53rd Alabama Cavalry (Partisan Rangers)

53rd Alabama Cavalry (Partisan Rangers) - Stories

ORGANIZATION

McLendon's Regimental History

    In 2007  Robert G. McClendon, Jr. concluded over 20 years of research on the 53rd Regiment Alabama Cavalry and published an extensive History of the Regiment, including detailed information of its formation in the Spring of 1862 under the Partisan Ranger Act of 21 April, the Regiment's organization, outfitting and training, and service in the Armies of the Confederacy from  its first assignment to the District of the Gulf, under the command of Brig. Gen. W.M. Mackall, service under General Forrest in the pursuit of Federal Col. A.D. Streight's "Raiders" in the Spring of 63, assignments to General Roddey's and General Wheeler's Cavalry Corps, the rear-guard actions against Sherman's army on his approach to Atlanta, to the final days in the Spring of 1865, with the remains of the Regiment awaiting orders in Columbia, South Carolina, when word was received that General Johnston had surrendered the Army of Tennessee to Sherman on 26 April, at the Durham Station in North Carolina.

    Mr. McLendon's "History of the 53rd Regiment Alabama Volunteer Cavalry & M.W. Hannon's Cavalry Brigade Army of Tennessee, C.S.A." includes a large number of photographs of members of the 53rd, from their time of service and in their later years, collected over time from the descendants of these men who aided Bob in his research, providing many original documents, letters, and diaries, which are extensively quoted through-out the work.  Including in the appendices are complete rosters of the Staff Officers and Companies of the 53rd and 24th Battalion of the Alabama Cavalry (whose close association with the 53rd is described in detail in the main text), a roster of the Documented Casualties of the 53rd Regiment & 24th Battalion, as well as those who were wounded and taken prisoner, and lists of men who are documented as having served in other Confederate units, men who left Alabama after The War and where they settled, and 53rd & 24th men who were Masons. Under the Company Rosters, Mr. McLendon has included as much information as he could obtain at the time for each man listed, some entries include only the information found on the Complied Service Records Index Cards from the Federal Archives, but many contain much more information: dates and status of applications for pensions (also Widow's Pensions), final resting places, details of life after The War, &etc.

    Robert McLendon, of Troy, Pike County, Alabama, is the Great-Grandson of Jonathan DeKalb McLendon (1830-1898), Company G, 53rd Alabama Cavalry (Partisan Rangers). After U.S. Military Service and a 36-year long career in Law Enforcement, Mr. McLendon "retired" in 2003, opening the Conecuh River Depot Military Museum near Troy.

    The Depot is a private museum comprised of Bob's personal collection of military "memorablia", assembled over his lifetime, the initial pieces of what became the World War Two Collection coming from Mr. McLendon's father, who served as a Combat Liaisson Officer, HQ III Corps (Third Army) in the European Theater. The Depot Museum now contains items of interest from World War Two (U.S. and German), Communist China during the Korean Conflict, numerous NVA & Viet-cong items from the Viet-nam War period, and Iraqi military items from Desert Storm and OIF.

    In Bob's words: "This museum is intended to be a memorial to the American fighting men and women, who have insured the freedoms we all enjoy. It is hoped you will come and view the museum, and think of the sacrifices that at all veterans have made for us."

    Mr. McLendon would also include here that there is no admission charge for touring the Conecuh River Depot Military Museum, located at 246 US 231 North, Troy, Alabama, adjacent to the Pioneer Museum of Alabama; the Depot is open Wednesday - Friday, 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm, and  Saturdays,10:00 am - 5:00 pm. (Closed Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and some holidays).

    The Conecuh River Depot's website is : http://www.conecuhriverdepot.com
    Robert McLendon's "History of the 53rd Regiment" can be ordered here.

    From the website:

    History of the 53rd Regiment Alabama Volunteer Cavalry
    and M.W. Hannon's Cavalry Brigade, Army of Tennessee, C.S.A.

    by Robert G. McClendon, Jr.

