11th Tennessee Infantry Volunteers
The situation was bleak in the spring of 1861. The threat of war due to Northern invasion inched ever closer to Tennessee. Just a few weeks earlier however, February 9 to be exact, Tennesseans had voted 557,798 to 69,675 to remain in the Union. Then, on April 12, 1861, the batteries around South Carolina’s Charleston Harbor belched forth their fury against the beleaguered United States’ garrison, Fort Sumter. Five days later, President Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers from different states to march into the South and put down the "rebellion." Tennesseans would not stand idly by and allow what she perceived as aggression to go unchecked. Immediately, Governor Isham G. Harris responded to Lincoln’s call for troops by stating that his state "would not furnish a single man for coercion, but 50,000 if necessary for the defense of ‘our rights and the rights of our southern brethren’" (Benjamin F. Cooling, Forts Henry and Donelson: The Key to the Confederate Heartland. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1987, 4). With this, many companies of volunteers came forward to enlist in the service of their state. On June 8, 1861 a second vote was held to determine Tennessee’s stance with the Federal Union. This time, the vote would be much different. Tennesseans voted 105,000 to 47,000 to leave the Union (Thomas L. Connelly, Civil War Tennessee: Battles and Leaders Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1979, 3-4).
Troops were now being raised all across the state, particularly in Middle and West Tennessee. Companies of men consisting of about 100 men each were being organized in the various counties. Ten companies were then organized together to form a regiment.
One regiment in particular, the 11th Tennessee Infantry Volunteers, was comprised of men from several Middle Tennessee counties. Davidson County furnished three companies, Dickson County furnished three companies, Hickman County furnished one company, while Humphreys supplied two companies, and Robertson County furnished one company. With the companies formed, the men left their various communities and traveled to Nashville to the present day location of Centennial Park. Here they where sworn in to military service and issued uniforms. On the afternoon of May 14, after being sworn into the service of their state, all of the companies except the company from Robertson County were moved by rail to Camp Cheatham, near Springfield, Tennessee. Here, the men would receive their military training. Not long after the boys were at Camp Cheatham, they were joined by the Robertson County company.
On May 22, the companies were joined together to form the 11th Tennessee Infantry Regiment, and an election was held to choose field and staff officers. James E. Rains, the former editor of the Nashville Banner and the district attorney general for Davidson, Williamson, and Sumner Counties, was elected colonel of the new regiment. The lieutenant colonel was Thomas P. Bateman, a Mexican War veteran and a lawyer from Centerville, Hickman County, Tennessee. Hugh R. Lucas from Humphreys County was elected major. Thus with the regiment organized, the structure was as follows:
Field and Staff:
Colonel James E. Rains
Lieutenant Colonel Thomas P. Bateman
Major Hugh R. Lucas
Surgeon Dr. J. M. Larkin
Assistant Surgeon Dr. William B. Maney
Chaplain Rev. Fountain E. Pitts
Company A – "Waverly Guards" from Humphreys County; Captain Josiah Pitts.
Company B – "Cheatham Rifles" from Davidson County; Captain J. Richard McCann.
Company C – from Dickson County; Captain William R. Green.
Company D – "Hermitage Guards" from Davidson County; Captain John E. Binns.
Company E – from Dickson County; Captain William J. Mallory.
Company F – from Robertson County; Captain James A. Long.
Company G – from Davidson County; Captain Samuel C. Godshall.
Company H – "Hickman Guards" from Hickman County; Captain P. V. H. Weems.
Company I – "Ghebers" from Humphreys County; Captain John D. Woodward.
Company K – from Dickson County; Captain William Thedford.
The men spent their time at Camp Cheatham drilling day in and day out, preparing for the moment of battle that would eventually be upon them. While at Camp Cheatham, a case of the measles broke out and several men of the 11th Tennessee died due to the disease. Among the deceased were Aaron Brown, John T. Cannon, Ambrose N. Chamberlain, T. C. Chandler, Harry Dudley, Edward Fitzgerald, and A. W. Grenille among others. In a letter home, one private in the 11th said that there were over two hundred of the regiment that were sick and they were not able to drill as a result.
