Civil War - 3rd Tennessee Infantry

3rd Tennessee Infantry

The 3rd Tennessee Infantry Regiment was organized under a sugar maple tree at Lynnville Station in Giles County, Tennessee, on May 16, 1861. The regiment was composed of 10 companies of picked men:

  • Company A - Captain John C. Brown, men from Pulaski, Giles County.
  • Company B - Captain Daniel F. Wade, men from Mt. Pleasant, Maury County.
  • Company C - Captain Flavel C. Barber, men from Elkton, Giles County.
  • Company D - Captain Benjamin Franklin Mathews, men from Lawrence County.
  • Company E - Captain Calvin Harvey Walker, men from Cornersville, Giles County.
  • Company F - Captain Nathaniel F. Cheairs, men from Spring Hill, Maury and Williamson Counties.
  • Company G - Captain Thomas M. Gordon, men from Lynnville, Giles County.
  • Company H - Captain George W. Jones, men from Culleoka, Maury County.
  • Company I - Captain William Peaton, men from Campbellsville, Giles County.
  • Company K - Captain Samuel L. Tarrent, men from Lewis and Hickman Counties.

Captain John Calvin Brown of Pulaski was elected Colonel of the regiment and was replaced by Calvin J. Clack as Captain of Company A. Captain Thomas M. Gordon was elected Lieutenant Colonel and replaced by his brother Ephraim H. F. Gordon as Captain of Company G. Captain Nathaniel F. Cheairs was elected Major and replaced by H. P. Pointer as Captain of Company F. The regiment was immediately accepted into the service of the State of Tennessee, as Tennessee had not yet seceded from the Union.

Other regimental officers were:

  • Adjutant - Thomas M. Tucker
  • Quartermasters - Ben P. Roy and J. L. Herron
  • Commissary - B. L. Wilkes
  • Surgeons - Sam H. Stout and James A. Bowers
  • Assistant Surgeon - Wiley S. Perry
  • Chaplains - Marcus Williams and Thomas H. Deavenport
  • Sergeant-Major - William Polk
  • Quartermaster Sergeants - J. F. Alexander and J. W. Littleton
  • Commissary Sergeant - John S. Wilkes
  • Ordnance Sergeants - Wallace W. Rutledge and James S. Walker
  • Hospital Stewart - Eber Fry

The 3rd Tennessee Infantry went by rail to Nashville on May 16 and camped for the night at the fairgrounds. The next day the went to the State Capitol and drew their weapons, percussion muskets. They moved by rail that day to Camp Cheatham, near Springfield, Tennessee. They remained at Camp Cheatham for several weeks, receiving instruction in military tactics, drilling and marksmanship, all under the leadership of Colonel John C. Brown. While at Camp Cheatham, the 3rd Tennessee Infantry suffered much sickness, especially measles. On July 28, 1861, the 3rd Tennessee Infantry moved to Camp Trousdale in Robertson County, Tennessee, on the L&N Railroad near the Kentucky line. A report dated July 31, 1861, indicated 885 men present. While undergoing further military instruction, the 3rd Tennessee Infantry suffered much illness, particularly diarrhea and measles. Tennessee seceded from the Union on June 8, 1861, and the 3rd Tennessee Infantry was accepted into the service of the Confederate States of America on August 7, 1861. The 3rd Tennessee Infantry was reorganized:

  • Company A, Captain Clack, remained Company A.
  • Company B, Captain Wade, became Company C.
  • Company C, Captain Barber, became Company K.
  • Company D, Captain Mathews, became Company I.
  • Company E, Captain Walker, became Company G.
  • Company F, Captain Pointer, became Company E.
  • Company G, Captain Gordon, became Company B.
  • Company H, Captain Jones, became Company F.
  • Company I, Captain Peaton, became Company D.
  • Company K, Captain Cooper, became Company H.

From Camp Trousdale, the 3rd Tennessee Infantry moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky, where they reported to General Simon B. Buckner on September 19, 1861. Colonel John C. Brown was senior Colonel and was given command of a brigade composed of the 3rd, 18th, 23rd and 24th Regiments of Tennessee Infantry, Jones' Battalion of Tennessee Cavalry, and Porter's Tennessee Battery. Here they suffered much sickness and endured hard drill under the direction of Colonel Brown. "The drill was very exacting and fatiguing, and in the process of hardening for service the numbers were reduced by sickness, permanent disability, and death."

