47th Tennessee Infantry Regiment

Organized December 16, 1861; reorganized May 8, 1862; consolidated with 12th Infantry Regiment October, 1862; formed part of Company “D”, 2nd Consolidated Tennessee Infantry Regiment. Paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina May 2, 1865.


  • Colonels-Munson R. Hill, William M. Watkins.
  • Lieutenant Colonels-B. E. Holmes, Vincent C. Wynne.
  • Major-Thomas R. Shearon

The 47th Regiment was a West Tennessee organization, organized at Camp Trenton, Gibson County, December 16, 1861, from 10 companies which had been enrolled during November and December.


  • James R. White, William Stacy, Thomas B. Moffat, Co. “A”. Enrolled at Troy, Obion County.
  • James H. Sinclair, Robert B. Patterson, Co. “B”. Men from Gibson and Dyer Counties.
  • Vincent C. Wynne (to lieutenant colonel), Peter Marchant, Co. “C”. Enrolled at Dyersburg, Dyer County.
  • W. M. Watkins (to colonel), James N. Watkins, Co. “D”. Enrolled at Dyersburg, Dyer County.
  • George B. Miller, Franc C. Sampson, Co. “E”. Enrolled at Dyersburg, Dyer County.
  • Jesse L. Branch, George R. Booth, Co. “F” Enrolled at Humboldt, Gibson County.
  • Thomas J. Carthel, James O. January, Co. “G”. Enrolled at Camp Trenton, Gibson County.
  • John A. Duncan, B. E. Holmes, W. H. Holoman, Co. “H”. Men from Obion and Gibson Counties.
  • W. S. Moore, James R. Oliver, Co. “I”. Enrolled at Troy, Obion County.
  • T. E. Cummings, Co. “K”. Enrolled at Camp Trenton, Gibson County.

At the reorganization Captain Vincent C. Wynne replaced Holmes as lieutenant colonel. Colonel Hill resigned in 1863, and Captain William M. Watkins succeeded him as colonel.

The regiment remained at Camp Trenton, unattached to any brigade, until just before the Battle of Shiloh, April 6-7, 1862. The action report for that engagement stated the 47th, unattached, arrived on the field April 7. No reports of its activity were found, but the West Tennessee Whig, of Jackson, Tennessee, dated April 25, 1862, published a list of casualties from the 47th Regiment in the Battle of Shiloh totaling five killed, 61 wounded, one missing, so the regiment must have done some fighting after its arrival.

On May 26, at Corinth, Mississippi, it was reported in Lieutenant General Leonidas Polk’s Corps, Brigadier General Charles Clark’s Division, Brigadier General Bushrod R. Johnson’s Brigade, composed of the 12th, 13th, 22nd and 47th Tennessee Infantry Regiments, and Bankhead’s Battery. On June 15 Brigadier General Preston Smith was reported in command of the brigade; June 30, Colonel R. M. Russell, with the 22nd Regiment merged into the 12th, and the 154th Senior Regiment added; but on July 8, General Preston Smith was again reported in command of the brigade, in Major General B. F. Cheat-ham’s Division. These four regiments remained together for the rest of the war; first in Preston Smith’s Brigade; later with Brigadier General Alfred J. Vaughan in command.

The regiment left Corinth May 29 for Tupelo, Mississippi where it remained until July 25. Company reports show much sickness in the regiment while at Tupelo. It left Tupelo via Mobile, and Chattanooga, for Knoxville, to join Major General E. Kirby Smith for his invasion of Kentucky. From Knoxville, it marched on foot, many of the men barefoot, over the Cumberland Mountains to Barbourville, to London, to Richmond, Kentucky, where it was engaged in the battle on August 30, 1862. Here the 47th reported eight killed, 24 wounded.

From Richmond it marched to Lexington, Paris, Cynthiana Frankfort, to Hays Pond, 30 miles from Cincinnati, Ohio; to Shelbyville, 28 miles from Louisville, Kentucky; to Perryville, where it was present but not engaged in the battle fought at that place on October 8, 1862. From Perryville it retreated through Harrodsburg, Kentucky, and Cumberland Gap, Tennessee, to Knoxville, where it took the railroad to Chattanooga. It left Chattanooga November 1, 1862, marching via Bridgeport, Alabama to Manchester, to Tulla-homa, to Murfreesboro, where it arrived December 5, 1862.

