Following the 2nd Alabama Cav


2nd Lieutenant
Aug 20, 2015
SF Bay Area
An ancestor of my served in the 2nd Alabama Cavalry (Elisha Francis May) from basically May 1862 - May 1865. He served during the Atlanta Campaign and I've been trying to trying to track that regiment amongst the campaign.

During this time the 2nd was part of Ferguson's Brigade... Samuel Wragg Ferguson. During the Battle of Atlanta Ferguon's Brigade was under Joseph Wheeler.

Here are the little bits on the internet on the 2nd specifically:

The Second Alabama Cavalry Regiment was organized at Montgomery on 1 May 1862. It proceeded to West Florida and operated there about ten months, engaging in several skirmishes. Ordered to north Mississippi, the regiment was placed with Brig. Gen'l Daniel Ruggles. It then lost 8 men in a skirmish at Mud Creek. It was then placed in Brig. Gen'l Samuel W. Ferguson's Brigade and operated in the Tennessee Valley, taking part in numerous skirmishes. The 2nd fought Union Gen'l Benjamin H. Grierson at Okolona with a loss of about 70 men killed and wounded; then it harassed Union Gen'l William T. Sherman on his march to and from Mississippi. Joining Gen'l Joseph Wheeler, the 2nd performed arduous duty on the flank of the army in the Dalton-Atlanta Campaign, losing a number of men in the battle on the 22nd of July at Atlanta. Having accompanied Gen'l John Bell Hood to Rome, the 2nd then fell on Sherman's rear and skirmished almost daily with some losses. The regiment tracked Sherman to Greensboro, NC, then escorted President Jefferson Davis to Georgia. At Forsyth, in that state, the regiment surrendered its arms, about 450 men.
Would love anyone's assistance in understanding how they fit into the scheme of the battles/events that took place during the Atlanta campaign.

The most impactful day seemingly being July 22 during the Battle of Atlanta. Ironically that is my birthday, so it holds a bit of additional significance.

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Sergeant Major
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Wheeler's cavalry did not actually fight at the Battle of Atlanta on July 22. The cavalry was actually engaged at what is called the Battle of Decatur a few miles away. I don't have a lot of time to type now but I would research the following battles and see if they were involved as there were numerous cavalry raids and battles that were part of the Atlanta Campaign:
Brown's Mill
Buckhead Creek
Lovejoy Station
Sunshine Church
Jan 29, 2019
I have very detailed information regarding the Confederate Service of the 2nd Alabama Cavalry Regiment from the time that they were mustered in on 21 Mar 1862 near Montgomery, Alabama (Camp of Instruction Stone), until they were disbanded on 5 May 1865, 1 mile west of Washington, Georgia at Brig. General Samuel Wragg Ferguson`s Camp on the road to Madison, as part of President Jefferson Davis` Personal Escort from North Carolina to Georgia. I would be more than happy to share the information that I have with you MattL.

You asked specifically about the action on 22 Jul 1864 during the Atlanta Campaign.

Two days after the Battle of Peachtree Creek, as the defense of Atlanta was ordered by Lt. General William J. Hardee to attack the enemy while still re-enforcing Jackson`s command at 1:00 pm in Decatur, Georgia where the 2nd Alabama Cavalry Regiment, as part of Brig. General Samuel Wragg Ferguson`s Cavalry Brigade were forced to dismount and fight on foot, going house to house until they took the town, and at some point fighting in hand to hand conflicts with the enemy. They later had to fall back and leave their position for safer cover. They experienced very heavy losses here.

Ferguson`s Cavalry Brigade at this time was comprised of: the 2nd Alabama Cavalry Regiment, the 56th Alabama Partisan Rangers, the 12th Mississippi Cavalry Regiment, the 11th Mississippi Cavalry Regiment and the 9th Mississippi Cavalry Regiment. Captain Thomas Flourney (Sanders' Tennessee Battalion) was the Scout Company for Ferguson`s Cavalry Brigade from Atlanta to the end of the War and 1st Lt. Muldrow the Provost Marshall of the Brigade.

This is what Brigadier General Samuel Wragg Ferguson stated about the attack on Decatur, Georgia in his journal some days later:
"On the 22nd of July (1864) I was ordered to capture the town of Decatur about 7 miles from Atlanta on the road to Augusta. Other Cavalry Brigades joined (General Joseph Wheeler) in the attack but I made the direct attack fighting on foot (at times) and in thick woods of black oak".