"Colonel John C. Brown was a strict disciplinarian, full of the magnitude of the work ahead, and determined that his regiment, composed of picked material, should not be excelled." Brown's Brigade remained in and around Bowling Green until the following February.

On February 8, 1862, the 3rd Tennessee Infantry reached Fort Donelson, Tennessee, on the Cumberland River, with 750 men present. The 32nd Tennessee Infantry Regiment, which included four companies from Giles County, replaced the 23rd Tennessee Infantry as a part of Brown's Brigade. As Colonel Brown was in command of the brigade, Lt. Colonel Thomas M. Gordon commanded the 3rd Tennessee Infantry. Brown's Brigade was in the worst of the fighting of the Battle of Fort Donelson. The 3rd Tennessee Infantry lost 13 men killed and 56 wounded. Practically all of the rest of the regiment was surrendered on February 16, 1862. The officers were taken to Fort Warren, Massachusetts and Camp Chase, Ohio. The non-commissioned officers and privates were taken by steamboat to Camp Douglas, Illinois. Colonel John C. Brown was offered his freedom, but chose to suffer the same fate as his men, who spent the next seven months as prisoners of war in northern prisons.

The intense cold of Camp Douglas, Illinois, located on Lake Michigan near Chicago, took a heavy toll on the men of the 3rd Tennessee Infantry. A few managed to escape, but most suffered through the winter with insufficient clothing and food. At least a dozen men of the 3rd Tennessee Infantry died within the confines of Camp Douglas. Others of the regiment had died on the trip northward and officers suffered and died in other prison camps. Finally, after seven long months, the men and officers of the 3rd Tennessee Infantry were loaded on boats and taken down the Mississippi River to be paroled and exchanged.

The 3rd Tennessee Infantry was paroled at Vicksburg, Mississippi, on September 23, 1862. At this point they were no longer prisoners, but could not rejoin the Confederate Army until they were formally exchanged on November, 10, 1862. The 3rd Tennessee Infantry was reorganized for the third and final time at Jackson, Mississippi, on September 26, 1862, with 607 men present. Colonel John C. Brown had been promoted to Brigadier General and had been called to Chattanooga to join General Bragg's army. Calvin Harvey Walker was elected Colonel. Calvin J. Clack was elected Lieutenant Colonel. Thomas M. Tucker and Flavel C. Barber were elected Majors.

Other Regimental officers were:

  • Adjutant - David S. Martin
  • Quartermasters - J. L. Herron and John D. Flautt
  • Commissary - John S. Wilkes
  • Surgeons - James A. Bowers, Daniel F. Wright and C. C. Abernathy
  • Assistant Surgeons - J. T. S. Thompson, J. L. Lipford, J. Henderson, and Thomas H. Moss
  • Chaplain - Thomas Deavenport
  • Sergeant-Major - John Phillips
  • Quartermaster Sergeant - Lewis Amis
  • Commissary Sergeants - R. S. Wilkes and S. S. Craig
  • Ordnance Sergeant - B. S. Thomas
  • Hospital Stewart - Robert P. Jenkins

The companies were reorganized:

*Company A, formerly Company K - Captain Flavel C. Barber, 1st Lt. Thomas E. McCoy, 2nd Lt. Willis H. Jones, Junior 2nd Lt. James P. Bass, rank and file, 100 men, with recruits.

*Company B, formerly Company B - Captain Robert A. Mitchell, 1st Lt. J. M. Thompson, 2nd Lt. M. T. West, Junior 2nd Lt. W. T. Mitchell, rank and file 105 men, with recruits.

Company C, formerly Company H - Captain Robert T. Cooper, 1st Lt. W. J. Hardin, 2nd Lt. R. M. Plummer, Junior 2nd Lt. James A. Doyle, rank and file 75 men, with recruits.

Company D, formerly Company C. - Captain Walter S. Jennings, 1st Lt. W. C. Dunham, 2nd Lt. R. R. Williams, Junior 2nd Lt. Y. R. Watkins, rank and file 80 men, with recruits,

Company E, formerly Company F - Captain George W. Jones, 1st Lt. J. B. Murphy, 2nd Lt. B. G. Darden, Junior 2nd Lt. J. F. Matthews, rank and file 87 men, with recruits.

Company F, formerly Company E - Captain R. B. McCormick, 1st Lt. D. G. Stevenson, 2nd Lt. Thomas Thompson, Junior 2nd Lt. G. P. Straley, rank and file 77 men, with recruits.

