Organized at Camp Cheatham June 1, 1861; Confederate service August, 1861; reorganized May, 1862; formed Companies “F” and “K” of the 2nd Consolidated Tennessee Infantry Regiment which was paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina May 2, 1865.
- Colonels-James E. Rains, George W. Gordon, James A. Long.
- Lieutenant Colonels-T. P. Bateman, Howell Webb, George W. Gordon, William R. Thedford, James A. Long.
- Majors-Hugh R. Lucas, William R. Thedford, William Green, Philip Van Horn Weems, John E. Binns.
Most of the companies had two different letters, one when mustered into state service, the other when accepted into Confederate service. The letters shown below are the final letters, with the original letters indicated.
- Josiah H. Pitts, William I. White, Co. “A”, formerly “G”. Men from Humphreys County.
- J. Richard McCann, Edward W. Clark, Co. “B”, formerly “F”. “The Cheatham Rifles.” Men from Davidson County.
- William R. Green, William H. McCanley, Co. “C”, formerly “C”. Men from Dickson County.
- George Maney, James E. Rains, John E. Biuns, Co. “D”, formerly “A”. “The Hermitage Guards.” Men from Davidson County.
- William J. Mallory, Robert A. W. James, Co. “E”, formerly “E”. Men from Dickson and Cheatham Counties.
- James A. Long, James H. Darden, Jerrie Batts, Co. “F”, formerly “D”. Men from Robertson County.
- Samuel C. Godshall, Edward J. Guilford, James G. Stevens, Co. “G”, formerly “B”. “The Beauregard Light Infantry.” Men from Davidson County.
- Thomas P. Bateman, Philip Van Horn Weems, 3. H. Johnson, Co. “H”, formerly “I”.Men from Hickman County.
- Hugh R. Lucas, John D. Woodward, George W. Gordon, Isaac P. Young, Co. “I” formerly “K”. “The Ghebers.” Men from Humphreys County.
- William R. Thedford, Franklin F. Tidwell, Co. “K”, formerly “H”. Men from Dickson County.
Of the field officers, Colonel Rains and Colonel Gordon both became brigadier generals. Colonel Long died September 19, 1864. Lieutenant Colonels Bateman, Webb, and Thedford all resigned. Major Lucas failed of re-election; Major Green died in prison; and Major Weems was killed in July, 1864.
The 10 companies composing the regiment were organized in their respective counties at various times during the month of May. They assembled at Nashville where they were sworn into state service, and sent to Camp of Instruction at Camp Cheatham where they were organized into a regiment about the first of June, 1861.
Prior to the organization of the regiment, Captain George Maney, of the “Hermitage Guards,” was elected colonel of the 1st Tennessee Infantry Regiment, which was organized May 2, 1861. James E. Rains succeeded him as captain of the company, and then was elected colonel of the regiment. Thus the “Hermitage Guards” supplied colonels for ~wo regiments, both of whom later became brigadier generals. George W. Gordon also became a brigadier general, so the companies comprising the 11th Infantry furnished three brigadier generals to the Confederacy, a quite impressive record.
In July, 1861 the regiment, with 880 men armed with 710 flintlock muskets and 175 minie rifles, was ordered to East Tennessee to serve in the forces commanded by Brigadier General Felix K. Zollicoffer. They remained in this area until the fall of 1862, when they joined General Bragg’s Army at Harrodsburg, Kentucky. During most of this period, the 11th was in garrison duty at Cumberland Gap, where Colonel Rains was in command of the garrison, along with Churchwell’s 4th (later 34th) Tennessee Regiment. They had skirmishes at Wild Cat, Kentucky, (also called Rock Castle River), at Cumberland Gap and at Tazewell, but were not engaged at Fishing Creek, with Zollicoffer, nor at Perryville, with Bragg.
In March, 1862, Major General E. Kirby Smith, who had just reached East Tennessee to assume command, reported that the forces in that area were in a state of chaos. He reported Colonel Rains had 4000 men at Cumberland Gap, but urged the appointment of a brigadier general to help him straighten things out. In April 1862, Brigadier General C. L. Stevenson assumed command at Cumberland Gap, and his brigade was listed on May 31, 1862 as composed of the 30th Alabama Regiment, 3rd Georgia Battalion, 42nd Georgia Regiment, 4th Confederate, 11th, 36th Tennessee Regiments, two companies from Cooke’s Regiment, (all infantry), 3rd Tennessee Cavalry Battalion, Eufaula (Alabama) Light Artillery, Rhett Tennessee Artillery, and Yeizer’s Georgia Battery (“Cherokee Artillery”). On June 30, 1862; the 36th Tennessee, Cooke’s two companies, and the Rhett Artillery were gone.
On July 3, 1862, Stevenson was in command of a division, and Colonel James E. Rains of a brigade, consisting of 4th Confederate, 11th Tennessee Regiment, 42nd Georgia Regiment, 3rd Georgia Battalion, 29th North Carolina Regiment (all infantry) and Yeizer’s Battery.
During this period some changes had taken place in the field officers of the 11th Tennessee. In April, 1862, Lieutenant Colonel Bate-man resigned and Howell Webb succeeded him. At the reorganization in May, 1862, J. E. Rains was re-elected colonel, G. W. Gordon lieutenant colonel, and William Thedford major. In November, 1862, Rains was promoted to brigadier general in command of the same brigade, except that the Eufaula Artillery had replaced Yeizer’s Artillery. Lieutenant Colonel Gordon succeeded him as colonel of the 11th, William Thedford became lieutenant colonel, and William Green major.