    _Awarded the Henry Timrod Southern History Award
    from the Military Order of the Stars & Bars

    Awarded the Jefferson Davis Southern Heritage Award
    by the Alabama Division, United Daughters of the Confederacy_

    The 53rd Alabama was a mounted unit from its origin. During the war, it served with such legendary cavalry leaders as Frank Armstrong, P. D. Roddey, Nathan Bedford Forrest, Joseph Wheeler, John H. Kelly, Alfred Iverson, P. M. B. Young, and Wade Hampton. They saw perilous duty throughout the Atlanta Campaign, and was one of the primary cavalry forces opposing William T. Sherman during his infamous "March to the Sea." They laid down their arms in Columbia, SC, after engaging in their last fight in Sumter County, SC on April 19, 1865, ten days after the surrender of Gen. Robert E. Lee at Appomattox. Also with the 53rd was the 24th Battalion Alabama Cavalry.

    This book contains a full roster, and detailed information on the activities of the 53rd Alabama and the 24th Battalion. Also serving in Hannon's Brigade after November 1864 were the 11th Georgia Cavalry, and the Roswell (Georgia) Battalion.

    Cost:  $32.00
    S & H: $5.00
    (Alabama residents add $2.88 tax)

    Send check or money order, to:
    Robert G. McLendon, Jr.
    1305-A South Brundidge St.
    PMB 105
    Troy, AL 36081

    : posted by JD "Doc" Darlin
    : Third GreatGrandson of David James Wilson, Farrier, Company I

    August 2011

    Conflicting Regimental Histories

      Conflicting Regimental Histories

      Originally posted on
      53rd Alabama Cavalry Resource Page
      (Facebook) Sunday, August 7, 2011

      Re: Conflicting Information of Regimental Histories of the 53rd Alabama Cavalry

      _ "The 53rd Alabama Cavalry Regiment, Partisan Rangers, was organized by increasing the 1st Cavalry Battalion to regimental size at Montgomery on 5 November 1862. Recruits were from Autauga, Coffee, Coosa, Dale, Dallas, Lauderdale, Lowndes, Macon, Monroe, Montgomery, Pike, Tallapoosa and Wilcox Counties. It proceeded in a few weeks to Mississippi. In moving from Columbus to Decatur, in Lawrence, a portion of the regiment was there equipped and proceeded to join General Earl Van Dorn. This battalion was in the fighting at Thompson's Station, and at Brentwood. The regiment was engaged in the fight with Union General Grenville Dodge at Town Creek and in the pursuit of Union Colonel Abel Streight. Soon after, the 53rd joined the main army at Dalton as part of General Moses W. Hannon's Brigade, General John Kelly's Division. It operated on the right of the army as it fell back towards Atlanta and was engaged in constant duty. When Union General William T. Sherman reached Atlanta, the 53rd was the principal force engaged in the daring raid in his rear, whereby a valuable train was destroyed. It was then at the heels of Sherman as he devastated Georgia and the Carolinas, and it took part in the last operations of the war in that quarter. It surrendered a small number with General Joseph E. Johnston at Durham Station, Orange County, NC, on 26 April 1865."_

      Anyone who has done any kind of on-line research into the Regimental history of the 53rd has most likely run across the preceding "Brief History". It seems to be the most widely quoted and re-quoted snippet; it's origins may be from Dr Ken Jones' entry on the 53rd from his work "The Civil War in Alabama" ("Alabama Civil War Regimental Histories"), although Dr Jones credits the following works as his source material : [1] Willis Brewer / Alabama : Her History, Resources, War Record, and Public Men, From 1540 to 1872 (Spartanburg, SC : The Reprint Co., 1975);  [2] Confederate Military History : Alabama, Extended Edition (Wilmington, NC : Broadfoot Publishing Co., 1987);  [3] Joseph H. Crute / Units of the Confederate States Army (Midlothian, VA : Derwent Books, 1987);  [4] Stewart Sifakis / Compendium of the Confederate Armies : Alabama (New York : Facts on File, 1992)

