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10th Missouri Cavalry Regiment (US) Volunteers

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Brief History

Brief History of the 10th Missouri Cavalry

The 10th Missouri Cavalry was ordered to form by a consolidation of the 9th Missouri Cavalry Volunteers and the incomplete 28th Missouri Infantry Volunteers, December 4th, 1862 by General Samuel R. Curtis. They were formally attached to U.S. Grant's Army of the Tennessee, 16th Corps, District of Memphis, Department of Tennessee, Maj. Gen. Stephen A. Hurlbut, commanding. They fully formed (except Company C) at Corinth, Mississippi by February, 1862.  Company C was designated as Gen. Frank P. Blair Jr's Escorts, and were sent to Helena, Arkansas.  They were assigned to Sherman's/McClernand's 15th Corps and took part in the Battle of Chickasaw Bluffs/Bayou, the Capture of Arkansas Post/Fort Hindman, the Canal Projects, the Battle of Champion Hill, Battle of Big Black River, the Assaults against Vicksburg as well as the siege and the surrender.  They rejoined the Regiment at Vicksburg, Mississippi in September, 1863. Col. Florence M. Cornyn commanded the 10th, with William Bowen being designated Lt. Col., and Benteen a Major.

Col Cornyn had been forming the 28th Missoui Infantry in the fall of 1862, when he was ordered to merge his incomplete unit with the 9th Missouri Cavalry, to become the 10th Missouri Cavalry. He had seen action at Wilson's Creek, Missouri as a Surgeon for the 1st Missouri Infantry, and at Shiloh, Tennessee in the same capacity with the 1st Missouri Light Artillery. He had examined the body of Gen. Nathaniel Lyon at Wilson's Creek and had also fired at the enemy with a picked up musket at that battle, and later redirected and fired a artillery piece at Shiloh.

The 9th Missouri Cavalry was fully formed , but had a very short history lasting only for about two months in October and November of 1862.  Before that however, the 9th was known as 1st Battalion, Missouri Cavalry or Bowen's Battalion. and was commanded by Lt. Col. William D. Bowen.  Bowen saw action at Wilson's Creek, Missouri also, with the Missouri Mounted Rifles. He led his battalion at the Battle of Salem, Missouri, and was General Samuel R. Curtis's personal escorts at the Battle of Pea Ridge/Elkhorn Tavern, Arkansas . From Wilson's Creek through Pea Ridge, Frederick William Benteen had led Company C, and ended up leading the 10th Missouri Cavalry as acting commander in August of 1863 and performed in that capacity through the end of the war. Benteen would be better known after the war at Custer's last stand in which he was involved.

At Corinth, Mississippi, the 1200 men of the 10th Missouri Cavalry were assigned to a new cavalry brigade in the 2nd Division of the District of Corinth's commander, Gen. Grenville M. Dodge.  Dodge had previously commanded at Camp Wyman, Rolla, Missouri in 1861, and had led a brigade at Pea Ridge in 1862.  Col Cornyn was designated as Dodge's chief of cavalry, which elevated him to a brigade commander.  His brigade consisted of the 10th Missouri Cavalry, 7th Kansas Cavalry(Jennison's Jayhawkers), 9th Illinois Mounted Infantry, and two companies of the 1st Alabama Cavalry. Lt. Col. Bowen was acting commander of the 10th Missouri. 

Regimental Commanders of the 10th Missouri Cavalry, 1862-1865, were:  Florence M. Cornyn,  December  4, 1862 to August 10, 1863. Andrew J. Alexander, September 22, 1863.  Cornyn was killed by Lt. Col. Bowen, and Alexander, a brother-in-law of Francis P. Blair Jr. and his Chief of Staff, never joined the Regiment, choosing the staff position instead. From 1863 to 1865, Lt. Col. William Frederick Benteen was acting commander. 

The first action which involved the 10th Missouri Cavalry was  at Tuscumbia, Alabama, on February 22, 1863.  They were involved in what is known as "Dodge's Raid to Courtland" in April of 1863, as the third smokescreen of cavalry attempts to confuse the Confederate's in Grant's attempt to take Vicksburg. The other two smokescreens were Grierson's and Streight's raids.

After Vicksburg fell in July of 1863, the 10th Missouri Cavalry was involved in the Meridian Campaign, which was Sherman's first independent move from Grant. The 10th was now under the colonelcy of Andrew J. Alexander, as Cornyn had been shot and killed by Lt. Col. Bowen at Corinth on August 10, 1863.  Alexander chose to fill the staff position instead of leading the 10th in the field, which left Maj. (later Lt. Col.) Benteen the commanding officer in fact, if not in name.

alexander_aj.jpg
A.J. Alexander

On October 14, 1863, the 10th was moved from the 16th Corps and assigned to a new cavalry brigade in Blair's 15th Corps at Vicksburg.  The new brigade was led by Col. Edward F. Winslow, and consisted of the 4th, 5th, and 11th Illinois, the 4th Iowa, as well as the 10th Missouri.  

By December 1st, 1863, Winslow's Brigade had been reassigned to McPherson's 17th Corps, Grierson's cavalry Division and served in this capacity during Sherman's Meridian Campaign, February, 1863.

In April 1864, Winslow's Brigade was reorganized to consist of the 10th Missouri, and the 3rd and 4th Iowa, which would remain unchanged in makeup through the rest of the war.

Winslow's Brigade was ordered to Memphis, Tennessee, arriving on May 1st, 1864, joining Grierson's Cavalry Corps. In June, 1864, the brigade was involved at the Battle of Brice's Crossroads and  in July, the Battle of Tupelo. 

In September, October, November and December of 1864, Winslow's Brigade was sent to Missouri, and participated in Confederate Maj. Gen. Sterling Price's invasion across the heart of the state, which included the Battle of Westport and Mine Creek

In early 1865, Winslow's Brigade was sent to Louisville, Kentucky to become a part of Maj. Gen. Henry Wilson's Cavalry Corps and participated in his raid across Alabama and Georgia during the last month's of the war.

The 10th Missouri Cavalry was mustered out June 20, 1865 at Nashville, Tennessee.

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