Organized June 11, 1861; Confederate service August 15, 1861; field consolidation with 23rd Tennessee Infantry Regiment November, 1863; surrendered and paroled at Appomattox Courthouse April 9, 1865.
- Colonels-Tazewell W. Newman, T. C. H. Miller, Albert S. Marks.
- Lieutenant Colonels-T. C. H. Miller, Watt W. Floyd.
- Majors-Abraham L. Landis, Albert S. Marks, James C. Davis.
- James D. Hoyl, Frank B. Terry, Co. “A”. Men from Bedford County.
- W. A. Landers, U. C. Harrison, Co. “B”. Men from Bedford County.
- Robert C. Williams, James C. Davis, Fred M. Orr, John W. McCrory, Co. “C”. Men from Marshall County.
- Thomas H. Finch, Henry H. Carden, Co. “D”. Men from Franklin County.
- Albert S. Marks, John R. Handley, Co. “E”. Men from Winchester, Franklin County, and Marble Hill, now in Moore County.
- T. C. H. Miller, R. P. Hunter, J. D. Cooper, R. W. McCullough, Co. “F”. Men from Marshall and Bedford Counties.
- James C. Armstrong, Thomas H. Watterson, Co. “G”. Captain Armstrong was from Bedford, but the men were from Coffee County.
- Robert H. McCrory, George W. O’Neal, Co. “H”. Men from Marshall County.
- W. I. Matthews, William Clarke, Co. “I”. Men from Franklin County.
- S. B. McDearman, George W. McDonald, Co. “K”. Men from Jackson and Putnam Counties.
Of the field officers, Colonel Newman was not re-elected, and later organized the 23rd Tennessee Infantry Battalion. Colonel Miller resigned in June, 1862, and organized a com-pany of cavalry which became Company “C”, 11th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment. Lieutenant Colonel Floyd was killed May 16, 1864. Major Landis was not re-elected, and Major Davis died December 15, 1864.
Nine of the companies composing the regiment assembled in May at Camp Harris where they were organized as companies. They moved to Camp Trousdale, where the regiment was mustered into the Provisional Army of Tennessee. The regiment was mus-tered into Confederate service on August 15, 1861, at Big Creek, Campbell County. In July, 1861, the regiment was reported at Camp Trousdale, with 914 men armed with flintlock muskets. On July 23 it was ordered to Virginia, but on reaching Bristol, orders were changed and it joined Brigadier General Felix K. Zollicoffer’s forces at Cumberland Gap on August 8, 1861. It remained with Zollicoffer until February, 1862, participating in an engagement at Rock Castle, Kentucky, October 21, where it suffered 45 casualties in half an hour, and at Fishing Creek, Kentucky on January 20, 1862) where it had 46 casualties.
At Rock Castle, it was brigaded with the 11th, 17th, 20th, and 29th Tennessee Infantry Regiments, 15th Mississippi Infantry Regiment, and McNairy’s and Brazelton’s Cavalry Battalions. At Fishing Creek it was in Brigadier General William H. Carroll’s Brigade, along with the 28th and 29th Tennessee Infantry Regiments, and McClung’s Artillery. Just prior to the battle it reported 685 effectives out of 726 present. In this battle it was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel T. C. H. Miller, and was highly commended for its valor and excellent discipline.
During the stay in East Tennessee and Kentucky, the regiment had many changes in brigade organization. On September 15, 1861,Zollicoffer’s forces included the 16th Alabama, 14th Mississippi, 15th Mississippi, 11th, 17th,19th, 2Oth Tennessee Infantry Regiments, and the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Tennessee Cavalry Battalions. On September 24, at Camp Buckner, Kentucky, there were present the15th Mississippi, 11th, 17th, 19th, 20th Tennessee Infantry Regiments and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Cavalry Battalions. At that date the17th reported 463 effectives out of 731 present. Regimental returns report much sickness in the regiment, and on November 20, at Wartburg, the report shows only 397 effectives out of 538 present. On January 7, 1862,the regiment was reported with only 338 effectives.
Following the defeat at Fishing Creek, the regiment retreated through Livingston and Gainesboro to Murfreesboro, arriving February 19, 1862. At this time Carroll’s Brigade was composed of the 17th, 28th, 29th, 37th Tennessee Infantry Regiments, Hawkins’ Battalion, Baker’s Battery, Monsarrat’s Battery and Gordon’s Cavalry.
On February 28th the regiment moved to Iuka, Mississippi, but was not engaged at the Battle of Shiloh on April 6-7. At Corinth, it was armed with English rifled muskets. Here the regiment was reorganized with the election of T. C. H. Miller as colonel; Watt W. Floyd, lieutenant colonel; and Alfred S. Marks, major. Colonel Newman later became major of the 23rd Infantry Battalion. Colonel Miller resigned in June, and A. S. Marks succeeded him as colonel; Captain James C. Davis was elected major.