      note : (DocDarlin):  With the exception of the Brewer history, I have not yet located the other cited texts for comparison of language -  I have sent Dr Jones an email about his source for the 53rd entry and am awaiting a reply (I had quite a bit of communication with Dr Jones several years ago about the details of another Alabama unit, and found him to be extremely helpful; he solved a "dead-end" in my research on one of my Veterans.)

      Whether or not Dr Jones is the ultimate source of the above quote, or if he took this information verbatim from one of the other listed sources remains to be seen; however, it would not be unreasonable to consider the entry for the 53rd in his "Alabama Civil War Regimental Histories" to be the origin of the quoted & re-quoted passage found all over the web, considering that Dr Jones' work has been available on-line for quite some time, and linked to from many other websites over the years.

      The promulgation of this version of the Regimental History, with its some-what serious errors and conflicts, prompted Mr Robert McLendon to post the "Conflicting Information " memorandum on the old MSN-Multiply Group site in 2008, now re-posted here:

      ***********************************************************************

      Blog Entry: Conflicting information    
      09 January 2008
      by Bob [McLendon]  for group: 53alcav

      Conflicting Information

      Conflicting information exists in reference to the 53rd Alabama, and Hannon's Brigade. Therefore, the following is offered to help clarify these inconsistencies:

      1. The 53rd Alabama was an infantry unit.
          This is incorrect.  The 53rd was a typical Western Theatre cavalry unit. Although they were mounted cavalry units, for some reason that has not been ascertained, the 51st, 53rd, and 56th Alabama regiments were given infantry number designations. All three of these units were always assigned with other cavalry units under cavalry command, including under Gen. Joe Wheeler. As was common in the Western Theatre of the war, cavalry was often used to supplement infantry on the flanks, and many carried 3-band infantry rifles.

      ** 2. The 53rd Alabama was organized by increasing the size of the 1st Alabama Cavalry Battalion.**
          This is very misleading, and not an accurate statement. Although a few members of the 1st Alabama Cavalry Battalion went to the 53rd Alabama from the Prattville Dragoons and the Alabama Mounted Rifles, the majority of the 1st Alabama Batt'n went to the 3rd Regiment Alabama Cavalry, organized in June 1862. The 1st Alabama Cavalry Batt'n was commanded by Capt. Thomas F. Jenkins, who later became Major of the 53rd. Jenkins only brought a handful of men with him to the 53rd from the 1st Alabama Batt'n. See page entitled "History and Synopsis of Activity" on this site.
          >> note: re-posted as a "Note" on this Facebook page

      ** 3. Hannon's Brigade was assigned to Brig Gen. James Hagan after January 2, 1865.**
          This is incorrect. In reality, Hannon's Brigade never actually served under Hagan. On January 2, 1865, S. O. No. 1, HQ, Dept. of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, ordered the following concerning Hannon's Brigade:

      "Hannon's cavalry brigade will be broken up, and the Fifty-third Alabama Regiment and Twenty-fourth Alabama Battalion of that brigade, are assigned to Hagan's brigade, and the Thirtieth Georgia Regiment (Battalion) (also known as the 11th Regiment  Georgia Cavalry) to be assigned to Anderson's brigade."

      The above order was NEVER carried out, and Hannon's Brigade remained intact until the end of the war, continuing to serve under Gen. Alfred Iverson, and later under Gen. P. M. B. Young. Assumption that the above order was carried out has caused some researchers to assume that the 53rd Alabama and 24th Alabama Batt'n were under Hagan after January 2, and were also with him at the Battle of Monroe's Crossroads in North Carolina on March 10, 1865. In reality, the brigade was still at Graniteville, South Carolina at the time of the fight at Monroe's Crossroads.

