5/24/64 Hqs District of SW Miss & E La Camp Polk J. S. Scott, Col, Cdg District to Maj Gen S. D. Lee, Cdg Dept of Ala, Ms, & East La:… I would recommend that Col Lay be ordered to organize his command at once, to be a Regt or Bn, as the numbers may justify. Col Lay has used the utmost exertions to form his command, but I believe that his efforts have not been rewarded by commensurate success. Col Powers' command is complete as a Regt in Co’s & numbers, & nothing remains to be done but to appoint the field officers & to assign the Co’s their respective positions…
From CSR's [paraphrased]
Lay's Regt aka 20th Confederate-Not recognized as legally organized and broken up about Dec 64, and the men afterwards assigned to other organizations, some of them having been previously turned over to the conscription bureau and some transferred to other organizations
Col Benjamin D Lay-
10/1/61-1/1/62 Roll of Co C shows him 1st Sgt with remarks acting as Ass’t surgeon since 11/17
2/5/62 Apptd Ass’t surgeon
3/14 to report to Gen A S Johnston at Decatur [S O #59 A&IG Office]
12/17/61-6/30/62 Appears on roll
5/7/62 apptd by Med Dept
5/8/62 Col Hardcastle cdg recommends Lay’s appt to the rank of surgeon of the Regt
6/12/63 Apptd surgeon from state of Ms to rank from 9/16/62 & to report to Gen Bragg
1/5/64 requests authority to recruit a Cav Regt
1/14/64 granted by Sec of War-accepted Mar 64
1/30/64 relieved from duty by Gen Maury & to report to Gen Polk
2/25/64 addressed as surgeon
1/5/64 Lay says he applied to Gen Polk to raise Regt of Mtd men
2/3/64 arrived at Jackson to commence operations but presence of Sherman’s army prevented that-Returned to Mobile and Surgeon’s duties
2/25 seeing that Sherman was retreating, I forwarded my resignation as surgeon to Sec of War & my letter of acceptance to take effect from 3/1
3/11 date of reply rec’d 3/26 finding my authority limited to 60 days
4/12 sent my muster rolls to Gen Polk showing 1100 or 1150 men-200 in camp at Summit
4/13 ordered with my command to report to Col Scott at Raymond but not able to comply till 4/23. I then rec’d orders to bring my men into camp
4/23 I was brigaded with Col Scott but without my full complement of men
3/24, 4/3 & 6/14/64 signs as Col cdg Lay’s Cav
4/23/64 Col Lay cdg Regt CS Cav assumes command of post of Summit, Ms
6/22/64 Camp Robertson, Col Lay to Gen Hodge-giving background of attempt and difficulties to form Regt beginning with 1/5/64 Lay says he applied to Gen Polk to raise Regt of Cav or Mtd men [see above]-Lay signs as Col & recruiting officer
7/5/64 Hqs Lay’s Cav, Camp Polk-length letter listing his complaints regarding obstacle in recruiting-signed Col Lay cdg Regt
2/11/65 resignation as surgeon accepted [tendered 12/21/64]
Vol 48 Union correspondence
2/23/65 S. M. Eaton, Capt & Chief Signal Officer, Mil. Div. of West Ms. to Lt Col Christensen, AAG, Military Div of West Ms: submit to your consideration the following report of information received at this office this 23rd of Feb, 1865:
R. D. Fugler, a deserter from the 20th Confederate Cav, left the Regt in Dec, 1864; went to Brandon, Miss.; left Brandon Feb 1 and arrived at Fort Adams on the 13th states that the following troops are at Sharon:
20th Confederate Cav, numbering, effective, 300;
Mabry’s Cav, unknown;
Part of Dumonteil's Cav, unknown;
Wood's Bgde of Cav, 1, 5000;
Col Griffith's command at Whitestown (Powers' Regt, numbering 450; Griffith's Regt, numbering 300);
Scott's command at Summit, under marching orders, only about 2500-The men are very reluctant to go east or to join Forrest.
Wirt Adams with his command (number unknown) went north from Jackson in January.
Capt Jones' Co of scouts, 100;
Capt Harvey's Co of scouts, 80, are scouting along the Big Black; are armed with double-barreled shotguns, as more effective against the Cav who may pursue their decoys into ambush.
Capt Owens' Co of scouts and couriers, 100; HQs Brandon, Moss
Capt Harris' Co of scouts (number unknown) is scouting in the rear of Natchez.
Gen Forrest had about 10,000 effective men of his own command and could muster from all quarters about as many more; HQs at Brandon.
Is anticipating a raid from Natchez or Vicksburg, and is preparing to meet it. Capt McDonald, late of the 16th Texas Infy, gives information mainly confirmatory of previous reports and of value to this office.
Jackson, Miss., Feb 25, 1865.
Capt W. A. Goodman, AAG, Chalmers' Div. of Cav, Columbus, Miss.: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of paragraphs XI and XV, Special Orders, #s 28, from district HQs, assigning Gen Chalmers to the command of the Ms Cav in the district, and providing for its organization into a division of three Bgdes, to be known as Chalmers' Division, and to be commanded by Brig Gen James R. Chalmers.
I beg also to acknowledge receipt of Gen Orders, #s 1 and 2, from division HQs, with paragraphs IV and V, Special Orders, #s 16, accompanying, and to say they shall be executed with as little delay as practicable.
The disembarking of a considerable Cav force at Vicksburg on the 19th, its advance in the direction of Big Black, and the daily expectation of an advance of this force against my lines, coupled with telegraphic order of Major-Gen Forrest to return till further orders all Cav in this district, have prevented my sending to their proper Bgdes the Fourth and Sixth Ms Regts, which are assigned to Starke's Bgde.
My whole force here at present consists of Mabry's former Bgde,
A remnant of Ross Bgde, and Wood's Regt, making altogether an effective total of 1,000 men
McGuirk's Regt is now returning from North Ms, and upon its arrival I shall send either the Fourth or Sixth Ms at once to its proper command and the remaining Regt at the earliest moment it can be spared.
I observe that Withers', Ashby’s, and Butler's unattached Co's are assigned to my Bgde, but, as they belong to the Reserve Forces, I presume I will not be permitted to retain them.
In their stead I would respectfully suggest that the Co's of Lay's Regt, of which I enclose a list herewith, may be assigned to me, in order that they may be incorporated with some recognized Bn or Regt. The Co's are mere skeletons, and when consolidated would probably make three or four Co's of the legal complement. Lay's authority to raise a Regt having been revoked by the War Dept these Co's were ordered to report to me by Major-Gen Gardner, when in command of the district.
Wirt Adams, Brigadier-Gen
[Enclosure] List of Co's of Lay's former Regt:
A, Capt C. A. Hester;
B, Capt Louis Winston;
C, Capt W. D. Sneed;
D, Capt J. t. Williams;
E, Capt E. J. York;
F, Capt P. J. Gibson;
G, Capt J. D. Mitchell;
H, Capt P. H. Wallace;
I, Capt B. F. Kimbrough;
K, Capt John Fletcher
RG 109, Ch 1 Vol 44 letters and telegrams sent Jan-April 1865
3/14/65 Richmond AG's office to Gen Richard Taylor-In reply to the request of Col Jno Griffith for the transfer of 3 Co's of Lay's Regt to the 11th & 17th Ark Regts, these Co's are not known to the Dept as legal organizations
Nothing can be done until the official returns have been rec'd here, the rolls being incomplete and the information in Col Griffith's letter is so unsatisfactory that action by the Dept under it would only create confusion