Also called 5th Confederate Infantry Regiment
Records filed as 2nd (1 Knox Walker’s) Tennessee Infantry Regiment.
Organized May 11, 1861 at Memphis, Tennessee; mustered into Confederate Service August 10, 1861; reorganized into four companies May 11, 1862; consolidated with 21st Tennessee Infantry Regiment July 21, 1862 to form 9th (also called 5th) Confederate Infantry Regiment; merged into 3rd Consolidated Tennessee Infantry Regiment April 9, 1865; paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina May 1, 1865.
- Colonels– J.Knox Walker, James A. Smith
- Lieutenant Colonels-James A. Ashford, James A. Smith, William B. Ross
- Majors-William B. Ross, F. A. Strocky
- F. A. Strocky, L. D. Greenlaw, Co. “A”.
- James A. Ashford, William P. Triplett, Co. “B”.
- Charles E. Cossitt, Co. “C”.
- E. Marshall, Co. “D”.
- Edward Ethel Porter, John Wilkerson, Co.
- Samuel Vance, John Fitzgerald, Co. “F”.
- J. Welby Armstrong, Co. “G”.
- R. E. Chew,Co.”H”.
- John L. Saffanans, Co. “I”.
- Thomas Stokes, Co. “K”.
Colonel Walker resigned May 14, 1862, and Lieutenant Colonel James A. Smith became colonel of the 9th/5th Confederate Infantry Regiment when it was organized, and continued throughout the war.
The regiment was composed principally of Irishmen from Memphis, and was sometimes referred to as the “Irish Regiment.” Upon organization, it served for a time in State service, in the River Brigade commanded by Brigadier General John L. T. Sneed, Provisional Army, State of Tennessee. On July 31, 1861, the regiment was reported at Fort Wright, Randolph, Tipton County, with 541 men armed with flintlock muskets. After being mustered into Confederate service, Lieutenant General Leonidas Polk ordered the regiment to Fort Pillow on August 17, 1861. Brigadier General Gideon 3. Pillow wrote repeated appeals that Walker’s Regiment be sent to re-enforce him at Columbus, Kentucky, and his appeals were finally heeded, for on October 24, 1861, Colonel J. Knox Walker was reported in command of the 1st Brigade of General Pillow’s 1st Division at Columbus. The brigade was composed of the 2nd (Walker’s), 13th (John V. Wright’s) and 15th (Carroll’s) Tennessee Infantry Regiments, and Captain M. T. Polk’s Battery.
In the Battle of Belmont, November 7, 1861, the regiment was one of those ferried across the river to support General Pillow, by order of Brigadier General B. F. Cheatham. It helped to turn the tide of battle, and recaptured a battery which had been lost. The regiment remained at Columbus as part of General Polk’s command until the fall of Forts Henry and Donelson forced the evacuation of that point, and the concentration of Confederate forces at Corinth, Mississippi. On March 9, 1862, the regiment was reported in Colonel Preston Smith’s Brigade, Brigadier General B. F. Cheatham’s Division of Polk’s Corps. The members of the brigade were the 44th Mississippi, 2nd, 15th, and 154th Sr. Tennessee Infantry Regiments, and Polk’s Battery.
In the Battle of Shiloh, April 6th and 7th, 1862, the brigade was commanded by Brigadier General Bushrod B. Johnson until he was wounded, after that by Colonel Preston Smith. During the course of the battle, the regiment, along with the 11th Louisiana Regiment, was used by Brigadier General A. P. Stewart to re-enforce his brigade, which was running short of ammunition.
The regiment suffered heavy casualties in the battle, and shortly thereafter was consolidated into four companies under Lieutenant Colonel James A. Smith, and placed in Brigadier General D. S. Donelson’s Brigade, of Cheatham’s Division. On July 21, 1862, it was consolidated with the 21st Tennessee Infantry Regiment to form the 9th (also called 5th) Confederate Infantry Regiment. There was considerable confusion as to the designation of the consolidated regiment. The Adjutant and Inspector General’s Office had officially designated Colonel L. M. Walker’s 40th Tennessee as the 5th Confederate, and when this consolidated regiment was formed, officially designated it as the 9th Confederate Infantry. However, the orders seem to have never reached the proper authorities, for L. M. Walker’s 40th Tennessee, which was captured at Island Number Ten, and broken up after being exchanged, continued to be known on all existing records as the 4Oth Tennessee; and this consolidated regiment is referred to in all field reports and official records as the 5th Confederate Infantry. It will therefore be called the 5th Confederate in the balance of this sketch.