      ** 4. Colonel M. W. Hannon was wounded at the Battle of Monroe's Crossroads, NC on March 10, 1865.**
          Research indicates this is not true. In his post-battle report, Gen. Wheeler listed Hannon as one of his brigade commanders who was wounded. However, he did not list Harrison, who was present and wounded. It is believed that Gen. Wheeler intended to list Harrison, but instead mistakenly listed Hannon. Furthermore, no evidence exists to support that Hannon or his brigade were present at Monroe's Crossroads.

      5. The 53rd Alabama, and the remainder of Hannon's Brigade, surrendered at Durham Station, Orange County, North Carolina.
          This is incorrect. This is probably a further confusion caused by the January 2, 1865 order, mentioned above. Hannon's Brigade was in Sumter County, South Carolina when they received word to cease fire on April 21, 1865. They laid down arms at Columbia, SC, and were paroled at Augusta, Georgia during the first week of May 1865. Except for a few soldiers detailed as escort or couriers for other divisions, no members of Hannon's Brigade were ever in North Carolina.

      **********************************************************************

      Other "Brief Regimental Histories" of the 53rd Alabama Cavalry (Partisan Rangers):

      The 53rd Alabama was a mounted unit from its origin. During the war, it served with such legendary cavalry leaders as Frank Armstrong, P. D. Roddey, Nathan Bedford Forrest, Joseph Wheeler, John H. Kelly, Alfred Iverson, P. M. B. Young, and Wade Hampton. They saw perilous duty throughout the Atlanta Campaign, and was one of the primary cavalry forces opposing William T. Sherman during his infamous "March to the Sea." They laid down their arms in Columbia, SC, after engaging in their last fight in Sumter County, SC on April 19, 1865, ten days after the surrender of Gen. Robert E. Lee at Appomattox. Also with the 53rd was the 24th Battalion Alabama Cavalry.
       : Robert McLendon

      Confederate Military History, General Clement A Evans 1899:
      THE FIFTY-THIRD ALABAMA CAVALRY
          The Fifty-third regiment of mounted infantry was organized in the fall of 1862 by the addition of several companies to Maj. T. F. Jenkins' battalion, which had already rendered gallant service at Shiloh.
          Major Jenkins and Captain Cox commanded mounted companies in the Seventh Alabama prior to April, 1862. The regiment was first placed in Roddey's brigade, and fought at Thompson's Station, Brentwood, Town Creek and in the pursuit of Streight.
          It was on picket duty at Dalton in April, 1864. When Roddey's brigade was transferred to General Polk's department, this regiment was detached and was brigaded under General Hannon, and afterward General Hagan, in General Wheeler's cavalry corps, and took part in the perilous fighting all the way from Dalton to Atlanta.
          It participated in the daring raid of 1864 in Sherman's rear, and captured 100 men and 1,500 beef cattle; it fought at Jonesboro and Resaca, and continued to harass the Federals in the Carolinas.
          Its first colonel, M. W. Hannon, was early promoted to the command of a brigade. Lieut.-Col. J. F. Gaines, who succeeded in command, was wounded at Waynesboro. Major Jenkins and Capt. L. E. Locke were captured near Florence, and Capt. W. R. Davis near Rome.