Brigadier General Samuel Wragg Ferguson continued in his journal by stating:

"The resistance was stubborn, we were driving the enemy back slowly when I rode into a hornets nest, my horse dashed off almost scraping me off through the thickets. My hat was knocked off and the hornets struck me on my head and neck. I was between two fires and altogether in a very hot place. As soon as an opening was reached I threw myself from my horse landing on my heels and jerked the horse down. The hornets had been distanced and for a moment or two I did not know which way to go for I had not taken note of direction in my little excursion. However a glance at the sun and habits as a hunter enabled me to make the way back to my command. The first man that I met had my hat in his hand".

Brigadier General Samuel Wragg Ferguson continued in his journal by stating:
"In a few minutes more we had driven the enemy from the woods and then advanced rapidly to the railroad cut. Here my horse was shot from under me. The town was on the other side of the railroad and had to be taken house by house resulting in numerous hand to hand conflicts".

While Ferguson`s Cavalry Brigade were fighting at Decatur, Major General James B. McPherson (U. S. Army) who commanded the XVII U.S. Army Corps was shot and killed while scouting Federal positions in the City of Atlanta as the Battle of Atlanta was violently raging on. Even though Brig. General Samuel Wragg Ferguson considered him his enemy he respected his courage and ability to lead his men and strategize his campaign. Brig. General Samuel Wragg Ferguson`s Cavalry Brigade, to include the 2nd Alabama Cavalry Regiment, fought against Major General James B. McPherson`s Forces on numerous accounts in some of the most violent fighting of the war to include the previous day`s Battles at Peachtree Creek, Georgia but he was respected as a leader after his death on both sides and was extended his dignity on his death even by his enemy`s.

Brigadier General Samuel Wragg Ferguson stated this about Union Maj. General James B. McPherson in his journal writing:
"After it was all in our possession we were ordered to fall back and to give it all up (Decatur). On that same day (July 22, 1864) General McPherson of the U.S.A. was killed. He was a soldier and a gentlemen of the kindliest nature; his treatment of the country over run by the enemy (Confederates) where he was in command, was in marked contrast to that of many other officers who should have been gentlemen but proved themselves brutes".

After Decatur, Georgia was waged, fought for and won by the Confederates, Maj. General Joseph Wheeler, to include General Ferguson`s Cavalry Brigade (2nd Alabama Cavalry) responded to a distress wire from Lt. General William J. Hardee, so they gave up Decatur to head back on the east side of Atlanta to reinforce Lt. General William J. Hardee`s forces in the trenches of Atlanta near Bald Hill, who were being over run and remained there in the trenches with them for the rest of the night. During the next few days Ferguson`s Cavalry Brigade after again taking to their mounts, fought and skirmished with the enemy at various places around Atlanta, particularly parrying the numerous Union raids along the 3 railroads entering the city of Atlanta as the Union Army were trying to destroy them so that the Confederates could not resupply their Army.

Hood had dispatched General Wheeler and his Cavalry (Ferguson`s Cavalry Brigade) to Decatur to attack McPherson’s wagon train. Wheeler found several regiments of Federal infantry posted south of Decatur. At 1:00pm, Wheeler dismounted two of his divisions and assaulted the Federals. He pushed them north across what is now Agnes Scott College and then across the railroad tracks to the Decatur Square. The wagon train was detoured from Decatur after Wheeler started his assault. Wheeler pushed the Federals through the square and through the old city cemetery. The Federals then formed a new line along what is now North Decatur Road. Before Wheeler could attack the new Federal line, he was recalled back to Atlanta to support the attack on Bald Hill.

My 3rd Great Grandfather fought and served with the 2nd Alabama Cavalry Regiment, Company "B", from 16 Mar 1862, until they were disbanded at Washington, Georgia as part of Ferguson`s Cavalry Brigade on 5 May 1865 and he was paroled by Brig. General Morgan H. Chrysler at Talladega, Alabama on 25 May 1865 just days after returning home to Shelby, Alabama from Washington, Georgia. He served a total of 1,167 days (3 years and 72 days) in the 2nd Alabama Cavalry Regiment. I have extensively researched his Confederate Service regarding every Campaign in which they took part during the War.

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