult circumstances, but suggest that the command has much for which to be proud.

Clanton verdict: Maury's own court absolved Clanton of any guilt.

Thos. J. Judge, Presiding Judge, Military Court, Gen. Maury's Corps, Sam'l J. Douglas, Assistant Judge, Andrew Herrox, Assistant Judge, & B.J. Fitzpatrick, Judge-Advocate, at Mobile, to Gen. Clanton, 5/4/64: "the undersigned take pleasure in stating that in the many cases tried before the military court at this place for mutiny, & for knowing of an intended mutiny & not giving information thereof, which cases originated in your Bgde, & are supposed to have grown out of a secret organization or society having for its object the breaking up of our army, no development was made whatever showing or indicating, in the slightest degree, blame on your part, either for a want of proper discipline in your command, or for a failure to discharge any duty incumbent on you as cdr of the Bgde; & we add further that evidence in the cases showed that said secret society did not originate in your command. We also state that you displayed commendable zeal & efficiency in having guilty parties properly prosecuted, & especially in ferreting out & having prosecuted & punished officers of your command who had been guilty of speculating in illegal substitute transactions. One member of the court, the presiding judge, & also the judge-advocate, well know, & cheerfully state, that you are entitled to the highest credit for the noble, patriotic, & self-sacrificing spirit displayed by you in your valuable services during this war, & more especially for your services in raising your late Bgde - a difficult task, which could not have been so successfully performed by any other".
OR v26 c38 p2 pg557

Clanton's service with the Army of Tenn: Polk's commendation of Clanton was prior to his service in Ga, but he was also commended for his service with Polk's Corps of the army.

Polk to Cooper, March 8, 1864: "a Bgde of two full Regts with their Bgde cdr, Gen Clanton. He is an experienced Cav officer, very efficient & enterprising. One Regt is well organized & officered, the other just formed & without field officers".
OR v32 c44 p3 pg594

"Ordered to Dalton, he reached there in advance of his command, & served on Gen Polk's staff at Resaca, Adairsville, & Cassville, receiving the thanks of the Gen for this service in placing the Arty & stores across the Etowah at the latter place". Confederate Military History, Vol. VII, p. 399 (Wheeler)

Clanton's move to Blue Mountain: Clanton, under orders of Polk, then Lee, as part of Pillow's command, was sent to Blue Mountain to defend against raids. Lee had ordered Roddey to Talladega a week prior to ordering Pillow & Clanton to the area.

Gen. Polk, Feb 1, 1864, ordered "Brig-Gen Clanton will establish his Hqs at Gadsden & organize & complete the 8th Ala Cav. He is charged with the duty of affording all the protection in his power to the coal & iron sections of Ala & the public works at Selma. The following-named commands are ordered to report to Gen Clanton at Gadsden, Ala.: Clanton’s Btry, at Montgomery, Ala. The 6th Ala Cav, at Meridian, Miss. Faulkner’s, Dupre’s, & Orme’s Co’s, accompanies the 6th Ala Cav, & Houston’s Co, now in Wilcox County".
OR v32 c44 p2 pg651

Montgomery, Ala., March 5, 1864: Dist of N Ala S O #11-"I. Brig-Gen Pillow is assigned to the command of the Cav of this district. He will organize it into Regts & Bgdes with the least possible delay."
OR v32 c44 p3 pg589

Cooper to Johnston, April 2, 1864:, "Special orders of this date direct Gen Roddey with his command to resume his former position & to report to Lt-Gen Polk. Gen Clanton in same order is directed with his command to replace that of Gen Roddey & to report to you".
OR v32 c44 p3 pg738

Polk ordered April 25, 1864: "Brig Gen G. J. Pillow will report to Maj Gen S. D. Lee for assignment".
OR v32 c44 p3 pg823

APRIL 30, 1864: "The 6th Ala Cav transferred to Clanton’s Bgde".
OR v38 c50 p3 pg653

S. D. LEE to POLK May 23, 1864: "Chalmers is moving to Montevallo. Orders sent to Roddey yesterday morning to send force to Talladega".
OR v39 c51 p2 pg617

S. D. LEE to PILLOW MAY 23, 1864: "Send order in my name to Roddey for half his available force to go to Talladega without delay".
OR v39 c51 p2 pg617

S.D. LEE to PILLOW May 24, 1864: "I sent orders to Roddey early this morning. A considerable Cav force is now moving for protection of works, rush your new Bgde up in advance, say to Talladega".
Or v39 c51 p2 pg621

S.D. LEE to PILLOW June 1, 1864: "You as senior officer will have charge of the Cav for the defense of the iron & coal works. It is my wish that your Bgde & Clanton’s should be at Blue Mountain, & only such part of Chalmers’ force as may be necessary there, the most of Chalmers’ Div remaining at Montevallo. I desire you to take Clanton in hand & have his men got together. I understand many of the officers have furloughed the men varying from thirty to sixty days".
OR v38 c50 p4 pg754

