46th Tennessee Infantry Regiment

Organized at Paris, Tennessee November 29, 1861; reorganized September, 1862; field consolidation with 55th (Brown’s) Regiment January, 1863; remnant formed part of Fourth Consolidated Tennessee Infantry Regiment paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina, May 1, 1865.


  • Colonels-John M. Clark, Jonathan S. Dawson, Robert A. Owens.
  • Lieutenant Colonels-J. William Johnson, Robert A. Owens, Joseph D. Wilson.
  • Majors-James S. Brown, Joseph D. Wilson, S. C. Cooper.


  • James W. Weldon, Joseph D. Wilson (to major), E. A. C. McGehee, Co. “A”. Consolidated with “F”, October 24, 1863.
  • John A. Allen, W. G. Randle, Co. “B”. Consolidated with “D”, “G”, and “I” October 24, 1863.
  • John W. Harris, S. W. Cochran, Co. “C”.

This company was on detached service when the regiment was captured at Island Number 10, and served as 2nd Co. “L” of the 5th Tennessee Infantry Regiment until the fall of 1862. Sylvester C. Cooper (to major), Pleasant M. Hope, Co. “D”. Consolidated with “G” and “I” October 24, 1863. William A. Tharpe, Co. “E”. Consolidated with “H” and “K” October 24, 1863. John C. Poyner, W. T. Sims, Co. “F”. Consolidated with “A” October 24, 1863. William B. Vancleave, Peyton H. Randle, Co “G”. Consolidated with “B”, “D”, and “I” October 24, 1863. J. M. Hanna, W. D. Haynes, Co. “H”. Consolidated with “E” and “K” October 24, 1863. Robert A. Owens (to lieutenant colonel), Co. ‘T’. Consolidated with “B”, “D”, and “G” October 24, 1863. John D. Paschall, Co. “K”. Consolidated with “E”, and “H” October 24, 1863.

At the reorganization in 1862, Adjutant Jonathan S. Dawson was elected colonel; Captain Robert A. Owens lieutenant colonel; and Captain J. D. Wilson major. Colonel Dawson resigned in December, 1864; Lieutenant Colonel Owens became colonel; Major J. D. Wilson lieutenant colonel; and Captain S. C. Cooper became major.

The regiment went into camp at Union City, Tennessee, on December 16, 1861. While there, Company “C” was detailed to guard the Mississippi and Ohio Railroad bridge over the Obion River, and was still on this duty when the rest of the regiment was captured at Island Number 10. In January, 1862 the regiment was ordered to Island Number 10, moving by way of Hickman, Kentucky, where companies “E” and “F” were left temporarily as Provost Guard. While at Island Number 10, the regiment suffered severely from an outbreak of measles. It was only partially armed with shotguns, squirrel rifles and old muskets.

On February 28, 1862, the 46th was reported, not brigaded, in Major Gen~ral John P. MeCown’s command at Madrid Bend. On March 17, the forces at Madrid Bend were reported as Stewart’s Battery, Hudson’s and Wheeler’s Cavalry Companies, 1st Alabama-Mississippi~Tennessee, 11th, 12th Arkansas, 1st Alabama, 40th, 46th, and 55th (Brown’s) Tennessee Infantry Regiments and Terry’s Arkansas Battalion. On the Kentucky shore were the 11th and 12th Arkansas, and 40th and 46th Tennessee Regiments.

On March 26, the 46th reported 374 present for duty, 531 present, 665 present and absent. On April 1, Brigadier General W. W. Mackall, who had just arrived at Madrid Bend to take command, reporting on the condition of his command, stated the 46th had only two companies armed, 400 present for duty, 160 armed. Also present were the 4th Arkansas Battalion, 11th Arkansas Regiment, 40th, and 55th Tennessee Infantry Regiments, and two companies of cavalry. General Mackall stated “One good regiment would be better than the force I have. It never had any discipline. It is disheartened and apathetic. So report my best officers.” Here at Island Number 10 and Madrid Bend, began an association between the 46th and 55th Tennessee Regiments which was to last throughout the war.

The 46th, along with the other troops at this point was surrendered at Tiptonville April 8, 1862. Many who were unarmed built rude rafts of logs and loose lumber, escaped across Reelfoot Lake, and returned to their homes. Some of them were rounded up and returned to the regiment after it was released on parole. The enlisted men from the 46th were sent to prison at Camp Douglas, Illinois, the officers to Johnson’s Island. The regiment was released on parole at Vicksburg, Mississippi on September 23, 1862. It moved to Jackson, Mississippi, where it was reorganized. On October 26 Major General Sterling Price, commanding the Army of the West, ordered “From General Maury’s Division: 49th/55th, 42nd, 53rd, 46th Tennessee Regiments, 9th Tennessee Cavalry Battalion, 1st Mississippi, 27th Alabama Infantry Regiments to report for duty at Meridian, Mississippi.”

