48th (Voorhies’) Tennessee Infantry Regiment

Organized December, 1861; captured at Fort Donelson; reorganized September, 1862; remnant paroled as part of Fourth Consolidated Tennessee Infantry at Greensboro, North Carolina May 1, 1865.


  • Colonel-W. M. Voorhies.
  • Lieutenant Colonels-William J. Sowell, Aaron S. Godwin.
  • Majors-John F. Gray, A. I Campbell, Joseph D. Howard, Thomas E. Jamison.

Voorhies’ 48th Regiment was composed of 10 companies which had been mustered into state service during October-November 1861. It was mustered into Confederate service at Camp Maury, near Nashville, December 17, 1861. At the reorganization all company letters were changed, as shown below:


  • Thomas E. Jamison, Milton C. Molloy, Co. “A”, formerly “K”. Men from Maury County.
  • Joseph D. Howard (to major), Charles H. Dunham, John N. Alexander, Co. “B”, formerly “E”. Men from Maury County.
  • Samuel A. Whiteside, Co. “C”, formerly “B”. Men from Lewis County. Solomon J. George, Elijah C. Cantrell, Co. “D”, formerly “I”. Men from Hickman County.
  • George W. Gordon, Joseph Love, Co. “E”, formerly “C”. Men from Maury County. Andrew J. Campbell (to major), Isaac J. Howlett, Co. “F”, formerly “G”. Men from Maury County.
  • John A. Oliver, Solomon J. Easley, Heltar R. Walker, Co. “G”, formerly “D”. Men from Hickman County.
  • David R. Sowell, Arthur F. Aydelott, Co. “H”, formerly “A”. Men from Maury County. Joel P. Morrison, Thomas K. Halbrook, Pleasant B. Poore, Co. “I”, formerly “F”. Men from Hickman County.
  • W. M. Voorhies (to colonel), Aaron S. Godwin (to lieutenant colonel), Carlos C. Harris, Charles W. Vestal, Joshua P. Church, Co. “K”, formerly “H”. Men from Maury County.

At the reorganization Voorhies was reelected colonel; Aaron S. Godwin, lieutenant colonel; A. J. Campbell major.

Two companies, Jamison’s and Gordon’s, were ordered immediately to guard the bridges south of Bowling Green, Kentucky. The other eight companies moved to Clarksville, where they were reported on January 21, 1862; from there to Danville; from there to Fort Henry, where they arrived February 5, just before the Federal attack. With the rest of the troops from Fort Henry, except for the few who remained with General Lloyd Tilghman to man the batteries, they moved across country to Fort Donelson in the brigade commanded by Colonel A. Heiman, composed of the 27th Alabama, 10th and 48th Tennessee Infantry Regiments, Culbertson’s Battery, and Gantt’s Cavalry Battalion. Colonel Heiman described the 48th as a skeleton regiment, not over 400 men, not drilled, badly equipped and indifferently armed.

At Fort Donelson, Heiman’s Brigade, increased by the addition of the 42nd and 53rd Tennessee Regiments, was placed in Brigadier General Bushrod R. Johnson’s Division, and as part of his division surrendered on February 16. Captain Joseph Love, in his account of the regiment in Lindsley’s Annals, stated that the two companies which had been on guard duty in Kentucky, arrived at Fort Donelson Friday night, February 15, just in time to be included in the surrender the next day. He further stated that the baggage and clothing of the regiment were captured in the move from Fort Henry, and that when the regiment arrived at Fort Donelson, a detail was made up with men from each company to return home and collect clothing etc.; that measles having broken out in the regiment, it surrendered only 360 men.

The men who escaped capture at Fort Donelson were grouped into a detachment under Captain David R. Sowell, senior captain of the 48th, and ordered to Corinth, Mississippi. Here, on April 7, 1862, they were reorganized into a small battalion of four companies which, a few days later was consolidated with six companies from the 54th Tennessee Infantry Regiment plus some from other regiments who had also escaped capture at Donelson, to form the 48th (Nixon’s) Tennessee Infantry Regiment.

The field officers captured at Donelson were sent to Fort Warren, Massachusetts; the line officers to Johnson’s Island; the enlisted men to Camp Douglas, Illinois. On April 10, 1862, from Camp Douglas, a petition from men in the 42nd, 48th, 49th and 50th Tennessee Regiments was sent to Andrew Johnson, Military Governor of Tennessee asking that he use his influence to secure permission for them to take the oath of allegiance to the Federal Government and return to their homes.

