Thursday, July 9, 2009

Woodfin: TN18 battles


Woodfins at Tullahoma

TN GenWeb Project
45th Tennessee Infantry

In the Battle of Murfreesboro, December 31, 1862-January 2, 1863, Brown's Brigade, commanded first by Colonel J. B. Palmer, later by Brigadier General Gideon J. Pillow, formed part of Breckinridge's Division. At this time, the brigade was composed of the 18th, 26th, 28th, 32nd, and 45th Tennessee Regiments, pluS Moses' Battery, with the 32nd on detached service. The regiment suffered only a few casualties on December 31, but in the charge by Breckinridge's Division in the afternoon of January 2, it lost heavily, total casualties amounting to 113. On January 19, 1863, the 45th reported 323 present for duty, out of 449 present.

During March and April, 1863 the regiment was stationed at Fairfield; and on June 26, just after the affair at Hoover's Gap, Lieutenant General William J. Hardee, in a note to Major General A. P. Stewart, wrote "The 45th is at Shilob Church. If you retrogade, bring it back with you and consider it under your orders. The rest of Brown's Brigade, except the 26th, is at Tullahoma."

History of the 32nd Tennessee Infantry

They were encamped there until the Army of Tennessee withdrew from Murfreesboro and went into winter quarters at Tullahoma, TN.

At this time, Col. John C. Brown, of the 3rd TN, was promoted to Brigadier-General and given his brigade: the 18th, the 26th, the 32nd, and 45th regiments, all of Tennessee troops.

In June of 1863, they were marched to Beech Grove, then towards Woodbury, TN. Here, they had hoped to cut off federal troops before they passed through a gap in the mountains. The federals had found out about the trap and withdrawn. They then marched back to Beech Grove and on to Wartrace, TN.

The 45th Tennessee fights at Chickamauga, Stones River
By MIKE WEST Managing Editor
The Murfreesboro Post

But the charge was still scheduled for 4 p.m. with the lateness of the hour, Bragg thought, not giving the Union troops time to counterattack.

However, Union Maj. General Thomas L. Crittenden spotted the Confederates building for an attack. Crittenden ordered his chief of artillery, Maj. John Mendenhall, to gather all available artillery in the area.

Mendenhall assembled a huge battery of 58 cannons on the west bank of McFadden’s Ford.

Breckinridge’s men, including the Rutherford County troops in the 18th and 45th Regiments, charged.

Palmer, relieved of brigade command by Gideon Pillow an hour earlier, rejoined the 18th.

Pillow, after the attack began, was found cowering behind a tree by a furious Breckinridge, who ordered him forward.

The Confederate’s dislodged VanCleve’s men, who were now commanded by Col. Samuel Beatty.

Screaming the infamous Rebel yell, they pursued the Union troops across Stones River. When they were in range, Mendenhall fired over his own troops into Breckinridge’s men. The huge battery was firing more than a hundred cannon blasts a minute.

The fight lasted less than 20 minutes with the Confederates suffering more than 1,700 causalities. Stones River literally ran red with their blood.

Bragg had thrown away victory at Stones River.

Col. Anderson Searcy’s regiment had 113 causalities during that brief encounter. Col. Palmer suffered three major wounds, but survived. Brig. Gen. Hanson was killed.

Bragg retreated to Tullahoma where on Feb. 16, 1863; the 45th was reassigned to Maj. Gen. B.F. Cheatham’s Brigade of Polk’s Corps. On Feb. 28, Brown (Palmer’s) Brigade got a new infusion of men in the form of the 23rd Tennessee.

The 45th was stationed at Fairfield in March and April 1863. After the Battle of Hoover’s Gap, it was transferred again to Maj. Gen. Alexander P. Stewart’s Division. Fortunately, the unit did miss the fight at Hoover’s Gap where Union Col. John T. Wilder first “premiered” the firepower of the Spencer repeating rifle.