The regiment moved to Port Hudson, Louisiana, where on January 7, 1863, it was reported in the forces commanded by Major General Frank Gardner, in Brigadier General Samuel B. Maxey’s Brigade, composed of the 42nd, 46th, 48th (Voorhies), 53rd Tennessee Regiments, and 9th Battalion consolidated under Colonel W. A. Quarles, Miles’ Legion, the 49th/50th Tennessee/7th Texas, 4th, 30th Louisiana Infantry Regiments, and three batteries. From this time on it remained in the same brigade with Colonel Quarles’ 42nd Tennessee Regiment, first in Maxey’s Brigade, and later in Quarles’ Brigade. See the history of the 42nd Tennessee Regiment for changes in brigade composition and assignments.

While at Port Hudson, the 46th and 55th Tennessee Regiments were permanently consolidated into one field unit, although separate muster rolls were maintained. The 46th/55th was first commanded by Colonel A. I. Brown, of the 55th, and later by Colonel Robert A. Owens of the 46th.

On May 7, the regiment left Port Hudson for Crystal Springs, Mississippi; thence to Jackson, Mississippi, and was with General Joseph E. Johnston in his campaign outside Vicksburg until the fall of that city on July 4, 1863. It fell back to Jackson, Mississippi; from there to Enterprise, Mississippi, where it was camped for about three weeks. It moved to Mobile, Alabama on August 30, 1863, and remained at Camp Cummings, near Mobile, until late in November, 1863, when it was ordered to join the Army of Tennessee near Chattanooga. It arrived at Ringgold, Georgia, on November 25, while the Battle of Missionary Ridge was in progress, and fell back to Dalton, Georgia November 27. On December 14, 1863, the 46th/55th reported 959 effectives out of 270 present, 386 present and absent, with 230 arms.

From Dalton, it was ordered back to Mobile on January 19, 1864; remained at Mo-bile until May 21, when it was again ordered back to the Army of Tennessee, joining that army at New Hope, Georgia. It was engaged in the daily marching and skirmishing of the Atlanta Campaign without suffering any heavy loss until the engagement on July 28 at Lickskillet Road, where the 46th/55th lost about 150 men out of 250 engaged in about a half hour’s time. Here Lieutenant Colonel Wilson was wounded and captured.

It was not engaged at Jonesboro, but as part of Major General E. C. WalthalUs Division, it returned with General Hood to Tennessee. The 46th/55th, along with other troops, captured a blockhouse and a freight train loaded with grain at Big Shanty, Georgia, on this march back. On September 30, 1864, the 46th was reported in Maney’s Brigade, in consolidation with the 34th Tennessee Infantry, but this was evidently a clerical error, for on the same date it was reported as the 46th/55th in Quarles’ Brigade, where it properly belonged.

It was in the first line of assault troops at Franklin, November 30, 1864, and suffered terrible loss. Here Major Cooper was wounded, and Edwin H. Rennolds, in his History of Henry County Commands, stated that Major Cooper told him the regiment went into battle with 125 men and came out with 25.

What was left of the regiment took part in the Battle of Nashville, December 15, 1863, and, with Walthall’s Division, formed part of the rear guard for Hood’s Army on its retreat into Mississippi. Again quoting Rennolds “As an example of the depletion of the regiment during the campaign of 1864, it is related by Lieutenant M. V. B. Valentine that Companies “D” and “E” entered the campaign at New Hope, Georgia in May with 72 men, and came out of it at Nashville, in December, with only two men and one officer fit for duty.”

In 1865, it moved to North Carolina to join General Joseph E. Johnston, and participated in the last battle of the war at Bentonville, North Carolina. On March 31, 1865, in the order of battle for Johnston’s Army, the 46th was again listed in error in Palmer’s Brigade, and in the same report in Quarles’ Brigade, commanded by Captain Sol Jones, consisting of the 1st/17th/29th Alabama Regiments and the 42nd/46th/48th/ 49th/53rd/55th Tennessee Regiments with the Tennessee Regiments commanded by Captain Joseph Love.

The Tennessee Regiments in Quarles’ Brigade were not accounted for in the final reorganization of Johnston’s Army on April 9, 1865, but a comparison of the names on the muster rolls shows that the remnant of the 46th Regiment was paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina May 1, 1865 as part of the Fourth Consolidated Tennessee Infantry Regiment commanded by Colonel Anderson Searcy.

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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