I think Company D was a little 'dysfunctional'.
It was commanded by Captain William J. Rodgers of Harrison, Hamilton County, Tennessee. Here is what I know on Rodgers - anyone with further information on him please reach out to me.
Captain William Jefferson Rodgers was born around 1820 in Hamilton County, Tennessee. His father was William Rodgers (1790-1849) and mother was Mary “Polly” Lauderdale (1796-1872). He was the second oldest in a family of nine with one brother and seven sisters. Rodgers was a veteran of the Mexican-American war in 1847 as Captain of Company H of the 4th Tennessee Volunteer Infantry. In 1851 he served as a delegate to the January State Democratic Convention from Hamilton County.
On October 4th, 1862 Rodgers was enlisted in Chattanooga, Tennessee by Adjutant B. H. Newton as Captain of Company D; of the 4th Georgia Cavalry; which was made up of Hamilton County, Tennessee men (Formally known as Avery’s Regiment Georgia Cavalry, Iverson’s Brigade, Allen’s Division. Wheeler’s Corp, Army of the Tennessee). The regiment was commanded by Colonel Issac W. Avery.
Right away, there was stress among the ranks of the company when in late 1862, Lieutenant William White of Captain Rodger’s company was tried and executed in Chattanooga on the charge of desertion to the enemy. It was a controversial charge denounced by Roger’s own Sergeant William J. Gillespie years later in a Chattanooga newspaper article. Rodgers also challenged a fellow officer to a duel in the later part of the war.
The 4th Georgia Cavalry (Avery) was involved in a more than year-long campaign from 1863 into the Spring of 1864 going from Chattanooga, up to Knoxville, into Eastern Tennessee and then down through the Smoky Mountains around Asheville, NC then back to around Dalton, Georgia in the early spring of 1864.
In March 13, 1864 Rodgers was issued one-day foraging requisition in Tunnel Hill, Georgia. For the next few weeks, they would stay around the northwest Georgia mountains on expeditions looking for deserters and skirmishing with Union forces.
On April 6, 1864 Rodgers’s while traveling with his company of about sixty men through Ducktown, Tennessee captured and killed, execution style, William Clayton Fain of Fannin County and Henry Robinson, a man recruited by Fain for the Union army, at Edward’s Ferry on the Ocoee River. Rodgers may have also been responsible for the death of confederate deserter Albert Ward on the same spree. It was reported in Clayton Fain’s widow Margaret’s Widow’s Pension application years later that Fain passed through Morganton, Georgia after executing her husband and mentioned the killings to 48 year old Mary C. Slate when the company had stopped at a hotel for refreshments. The company returned to the Dalton area by way of Ellijay, Georgia.
In May, 1864 at the Battle of New Hope Church the Army of the Tennessee battled Sherman’s forces. The 4th Georgia Cavalry’s commander, Colonel Isaac Avery was seriously wounded through the stomach and spine. He would recover from his injuries and continued to command through the end of the war.
The 4th Georgia Cavalry (Avery) was involved in the fall of Atlanta in September, 1864 then much of the regiment fragmented, with parts scattered through Georgia. Rodgers is shown as present in a February, 1865 muster roll as the 4th Georgia Cavalry (Avery) merged with other units and became the Georgia 12th Cavalry.
On April 3, 1865 Rodgers’s Company D, which was once over 100 strong was diminished to just a couple of dozen men. In Murray County, Georgia at the Coosawattee River Company D and several other fragmented companies gathered together, including notorious bushwhacker Thomas Polk Edmundson’s ‘North Georgia Scouts’. All were involved in a skirmish with the Union’s 147th Illinois Infantry and Sixth Tennessee Cavalry under the command of Lt. Col. Werner W. Bjerg. At the end of the day Edmundson was dead and six days later the war was over.
After the war, Colonel Isaac Avery went on to be one of the first editors of the Atlanta Constitution and Captain William J. Rodgers recedes from view. An unconfirmed story has him dying just over a year later in the summer of 1866 near Jonesboro, Georgia.