By the end of July the men had been properly trained and were ordered to East Tennessee to garrison a strategic point at the Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee borders where a Union invasion was expected. As the regiment passed back through Nashville on its way to East Tennessee, it was drawn up in the midst of a great concourse of people who had gathered for the occasion and was presented a new regimental standard. Speeches were made by significant people, and Southern patriotism ran high among both soldiers and citizens. Soon, the soldiers were again on the march with orders to report at Cumberland Gap, Tennessee where they would become a part of Brigadier General Felix K. Zollicoffer’s Brigade. By the beginning of September the regiment had arrived at Cumberland Gap. A few weeks later, the regiment with most of Zollicoffer’s Brigade was ordered fifteen miles into Kentucky where camp would be established at Cumberland Ford, Kentucky. On September 26, the 11th Tennessee with support from other units was to move against a small force of the enemy at Laurel Bridge, Kentucky. Colonel Rains was placed in command of the force. The attack against the enemy’s encampment was executed with favorable results. After the skirmish Rains returned with his men and the spoils of war to Cumberland Ford. The 11th Tennessee suffered no reported casualties in this engagement.
The 11th Tennessee remained in camp for about the next month, when Zollicoffer moved with his brigade against a much larger force of the enemy encamped in the Rockcastle Hills. The 11th Tennessee moved out with the remainder of the brigade on October 16. The brigade marched over rough Kentucky roads for the next several days and finally engaged the enemy on October 21, 1861. In this minor battle, the Confederates were repulsed with insignificant loss, but were forced to retreat back to Cumberland Ford. A few days after their arrival at the Ford, Zollicoffer fearing an advance on the part of the enemy, ordered the abandonment of the camp. Hence, the brigade was moved back to the much stronger position at Cumberland Gap.
Soon, Zollicoffer departed on his ill-fated campaign that resulted in his death at in the Battle of Fishing Creek, Kentucky. While he was absent on this campaign, Zollicoffer left the 11th Tennessee and various other units to garrison the Gap. The overall command of this position was left under the command of Colonel James E. Rains of the 11th Tennessee Infantry. The 11th Tennessee continued fortifying and strengthening the positions at Cumberland Gap through the beginning of the new year.
The year 1862 opened with the 11th Tennessee garrisoning the Cumberland Gap, strengthening the fortifications against the probability of attack by the enemy. By early spring the enemy was demonstrating in force in front of the Gap. Light skirmishing occurred periodically, especially in the month of March, but nothing of great consequence was achieved as a result of these advances. On April 1, Lieutenant-Colonel Bateman resigned his commission, and Howell Webb was promoted to fill the vacancy. By May, the enlistments of the regiment were expired, but the boys reenlisted for two more years, and the regiment was reorganized. George W. Gordon was elected lieutenant-colonel, and William Thedford was elected major. Also, about this time the 11th Tennessee and other units at Cumberland Gap were reinforced by three brigades of infantry under command of General Carter L. Stevenson.
In the early summer of 1862 the Confederate position at Cumberland Gap was evacuated due to a flanking maneuver made by the Federals under command of General George W. Morgan. The Confederates retired to the vicinity of Clinch Mountain. During the month of August, the 11th Tennessee under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Gordon with Colonel Rains in command of the brigade, advanced toward the town of Tazewell in Claiborne County, Tennessee. As the Confederates advanced toward the town the enemy was encountered. In the sharp fighting which followed, Lieutenant-Colonel Gordon was captured. A detachment of eighteen men under command of Lieutenant J. H. Johnson of Company H was detailed to search for their missing commander. Johnson s small command encountered a force of forty-two Federal soldiers. After a spirited fight, Johnson s small detachment captured the entire group of Federals. The enemy was driven from the town and Gordon was exchanged on the field ten days later. The Federal force under Morgan retreated to the stronghold at Cumberland Gap. The Confederate forces in Southeastern Kentucky under command of General Edmund Kirby-Smith outflanked General Morgan and forced him to evacuate his strong position.
After outflanking Morgan, the 11th Tennessee and the remainder of General Stevenson s troops joined Braxton Bragg s army at Herrodsburg, Kentucky. The Confederate Army then moved to Frankfort, Kentucky where the railroad bridge was burned. Bragg s army then began a general retreat out of the Bluegrass State by way of Frankfort and the Cumberland Gap. Gordon later stated: "On our retreat we were three days without bread, and lived on beef-cattle we had gathered in Kentucky. Some of the soldiers of this regiment [the 11th Tennessee] marched from Cumberland Gap to Frankfort, Ky., and back to Bean s Station, Tenn.-a distance of four hundred miles-entirely barefooted."( John B. Lindsley, The Military Annals of Tennessee Confederate. Embracing a Review of Military Operations, with Regimental Histories and Memorial Rolls, Nashville: J. M. Lindsley & Co., 1886, 295).
