5th Tennessee Infantry Regiment

Organized for State service May 20, 1861; Greensboro, North Carolina May 1, 1865. mustered Confederate service August 9, 1861; reorganized May 6, 1862; consolidated with 4th Tennessee Infantry Regiment December, 1862; merged into 3rd Consolidated Tennessee Infantry Regiment April 9, 1865; paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina.


  • Colonels-William E. Travis, Calvin D. Venable, Jonathan J. Lamb.
  • Lieutenant Colonels-John D. C. Atkins, Calvin D. Venable, William C. Swor.
  • Majors-William C. Swor, Jonathan J. Lamb, B. B. Bunch.

There were originally twelve companies which were consolidated into ten when the regiment was reorganized, with many changes in company letters. In the list which follows, the original company letters are shown, with changes indicated.


  • B. B. Bunch, Jr., William H. Wilson, Co. “A”. Men from Henry County.
  • John H. Long, Henry F. Bowman, Co. “B”. Men from Henry County. Became 2nd Co. “G”, May 6, 1862.
  • Thomas H. Conway, Co. “C”. Men from Henry County. Consolidated with Co. “A”, May 6, 1862.
  • A. Wayne Caldwell, Co. “D”. Men from Henry County. Became 2nd Co. “B”, May 6, 1862.
  • M. Smith Corbitt, P. C. Swor, Co. “E”. Men from Benton County. Became 2nd Co. “C”, May 6, 1862.
  • Josiah H. Porter, H. T. Blanton, Jr., Co. “F”. Men from Henry County. Consolidated with “H” to form 2nd Co. “E”, May 6, 1862.
  • James E. Fowler, John T. Irion, B. F. Peeples, Co. “G”. Men from Henry County. Became 2nd Co. “I”, May 6, 1862.
  • J. D. Dumas, Co. “H”, Men from Henry County. Consolidated with “F” to form 2nd Co. “E”, May 6, 1862.
  • W. D. Hallum, Elijah Foust, Co. “I”. Men from Henry County. Became 2nd Co. “F”, May 6, 1862.
  • H. W. Ballard, Joseph T. Kendall, Co. “K”. Men from Henry County. “The Marshall Guards.” Became 2nd Co. “D”, May 6, 1862.
  • John A. Lauderdale, J. B. Ward, Co. “L”. Men from Fulton County, Kentucky. Became 2nd Co. “K”, May 6, 1862.
  • J. T. Winfrey, M. M. Fry, Co. “M”. Men from Benton County. Became 2nd Co. “H”, May 6, 1862.

In addition to these companies, Captain John W. Harris’ Company “C”, 46th Tennessee Infantry Regiment, the bulk of whose regiment was captured at Island Number Ten on April 8, 1862, served with this regiment as 2nd Co. “L” from this date until the fall of 1862. However, the rolls of this company are filed with the 46th Tennessee Infantry. Of the original field officers, Colonel Travis resigned because of ill health; Lieutenant Colonel Atkins was elected to Congress and resigned; and Major Swor was disabled and resigned in 1863. Of the later officers, Colonel Venable was seriously wounded at Perryville, and died in December, 1862; Colonel Lamb was killed at Ellsbury Ridge, Georgia in 1864; and Major Henry Hampton, of the 4th Tennessee, took command of the 4th/5th Consolidated Regiment.

The regiment was organized at Paris, Henry County, Tennessee, in the Provisional Army of Tennessee, and moved to Camp Brown, Union City, Obion County. Here it was reported on July 31, 1861, with 860 men present, armed with flintlock muskets. It was accepted into Confederate service at Camp Brown on August 9, 1861, and went from there to Columbus, Kentucky. It remained at Columbus until January 1, 1862, when it moved to New Madrid, Missouri where there was skirmishing and artillery fire for 13 days; thence to Fort Pillow and Memphis; and finally to Corinth, Mississippi, where it arrived on March 25, 1862.

During this period its brigade assignments were as follows:

September 7, 1861, at Columbus, Kentucky. Brigadier General Benjamin F. Cheatham’s Brigade, composed of the 5th, 15th, 2nd and 154th Senior Tennessee Infantry Regiments, and Lieutenant Colonel Blythe’s 1st Mississippi Infantry Battalion.