The field officers of the consolidated regiment were Colonel James A. Smith, Lieutenant Colonel J. C. Cole, and Major B. J. Person. The regiment moved from Tupelo to Chattanooga for the Kentucky campaign, and on the way up through Tennessee it was detailed as escort to the Pioneer Corps of the main army under General Bragg. It assisted in the capture of Fort Denham, Munfordville, Kentucky, and at the Battle of Perryville October 8, 1862, it was in Major General B. F. Cheatham’s Division, Brigadier General Bushrod R. Johnson’s Brigade, which consisted of the 5th Confederate, 17th, 23rd, 25th, 37th and 44th Tennessee Infantry Regiments.
Immediately after the battle it was transferred to Major General Simon B. Buckner’s Division, Brigadier General Patrick B. Cleburne’s Brigade, consisting of the 5th Confederate,2nd (Robison’s), 5th (35th) Tennessee, 13th and 15th Arkansas Infantry Regiments. It took part in the Battle of Murfreesboro, December 31, 1862, as a part of this brigade, now under the command of Brigadier General Lucius E. Polk, Clebume having been promoted to major general in command of the division.
July 31, 1863, now in temporary consolidation with the 3rd Confederate Infantry, it is listed in Lieutenant General D. H. Hill’s Corps, Cleburne’s Division, Polk’s Brigade, which now consisted of the 1st Arkansas, 3rd and 5th Confederate (Colonel 3. A. Smith commanding), 2nd (Robison’s), 35th, and 48th (Nixon’s) Tennessee Infantry Regiments, and Calvert’s Arkansas Battery. It continued in this brigade unfil July 31, 1864, taking part in the Battles of Chickamanga, (after which Lieutenant General William 3. Hardee was in command of the corps), Missionary Ridge, Ringgold Gap, and Taylor’s Ridge, where Lieutenant Colonel J. C. Cole was seriously wounded.
On December 10, 1863, a report showed Major Richard 3. Person in command of the 3rd and 5th Confederate with a total present for duty of 338, out of 645 present and absent. On April 20, 1864 the regiment was still in Polk’s Brigade, with Captain W. A. Brown in command of the 5th Confederate, the 3rd Confederate having been separated and placed in Brigadier General Daniel C. Govan’s Brigade. By June 30 Major Person was again in command, but on July 22, Major Person, the regimental colors and part of the regiment were captured in the fighting around Atlanta.
On July 31, 1864, Polk’s Brigade was broken up and the 5th Confederate remained in Cleburne’s Division, Brigadier General James A. Smith’s Brigade, together with the 6th, 7th, 10th, 15th, 17th, 18th, 24th and 25th Texas Infantry Regiments. On August 31, 1864, the 5th Confederate, now commanded by Captain A. A. Cox, was in Brigadier General Hiram B. Granbury’s Brigade, along with the 5th or 35th (Hill’s) Tennessee Infantry Regiment and a number of Texas infantry and dismounted cavalry regiments. It remained in this brigade until the final reorganization of General Joseph E. Johnston’s Army in April, 1865.
As part of this brigade, it fought in the Battles of Franklin, and of Nashville. It was with the 5th Confederate that General Cleburn chose to make the last desperate charge in which he was killed at Franklin. Brigadier General Granbury was also killed at Franklin, and the remnants of his Brigade fought with Govan’s Brigade at Nashville. There followed the final battle at Bentonville, North Carolina, and the surrender at Greensboro, North Carolina April 26, 1865. The ten remaining members of the 5th Confederate Infantry formed part of Company “I” of the 3rd Consolidated 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.