From Bean s Station, Bragg s Army of Tennessee, as it was then to be named, continued to withdraw toward Knoxville, where the regiment was re-supplied with many desperately needed items, including shoes. From Knoxville, the 11th Tennessee moved with the army to Lenoir s Station, thence to Normandy and Manchester. While at Lenoir s Station however, the 11th Tennessee was transferred to the division of John P. McCown, and Colonel Rains was promoted to brigadier general and given full command of the brigade he had been temporarily commanding. Rains brigade consisted of the 11th Tennessee Infantry, the 29th North Carolina Infantry, the 3rd Georgia Battalion Infantry, the Eufaula Alabama Light Artillery and the 42nd Georgia Infantry, which was soon to be replaced by the 9th Georgia Battalion Infantry. With Rains promotion to brigadier general, George W. Gordon was promoted to the rank of colonel, and took command of the 11th Tennessee Infantry. William Thedford was then promoted to lieutenant-colonel and Captain William Green was promoted to major.
From Manchester the 11th Tennessee moved to McMinnville, to Woodberry, to Readyville, to Murfreesboro. The Federal forces under command of General William S. Rosecrans were encamped at Murfreesboro. Bragg decided to attack Rosecrans. The 11th Tennessee along with McCown s Division was drawn up on the left of the Confederate lines. On Wednesday morning, December 31, McCown s Division executed a wheel movement against the Federal right flank. When the attack was initiated, the Federal lines disintegrated before McCown s sledgehammer blow. The 11th Tennessee with Rains Brigade advanced in this initial assault. One by one the Rebel objectives were being achieved. The Franklin Pike was crossed. Next, the Confederates pushed over the Wilkinson Pike and pursued the fleeing Federals through fields and woods. The next objective to be gained was the capture of the Nashville Pike and the rear of the enemy. With this objective in sight Rains moved his men forward for the final contest. The Federals however, had positioned several batteries of artillery on a small rise just before the Nashville Pike. These batteries were supported by scores of infantry regiments, many which had been routed earlier in the day and sought vengeance for their fallen comrades. Rains was leading his brigade and was directly in front of the 11th Tennessee. As his men emerged from the woods, they were met with a wall of artillery and rifle fire. Rains was shot through the heart and fell dead from his horse. The ranks of the 11th Tennessee and the other Rebel regiments were being decimated before the concentrated fire of the foe. Unable to withstand this horrific fire, the Confederates were forced to withdraw. In this contest the 11th Tennessee lost 83 casualties (William Thedford, "Report of Operations and Casualties of the 11th Regt. Tenn. Inf. in the Battle of Murfreesboro Dec. 31, 1862. Confederate States Army Casualties: Lists and Narrative Reports, 1861-1865. Tennessee State Library and Archives, M836 roll 4). Although the 11th Tennessee Infantry was put back in line in front of the enemy, the regiment was not engaged the remainder of the battle.
The Battle of Murfreesboro continued as the new year was ushered in. After the battle, both armies rested and tried to recuperate from their heavy losses. Bragg withdrew his Army of Tennessee from Murfreesboro and moved to the Shelbyville-Tullahoma area. On January 21, 1863 Rains Brigade was disbanded and the 11th Tennessee Infantry was assigned to General Preston Smith s all-Tennessee Brigade of Benjamin F. Cheatham s Division.
Smith s Brigade now consisted of the 11th, 12th, 13th, 29th, 47th, and 154th Tennessee Infantry regiments. The brigade spent the winter in small wooden huts near the town of Shelbyville, Tennessee. The 11th Tennessee with Smith s Brigade remained in this location until the end of June at which time they moved to Tullahoma. From Tullahoma the regiment moved with the Army of Tennessee to Chattanooga. Remaining for some weeks at Chattanooga, the men were busily engaged in building breastworks and fortifications, drilling, and standing picket duty.