Reunion photos

Rutherford Co. pension apps
Includes Hugh White Woodfin - not Samuel

Sons of Confed Veterans - Tenn Division

Library of Congress photos

Selected battles

Leaders Army of Tennessee

Life in camp

Nicholas Woodfin - lawyer in Buncombe Co NC

Military history forum - connect with others in the TN18
Also in Co. F - James Knox Polk Marbury

Samuel Woodfin's units

Breckinridge's Division - 1st Corps - Army of Tennessee

Jan - May
Brown's Brigade - Breckinridge's Division - 2nd Corps - Army of Tennessee
Jan - Murfreesboro / Stones River
NPS Battlefield | NPS | Hazen's monument | Stones River reports

May - Sep
Brown's Brigade - Bate's-Stewart's Division - 2nd Corps - Army of Tennessee
June - Tullahoma Campaign
Description: BlueGray Trail | AOTC | Wiki |

Sep - Oct
Brown's Brigade - Stewart's Division - Buckner's Corps - Army of Tennessee
Sep 19-20 - Chickamauga
Lost 135 of 330. Col. Palmer wounded, out until summer of 64

** Woodfin out **
Nov 23-25 - Chattanooga/Missionary Ridge - Moses & Hugh captured
Nov 12 - 18th Joins with 45th under Maj Gen Carter Stevenson Div., 1st Corps (Nov-Feb)
Troops sent to Chattanooga where they surround Rosecrans' Union forces in the city.
18th is on Lookout Mountain.
Missionary Ridge
Defeated CSA troops retreat to Dalton, Ga. SC Woodfin joins them there.

Feb - Apr 65
Brown's Brigade - Stevenson's Division - 2nd Corps - Army of Tennessee
Brown's Brigade - Brig. Gen. JOHN C. BROWN.
3d Tennessee (Volunteers), Lieut. Col. Calvin J. Clack.
18th Tennessee, Lieut. Col. William R. Butler.
26th Tennessee, Capt. Abijah F. Boggess.
32d Tennessee, Maj. John P. McGuire.
45th Tennessee, } Col. Anderson Searcy

May 5-11 - Rocky Face Ridge
May 14-15 - Resaca
May 25-Jun 4 - New Hope Church
Jun 20 - Powder Springs Road
Jun 27 - JKennesaw Mountain
July - Chattahoochee River
July - Sep - Atlanta siege
Battle of Atlanta
Regt. in line north of the city. Gets outflanked, suffers heavy casualties. Lt. Col. Butler escapes with remanents and joins with TN 3rd.

Nov 12 - Palmer resumes command of consolidated troops.
Regt. returns to Tenn in effort to draw Sherman north

Nov 27 - TN 18/3rd Occupies Columbia

Nov 30 - Franklin - 18th arrives too late to fight

Detached to join Nathan Bedford Forrest and was not engaged at Nashville.

Rear guard during retreat from Nashville
Battle of Nashville

Dec 27 - Last troops to cross Tennessee River - 17 troops and 3 servants present.

Feb-Apr - Carolinas campaign

Apr 26 - Johnston surrenders

TN 18th

Organized June 11, 1861; Confederate service August 7, 1861; reorganized September 26, 1862; formed field consolidation with 26th Tennessee Infantry Regiment October, 1863; formed Company "I", 4th Consolidated Tennessee Infantry Regiment April 9, 1865; paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina May 1, 1865.


* Colonel-Joseph B. Palmer Wiki page
* Lieutenant Colonels-A. G. Carden, William R. Butler.
* Majors-Samuel W. Davis, W. H. Joyner.


