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Mini Biographies of Scots and Scots Descendants (E)
Eckford, Frederick Thomas, 2Lt, CSA

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 battles.

Jeff Gatlin

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