It did picket duty at LaVergne for about two weeks; returned to Murfreesboro December 22, and was engaged in the Battle of Murfreesboro. In this battle the 47th was commanded by Captain W. M. Watkins, and reported 86 casualties out of 263 engaged.

Following this battle, the regiment retreated to Shelbyville, arriving January 14, where it was on Provost Guard duty. On April 1, 1863, the l2th/47th was reported as one unit under Colonel T. H. Bell of the 12th Regiment, and from this time on the two regiments acted as one field unit, although separate muster rolls were maintained. It left Shelbyville June 27 for Tullahoma; left Tullahoma July 1 for Chattanooga, where it arrived July 7. Company reports describe this as a very fatiguing march, with heavy rain every day, and only half rations. On July 31, Colonel W. M. Watkins, of the 47th, was reported in command of the 12th/47th, and he remained in command until July, 1864.

On September 7, the regiment left Chattanooga for LaFayette, Georgia; to Rock Spring Church on the 14th; back to LaFayette on the 17th; crossed Chickamauga Creek on the 19th, and attacked the enemy in the Battle of Chickamauga, September 19-20, 1863. Here the 12th/47th reported the expenditure of 14,350 rounds of ammunition, and the loss of 87 killed and wounded, including two captains and three lieutenants killed.

Following the battle it remained in Chattanooga Valley until October 29, when it moved to Sweetwater, but returned to Missionary Ridge November 7, 1863, where the brigade was transferred to Major General T. C. Hind-man’s Division. The regiment was engaged in the Battle of Missionary Ridge November 25, and retreated to Dalton, Georgia, where it arrived November 27, and went into winter quarters with no tents, and scanty rations. Crude shelters were erected, which were not as comfortable as they might have been made, “due to a shortage of axes.” On December 14, the 12th/47th reported 281 effectives, 373 present, and 220 arms. On January 18, 1864, the 47th re-enlisted for the war, along with Strahl’s Brigade, and the 13th and 154th Regiments, which moved General Hiudman to issue a proclamation, reading in part: “The spirit in which these brave men enlisted is an eloquent rebuke to the despondent.* * * With men who thus prefer duty to ease and comfort nothing is impossible in war.

On February 20, the brigade was transferred back to Cheatham’s Division, where it remained for the duration. The regiment was part of an expedition which started to reinforce General Polk, in Mississippi. It left Dalton, Georgia, on February 16, reached Demopolis, Alabama, and was ordered back to Dalton. The last company report was dated aboard the train at Atlanta, Georgia, on February 29, where the regiment was awaiting shipment to Dalton. It stated “The men regretted the return to Dalton to eat poor beef and cornbread, having been assured by General Polk there was plenty of pork and bacon in the Confederacy if commissaries would do their duty.”

No further details of regimental activities were found, but as part of Cheatham’s Division, the regiment went through the Atlanta Campaign under General Joseph E. Johnston, the return to Tennessee under General John B. Hood, and the final move to North Carolina and the Battle of Bentonville, North Carolina.

On July 31, 1864, the 12/47th was reported commanded by Captain William S. Moore, of the 12th; on August 31, by Lieutenant Colonel Josiah N. Wyatt, of the 12th; on September 20, by Lieutenant Colonel V. C. Wynne, of the 47th; on December 10, by Captain C. N. Wade, of the 12th; and finally, at Smithfield, North Carolina on March 31, 1865, by Captain James R. Oliver of the 47th. On this date the 11th/29th/12th/47th/13th/51st/ 52nd/154th Tennessee Regiments were all consolidated into one unit under Captain Oliver.

In the final reorganization of General Joseph E. Johnston’s Army April 9, 1865, the 47th was reported in the Second Consolidated Tennessee Infantry Regiment, under Lieutenant Colonel George W. Pease, composed of the 11th/12th/13th/29th/47th/50th/51st/ 52nd/154th Tennessee Infantry Regiments. As part of this regiment it was paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina May 2, 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.

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