On September 8, the 11th Tennessee with the brigade then moved to Lafayette, Georgia and from there to Chickamauga, Georgia. From this position the regiment along with the Army of Tennessee was engaged in the severe Battle of Chickamauga on September 19-20. On the afternoon of the first day of the battle, the 11th Tennessee suffered severe losses as the men of the regiment assaulted the Federal positions in the area of Brock Field near the Brotherton Road. After a sharp battle, Vaughan s Brigade drove the Federals back into their breastworks. The brigade held this position until a shortage of ammunition necessitated reinforcements to relieve them. The brigade was withdrawn from this position and resupplied. The 11th Tennessee was engaged again, this time in a night attack. In this attack, General Preston Smith and two of his staff officers were killed.
Colonel Alfred J. Vaughan then took command of the brigade. Immediately the 11th Tennessee with the remainder of the brigade rushed upon the Federal line and captured several hundred of the enemy, while sustaining no loss to itself. The following day, the battle was resumed but the regiment was held in reserve due to its heroic actions and losses on the previous day. The position of the regiment was so close to the front lines that they were still subjugated to Federal artillery fire, and lost several men as a result. As the Confederate attackers finally broke Thomas stand on Horseshoe Ridge, the 11th Tennessee and Vaughan s brigade was ordered into the fighting one more time. "With a shout that inspired terror, and impetuosity that was irresistible, the Confederates dashed into the enemy s works and poured a volley into his flying forces," stated George W. Gordon, Colonel of the 11th Tennessee. (John Berrien Lindsley, The Military Annals of Tennessee, Nashville: J. M. Lindsley & Co., 1886, 297). The 11th Tennessee suffered fifty-four casualties in this fight.
The Confederate army pursued Rosecran s Federals toward Chattanooga, Tennessee. The second day after the Battle of Chickamauga, the 11th Tennessee with Vaughan s brigade attacked and routed a heavy Federal picket line on Missionary Ridge, overlooking Chattanooga. When the ridge was secure, the 11th Tennessee was advanced to the foot of the ridge and was ordered to construct a series of rifle pits. The regiment worked on and occupied these works for the next few weeks. Vaughan s brigade was transferred to Major General Thomas C. Hindman s division of Longstreet s corps. As part of this unit, the regiment was sent to Sweetwater, Tennessee on October 22, but had returned to its positions at the base of Missionary Ridge by November 5. On the night of November 24, one half of the regiment was withdrawn to the crest of the ridge to construct another line of works. The 11th Tennessee was thus divided when the Federal assault of the 25th began. The right of the Confederate line was firmly anchored by Cleburne s division. However, on the Confederate left orders were given and countermanded until no one really knew what the orders were. The battalion of the 11th Tennessee that was held in the works at the foot of the ridge was given the command to hold at all hazards. That order was countermanded, and the battalion was told to deliver one round in the face of a heavy advance of the enemy and then retire fighting to the top of the ridge, and there hold the line to the last extremity. That order was then countermanded and another given to hold the line at all costs. Soon, the Federals began their attack. Further to the Confederate left, the line was outflanked and the Confederate troops in that locale apparently did not receive or understand the final order, fired one round and retired up the ridge. This action necessitated the entire abandonment of the initial line of works at the base of the ridge. The forward battalion of the 11th Tennessee withdrew up the ridge fighting fiercely with the Federals who were in close pursuit. When the battalion joined the remainder of the regiment at the crest of the ridge, a volley was fired which checked the Union advance in their immediate front. The enemy, however, continued to outflank the left of the Rebel line. Regiment after regiment of Confederate infantry withdrew in the face of the advancing Federals. Eventually, the Union troops reached the position of the 11th Tennessee, which anchored the left flank of Vaughan s brigade. The 11th Tennessee determined to hold its ground and stop the advance of the Federals, stood firm. Here a vicious hand-to-hand struggle ensued. The 11th Tennessee made charge after charge against the Federal line. In this fight the staff of the colors of the 11th Tennessee was shot twice and at least four color-bearers fell advancing with the regimental standard. In one instance, five men fell dead in one pile defending the sacred colors of this esteemed regiment. Finally, the might of the Yankee hoards succeeded in overpowering the 11th Tennessee and Vaughan s brigade. The 11th Tennessee retired to the rear, bearing their tattered colors, which the Federals, though resolute in their attempts, were unable to capture. In this severe contest, many men of the 11th were killed, wounded, and captured. Among them, Major William Green, was mortally wounded and captured. He died in Chattanooga a short while later. Captain Van Weems suffered a severe wound in the abdomen. He was carried off the field and sent to a Confederate hospital. The 11th Tennessee sustained ninety-one casualties in the Battle of Missionary Ridge.