On April 26, 1862 the regiment was reported in Colonel R. C. Shaver’s Brigade of Hardee’s Corps, along with the 2nd, 5th, 6th, 7th Arkansas Infantry Regiments, an Arkansas Cavalry battalion, an Arkansas battery, a Mississippi battery, and Baxter’s Tennessee Battery. The 17th reported 547 effectives. June 30, 1862, the regiment was in Colonel A. T. Hawthorn’s Brigade, along with the 33rd Alabama, 21st and 23rd Tennessee Infantry Regiments, and Austin’s Battery. Here began a connection with the 23rd Tennessee which was to last throughout the war. Shortly thereafter, the regiment was placed in Brigadier General Bushrod R. Johnson’s Brigade, which consisted of the 5th Confederate, 17th, 23rd, 25th, 37th, and 44th Tennessee Infantry Regiments, and Darden’s Mississippi Battery. The 17th, 23rd, 25th, and 44th remained together in Johnson’s Brigade until the end of the war. Johnson’s Brigade was consolidated with Archer’s early in 1865 under Brigadier General William McComb, but these four Tennessee Regiments were still together in the consolidated brigade.
As part of this brigade in Buckner’s Division, the regiment participated in General Bragg’s invasion of Kentucky, being present at the capture of Munfordville, and at the Battle of Perryville October 8, 1862. At Perryville the 17th had 24 casualties. There followed the retreat into Tennessee, and the Battle of Murfreesboro December 31, 1862. By this time the 5th Confederate Infantry was no longer a member of the brigade.
At Murfreesboro, the brigade was in General Patrick R. Cleburn’s Division, and the 17th with 598 men engaged, lost 246 men killed and wounded, including 22 out of 41 officers. On May 20, 1863, Johnson’s Brigade was transferred to General A. P. Stewart’s Division, took part in the engagement at Hoover’s Gap June 24, 1863, and the subsequent withdrawal to Chattanooga. For a time the regiment was stationed around Loudon and Charleston, but on September 4 began its march in the direction of Chickamauga, and was heavily engaged in the Battle of Chickamauga September 19-20 1863. Here the brigade consisted of the 17th, 23rd, 25th, and 44th Tennessee Infantry Regiments. The 17th suffered 130 casualties out of 249 engaged, including the loss of Major Davis and 60 men captured. An interesting note is that before the battle, the barefoot men, numbering 122, were sent to the rear, and not engaged.
On November 23, 1863, the brigade severed its connection with the Army of Tennessee, and as part of General Simon B. Buckner’s Division went with Lieutenant General James Longstreet on his expedition into East Tennessee. At this time the 17th and 23rd were consolidated into one field unit under Lieutenant Colonel Floyd, which consolidation continued until the end of the war, but separate muster rolls were maintained. The brigade was now composed of the 17th/23rd, 25th/44th and the 63rd Tennessee Infantry Regiments.
January 31, 1864, the brigade was still in Longstreet’s Corps, but in May, 1864, it was transferred to General P. G. T. Beauregard’s Corps, Major General Robert F. Hoke’s Divi-sion. The brigade was commanded by Colonel John S. Fulton, of the 44th, and the 17th/23rd by Colonel R. H. Keeble, of the 23rd. The brigade was placed on the Richmond-Petersburg Line, and on May 15, at Drewry’s Bluff, suffered 68 casualties out of 319 en-gaged. Here Lieutenant Colonel Floyd was mortally wounded.
In an engagement on June 17,; the 17th Tennessee lost 70 prisoners to the 17th Vermont Infantry, a curious coincidence of “Seventeens.”
August 31, 1864, the brigade was reported in Lieutenant General Richard S. Ewell’s Corps, with Johnson’s Brigade reporting only 395 effectives for the whole brigade. October 31, 1864, the brigade effectives were up to 483. In the reports for Ewell’s Corps dated October 31, and November 30, 1864, the 44th/ 28th Consolidated was reported as a member of the brigade. This was an error, for the 28th Tennessee was with the Army of Tennessee, and never in the Virginia theatre. In the report for December 31, 1864, the 44th/25th appears correctly as a member of the brigade. At this time the 17th/23rd was commanded by Colonel Horace Ready of the 23rd.
January 31, 1865, Archer’s and Johnson’s Brigades were consolidated under Colonel (later brigadier general) William McComb, and the brigade was in Major General Henry Heth’s Division, of Lieutenant General Ambrose P. Hills Corps. The consolidated brigade was composed of the 2nd Maryland Battalion, 1st Confederate, 7th, 14th, 17th/23rd, 44th/25th, and 63rd Tennessee Infantry Regiments.
On February 5, 1865, the regiment was engaged in the Battle of Hatcher’s Run, and on April 2, 1865, in the defenses around Petersburg, fought its last battle. It was surrendered by Lee at Appomattox Courthouse as part of McComb’s Brigade, Heth’s Division, Hill’s Corps, with no change in the brigade organization as shown for January 31, 1865.
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.