26th Tennessee Infantry Regiment

Also called 3rd East Tennessee Infantry Regiment

Organized September 6, 1861; Confederate service September and October, 1861; reorganized September, 1862; formed part of 4th Consolidated Tennessee Infantry Regiment which was paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina, May 1, 1865.


  • Colonels-John M. Lillard, R. M. Saffell.
  • Lieutenant Colonels-James I. Odell, James L. Bottles, A. F. Boggess.
  • Majors-Thomas M. McConnell, R. M. Saffell, A. F. Boggess.


  • Abijah F. Boggess, Co. A, men from Meigs County.
  • J. L. Bottles, Talbot Greene, Co. B. Consolidated with 2nd “H” April 5, 1863 from Washington County.
  • Edwin Allen, George Stuart, Co. “A”. Men from Cocke County.
  • William McConnell, Levi Mobley, Co. “D”. Men from Grainger County.
  • John Crawford, James A. Cash, Co. “E”. Men from Rhea County.
  • Hugh L. McClung, John F. Butler, Co. “F”. Men from Knox County.
  • C. D. McFarland, G. T. Willis, Co. “G”. Became 2nd Co. “K”, 1st Confederate Infantry November 8, 1862. Men from Hamilton County.
  • James Clark Gordon, 1st Co. “H”. Became 2nd Co. “I”, 1st Confederate Infantry November 8, 1862. Men from Hamilton County and North Georgia.
  • Robert N. Duffie, Benjamin F. Welcker, Thomas B. Brown, Co. “I”. Men from Roane County.
  • James J. C. Odell, John R. Morrell, Co. “K”. Men from Sullivan County.
  • Jesse B. Bundren, Talbott Greene, 2nd Co. “H”. Originally organized to form part of 61st Tennessee Infantry, but there were aleady ten companies in that regiment, and this company was transferred to the 26th Regiment late in 1862. Consolidated with Co. “B” on April 5, 1863. Men from Grainger County.

Of the field officers, Colonel Lillard was killed at Chickamauga; Colonel Saffell and Lieutenant Colonel Boggess were killed at Bentonville, North Carolina. Lieutenant Colonel Bottles died October 26, 1863. Lieutenant Colonel Odell and Major McConnell were not re-elected at the reorganization in September, 1862.

The regiment was organized at Camp Lillard, near Knoxville, Tennessee with ten companies. In November, 1862 two companies were transferred to the 1st Confederate Infantry Regiment, and Captain Bundren’s company was added. On April 5, 1863, the regiment was reduced to eight companies by the consolidation of Bundren’s Company with Company “B”.

Soon after organization the regiment moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky, where it was in Brigadier General Simon B. Buckner’s Division, Colonel William E. Baldwin’s Brigade, along with Baldwin’s 14th Mississippi Infantry Regiment. In January, 1862, the brigade composed of 14th and 26th Mississippi, and 26th and 41st Tennessee Regiments moved to RussellvillQ Kentucky, and from there to Fort Donelson, arriving on February 13, 1862, just before the battle which resulted in the capture of that fort. In this engagement half of Baldwin’s Brigade was attached to the brigade commanded by Colonel John C. Brown; the other half, the 14th Mississippi and 26th Tennessee, was detached from Buckner’s Division by General Pillow and placed on the line of entrenchments. On the 15th Baldwin’s half brigade, the 14th Mississippi, 26th Tennessee with 20th Mississippi attached, led the advance. Colonel Lillard was wounded, but refused to leave the field. General Bushrod Johnson commented “It is difficult to determine which deserves the most commendation, the regiment or its commander.” At Fort Donelson the regiment had 96 killed and wounded out of 400 engaged. Most of the regiment were surrendered, and the enlisted men sent to Camp Morton, Indiana. However, a good many escaped, and were consolidated with men from the regiment in hospitals at Bowling Green, Kentucky, and Nashville, Tennessee, and these were mustered by Captain W. A. Walsh at Knoxville, February 28, 1862 with over 200 men present. On April 9, 1862, Brigadier General S. B. Maxey reported a detachment from the 26th Tennessee on hand at Chattanooga, and in May, 1862 a number of these men were incorporated into the companies which ultimately formed the 63rd Tennessee Infantry Regiment.