From the southern slopes of Missionary Ridge, the Confederates retreated on into Georgia and established winter camp at Dalton. While at Dalton, Captain James A. Long was promoted to major, due to the death of Major Green. Between the end of the Battle of Missionary Ridge on November 25 and December 10, Hindman s division had been transferred to General John C. Breckenridge s Corps. On December 14 the 11th Tennessee Infantry reported only 340 men effective for duty. Also on this date, Lieutenant Colonel William Thedford resigned due to health problems, and Major Long was promoted to lieutenant colonel.
The 11th Tennessee remained in winter camp with the remainder of the Army of Tennessee during the winter of 1863-1864. On Friday February 12, Vaughan s Brigade was transferred to Cheatham s all-Tennessee Division. On February 19, Vaughan s Brigade was detached to go to Demopolis, Alabama to reinforce General Leonidas Polk s troops who were in danger of General William T. Sherman s troops who were on their way from Vicksburg, Mississippi. General Forrest succeeded in staying the Federals, which allowed the 11th Tennessee and Vaughan s Brigade to return to Dalton, Georgia. On March 22 a heavy snow fell on the camp at Dalton. This heavy snow precipitated a great snowball battle that occurred between various regiments and brigades encamped about Dalton. Colonel Gordon led his Tennesseans on a charge against Walker s Georgians. The Tennesseans took the field, and Gordon was thereafter known as the "Snowball Colonel."
Little else of consequence occurred for the next month. On May 7, Captain Weems, who had returned to duty from his severe wound at Missionary Ridge, was promoted to fill the vacancy of major. 1st Lieutenant J. H. Johnson was then promoted to the captaincy of Company H.
Around May 7, the Federals under command of General William T. Sherman began advancing on the Southern positions at Dalton, thus opening the infamous one hundred day Campaign for Atlanta. On May 14, the 11th Tennessee as part of Vaughan s Brigade, Cheatham s Division participated in withstanding the Federal assault at Resaca, Georgia. In this battle the 11th Tennessee sustained a loss of one killed and six wounded.
By May 15, Sherman had succeeded in outflanking Joe Johnston s Rebels. The 11th Tennessee was next engaged on May 17 at Adairsville, Georgia. In this small fight, the 11th lost a total of six casualties. As Sherman continued flanking and Johnston continued blocking, the next fight the 11th Tennessee was engaged in occurred on May 27 at New Hope Church, Georgia. The regiment lost twenty-five men in this fight. Federal sharpshooters killed six of these men on the picket line in the space of an hour.
After the Battle of New Hope Church, Johnston fell back and established his Kennesaw Mountain Line. On the left flank of the Confederate line, on a small hill known as Cheatham s Hill, the Rebel line formed an angle. The 11th Tennessee held the right side of this angle with the 1st/27th Tennessee Infantry holding the left side. On June 27, this position was assaulted by elements of Sherman s army. Colonel (later Brigadier General) Gordon commented about the ensuing battle. "The Eleventh was one of the regiments that occupied the "Dead Angle," near Kennesaw Mountain, when this salient in our line was so gallantly charged by the enemy with a column of three or four lines, one brigade front, June 27th, 1864. In this charge the first line of the enemy came with guns uncapped, to take us with the bayonet; but when it reached our dense abatis, extending thirty yards in front of our line, well fortified and provided with headlogs, they halted and staggered with considerable confusion. Their other lines closed up on their first, and in this condition we swept them down with great slaughter, although our line had been so attenuated by being extended that we had not as much as one full rank in our works." (John Berrien Lindsley, The Military Annals of Tennessee, Nashville: J. M. Lindsley & Co., 1886, 299). As Gordon stated, this position came to be known as the "Dead Angle," and was one of the famous battles of the war. In this engagement, the 11th Tennessee sustained very minimal losses while the Union casualties in front of the "angle" numbered about 850. At Kennesaw Mountain, Sherman handed Johnston the clearest victory of the Atlanta Campaign. Soon, Sherman resorted to his old tactics and outflanked the Kennesaw Line, forcing Johnston to fall back across the Chattahoochie River and to prepare to defend the key city of Atlanta. The 11th Tennessee Infantry covered the retreat of the Army of Tennessee from this position.