October 24, 1861. Colonel Travis’ Brigade, Brigadier General Gideon J. Pillow’s Division. The brigade consisted of the 5th Tennessee, and the 9th and 13th Arkansas Infantry Regiments.

January 18, 1862. Brigadier General Alexander P. Stewart’s Brigade, composed of the 4th Arkansas Infantry Battalion, the 5th Tennessee Infantry, a West Tennessee Infantry Battalion, and Stewart’s and Upton’s Tennessee Artillery Companies.

March 1, 1862, at Madrid Bend. Colonel Travis commanded the garrison at Fort Bank-head, consisting of the 5th and 40th (Walker’s) Tennessee Infantry Regiments, the 1st Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee Infantry Regiment, and Bankhead’s Tennessee Battery. At this time, Major General John P. McCown was in command.

In the Battle of Shiloh, April 6-7, 1862, the regiment was again in Stewart’s Brigade, which was in Brigadier General Charles Clark’s 1st Division, Major General Leonidas Polk’s Corps. The brigade was composed of the 13th Arkansas, the 4th, 5th and 33rd Tennessee Infantry Regiments, and Stanford’s Mississippi Battery. For its conduct in the battle, the regiment was commended by General Polk.

At the reorganization after Shiloh, Colonel Venable succeeded Travis in command of the regiment, which remained in Stewart’s Brigade for the remainder of the war, first under General A. P. Stewart, later under Brigadier General Otho F. Strahl, with some changes in the brigade make-up.

The regiment assisted in the fortification of Corinth, marched to Tupelo, thence by rail to Mobile, and finally to Chattanooga, to go with General Braxton Bragg on the expedition into Kentucky. On this campaign Major General Benjamin F. Cheatham was in command of the division, Stewart of the brigade. At the Battle of Perryville, October 8, 1862, the brigade consisted of the 4th, 5th, 24th, 31st, and 33rd Tennessee Infantry Regiments and Stanford’s Battery. In this battle the 5th suffered 90 casualties.

From Perryville, the regiment retreated via Knoxville and Tullahoma to take up station at Murfreesboro. Before the Battle of Murfreesboro December 31, 1862, the regiment was consolidated into five companies, and merged into a field organization with the 4th Tennessee, under the command of Colonel Otho F. Strahl.

From the 5th Tennessee;-Companies
“A” and 2nd “C” formed Captain W. H. Wilson’s Company of 4th/5th Consolidated; 2nd “B” and 2nd “E” formed Captain A. Wayne Caldwell’s Company of 4th/5th Consolidated; 2nd “F” and 2nd “H” formed Captain E. Foust’s Company of 4th/5th Consolidated; 2nd “G” and 2nd “K” formed Captain J. B. Ward’s Company of 4th/5th Consolidated; 2nd “D” and 2nd “I” formed Captain B. F. Peeples’ Company of 4th/5th Consolidated.

Although the two regiments continued to act as a unit from this time on, separate muster rolls of the regiments, and of the original companies were maintained through April, 1864. In the Battle of Murfreesboro the 4th/5th Tennessee had 458 men engaged and suffered 76 casualties; at Chickamauga they had 33 casualties; at Missionary Ridge, 63 casualties.

For the further history of the consolidated regiment see the history of the Fourth Tennessee Infantry Regiment, with the following exceptions: On October 23, 1863 the Fifth went on an expedition into East Tennessee arriving at Sweetwater on October 29. However, it returned before the Battle of Missionary Ridge. A report from 2nd Co. “I” shows that it was part of a force which left Dalton, Georgia February 20, 1864, to reinforce General Leonidas Polk in Mississippi, but on reaching Demopolis, Alabama, were ordered back to Dalton) reaching there February 29, 1864.

In his sketch of the regiment in Lindsley’s Annals, Captain John T. Irion stated that after the termination of the campaign in Tennessee, Captain B. F. Peeples, with twenty five men from the 5th Tennessee, joined General Joseph E. Johnston at Bentonville, North Carolina. These men formed a part of Company “D” of the 3rd Consolidated Tennessee Infantry Regiment which was paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina, May 1, 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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