Fredrick Thomas Eckford
Second Lieutenant, 12th (Green’s) Tennessee Cavalry Regt, CSA
Frederick Thomas Eckford was born in Scotland in 1838, the second son of
Thomas and Delitha Eckford. The Eckford family came to the United States
some time between 1844 and 1847. The Eckfords were living in Fayette
County, Tennessee at the time of the 1850 census. Fredrick’s siblings were
all living in Tipton County, Tennessee after the war. Fredrick, though, did
not survive the war.
Fredrick was elected Second Lieutenant by the men of the 1st Tennessee
Partisan Rangers on 1 February 1863. He was not to receive official
commissioning from the Confederate government until June. On 9 June 1863
Secretary of War J.A. Seddon indorsed Fredrick’s commission. Fredrick was
originally enrolled in the service on 1 February 1863 by Captain Robert A.
Fields in Tipton County, Tennessee. He enrolled for a three year term.
Fredrick was assigned to Captain Fields’ Company G.
The regiment was commanded by Colonel Robert V. Richardson, who had
allegedly been given the rank of colonel and the title of “Agent,
Conscription Bureau of West Tennessee” by the Confederate authorities in
Richmond. The 1st Tennessee Partisan Rangers had been operating unoffically
for some time prior to February 1863. It is not known whether Fredrick had
been with the outlaw unit prior to February 1863 or not. It is quite
possible that he was with the unit prior to that time, and that would
explain how a 25 year old male had avoided regular military service for
nearly two years of war.
Colonel Richardson was considered an outlaw and Major Bradford was
dispatched to West Tennessee to arrest the colonel and muster his troops in
to regular Confederate service. Colonel Richardson was never arrested, but
the unit was given the official designation of 12th Tennessee Cavalry
Regiment in February 1863.
On 10 August, Fredrick and Company G, 12th Tennessee Cavalry were in
Okolona, Mississippi and assigned to Major General Chalmers’ cavalry
command. On 19 September 1863 Fredrick was paid $360.00 for four months of
service (A Second Lieutenant was due a salary of $90.00 per month). From 5
to 15 October 1863 Fredrick was involved in Chalmers’ attacks on the Memphis
and Charleston Railroad near Collierville, Tennessee. By 28 October 1863,
the 12th Tennessee Cavalry had fallen back to Water Valley, Mississippi to
go into winter quarters. About this time Lieutenant General N.Bedford
Forrest was placed in command of all cavalry forces in north Mississippi,
including the 12th Tennessee.
It was during General Forrest’s reorganization that Frederick was paid
again. On 14 February 1864 he was paid $450.00 for five months of service.
This was probably Fredrick’s last pay day. Second Lieutenant Fredrick
Thomas Eckford died in 1864. The details of his death are not available to
this author. The 12th Tennessee went on to follow General Forrest into some
of the bloodiest and most daring cavalry battles of the entire War,
including the Raid on Memphis, the raid against Sherman’s supply lines in
Georgia, and General’s Hood’s disastrous defeat at the Battle of Nashville.
It is quite possible that Fredrick died on the field of one of these