Action on this request was insignificant, for the regiment was released on parole at Vicksburg, Mississippi, on September 23, and declared exchanged November 10, 1862. The regiment moved immediately to Jackson, Mississippi, where it was reorganized on September 27, 1862. The field officers and two line officers were sent to Tennessee to recruit, and to collect the former members of the regiment serving with Nixon’s 48th. On December 1, 1862, these men from Nixon’s regiment were ordered transferred to their original organization. The rest of the regiment was ordered to Port Hudson, Louisiana, arriving there on October 27, 1862. Here, on December 27, 1862, the officers, with the men from Tennessee, rejoined the regiment. Port Hudson was in the District of Louisiana, commanded by Major General Franklin Gardner, and the 48th was placed in a brigade commanded by Brigadier General Samuel B. Maxey, composed of the 4th and 30th Louisiana, Miles’ Louisiana Legion, the 42nd, 46th, 48th, 49th, 53rd, and 55th Tennessee, and 7th Texas Infantry Regiments, and three batteries. These six Tennessee regiments continued to serve together for the duration of the war, first under General Maxey, then under Brigadier General W. A. Quarles, from the 42nd Regiment. See the history of the 42nd Regiment for details as to other regiments who served in the brigade from time to time.

The regiment remained at Port Hudson until May 3, 1863, when the brigade was ordered to Jackson, Mississippi, where it was placed temporarily in the Division commanded by Major General W. W. Loring. On June 21, 1863, Major General S. G. French’s Division was organized, and Maxey’s Brigade placed under his command. Some men from the 48th were in a list of men paroled at Port Hudson, July 10, 1863. On September 1, 1863, the brigade was at Mobile, Alabama, where General Maxey was ordered to Richmond, Virginia, and Colonel (later brigadier general) Quarles took command; the brigade was known as Quarles’ Brigade from this time on.

From Mobile, the brigade was ordered to join the Army of Tennessee, arriving at Dalton, Georgia, November 26. Here it was in Breckinridge’s Division, commanded at the time by Brigadier General William B. Bate. On December 14, 1863, the 48th reported 248 effectives, 267 present, 208 arms. On December 31, Major General T. C. Hindman took command of Breckinridge’s Division, but in January, 1864, Quarles’ Brigade was ordered back to Mobile, where it was under the command of Major General Dabney H. Maury.

The brigade rejoined the Army of Tennessee at New Hope, Georgia, May 27, 1864, where it was placed in Major General E. C. Walthall’s Division, where it remained until the end. On July 14, 1864, the surviving remnant of Nixon’s 48th Regiment was consolidated with Voorhies’ 48th. According to Captain Love, the regiment participated in all the engagements from New Hope Church to Lick Skillet Road on July 28. During this time the regiment was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel A. S. Godwin from June 30 to August 31, when Captain Henry G. Evans, from 48th (Nixon’s) was reported in command. Captain Love stated the fight at Lick Skillet Road was the hottest the regiment engaged in during the war, the brigade losing in killed and wounded over half its men.

On September 20, the regiment was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Henry G. Evans, although his name does not appear in the list of the field officers of either Nixon’s or Voorhies’ Regiments. Colonel Voorhies was again shown in command on December 10, 1864. Captain Love stated that when Hood’s Army reached Tennessee the regiment remained three days at their homes in Maury County, and did not take part in the Battle of Franklin, but joined General Hood again at Nashville, and took an active part in the battle there on December 15, 1864. Captain Love was in command of a fort on Hood’s left, on the Granny White Pike. In the two days fighting, both Colonel Voorhies and Major Jamison were wounded and captured.

As part of Walthall’s Division the 48th was in the rear guard which protected the retreat of Hood’s Army to Mississippi, and was engaged in a sharp conflict at Anthony’s Hill, near Pulaski. From Mississippi the brigade moved to North Carolina, and was engaged in the final battle of the war at Bentonville, North Carolina March 19, 1865.

In the order of battle of General Joseph E. Johnston’s Army at Smithfield, North Carolina March 31, 1865 Captain Love, of the 48th, was in command of the remnants of the 42nd, 46th, 48th, 49th, 53rd and 55th Tennessee Regiments, which formed one unit of Quarles’s Brigade, then commanded by Captain Sol Jones. The other unit was made up of the 1st, 17th, and 29th Alabama Regiments.

Quarles’ Brigade was not accounted for in the final reorganization of Johnston’s Army April 9, 1865, but a comparison of muster rolls showed that some members of the 48th were paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina May 1, 1865 as part of the Fourth Consolidated Tennessee Infantry Regiment commanded by Colonel Anderson Searcy. The components of this regiment as shown in the Official Records were the 2nd (Robison’s), 3rd (Clack’s), 10th, 15th, 18th, 20th, 26th, 30th, 32nd, 37th, and 45th Tennessee Regiments and the 23rd Tennessee Infantry Battalion.

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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