1st ( Colm’s ) Tennessee Infantry Battalion

Also called 20th Tennessee Infantry Battalion

Organized January 26, 1862, at Camp Weakley, near Nashville, Tennessee; captured at Fort Donelson; reorganized September 20, 1862; consolidated with 50th Tennessee Infantry February, 1864, to form 50th Consolidated Tennessee Infantry.


  • Major-Stephen H. Colms


  • Mathew T. Martin, George A. Eastham, Co. “A”. From Smithville, DeKalb County. Became Co. “B”, 50th Consolidated Regiment.
  • George W. Watson, Co. “B”. From Zion, White County. Consolidated with “E” to form Co. “H”, 50th Consolidated.
  • Perry Adcock, Co. “C”. From DeKalb County. Consolidated with “D” to form Co. “K”, 50th Consolidated.
  • David Snodgrass, Co. “D”. From White County.
  • William M. Simpson, Co. “E”. From White County.

A regimental report dated January 21, 1864, stated that the five companies composing this battalion were organized December 9, 1861; reorganized at Camp Weakley, near Nashville on January 1, 1862; accepted into Confederate service January 6, 1862; organized into a battalion on January 26, 1862; and moved to Fort Donelson the same day, before the muster of some of the companies had been completed.

At Fort Donelson the battalion was not attached to any brigade. Company “A” reported 59 men and four officers surrendered and Company “E” 43 men surrendered. No reports were found from theother companies.

The same regimental report went on to state that the battalion was exchanged at Vicksburg September 10, 1862 and reorganized at the Camp for Exchanged Prisoners at Jackson, Mississippi, on September 20, 1862. From Jackson it moved to Holly Springs October 8, to Coldwater November 1, to Abbeville November 9, to Tupelo November 10. Left Tupelo December 1 and arrived at Vicksburg December 26. On December 27, at Vicksburg, Lieutenant General J. C. Pemberton ordered: “The 50th and 51st Tennessee Regiments and 1st Tennessee Battalion will constitute Gregg’s Brigade.” This was Brigadier General John Gregg, and the battalion remained in his brigade until November 12, 1863. On January 3, 1863 these three units reported an aggregate present of 512.

The report continued that the battalion was in fights on the 6th, 28th, 29th and 30th of December, 1862; left for Port Hudson January 5, 1863; was present at the bombardment March 14; left for Jackson, Mississippi, May 2; arrived May 9, and moved to Raymond, Mississippi, May 11; fought at Raymond May 12, and returned to Jackson; moved from Jackson to Yazoo City, to Edwards Depot where it arrived July 4, 1863; back to Jackson July 7-8; fought at Jackson July 10-18; moved to Morton, Mississippi; to Enterprise, where it arrived July 26. Left Enterprise for Tennessee September 1; was in train collision at Cartersville, Georgia, on the 13th where it lost three men killed and 31 wounded. It arrived at Ringgold, Georgia, September 17; fought at Chickamauga September 18-19-20. Moved to Missionary Ridge September 22; fought at Missionary Ridge November 23; moved to Dalton, Georgia, November 27, 1863, where it was still stationed January 21, 1864. It gave the following report of losses: At Fort Donelson, no casualties, but 45 died in prison, and nine took oath of allegiance; two missing at Chickasaw Bayou; one wounded Port Hudson; 43 killed, wounded and missing at Raymond; 15 killed, 28 wounded, one missing at Chickamauga; 18 killed, wounded and missing at Missionary Ridge.

From December 1862 to November 12, 1863, the battalion remained in Gregg’s Brigade, sometimes in field consolidations with other units, sometimes reported separately. See the history of the 50th Tennessee Infantry Regiment for the composition of the brigade during this period. At Chickamauga, the battalion reported only 82 present at the beginning of the engagement, and Major Colms was severely wounded.

On November 12, 1863, Gregg’s Brigade was broken up, and the 1st Battalion placed in Brigadier General William B. Bate’s Brigade, along with the 37th Georgia Infantry Regiment, 4th Georgia Sharpshooter Battalion, 10th, 15th/37th, 20th and 30th Tennessee Infantry Regiments. It was in Bate’s Brigade at the Battle of Missionary Ridge. On December 14, 1863 the battalion reported only 42 effectives out of 60 present at Dalton, Georgia. From December 10, 1863 through January 20, 1864 it was under the command of Captain Perry Adcock.

On February 20, 1864 the battalion was consolidated with the 50th Tennessee Infantry Regiment to form the 50th Tennessee Consolidated Regiment. Major Colms was made colonel of the new organization which was placed in Brigadier General George Maney’s Brigade. For the further history of the consolidated unit, see the history of the 50th Tennessee Infantry Regiment.

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.

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