Civil War - 10th Infantry

10th Infantry

The 10th Tennessee Infantry was organized at Fort Henry, on the Tennessee River, in May of 1861, just a few weeks after the first shot was fired at Fort Sumpter. Adolphus Heiman was Colonel of the regiment. Other regimental officers were:
  • Randall W. McGavock, Lieutenant Colonel
  • William Grace, Major
  • John Handy*, Adjutant, succeeded by LaFayette McConnico*
  • W. F. Beatty, Sergeant Major
  • Rev. Father Henry Vincent Brown, Chaplain
  • Dr. Alfred Voorhies, Surgeon
  • Dr. Dixon Horton, Assistant Surgeon
  • John McLaughlin, Quartermaster
  • Felix Abby, Assistant Commissary Subsistence

* Giles Countians

The 10th Tennessee Infantry Regiment was organized with 10 companies. Company H was organized at Pulaski, Tennessee, composed of men from Giles County. Company officers were:

  • Lewis T. Waggoner, Captain, succeeded by John Handy
  • John Handy, First Lieutenant, succeeded by LaFayette McConnico
  • LaFayette McConnico, Second Lieutenant
  • _____ McCoy, Brevet Second Lieutenant

In July, 1861, the 10th Tennessee was reported with 720 men armed with flintlock muskets. When accepted into the service of the Confederate States of America, the regiment was reorganized and the Giles County company was designated Company I. This regiment remained at Fort Henry from the time of its organization in May, 1861, perfecting itself in drill and discipline, until the bombardment by Federal forces on February 6, 1862. The artillery bombardment lasted about four hours.

There was no infantry engagement. Before the white flag of surrender was hoisted, Confederate General Tilghman ordered the infantry forces to withdraw and fall back to Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River. After wading a number of streams swollen by rain and snow, and being constantly harassed by Federal cavalry, the Confederate infantry reached the presumed safety of Fort Donelson late that night.

The fighting at Fort Donelson started on February 13, 1862, and lasted until the surrender on February 16. The 10th Tennessee fought in Heiman's Brigade, composed of the 10th, 42nd, 48th, and 53rd (Alfred H. Abernathy) Tennessee Infantry Regiments, Maney's Tennessee Battery, and the 27th Alabama Infantry Regiment, totaling about 1600 men.

The 10th Tennessee Infantry suffered severe losses and earned the sobriquet of "The Bloody Tenth." After the surrender of Fort Donelson, the field and staff officers were taken as prisoners of war to Fort Warren. The line officers were taken to Johnson's Island. The non-commissioned officers and privates were taken to Camp Douglas, Illinois. At Camp Douglas they were treated with atrocious barbarity in numerous ways, even to the extent of shooting through the barracks at night, killing and wounding prisoners asleep in their bunks.

The captured Confederates left Camp Douglas in September, 1862, and were taken down the Mississippi River to Vicksburg, Mississippi, where they were exchanged on the 24th of that month. The 10th Tennessee Infantry Regiment was reorganized at Clinton, Mississippi, on October 2, 1862. Colonel Randall W. McGavock succeeded Colonel Heiman as commander of the regiment. (Colonel Heiman died in November, 1862, and Colonel McGavock was killed at Raymond, Mississippi, in May, 1863.)

The Giles County company was reorganized as Company E. About ten days after the reorganization the regiment was ordered to Holly Springs, Mississippi, and placed in the brigade commanded by General John Gregg of Texas. Gregg's Brigade consisted of the 3rd/30th Consolidated, 10th/41st Consolidated, 50th, and 51st Tennessee Infantry Regiments, and the 1st Tennessee Infantry Battalion.

From Holly Springs the brigade was ordered to Water Valley, where they were reviewed by President Davis, thence to Tippah Ford, back to Holly Springs, then to Waterford, Oxford, and Grenada. Near the end of December, 1862, the brigade was ordered to Vicksburg and near there met Sherman's forces and defeated them in the Battle of Chickasaw Bayou.

On January 3, 1863, the 10th Tennessee reported 349 effectives and moved with Gregg's Brigade to Port Hudson, Louisiana, where they stayed until May 2, 1863. At Port Hudson they suffered through the bombardment by the Federal fleet. On May 7th, they met the enemy at Jackson, Mississippi, and repulsed them. The 10th Tennessee then marched to Raymond, Mississippi, where, on May 12th, they fought in the Battle of Raymond, suffering 52 casualties, including Colonel McGavock.

After the Battle of Raymond the brigade fell back to Jackson and during the remainder of May and June were on a continuous march, watching the operations of the enemy against Vicksburg. The brigade remained in Mississippi until September, 1863, when it was ordered to join General Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee, which it reached on September 17th, just in time to take part in the Battle of Chickamauga. The 10th Tennessee carried 328 men into action at Chickamauga and lost 224 killed and wounded. Among those killed were three Giles Countians - James Kelley, James Mahon and Jeremiah Harrington.

On November 12, 1863, Gregg's Brigade was broken up and the 10th Tennessee was placed in General William B. Bate's Brigade. On December 4th, The 10th Tennessee reported only 69 effectives. By February, 1864, the brigade was known as Tyler's Brigade. What few remained of the 10th Tennessee Infantry fought at Missionary Ridge. They were with General Joseph Johnston during his retreat to Atlanta, fighting at Rocky Face Ridge, Ringgold Gap, Buzzard Roost, Resaca, New Hope Church, Pine Mountain, Kennesaw Mountain, Peach Tree Creek, Decatur, and Jonesboro.

The 10th Tennessee Infantry returned with Confederate General John Bell Hood to Tennessee and fought at Franklin and Nashville, retreated with Hood through Giles County, then went to North Carolina. They participated in the Battle of Bentonville on March 31, 1865. The 10th Tennessee was placed in the 4th Consolidated Tennessee Infantry Regiment composed of the remnants of the 2nd, 3rd, 10th, 15th, 18th, 20th, 26th, 32nd, 37th, and 45th Tennessee Infantry Regiments and the 23rd Tennessee Infantry Battalion.

They were surrendered at Greensboro, North Carolina, on April 26, 1865, and paroled on May 1, 1865. There were less than 100 men left in the 10th Tennessee Infantry at the closing scene of the war, and every one of them had been wounded, many numerous times.

Submitted by Bob Wamble