The regiment was paroled at Vicksburg, in September, 1862, declared exchanged November 10, 1862; and reorganized at Knoxville, Tennessee with the following field officers: Colonel John M. Lillard, Lieutenant Colonel I. L. Bottles, Major R. M. Saffell. Saffell was later promoted to lieutenant colonel, and then to colonel. A. F. Boggess was elected major, and promoted to lieutenant colonel.

The regiment moved to Murfreesboro where it was placed in Lieutenant General William J. Hardee’s Corps, Major General John C. Breckinridge’s Division, Brigadier General John C. Brown’s Brigade, along with the 18th, 28th, 32nd, and 45th Tennessee Infantry Regiments and Moses’ Georgia Battery. In the Battle of Murfreesboro, Colonel I. B. Palmer wa; in command of the brigade until about the middle of the day on January 2, 1863, when Brigadier General Gideon J. Pillow took command. Federal General Thomas, in his report of the battle ahead stated “I sent orders to Negley to advance to the support of Crittenden’s troops. This order was obeyed in most gallant style, and resulted in the complete annihilation of the 26th Tennessee (Rebel) Regiment and the capture of their flag.” This was a slight exaggeration, but the regiment did suffer 110 casualties, and on January 19, 1863 reported only 301 effectives left out of 353 present.

The brigade, with the 23rd Tennessee Infantry Battalion added, was transferred to Major General Benjamin F. Cheatham’s Division in February, 1863, and remained in camp around Tullahoma, Wartrace, and Fairfield until June, 1863. These units remained together in the same brigade from this time to the final surrender at Greensboro, North Carolina, although the 26th was temporarily attached to General Bushrod Johnson’s Brigade for a day or two in the achon around Hoover’s Gap in late June and early July, 1863.

Following the retreat to Chattanooga the 26th was stationed at Charleston and Loudon, Tennessee during July and August. A Federal report dated September 2, 1863 stated “87 men deserted from the 26th Tennessee at Loudon in the past 10 days”

At Chickamauga September 19-20, 1863, Brown’s Brigade was in General Bushrod Johnson’s Provisional Division, and the 26th lost 98 out of 229 effectives. They lost eight officers, including Colonel Lillard who was killed. For a period of some months after this battle the 18th/26th formed a field unit under Lieutenant Colonel Butler of the 18th, but separate rolls were maintained.

On November 12, 1863 the brigade was transferred to Major General C. L. Stevenson’s Division, and on December 10, 1863 it reported 348 effectives out of 423 present. At the Battle of Missionary Ridge November 24-25, 1863, the 18th/26th was stationed on the outskirts of Lookout Mountain, and withdrew by way of Rossville, Georgia, without being engaged. The regiment spent the winter at Dalton and Calhoun, Georgia, except for one excursion to Rome, Georgia from February 5 to 24, 1864.

On February 20, 1864, Stevenson’s Division was transferred from Hardee’s Corps to that of Lieutenant General John B. Hood. The regiment left Dalton, Georgia May 12, and was continuously in the field throughout the Atlanta Campaign. Regimental reports mention engagements at Resaca May 14-15, New Hope Church May 26; Big Shanty June 8; Powder Springs Road June 22. It arrived at Atlanta July 19, where it was engaged in constant skirmishing through August 25.

In the invasion of Tennessee, Lieutenant General Stephen D. Lee was given command of Hood’s Corps and the brigade remained in this corps until the end. On November 18, 1864, Brown’s and Reynolds’ Brigades were reported consolidated under Colonel Joseph B. Palmer, with the 23rd Battalion/26th/45th Regiments consolidated under Colonel Anderson Searcy. Lee’s Corps did not arrive at Franklin in time to be engaged there, and on December 10, 1864 Palmer’s Brigade was reported on detached service and was not engaged at Nashville.

On January 19, 1865 the Tennessee Regiments in Palmer’s Consolidated Brigade, the 3rd/18th/23rd/26th/32nd/45th Regiments, reported a total of only 306 effectives out of 471 present. In the final Battle of Bentonville, North Carolina Colonel Saffell and Lieutenant Colonel Boggess were killed, and the remnant of the regiment was surrendered and paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina as part of the Fourth Consolidated Tennessee Infantry Regiment, commanded by Colonel Anderson Searcy, in Brigadier General Joseph B. Palmer’s Brigade.

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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