* Milton R. Rushing, John G. McCabe, Co. "A". Men from Cannon County.
* W. H. Joyner, James W. Roscoe, Co. "B". Men from Sumner and Davidson Counties.
* Joseph B. Palmer, William R. Butler, Richard L. Stephens, John W. Oslin, Co. "C". Men from Rutherford County.
* H. J. St. John, M. E. St. John, Co. "D". "St. John's Guards." Men from Cannon County.
* Gid H. Lowe, Co. "E". "The Ashland City Guards." Men from Cheatham County.
* Benjamin F. Webb, Co. "F". Men from Rutherford and Bedford Counties.
* A. J. McWhirter, John Dick, Joseph B. Matthews, Co. "G". Men from Davidson County.
* B. Grand Wood, Thomas G. Curlee, Co. "H". Men from Rutherford and Cannon Counties.
* A. G. Carden, William L. Putman, Z. W. Williams, Co. "I". Men from Wilson County.
* W. J. Grayson, William P. Bandy, Co. "K". Men from Wilson County.

Of the field officers, Colonel Palmer was promoted to brigadier general November 15, 1864. Lieutenant Colonel Carden resigned, and Major Davis was not re-elected at the reorganization.

The companies from which this regiment was formed were organized in various Middle Tennessee counties during May 1861. They assembled at Camp Trousdale, where the regiment was organized, and where it was transferred to Confederate service.

A Field and Staff report from Lieutenant Colonel William R. Butler dated March 31, 1864 at Dalton, Georgia, gave the following information as to the history of the regiment up to that date: "This regiment was organized at Camp Trousdale June 11, 1861; sent to Bowling Green, Kentucky, September 1, under General Buckner; sent to Fort Donelson in February; participated in that fighting; captured February 16, 1862; in prison till September 16, 1862; exchanged at Vicksburg; reorganized at Jackson, Mississippi; sent to Murfreesboro; placed in Breckinridge's Division and took active part in the engagement at Stone's River, especially on Friday evening; was in the fight at Chickamauga in Division of Major General Stewart; lost 144 men killed and wounded; was not much injured in Battle of Missionary Ridge. We were then in Stevenson's Division and are at present. Temporarily consolidated with 26th Tennessee, October 8, 1863."

During this period the regiment was reported at Camp Trousdale in July, 1861 with 883 men armed with flintlock muskets. On September 28, 1861, under the command of Brigadier General Simon B. Buckner, it was reported in the brigade commanded by Colonel John C. Brown. along with the 3rd and 23rd Tennessee Regiments. At Fort Donelson, half of Baldwin's Brigade was attached to Brown's Brigade. The 18th reported 685 men.

Battle of Chickamauga

Reinforced by Lt. Gen. James Longstreet's corps from the Army of Northern Virginia and a division from Mississippi, Bragg laid a trap for Rosecrans in the hills of northwestern Georgia. Advancing south, the Union general encountered Bragg's army at Chickamauga on September 18, 1863. Fighting began in earnest the following day when Union Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas attacked Confederate troops on his front. For most of the day, fighting surged up and down the lines with each side attacking and counterattacking.

On the morning of the 20th, Bragg attempted to flank Thomas' position at Kelly Field, with little success. In response to the failed attacks, he ordered a general assault on the Union lines. Around 11:00 AM, confusion led to a gap opening in the Union line as units were shifted to support Thomas. As Maj. Gen. Alexander McCook was attempting to plug the gap, Longstreet's corps attacked, exploiting the hole and routing the right wing of Rosecrans' army. Retreating with his men, Rosecrans departed the field leaving Thomas in command. Too heavily engaged to withdrawal, Thomas consolidated his corps around Snodgrass Hill and Horseshoe Ridge. From these positions his troops beat off numerous Confederate assaults before falling back under the cover of darkness. This heroic defense earned Thomas the moniker "The Rock of Chickamauga." In the fighting, Rosecrans suffered 16,170 casualties, while Bragg's army incurred 18,454.
Siege of Chattanooga

Stunned by the defeat at Chickamauga, Rosecrans retreated all the way back to Chattanooga. Bragg followed and occupied the high ground around the city effectively putting the Army of the Cumberland under siege. To the west, Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant was resting with his army near Vicksburg. On October 17, he was given command of the Military Division of the Mississippi and control of all Union armies in the West. Moving quickly, Grant replaced Rosecrans with Thomas and worked to reopen supply lines to Chattanooga. This done, he shifted 40,000 men under Maj. Gens. William T. Sherman and Joseph Hooker east to reinforce the city. As Grant was pouring troops into the area, Bragg numbers were reduced when Longstreet's corps was ordered away for a campaign around Knoxville, TN.
Battle of Chattanooga