The next engagement the 11th Tennessee participated in was the Battle of Peachtree Creek, in front of Atlanta on July 20. The Richmond authorities, dissatisfied with Johnston for giving up so much ground, removed him from command and replaced him with John Bell Hood. Richmond wanted a fighter, and a fighter they got. Hood was certainly not afraid to expend his precious army in assaulting the works of the enemy. In the Battle of Peachtree Creek the 11th Tennessee suffered small losses.
Two days later, on July 22, however, the 11th Tennessee was engaged in the horrific Battle of Atlanta. Again, Hood flung his Army of Tennessee against the Federals. Colonel Gordon bravely led his regiment forward. The Colonel was wounded and taken to the rear. Major Van Weems then took command or the regiment and led the 11th in a charge against the Federal line. In this assault he was mortally wounded, a tragedy to the 11th Tennessee. The regiment lost heavily in this engagement. Captain J. E. Binns was promoted to major to fill Van Weems position. On August 15, Colonel Gordon was promoted to Brigadier General and given permanent command of Vaughan s Brigade as General Vaughan had been incapacitated on July 4 by the explosion of an enemy shell. Lieutenant Colonel Long was subsequently promoted to colonel and took command of the 11th Tennessee.
Sherman continued to tighten his hold on Atlanta. The 11th Tennessee was again in battle on August 31 and September 1 at Jonesboro. On the first day of battle, the regiment suffered minimal losses. On the second day, however, the 11th Tennessee again found itself in the thick of the fighting. Federal troops had overrun a part of the line held by Govan s Brigade of Cleburne s Division. In the Federal assault General Govan and 600 officers and men along with eight pieces of artillery were captured. At this critical time Gordon led his brigade into the lurch. In this assault the 11th Tennessee suffered severely. Colonel Long of the 11th was mortally wounded, and Captain J.H. Darden was killed. Due to their losses, after the Battle of Jonesboro, Georgia, the 11th and 29th Tennessee Infantry regiments were consolidated into one unit.
With the fate of Atlanta sealed, Hood began a northward movement in an attempt to draw Sherman out of Georgia. In a rare twist of events, the two opposing armies marched away from each other. Sherman began his march to the sea, and Hood set out to begin his Middle Tennessee Campaign.
Hood marched his army back toward Dalton where a Federal post was captured. The 11th/29th participated in tearing up the railroad at this point. From here, the Army of Tennessee proceeded to Gadsden, Alabama. From Gadsden, the Army of Tennessee continued on to Decatur, but the 11th/ 29th Tennessee was detached with the brigade to Blountsville, where it was to meet and escort a convoy of 700 supply wagons across Sand Mountain. The men completed their task and joined the rest of the army at Courtland. From Courtland, the army marched to Florence and from Florence into Tennessee.
As the Army of Tennessee continued to march northward, the Federals were met and outflanked at Columbia. The army next moved to Spring Hill where in a disastrous sequence of events, the Federal army slipped out of the trap and fled toward Nashville, stopping at Franklin.
The Army of Tennessee followed the Union army under command of John Schofield. Surrounding the town of Franklin, the Union troops were preparing breastworks, although they believed it was unlikely that Hood would attack them there. Hood, again did the unthinkable, and threw his army in headlong assaults against a powerful and entrenched enemy.
At about 4:00 p.m. on November 30, against the advice of his officers, Hood deployed the Army of Tennessee to assault the Federal positions at Franklin. The 11th/29th Tennessee was just to the left of the Columbia Pike as it advanced toward the home of Fountain Branch Carter. As the Confederates moved forward, the advance line of the Federals was routed. Now both Union and Confederate troops raced to the main line of works. When within about 100 paces from the main line, the waiting Federals could hold their fire no longer and a deadly fire slew friend and foe alike. General Gordon stated, "It is a mystery how any man ever reached the line whence this deluge was emptied." (John Berrien Lindsley, The Military Annals of Tennessee, Nashville: J. M. Lindsley & Co., 1886, 299). Gordon with the right portion of his brigade veered across the Columbia Pike and unable to break the Federal line was captured with several men from the 11th Tennessee near the Carter s cotton gin. Other elements of Gordon s brigade were able to break the Federal line at the Columbia Pike at the Carter House. Fierce hand to hand fighting ensued. One Confederate officer was killed near the back porch of the Carter House by a musket swung by a Federal trooper while another member of the 11th was bayoneted on the porch itself. As the color-bearer of the 11th/29th Tennessee mounted the main line of works he was shot dead, his blood staining the tattered regimental colors. Colonel Horace Rice, commanding the 11th/29th Tennessee was wounded inside the main line of Federal works. This extreme sacrifice was all for naught as the Confederates that had broken the Federal line were driven back by a counter-charge led by Colonel Emerson Opdyke. Although the Battle of Franklin lasted only five hours, it was one of the bloodiest that the Army of Tennessee had participated in. The 11th Tennessee, with already thinned ranks, lost very heavily in this battle. That night Schofield withdrew his forces to join Thomas at Nashville.
