First Tennessee Mountain Rifle Regiment

The First Tennessee Mountain Rifle Regiment

Co. H, 35th TN Inf.

35th Regiment, Tennessee Infantry

The 35th Infantry Regiment formerly the 5th Tennessee Regiment Provisional Army, [also called 1st Mountain Rifle Regiment] was organized during September, 1861, at Camp Smartt, near McMinnville, Tennessee. Its men were from the counties of Grundy, Warren, Van Buren, Cannon, Sequatchie, DeKalb, Hamilton, and Bledsoe. It fought at Shiloh, Shelton’s Hill, Richmond, Perryville, then moved to Knoxville, Shelbyville Stone River , and later Murfreesboro. During the war it was assigned to General L.E. Polk’s, Granbury’s, and Palmer’s Brigade, Army of Tennessee, and from September, 1863, to April, 1864, consolidated with Nixon’s 48th Regiment. The 35th participated in many battles from Murfreesboro to Atlanta, returned to Tennesee with Hood, and saw action in North Carolina. It had 369 engaged at Shiloh, lost nine percent of the 295 in the Richmond fight, and sustained 25 casualties at Murfreesboro. Twenty-nine percent of the 215 at Chickamauga were disabled and in December, 1863, the 35th/48th totalled 251 men and 207 arms. On April 26, 1865, it surrendered. The field officers were Colonel Benjamin J. Hill; Lieutenant Colonels R.B. Roberts, Joseph A. Smith, and John L. Spurlock; and Majors Joseph Brown, William W.J. Broawnlow, and G.S. Deakins.

The 35th had many names, and at the beginning of the secession of Tennessee it was known as “The First Tennessee Mountain Rifle Regiment” in the Provisional Army of Tennessee (State Army), which was then known as the 5th Regiment of Volunteers under Colonel Benjamin J. Hill, when it was turned over to Confederate Service by Governor Isham Harris in September or October 1862.

The Regiment went by the 5th Regiment, despite the CS War Dept. telling Col. Hill that the unit would be known as the 35th Regiment of Tennessee Infantry due to Colonel Travis in West Tennessee having also a 5th Tennessee, which was turned over to the CS Army before ours was. Our Regiment was told by War Dept. Order three times to report as the 35th but we were known as the 5th and reported as such in dispatches by General Patrick Cleburne all the way until Chickamauga, afterwards by direct order we reported as the 35th but were often referred to as Hill’s 5th Tennessee even unto the reunions of the old veterans. Whenever our Regiment was mentioned in dispatches it was always with the highest honor. We remained in Pat Cleburne’s old brigade all the way through the war…the only Tennessee unit to do so, which was quite an honor.

Sources include Sequatchie Valley Soldiers in the Civil War by Jerry Blevins, Oct. 1990; p. 232: (1-6) and painting “Southern Stars” © by Mort Kunstler

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