A Short History of the 7th Kentucky Cavalry (Union)

The summer of 1862 was unfavorable for the organization of the regiment in camp in Eastern Kentucky. A regiment hastily gathered, and not armed or equipped, was in poor condition to encounter the Confederate forces which came into Kentucky. In July the first Morgan raid occurred. He entered by way of Glasgow, passed through Lebanon, Harrodsburg and on to Cynthiana. Returning, he passed through Richmond, Crab, Orchard, Somerset and Monticello. Morgan was pursued by Gen. Green Clay Smith who gathered a force, including a portion of the 7th KY Cavalry under Capt. Faulkner; and at Paris was joined by the remainder of the regiment under Col. Metcalfe. The 7th had been recruited, and the men enrolled in the months of June and July, but had not been mustered into service when the Morgan raid disturbed the work of organization. On the 16th of August the regiment was mustered regularly at Paris, KY. At that time the Confederate armies under Gens Bragg and Kirby Smith were advancing into Kentucky. August 23rd Gen. Smith's army came upon Federal forces at Big Hill. In the battle which occurred some losses were sustained on both sides, and the 7th Cavalry was very much shattered. The resignation of Col. Metcalfe followed. He was succeeded by Col. John K. Faulkner, a gallant officer who had assisted in raising the regiment. He completed the organization during the fall of 1862 and winter following. In December, 1862, the 7th moved to Tennessee, and was at Castalian Springs with a force, then under command of Col. John M. Harlan. December 7th it accompanied that force to Hartsville for the relief of the garrison, which had been attacked by Morgan, but reached the place too late to accomplish good. In January and February, 1863, it was engaged in scouting. March 8th, it went on an expedition from Franklin to Columbia, Tenn., under Gen. Green Clay Smith, fighting and skirmishing all the way.

In the organization of the Army of the Cumberland, June, 1863, the 7th was in Col. Campbell's brigade, Mitchell's division, Stanley's cavalry corps. The regiment was commanded by Col. Faulkner. June 4th, the 7th being at Franklin, Tenn., with a regiment of infantry, the Confederates came up to the take the place. The Federals moved to the north side of the river, where there was a strong fort. Late in the day Col. Faulkner led his regiment back across the river and went out and attacked the enemy. Finding the force too great, he recrossed and took position for defense. While thus waiting, the Confederates also crossed the river, but were attached in flank and rear by another force, which came suddenly on the scene, being the 4th KY Cavalry, under Col. Watkins; the 9th Penn, Cavalry under Col. Jordan and 2d Mich. Cavalry, under Col. Campbell. The Confederates were completely driven off with considerable loss. In this exciting fighting of the cavalry Col. Faulkner was severely wounded in the thigh; a wound from which he never fully recovered, but not long after that he was again leading his regiment.

In July the 7th went to Bridgeport, Ala. August 31st, in the organization of Rosecrans' army, the 7th was in Col. L.D. Watkins' brigade, which consisted of the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th KY Cavalry. In September it was still at Bridgeport; in October at Caperton's Ferry; in November at Cany Fork. All this time it was engaged in active duty, such as is incident to cavalry service in connection with a large army in the field and participated in the work of the cavalry at Chickamauga. In December it was ordered to report to Gen. W.S. Smith for the cavalry expedition across the Tennessee river against Forrest, and participated in a portion of that movement. In this month, also, it went to Rossville, Ga. In the organization of the Army of the Cumberland, December 31, 1863, the 7th was still in Watkins' brigade with the 4th, 5th and 6th KY Cavalry, being in Gen. Ed McCook's division of Elliot's cavalry corps. In January, 1864, it went to Maryville, Tennessee on an expedition: was also in a fight near Dandridge. January 17th; in another at Pigeon river January 27th and still another at Faris' Ford on the 28th. In these engagements the reports show that the regiment acquitted itself with great credit.

In February 1864, the regiment was at Madisonville, Tenn., under Maj. Robert Collier, and in March at Cleveland, under Capt. C.C. McNeely. In April and May it was still at Cleveland, and also at Wauhatchie, under Col. Faulkner.

June 24th part of the regiment was with Col. Faulkner at Lafayette, Ga., with other cavalry, all under Col. Watkins. The place was fiercely attacked by Gen. Pillow and a remarkable battle occurred. The Federals barricaded the court house with sacks of corn and fought off their assailants, compelling them to withdraw and while in the act of withdrawing other Federal troops came up and a panic took place in Gen. Pillow's command, resulting in a severe loss to him.

July 7th the remainder of the 7th came up to Lafayette, Ga., from Wauchatchie. In July the regiment was also at Lee and Gordon's Mills. In August it was at Calhoun and Dalton. At the latter place it engaged in a fierce fight with Wheeler's cavalry. August 21st it fought at Graysville. At this time the regiment numbered 598, a portion being at Dalton and the remainder at Graysville.

In December, 1864, the regiment was encamped at Edgefield, Tenn., with Watkins' brigade and other cavalry under Gen. McCook. Col. Faulkner was in command of the regiment. Orders were received on the 11th of move the next day to Kentucky, to operate against the raid of Confederate Gen. Lyon. The 7th moved with McCook's command the next day, passing through Russelville and proceeded to Hopkinsville. There it encountered Lyon's forces and fought with them. The Lyon raid was defeated and the 7th returned to Edgefield, Tenn.

The battle of Nashville having taken place December 15th and 16th, the Confederates were driven south and the 7th, with the cavalry under Gen. Wilson, followed them. In January it was at Waterloo, Ala., continuing through February and March with the cavalry operations in Alabama; in April it went into Georgia as far as Macon. In May it was at Albany, Ga. In January 1865 it returned to Edgefield Tenn., and on the 10th of July was mustered out of service, though Companies F, I and L were transferred to the 6th KY Veteran Cavalry.

Col. Jno. M. Faulkner was a most gallant and efficient officer. He gathered the regiment together after the unfortunate affair at Big Hill in August, 1862, and made it one of the most useful in the splendid body of Kentucky cavalry. He led it continuously, except while disabled by his wound. He was a young man, with the best connections, full of energy and dash, he made a fine reputation as a solider, and made his regiment one to be depended on in every kind of duty or emergency. Subsequent to the war he held the office of surveyor of the port at Louisville, KY and was most highly esteemed as an officer and citizen.

For additional History, with Actions, Engagements, and Skirmish data: Another History by a Different Source

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