PILLOW to S. D. LEE June 2, 1864: "I have been to Blue Mountain... We have no force at Blue Mountain, nor in advance of that point as far as I could ascertain. A Regt, 6th Ala, Clanton’s Bgde, which was thought to be there, left that place a week ago last Sat (5/21/64) for Army of Tenn, & has not yet returned."
OR v38 c50 p4 pg756

S.D. LEE to COOPER June 2, 1864: "The 16th Army Corps is moving from Memphis toward Corinth with large train of wagons & eighteen pieces of Arty... Have recalled Forrest with Buford’s advance & will concentrate as rapidly as possible with Cav, to meet this move. Will have to draw most of forces from Middle Ala"
OR v39 c51 p2 pg655

PILLOW to S.D. LEE June 5, 1864: "I have ordered Livingston with his part of a Regt, from 200 to 250 men, up from Montevallo to Blue Mountain. This is all of Clanton’s Bgde that I can as yet reach... I am very desirous of hearing from the Major-Gen relative to the suggestion in my last in reference to moving Chalmers’ remaining Bgde from Montevallo to Blue Mountain & the keeping of Roddey’s force between Elyton & the Tenn River in such a manner as to protect Elyton & its surroundings. If I cannot get a Btry I shall feel myself very unequal to the duty of protecting this section of country from a force of any great strength".
OR v39 c51 p2 pg636

PILLOW, at BLUE MOUNTAIN, to MEAD, June 15, 1864: "I am now at this place in command of all the Cav of North Ala.
OR v39 c51 p2 pg653

S.D. LEE to CDG OFFICER, Blue Mountain, June 23, 1864: "Keep scouts well out toward Rome, & keep me well posted as regards movements of the enemy".
OR v39 c51 p2 pg663

Sherman to Rousseau, July 2, 1864: "Now is the time for the raid to Opelika. Telegraph me whether you go yourself or who will command. Forrest is in Ms, & Roddey has also gone there. All other rebel Cav is here".
OR v38 c50 p5 pg19

GOLDTHWAITE, cdg Blue Mountain, to S. D. LEE July 7, 1864: "the 6th Ala, Lt-Col Lary cdg, has arrived at this place. Col Livingston being absent, Lt-Col Lary, as senior Lt-Col, commands both Regts".
OR v39 c51 p2 pg691

Johnston July 15, 1864: "Gen Clanton’s Bgde never reached this army. One Regt came & the Gen represented that the rest, then dispersed, was to assemble at Blue Mountain."
OR v38 c50 p4 pg733

Greensport: Clanton requested reinforcements prior to courageous fight, but none were received.

Report of Maj [Gen] Walthall, at Talladega, "At 10:30 o'clock on the evening of the 13th I received a communication from Brig-Gen Clanton (then at Blue Mountain) informing me of the presence of the enemy in Ashville... At 10:30 on the following morning (14th) I received another communication from Brig-Gen Clanton, written near Greensport at 1am, stating that the enemy was then crossing at or below Greensport, announcing his intention of attacking them at daylight, & urging me to send all the force that could be raised to Blue Mountain to cooperate with him in resisting an advance in that direction... at 5pm arrived at Blue Mountain with less than 200 armed men... We were only able to obtain a few men (not exceeding twenty) of Capt Hardie's mounted Co. Capt Hardie was sent out with these with orders to join Gen Clanton... About 9pm Gen Clanton himself came in & informed me that, having lost sight of the enemy in his front, he had gradually withdrawn his troops to avoid being flanked or cut off from his base of operations at Blue Mountain".
OR v38 c50 p3 pg975

Pillow, at Montevallo, to Clanton, July 16, 1864: "informed by Maj Falconnet & Col Lea, at Elyton, that the enemy’s column divided at Ashville, over half going to Talladega, which you engaged; the other half coming down on the west side of Coosa River, moving, as it was said, for this place. If we were to advance for the purpose of forming a junction with you that force might cut off our supplies & put both in a very awkward position by seizing this place. He has, therefore, determined not to advance until he can ascertain definitely whether the force on the west side of Coosa is coming down".
OR v38 c50 p3 pg978