Hood, spending little time to bury his dead, immediately followed Schofield and established his lines in the hills overlooking the state capital. As the veterans of the Army of Tennessee huddled together to try to keep warm, the temperatures dropped and sleet and snow covered the landscape. By December 15, the weather had improved enough for General George Thomas to leave his defenses and drive Hood from the outskirts of Nashville. Thomas succeeded in driving Hood back on December 15. By December 16, Hood had compacted his line with the Confederate left being anchored on a high incline, now known as Shy s Hill. The 11th/29th Tennessee was positioned on the southwestern slope of this position. Union General John McArthur led the attack against the north side of Shy s Hill. When McArthur s Yankees had broken the Rebel line on the northern crest, Colonel Charles C. Doolittle led his brigade of Kentuckians and Tennesseans against the still-resisting Rebels on the southwestern slope. Here the 11th/29th Tennessee with the other Confederate units being almost surrounded broke for the rear heading toward the Franklin Pike. In this engagement several members of the 11th were killed and wounded; many more were captured. Hood s once feared Army of Tennessee began a most inglorious retreat back toward Franklin. At Franklin and Nashville, Hood had shattered his army.
After Hood s defeat at Nashville, he moved his army south again to withdraw from Tennessee. The army trudged on to Tuscumbia, Alabama, and from there to Iuka, Mississippi. From Iuka the army moved on toward Corinth.
As the ghost of the Army of Tennessee withdrew from the Volunteer State, the brigade was within a few miles of Corinth, Mississippi by January 4. By January 10, the army had moved through Corinth and had established camp at Tupelo. On January 25, the 11th/29th with the remainder of Cheatham s Corps left Tupelo on foot and marched to West Point, Mississippi where they arrived on January 28. At West Point, they boarded trains that transported them to Meridian, Mississippi and thence to Selma, Alabama. From Selma, the boys boarded a steamboat and were transported to Montgomery, and from there they traveled by train to Columbus, Georgia. From Columbus they marched to Macon, through Milledgeville, and then to Mayfield. At Mayfield, they took the train to Augusta. From there, they marched on to Newberry, South Carolina. On February 24 Hood was removed from command and Joe Johnston reinstated. By March, Captain F. F. Tidwell commanded the 11th/29th Tennessee Infantry Consolidated.
The regiment participated in one final engagement, the Battle of Bentonville, North Carolina on March 21, 1865. In the conflict, the 11th/29th Tennessee was held in position near the Mill Creek Bridge at Joe Johnston s headquarters. The men, much fatigued from hard marching, fell back with Johnston and his staff before a spirited attack of the 64th Illinois Infantry. This attack was eventually stymied. In this, the final battle in which the 11th Tennessee participated, Sergeant James R. Weaver of Company B and Private J. H. Larkins of Company E were both wounded.
On April 9, the 11th/29th Tennessee Infantry formed part of Brigadier General Joseph Palmer s Brigade of Cheatham s Division. By this time, the 11th Tennessee formed several companies of the 2nd Consolidated Tennessee Infantry, comprised of the survivors of the 11th, 12th, 13th, 29th, 47th, 50th, 51st, 52nd, and 154th Tennessee Infantry Regiments, under command of Lieutenant Colonel George W. Pease.
The 2nd Consolidated Tennessee Infantry was moved to Greensboro, North Carolina with the remnants of the Army of Tennessee. With the surrender of Lee s Army of Northern Virginia a few days earlier, it was obvious that further resistance to Federal arms was useless. As a result, Joe Johnston met William Sherman at Bennett s farm at Durham Station to discuss surrender terms. On April 26, 1865 the Army of Tennessee grounded their arms and was surrendered. The men were paroled on May 2, 1865 and began the long trek home to rebuild their ruined land.
11th Tennessee Infantry - Unit History