*Company G, formerly Company A - Captain David Rhea, 1st Lt. David S. Martin, 2nd Lt. John C. Lester, Junior 2nd Lt. Wallace W. Rutledge, rank and file 97 men, with recruits.

*Company H, formerly Company G - Captain James S. Walker, 1st Lt. J. B. McCanless, 2nd Lt. J. A. Rastin, Junior 2nd Lt. Calvin J. Orr, rank and file 101 men, with recruits.

*Company I, formerly Company D - Captain D. G. Alexander, 1st Lt. J. P. Lock, 2nd Lt. J. B. Farley, Junior 2nd Lt. N. B. Rittenberry, rank and file 90 men, with recruits.

Company K, formerly Company I - Captain B. F. Mathews, 1st Lt. John Hildreth, 2nd Lt. Alonzo Lindsay, Junior 2nd Lt. J. H. Hagan, rank and file 87 men, with recruits.

The 3rd Tennessee Infantry was placed in Brigadier General John Gregg's Brigade and was involved in a sharp skirmish at Springdale, Mississippi, and took part in the Battle of Chickasaw Bayou on December 27-29, 1862. The brigade then moved to Port Hudson, Louisiana, and endured the Federal bombardment of Port Hudson.

On May 11, 1863, the 3rd Tennessee Infantry arrived at Jackson, Mississippi, and the following day moved to Raymond, Mississippi, and met the advance of Union General U. S. Grant's army in one of the fiercest and bloodiest engagements of the war. 548 men of the 3rd Tennessee Infantry fought at Raymond, suffering casualties of 32 killed, 76 wounded and 68 captured. Before the battle, Colonel Walker had stepped out in front of the regiment and said, "We will soon be engaged in a battle and before we begin I wish to say that I do not command you to go, but to follow this old bald head of mine..."

"After marching and countermarching, under command of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, in the rear of Vicksburg, until its surrender on the 4th of July, 1863, the regiment found itself in the rifle-pits at Jackson, Miss., holding that point against the enemy from the 9th to the 16th of July, when it was transferred to the army in Georgia." "In the operations around Jackson, the regiment numbered 366 men, and suffered a total loss of 22 men, of whom 3 were killed, 6 wounded, and 13 captured."

On September 19th and 20, 1863, the 3rd Tennessee Infantry fought in the Battle of Chickamauga in north Georgia. 264 men of the 3rd Tennessee Infantry were engaged in that great Confederate victory. The regiment suffered 93 casualties, including 24 killed, 62 wounded and 7 captured.

On November 25, 1863, 195 men of the 3rd Tennessee Infantry were engaged in the Battle of Missionary Ridge, near Chattanooga. Casualties were light with 3 wounded and 1 captured.

The 3rd Tennessee Infantry went into winter camp in north Georgia and, on December 10, 1863, at Dalton, Georgia, rejoined General John C. Brown's Brigade. The following spring they participated in General Joseph E. Johnston's retreat to Atlanta and fought at Rocky Face Ridge, Sugar Creek Valley, Resaca, New Hope Church, Powder Springs Road, and finally at Jonesboro. Major Flavel C. Barber was killed at Resaca. Colonel Calvin Harvey Walker was killed at Powder Springs Road. Lt. Colonel Calvin J. Clack was killed at Jonesboro.

Following the fall of Atlanta, the 3rd Tennessee Infantry followed General John Bell Hood across northern Alabama and home to Tennessee. On November 18, 1864, they were at Columbia, Tennessee. The 3rd Tennessee Infantry reached Franklin late in the evening of November 30, too late to participate in the disasterous battle. From Franklin, The 3rd Tennessee Infantry was detached to General Nathan Bedford Forrest's command at Murfreesboro and did not participate in the Battle of Nashville. Forrest's command served as rear guard as the defeated Confederate Army of Tennessee retreated southward through Franklin, Columbia, and Pulaski toward the safety of the Tennessee River. A report dated December 21, 1864, indicated that the 3rd and 18th Regiments of Tennessee Infantry had been consolidated and had a total of 17 men present.

The remnant of the 3rd Tennessee Infantry moved with the Army of Tennessee into North Carolina where they were merged into the 4th Consolidated Tennessee Infantry on April 9, 1865. On April 26, 1865, General Joseph E. Johnston's Army of Tennessee was surrendered. They were paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina, on May 1, 1865.

Memorial Roll

Submitted by Bob Wamble