from Clanton's verbal account given at Columbus, Ga.: "On the morning of the 14th, with only 200 men, he arrived near Greensport, & found that one Regt had crossed the river there, & that the balance were preparing to cross at Ten Islands ford three miles below. Gen C. divided his force of 200 men, & sent 100 under Col Henry J. Livingston to Ten Islands, with instructions to dispute the passage of the river, which order he very valiantly executed, driving the enemy from the river, & preventing their crossing. In this gallant affair we lost Capt Moore killed, & several Pvt’s whose names cannot now be given. With the other hundred men under the immediate command of Lt Col Lary, & Maj E.L. McWhorter, Gen Clanton successively resisting the advance of the Yankees on the Jacksonville & Greensport road, at Greensport ferry, losing five of his staff, two of whom were killed, two wounded & one captured, & about thirty men altogether. Lt Col Lary, Maj E.L. McWhorter, & Ma. Albert Hyer, were captured. Maj R.S. Anderson, AAG, & Thos. Judkins, acting ADC were killed; Willie Peals acting ADC wounded thro' the arm. Capt Bat Smith, of Selma, on staff, & acting Chief of Ordnance, leg broken; Capt McRae, of Henry County, shot in the side & saved by his canteen- It is due to these officers to say they were shot while in advance of their men, within twenty paces of the enemy, & firing at them with their revolvers. Capt Abercrombie fell after firing the last charge of his revolver, in the open road, not more than twenty-five paces from the enemy. The Yankees, thus stoutly resisted, fell back & crossed the river at Miller's Ferry, & Gen Clanton at first heard & supposed that their destination was Blue Mountain & Jacksonville, & made disposition to throw him in their way on that route". Talladega Democratic Watchtower, Tues July 26, 1864, "An Authentic Account of the Yankee Raid"

Chehaw: Rousseau withdrew from the field before a superior force, of which Clanton's command appeared to be a part, without achieving his principal objective.

Report of Rousseau, at Nashville: "On the morning of the 18th... Maj Baird, of the 5th Iowa, was sent with a detachment of his Regt & of the 4th Tenn Cav to Chehaw Station... Directed Col Harrison to send the 8th Ind. forward to his support"
OR v38 c50 p2 pg907

From Clanton's verbal account given at Columbus, Ga: "Gen C. never overtook them until he got to Loachapoka on Sun the 17th, where he attacked their rear guard. Maj Gen Rousseau told a prisoner captured by him that in this encounter he lost a Capt & four or five men killed, & as many missing. Gen Clanton here took the road to Tuskegee to get ahead of the Yankee force going to Chehaw". Talladega Democratic Watchtower, Tues July 26, 1864, "An Authentic Account of the Yankee Raid"

"The Yankees were first driven back, until they got under cover, from which they poured into our troops a severe fire, causing the Infy to retire in some confusion. At this point a Co of mounted volunteers from Tuskegee came on the field & formed in front of the Infy. This demonstrated to the Yankees the spirit of the people, & they speedily withdrew". Selma Daily Reporter, Tues July 26: "The Yankee Raid on the Montgomery & West Point RR"

"Finding that the rebels were in considerable force, & were prepared to make an obstinate defense, & that to drive them completely from the road would require a withdrawal of a portion of the forces engaged in destroying the track, Gen Rousseau ordered that portion of the command back". Rebellion Record page 195

"The enemy was soon gallantly repulsed, & although subsequently driven to their position at the Uphaupco Bridge, our men protected this valuable structure from destruction, which was doubtless the main object of Rousseau in striking the road near Chehaw". Selma Daily Reporter, Fri July 22: "The Yankee Raiders"

"The prisoners state that the object of the expedition was the destruction of Uphaupco River Bridge". Selma Morning Reporter, Sat, July 23, "Letter from Chehaw"


Posted By: Alan Pitts <Send E-Mail>
Date: Tuesday, 19 April 2005, at 9:06 p.m.

In Response To: Re: 6th Ala Cav (Mike Gerow)

Colvin’s 6th​ Ala Cav Regt was called the 5th​ Ala Cav until Oct. 14, 1863. The War Dept issued field & staff appointments on that date. Six Co’s had been a mounted Bn in Clanton’s Legion, forming on Mar. 15, 1863. Officers & men enlisted for three years or the war.

By: Alan Pitts
Date: 5/23/2014, 7:57 pm

In Response To: Re: 61st Ala (Miles Krisman)

Miles -- Ample documentation appears in the OR alone (ser 1, Vol XXVI, pt 2, pp. 548-557), but check this message board & other relevant sources. While Clanton's command camped around Pollard (winter 1863-64), a plan was discovered for the men to lay down their arms & go home. Gen Maury reported the mutiny in Clanton's command to the War Dept with the recommendation that Clanton's Bgde be broken up & troops assigned to other theaters of operation.

As noted, the 61st Ala (then called the 59th) was sent to Virginia.
The 57th Ala & Tarrant's Btry went to the Army of Tenn.
the 7th Ala Cav went to Ms.

This left Clanton with only the Btry under his brother's command (Clanton's Btry), the 6th Ala Cav, & a Bn which later became Livingston's 8th Ala Cav- Clanton's misfortunes increased from this time forward, the history of command being simply one disaster after another.