      The Willis Brewer "Sketch"
      Alabama Archives with Introduction:
      http://www.archives.alabama.gov/referenc/alamilor/mil_org.html
          Brief Historical Sketches of Military Organizations Raised In Alabama During the Civil War Reproduced from Willis Brewer's Alabama: Her History, Resources War Record, and Public Men From 1540 to 1872.
      Introduction:
          In 1962 the Alabama Civil War Centennial Commission reprinted pages 589-705 of Willis Brewer's Alabama which contain brief historical sketches of the military organizations raised in Alabama for Confederate service. The limited number of copies ordered by the Centennial Commission failed to meet the demand for them while the Commission was in existence; nor has the demand diminished since the close of the Centennial years. In an effort to answer requests for the information which Mr. Brewer compiled, the Alabama State Department of Archives and History made a limited number of the excerpts from Brewer's Alabama available as a reprint in 1966. Since that time the department has either reprinted or allowed the reprinting of the pamphlet on several occasions. This is the first time this information has been available on-line.
          These brief sketches are not intended to be more than precisely that. No attempt has been made to annotate or correct Brewer's work for this or any of the earlier printings. These sketches do, however, provide an introduction to the study of Alabama men who organized to serve in military units during the Civil War.

      : Alabama State Department of Archives and History, 1997

      Brewer's "Sketch": Fifty-Third Alabama Mounted Regiment
           This regiment was organized at Montgomery, in November 1862. A few weeks later it proceeded to Mississippi. Moving from Columbus to Decatur, in Lawrence, a portion of the regiment was there equipped, and proceeded to join Gen. Van Dorn. This battalion was in the fight at Thompson's Station, and at Brentwood, suffering severely in the former. The regiment was engaged in the fight with Dodge at Town Creek, and in the pursuit of Streight. Soon after, the Fifty-third joined the main army at Dalton as part of Hannon's brigade, Kelly's division. It operated on the right of the army as it fell back towards Atlanta, and was engaged in constant and perilous duty. When Sherman reached Atlanta, the Fifty-third was the principal force engaged in the daring raid in his rear, whereby a valuable train was destroyed. It was then at the heels of Sherman as he devastated Georgia and the Carolinas, and took part in the last operations of the war in that quarter. The regiment laid down its arms at Columbia, South Carolina.

      note: This entry can also be found through some search-engines at the following page, which is a different "site" from the above; although maintained as and a part of the over-all Alabama Archives web-pages, this section houses the Regimental Histories on separate web "pages", whereas the above entry is linked from the "home-page" for "Willis Brewer".  The wording is the same, as it is also a direct quote from Mr Brewer's "Alabama: Her History, Resources War Record, and Public Men From 1540 to 1872".

      http://www.archives.state.al.us/referenc/alamilor/53rdinf.html
      Fifty-Third Alabama Mounted Regiment
      This regiment was organized at Montgomery, in November 1862. A few weeks later it proceeded to Mississippi. Moving from Columbus to Decatur, in Lawrence, a portion of the regiment was there equipped, and proceeded to join Gen. Van Dorn. This battalion was in the fight at Thompson's Station, and at Brentwood, suffering severely in the former. The regiment was engaged in the fight with Dodge at Town Creek, and in the pursuit of Streight. Soon after, the Fifty-third joined the main army at Dalton as part of Hannon's brigade, Kelly's division. It operated on the right of the army as it fell back towards Atlanta, and was engaged in constant and perilous duty. When Sherman reached Atlanta, the Fifty-third was the principal force engaged in the daring raid in his rear, whereby a valuable train was destroyed. It was then at the heels of Sherman as he devastated Georgia and the Carolinas, and took part in the last operations of the war in that quarter. The regiment laid down its arms at Columbia, South Carolina.

      >> note (DocDarlin): Willis Brewer's work "Alabama: Her History, Resources War Record, and Public Men From 1540 to 1872" is available in its complete form as a free PDF download from Google Books:  ( http://books.google.com/books?id=QogshH4pd50C )

      ** Dr Ken Jones' 53rd Regimental History**
       : From his section at "history-sites.com" ( http://history-sites.com/~kjones/ )
      ( http://history-sites.com/~kjones/alcav.html#53rd-Cav )

