4th (Neely’s) Tennessee Infantry Regiment

Organized May 15, 1861 in Provisional Army of Tennessee; transferred to Confederate service August, 1861; reorganized April 25, 1862; consolidated with 5th Tennessee Infantry Regiment December 1862; formed part of Co. “D”, 3rd Consolidated Tennessee Infantry Regiment April 9, 1865; paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina May 1, 1865.


  • Colonels-Rufus P. Neely, Otho F. Strahi, Andrew J. Kellar.
  • Lieutenant Colonels-Otho F. Strahi, Andrew J. Kellar, Luke W. Finlay.
  • Majors-John F. Henry, Luke W. Finlay, Henry Hampton.


  • James Somerville, Thomas H. Francis, Co. “A”. “The Shelby Grays.” Men from Shelby County.
  • James Fentress, M. H. Vernon, A. T. Mc-Neal, Co. “B”. “The Pillow Guards.” Men from Hardeman County.
  • R. P. Bateman, F. M. Hammond, W. T. Cargil, Co. “C”. “The Wigfall Grays.” Men from Shelby County.
  • Andrew J. Kellar, John A. Onley, Co. “D”. “The Raleigh Volunteers.” Men from Shelby County.
  • James F. Dean, Sampson F. Maxey, Co. “E”. “The Harris Guards.” Men from Obion County.
  • Robert L. White, Joseph L. Lett, Oscar Gilchrist, Co. “F”. “The West Tennessee Riflemen.” Men from Gibson County.
  • John Sutherland, William W. Wheeler, Co. “G”. “The Lauderdale Invincibles.” Men from Ripley, and Lauderdale County
  • Benjamin F. White, Jr., Henry Hampton, James H. Sannoner, Co. “H”. “The Tennessee Guards.” Men from Shelby County.
  • John B. Turner, John T. Barrett, Co. “I”, “The Tipton Rifies.” Men from Tipton County.
  • Henry L. Fowlkes, John W. Lauderdale, Co. “K”. “The Dyer Guards.” Men from Dyer County.

Of the field officers, Colonel Neely died in May, 1862; Colonel Strahl was promoted to brigadier general in July, 1863; and Major Henry was killed at Shiloh in April, 1862.

The regiment was organized at Germantown, Shelby County, and immediately after organization moved to Randolph, Tennessee, where it served in the River Brigade, under Brigadier General John L. T. Sneed, Provisional Army of Tennessee. On July 18 it moved to Fort Pillow, where it was accepted into Confederate service on August 16, 1861.

The regiment was placed in a brigade commanded by Colonel Neely along with the 12th Louisiana Infantry Regiment. The brigade moved to Columbus, Kentucky on September 5, 1861, where it was in Major General John P. MeCown’s Division. It spent the fall and winter in the area around Columbus, Kentucky, New Madrid, Missouri, and Island Number Ten, but after the fall of Fort Donelson was ordered to Corinth, Mississippi, arriving April 2, 1862, with 512 men present for action.

In the Battle of Shiloh, April 6-7, 1862, the regiment was in Brigadier General Charles Clark’s Division, Brigadier General Alexander P. Stewart’s Brigade, composed of the 13th Arkansas, the 4th, 5th and 33rd Tennessee Infantry Regiments, and a Mississippi Battery. The regiment was on the extreme right of the brigade, and was commended for valiant action in storming and capturing a Federal battery. Colonel Neely and Lieutenant Colonel Strahi also received individual commendation. In this charge the regiment lost 191 men killed and wounded. Its total loss for the two days in killed, wounded and missing amounted to almost half its effective force.

The regiment was reorganized after the Battle of Shiloh, with Otho F. Strahi as colonel. With the army, it went through the seige of Corinth, the withdrawal to Tupelo, Mississippi, and the subsequent move to Chattanooga, via Mobile and Montgomery, Alabama. On August 17, 1862, the march to Kentucky was begun, the route being through Pikeville, Sparta, and Gainesboro, Tennessee, to Munfordville, Kentucky, which was captured September 19, 1862. In this campaign, the brigade had been increased by the addition of the 24th and 31st Tennessee Infantry Regiments.

There followed the Battle of Perryville, Kentucky, on October 8, 1862, in which the regiment had 85 casualties, nearly half the total engaged. The retreat from Kentucky led through Knoxville, Tennessee, Bridgeport, Alabama, Tullahoma, Tennessee, to Murfreesboro.

