52nd Tennessee Infantry Regiment

Organized January, 1862; consolidated with 51st Tennessee Infantry to form 51st Consolidated Regiment, April, 1862; consolidation cancelled and regiment reorganized April, 1863; merged into 2nd Consolidated Tennessee Infantry April 9, 1865; paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina May 2, 1865.


  • Colonel-Benjamin J. Lea
  • Lieutenant Colonels-H. L. Oliver, John W. Estes
  • Major-Thomas G. Rundle


  • N. A. Wesson, Samuel H. Smith, Co. “A”. Men from Decatur County. Enrolled at Jackson, November 25, 1861
  • J. A. Russell, Co. “B”. Men from various counties. Enrolled at Henderson Station, December 8, 1861
  • Andrew N. Wilson, John S. Stansell, B. M. Tilmon (or Tillman), Co. “C”. Some men from Shelby County. Enrolled at Henderson Station, December 13, 1861
  • T. W. McMurry, Co. “D”. Men from Decatur County. Enrolled at Henderson Station, December 16, 1861
  • Joseph G. Thomason, Co. “E”. Men from Oakwood, Weakley County. Enrolled November 28, 1861
  • Robert M. Burton, Co. “F”. Some men from Henderson County. Enrolled at Henderson Station, December 13, 1861
  • D. C. Kennedy, Co. “G”. Some men from Weakley County. Enrolled at Henderson Station, December 17, 1861
  • John W. Estes, Joe C. Jackson, Co. “H”. County of origin not known. Enrolled at Henderson Station, December 19, 1861
  • W. Riley Akin, B. S. Newman, Co. “I”. Men from Decatur County. Enrolled at Henderson Station, December 23, 1861
  • S. S. Haley (or Hayley), Co. “K”. County of origin not known. Enrolled at Henderson Station, December 2, 1861

The regiment was organized at Henderson Station, then Madison County, now Chester County, about January 1, 1862. The muster rolls of the regiment showed only the place where the companies were enrolled, and the information as to the place of origin of the various companies comes from the individual service records of the men and is not complete. Colonel Lea was from Brownsville, Haywood County, and some of the men may have been from that county.

On January 24, 1862, Major General Leonidas Polk ordered Lea’s 52nd and Browder’s 51st from Henderson Station to Danville, as soon as they are armed.” Colonel Lea, in his sketch in Lindsley’s Annals says “The regiment was on the way to Fort Henry when the fort fell. They were then ordered to Columbus, Kentucky, but on account of sickness in the regiment, and inclement weather, they were ordered to return to their camp at Henderson. The regiment suffered greatly from measles.”

On February 26, Colonel Lea, at Henderson Station, reported the 52nd with 760 men, 260 sick, no arms except 100 double barreled shotguns. On March 5, General Bragg ordered Lea’s and Browder’s Regiments, at Henderson Station, to report to General Ruggles at Corinth, forthwith. On March 9th, Brigadier General L. Pope Walker’s Brigade, of Brigadier General Daniel Ruggles’ Division, was reported as composed of the 5th Alabama, 38th, 51st, and 52nd Tennessee Infantry Regiments, plus Gage’s Alabama Battery. On April 3, General A. S. Johnston ordered: “Bragg will detach 51st and 52nd Tennessee, Blount’s Alabama, and Desha’s Arkansas Battalion from his corps to form garrison for post and depot at Corinth.”

At Shiloh, April 6-7, 1862, the 52nd was engaged as a part of Brigadier General Jamees R. Chalmers’ Brigade of Brigadier General J. M. Withers’ Division. General Chalmers, in his report of the engagement, said “The 52nd broke and fled in most shameful confusion. After repeated efforts to rally it, this regiment was ordered out of the lines, where it remained during the balance of the engagement, with the exception of two companies, Captains J. A. Russell, and A. N. Wilson, who, with their commands, fought gallantly in the ranks of the 5th Mississippi Regiment.” “Went into battle with about 400 of the 52nd, 300 of whom were not engaged.” In this engagement, Chalmers’ Brigade consisted of the 5th, 7th, 9th and 10th Mississippi, 52nd Tennessee Infantry Regiments, and Gage’s Battery.

Following the Battle of Shiloh, by order of General Bragg, the 52nd was consolidated with the 51st Tennessee to form the 51st Consolidated Tennessee Regiment. In April, 1863, the War Department declared this consolidation illegal, and ordered the 51st Consolidated dissolved, and the 51st and 52nd to be reorganized as separate units. This was done and Colonel Lea reelected colonel, John W. Estes lieutenant colonel, and T. G. Rundle major. Shortly afterward, the 51st and 52nd were again consolidated as a field unit, although separate muster rolls were maintained. Colonel Lea was ordered to command of the post at Huntsville, Alabama, and the 51lst/52nd placed under command of Colonel Chester, of the 51st.

For details of the consolidation, and the history of the regiment from Shiloh to the final surrender, see the history of the 51st Tennessee Infantry Regiment. In the surrender and parole of General Joseph E. Johnston’s Army at Greensboro, North Carolina the 52nd was reported as a part of the 2nd Consolidated Tennessee Infantry Regiment commanded by Lieutenant Colonel George W. Pease.

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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