      53rd Alabama Cavalry Regiment [Partisan Rangers]
          The 53rd Alabama Cavalry Regiment, Partisan Rangers, was organized by increasing the 1st Cavalry Battalion to regimental size at Montgomery on 5 November 1862. Recruits were from Autauga, Coffee, Coosa, Dale, Dallas, Lauderdale, Lowndes, Macon, Monroe, Montgomery, Pike, Tallapoosa and Wilcox counties. It proceeded in a few weeks to Mississippi. In moving from Columbus to Decatur, in Lawrence, a portion of the regiment was there equipped and proceeded to join Gen'l Earl Van Dorn. This battalion was in the fighting at Thompson's Station, and at Brentwood. The regiment was engaged in the fight with Union Gen'l Grenville Dodge at Town Creek and in the pursuit of Union Col. Abel Streight. Soon after, the 53rd joined the main army at Dalton as part of Gen'l Moses W. Hannon's Brigade, Gen'l John Kelly's Division. It operated on the right of the army as it fell back towards Atlanta and was engaged in constant duty. When Union Gen'l William T. Sherman reached Atlanta, the 53rd was the principal force engaged in the daring raid in his rear, whereby a valuable train was destroyed. It was then at the heels of Sherman as he devastated Georgia and the Carolinas, and it took part in the last operations of the war in that quarter. It surrendered a small number with Gen'l Joseph E. Johnston at Durham Station, Orange County, NC, on 26 April 1865.

      >> note (DocDarlin):  Dr Jones is retired from the staff of Tarleton State University at Stephenville, Texas; his work "The Civil War in Alabama", an extensive listing of Confederate units from Alabama and the Counties they were raised from, was at one time hosted at the Tarleton Univesity website ( http://www.tarleton.edu/ ), and may still be; since the last time I visited those pages there, the website has been re-organized, and the links I had are no longer valid.  As Dr Jones was the Head Librarian at Tarleton for many years, and produced a number of books and papers on general Civil War history and Texas history, a search of his name on the Tarleton site resulted in too many "hits" to wade thru right now. If I locate the work on the Tarelton site, I will post new links here; however, the complete work is available at the history-sites.com & history-sites.net webpages.

      In summary, then, there are two main issues of "conflict" in the Regimental Histories, which lead to most of the initial "confusion" about the 53rd; the first is the designation of the Regiment as the "53rd Infantry" and "53rd Mounted Infantry", as well as the "53rd Cavalry"; since the Regiment can be found designated under all of these labels in paperwork and records from the Confederate War Department, and so in post-War histories, this is understandable; the error that the 53rd "surrendered ... at Durham Station" can only be understood as a less-thorough investigation of the 53rd's movements and location at the end of The War. Since the 53rd was at that time attached to Genrl Johnston's Army of Tennessee, which is what was surrendered to Genrl Sherman at Durham Station, it was merely an assumption, possibly on the part of Dr Jones, or possibly on the part of one of his sources (altho not Mr Brewer's, who correctly states the 53rd "laid down its arms at Columbia"), that the Regiment was present with the main body of the Army of Tennessee.  If the error was Dr Jones', he should not be faulted too harshly, considering the breadth and scope of his work on the histories of the Alabama Regiments; however, since that bit of information, what-ever its origin, has been spread about due to the quoting of the specified article on so many websites & pages, it has lead to some confusion.

      >> note (DocDarlin): Over the years of thinking about this "issue", it has occurred to me that a "nitpicker" or "parser of phrases" could read the statement "It surrendered a small number with General Joseph E. Johnston at Durham Station, Orange County, NC, on 26 April 1865" and argue that since the 53rd was a part of the Army of Tennessee, the Regiment was technically "surrendered" at Durham Station, even though it was not physically present. Perhaps if the phrase "with General Johnston" was changed to "by General Johnston", it would be clearer and more accurate. Of course, adding a line that the Regiment itself was actually in South Carolina in April of 1865 would be better, but at this late date, correcting all the places that this version of the Regimental History appears on the internet is probably not feasible.

      :posted August 2011
      by  JD "Doc" Darlin
      for the 53rd Alabama Cavalry Facebook Resource Page