At Murfreesboro, both the 4th and 5th Tennessee Regiments had become so greatly reduced in numbers that they were consolidated for field purposes to form the 4th/Sth Consolidated Tennessee Infantry Regiment. Separate muster rolls were maintained through April 1864, after which the combined regiments were mustered as a unit. From the Fourth, Companies “A” and “F” formed Captain Gilchrist’s Company; “B” and “K”, Captain J. W. Lauderdale’s Company; “C” and “H”, Captain W. T. Cargil’s Company; “D” and “E”, Captain Onley’s Company; and “G” and “I”, Captain John T. Barrett’s Company. Colonel Otho Strahi, of the 4th, and later Colonel Jonathan J. Lamb, of the 5th, commanded the consolidated regiment.

In the Battle of Murfreesboro, beginning December 31, 1862, the 4th/Sth again formed the right wing of Stewart’s Brigade, and played their part in the capture of the Federal pieces captured by the brigade.

On January 3, 1863, it withdrew to Shelbyville, where it did outpost duty at Guy’s Gap until June 28, 1863, when the retreat to Chattanooga began. On July 28, 1863, Colonel Strahl was promoted to brigadier general and took command of the brigade, which was henceforth known as Strahl’s Brigade. The brigade at this time was composed of the 4th/5th, 19th, 24th, 31st, and 33rd Tennessee Infantry Regiments.

In the Battle of Chickamauga, September 19th and 20th, 1863, the brigade was in Cheatham’s Division of Polk’s Corps. At Missionary Ridge, November 26, 1863, the brigade was in Stewart’s Division, Major General John C. Breckinridge’s Corps. By this time the 24th Tennessee was no longer in the brigade. The 4th/Sth was posted in the rifle pits, in the rear of the 31st and 33rd, who were deployed as skirmishers. Driven back to the summit of the ridge, Strahl’s Brigade held the line until both flanks were turned, and it was forced to retreat.

The brigade helped cover the retreat to Dalton, Georgia, where it went into winter quarters until May 7, 1864. From then on, the 4th/5th was under fire in 60 of the next 71 days, almost constantly fighting in the campaign from Dalton to Atlanta, to Jonesboro, Georgia. Engagements mentioned were at Dug Gap, Mill Creek Gap, Resaca, Ellsbury Mountain, Kennesaw Mountain, where they were in the famous “Dead Angle,” the seige of Atlanta, and the Battle of Jonesboro.

From Jonesboro, the regiment marched back to Tennessee with General John B. Hood. In October, it had reached the Tennessee River; it was at Spring Hill November 29, and at Franklin November 30. In this battle the regiment planted its colors upon the main Federal works, but at terrible cost. In this charge, the brigade commander, General Strahl, was killed.

At Nashville, December 15, 1864, the regiment was in the Granny White Pike area. When the lines were broken it retreated via the Franklin Pike to Brentwood. As part of the brigade, they were in the force under Major General Edward C. Walthall, which co-operated with General Nathan B. Forrest’s Cavalry Corps in covering the retreat of the army to the Tennessee River.

Once across the river, the army moved to Corinth, Mississippi, where on January 5, 1865, the regiment was furloughed for 30 days with orders to assemble at West Point, Mississippi, and, almost to a man, they did. The regiment reached General Joseph E. Johnston on the field at Bentonville, North Carolina on March 19, 1865. It was placed by him in the old division, in reserve.

In the final reorganization of Johnston’s army on April 9, 1865, the 4th, 5th, 19th, 24th, 31st, 33rd, 35th, 38th, 41st Tennessee Infantry Regiments, and a few from the 22nd (Murray’s) Tennessee Infantry Battalion formed the 3rd Consolidated Tennessee Infantry Regiment. Its field officers were Colonel James D. Tillman, Lieutenant Colonel Luke W. Finlay, and Major G. S. Deakin. The 4th/5th Regiment formed Company “D”, under Captain John F. Chapman, in the consolidated regiment. As such, they were surrendered at Greensboro, North Carolina on April 26, 1865; paroled May 1, and started on the long journey home, by way of Asheville, North Carolina, Greeneville, Chattanooga and Nashville, thence by boat down the Cumberland and Ohio Rivers, and up the Tennessee River to their homes in West Tennessee.

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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