In December, 1862, the brigade was transferred from Stevenson’s Division to that of Major General J. P. McCown, and as part of his division fought in the Battle of Murfreesboro, December 31, 1862. Rains’ Brigade in this battle was composed of the 3rd Georgia Battalion, 9th Georgia Battalion, 2~h North Carolina and 11th Tennessee Infantry Regiments, and the Eufaula Light Artillery. The 11th suffered 83 casualties, including Colonel Gordon, who was wounded. General Rains was killed and Colonel Robert B. Vance took command of the brigade.
On January 21, 1863, the 11th was transferred from Vance’s Brigade, M~own’s Division, to Brigadier General Preston Smith’s Brigade, Cheatham’s Division. On April 1, 1863 Smith’s Brigade consisted of the 11th, l2th/47th, 13th/154th, and 29th Tennessee Infantry Regiments, plus Scott’s Tennessee Battery. Here was formed an association which was to last throughout the remainder of the war, for these six Tennessee regiments continued to serve in the same brigade, under various brigade and divisional commanders until the final surrender in North Carolina. At this time the brigade had an effective total of 2315 officers and men.
After the Battle of Murfreesboro, the 11th went into winter quarters at Shelbyville, where they remained until June 27, when they retreated with the army to Chattanooga. In the Battle of Chickamauga, September 19-20, 1863, the 11th captured 200 prisoners and the colors of the 74th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment. General Smith was killed and Colonel (later brigadier general) Alfred J. Vaughan, Jr. took command of the brigade.
After the battle, the brigade was transferred for a time to Major General Thomas C. Hindman’s Division of Lieutenant General James Longstreet’s Corps, and on October 22, 1863 the 11th moved to Sweetwater, but returned November 5, and participated in the Battle of Missionary Ridge, November 25, 1863, where they suffered heavy losses. Major Green was mortally wounded, captured, and soon after died.
On December 10, 1863, Hindman’s Division was listed in Major General John C. Breckinridge’s Corps, and on December 14, the 11th reported 340 effectives present. On December 31, 1863, General Hindman was in command of the Corps, but on February 20, 1864, the brigade was once again in Major General B. F. Cheatham’s Division, and remained there till the end.
After Missionary Ridge, the 11th retreated to Dalton, Georgia, where they remained till the beginning of the Atlanta Campaign May 7, 1864, except for one short lived expedition to Demopolis, Alabama, and return in February 1864. while at Dalton, Captain I. A. Long was first promoted major, and later to lieutenant colonel upon the resignation of Lieutenant Colonel Thedford. Captain P. V. H. Weems was promoted to major to succeed him.
As a part of Cheatram’s Division, Vaughan’s Brigade, the regiment participated in the almost daily fighting from Dalton to Atlanta, to Jonesboro. At Atlanta on July 22, Major Weems was killed, and Captain I. E. Binns was promoted major to succeed him. On August 15, 1864, Colonel George W. Gordon was promoted brigadier general and commanded. the brigade till the Battle of Franklin, where he was wounded and captured. Lieutenant Colonel Long took command of the regiment, but was himself mortally wounded at Jonesboro August 31, 1864.
After Colonel Long’s death, the 11th and 29th were consolidated under Colonel Horace Rice of the 29th, and Major John Binns of the 11th.
On the march back to Tennessee, the 11th/29th was detached from the main army at Gadsden, Alabama, and sent to Blountsville, Alabama, where it was to meet and convoy a supply train of 700 wagons across Sand Mountain. It rejoined the army at Courtland, from thence to Florence and then back into Tennessee. At Franklin, November 30, Gordon’s Brigade was in the front line of Major General John C. Brown’s Division, Cheatham’s Corps. Every brigade commander in the division except Gordon was killed, and Gordon was captured.
On December 10, 1864, Colonel William M. Watkins was shown in command of the brigade which now consisted of the 11th/29th Consolidated, commanded by Major John E. Binus, 12th/47th Consolidated, 13th/Sisti-52nd/154th Consolidated Tennessee Infantry Regiments, the 51st and 52nd having been added to the brigade after the Battle of Franklin.
It participated in the Battle of Nashville, December 15, 1864, then joined General Joseph E. Johnston in North Carolina for the Battle of Bentonville March 19, 1865. At this time the llth/29th was commanded by Captain F. F. Tidwell.
On April 9, 1865 the 11th formed part of Brigadier General Joseph B. Palmer’s Brigade, Cheatham’s Division, which was surrendered and paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina May 2, 1865. The 11th formed Companies “F” and “K” of the 2nd Consolidated Tennessee Infantry Regiment, which was composed of survivors of the 11th, 12th, 13th, 29th, 47th, 50th, 51st, 52nd and 154th Tennessee Infantry Regiments under the command of Lieutenant Colonel George W. Pease.
This unit history was extracted from Tennesseans in the Civil War, Vol 1. Copyrighted 1964 by the Civil War Centennial Commission of Tennessee and is published here with their permission. This history may not be republished for any reason without the written permission of the copyright owner.