Col. John Coffee was in Fort Smith awaiting courts martial for insubornation and drunkeness when he was elected colonel of the 6th S.W. Missouri Cavalry Regiment. This was the main reason Capt. Joseph Orville Shelby was given the brigadier generals star instead of Coffee.
Lt. Col. William H. Erwin assumed command of the 6th Missouri Cavalry Regiment during the absence of Col. Coffee. When Col. Coffee was aquitted, he returned to Missouri where he raised one of three regiments in Brig. Gen. Jo Shelby's "Iron Brigade" which was simply called Coffee's Missouri Cavalry Regiment. The Missouri Raid followed the organization of Shelby's Iron Brigade. The Missouri Raid was a 1,500 mile foray through Missouri where three courthouses were burned, one of which was the Dade County Courthouse containing Coffee's papers.
Col. Coffee's Regiment was detached from Brig. Gen. Shelby's Iron Brigade and became part of Col. Charles H. Tyler's Brigade and Brig. Gen. M. Jeff Thompson assumed command of the Iron Brigade. Tyler's and Thompson's Brigades were placed in Brig. Gen. Jo Shelby's Division.
Brig. Gen. Shelby's Divison consisted of the following brigades:
Brig. Gen. M. Jeff Thompson's Iron Brigade
Col. Sidney D. Jackman's Brigade
Col. Charles H. Tyler's Brigade
The Missouri and Arkansas divisions were:
Maj. Gen. James F. Fagan's Division
Maj. Gen. John S. Marmaduke's Division
Brig. Gen. Joseph O. Shelby's Division
Some of the regiments in these divisions were skeleton organizations, many consisting of mere handfuls of men.