On November 24, 1863, Grant began operations to drive Bragg's army away from Chattanooga. Attacking at dawn, Hooker's men drove Confederate forces from Lookout Mountain south of the city. Fighting in this area ended around 3:00 PM when ammunition ran low and a heavy fog enveloped the mountain, earning the fight the nickname "Battle Above the Clouds." At the other end of the line, Sherman advanced taking Billy Goat Hill at the north end of the Confederate position.

The following day, Grant planned for Hooker and Sherman to flank Bragg's line, allowing Thomas to advance up the face of Missionary Ridge in the center. As the day progressed, the flank attacks became bogged down. Feeling that Bragg was weakening his center to reinforce his flanks, Grant ordered Thomas' men to move forward to assault the three lines of Confederate trenches on the ridge. After securing the first line, they were pinned down by fire from the remaining two. Rising up, Thomas' men, without orders, pressed on up the slope, chanting "Chickamauga! Chickamauga!" and broke the center of Bragg's lines. With no choice, Bragg ordered the army to retreat back to Dalton, GA. As a result of his defeat, President Jefferson Davis relieved Bragg and replaced him with Gen. Joseph E. Johnston.


The successful Union campaign in Middle Tennessee in the summer of 1863 was a turning point in the Civil War. In just eleven days, and with very little fighting, the Army of the Cumberland maneuvered the Confederate Army of Tennessee completely out of Middle Tennessee. The campaign secured an agriculturally productive region for the Union, set the stage for the major battles around Chattanooga that fall, and led to the crucial struggle for Atlanta the following year.

The campaign was part of two years of conflict along the railroad extending from Nashville through Chattanooga to Atlanta. The first clash occurred on Stones River near Murfreesboro at the end of 1862. From a military standpoint, the battle ended in a draw, but on January 3, 1863, Confederate General Braxton Bragg retreated, moving his army south to a twenty-mile-long front in the Shelbyville-Tullahoma area.

The next move belonged to Union Major General William S. Rosecrans. Despite proddings from President Abraham Lincoln, Rosecrans refused to budge from his Murfreesboro base until he was satisfied his army was ready. When Rosecrans finally moved on June 23, 1863, he followed a brilliant plan: go around Bragg's army, sever its line of supply, reinforcement, and retreat along the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad, and force the Confederates to turn around and fight. At the very least, the Southerners would have to retreat to protect their lifeline south.

The range of hills separating the two armies figured prominently in Rosecrans's plan. Avoiding the easy advance around the hills on the western edge of the front, Rosecrans chose the difficult route directly through the hills on the east. To confuse the Confederates, he sent large parts of his army in several directions.

The Confederates held at Shelbyville and Liberty Gap near Bell Buckle, while the main Federal thrust went through Hoover's Gap on the Murfreesboro-Manchester Turnpike. By June 27, Union troops were at Manchester in the Confederate rear. Bragg had no choice but to retreat to Tullahoma. Over the next several days, Bragg's army made successive retreats to Decherd and Cowan, before the final retreat over the mountain to Chattanooga on July 3.

Incessant rain slowed the Union advance, and Rosecrans was not able to strike Bragg's army before it got away. But Rosecrans did achieve his secondary goal of forcing the Confederates out of Middle Tennessee. The battleground then shifted to the Chattanooga area.

The Federals deployed about 77,000 men in the Tullahoma campaign and the Confederates 44,000. The Union losses totaled 550 captured, wounded, and killed. The Federal forces captured 1,634 Confederates, but the number of Confederate wounded and killed is not known.

1 comment:

  1. Warfare is a fascinating subject. Despite the dubious morality of using violence to achieve personal or political aims. It remains that conflict has been used to do just that throughout recorded history.

    Your article is very well done, a good read.