23rd Tennessee Infantry Battalion

Also called Newman’s Battalion

Organized November 29, 1862; field consolidation with 45th Tennessee Infantry Regiment in 1863; formed part of 4th Consolidated Tennessee Infantry Regiment which was paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina May 1,1865.

This battalion was organized at camp near Murfreesboro November 29, 1862 by the election of Tazewell W. Newman to command. Newman had formerly been colonel of the 17th Tennessee Infantry Regiment, but was commissioned as major of the 23rd Battalion. The battalion consisted of five companies, two of which had formerly served in the 9th (also called 5th) Kentucky Infantry Regiment. The other three were organized in October and November, 1862.


  • W. P. Simpson, Co. “A”. Formerly Co. “E”, 9th (5th) Kentucky. Organized March 10, 1862 at Mulberry, Lincoln County, Tennessee.
  • William T. Powers, Co. “B”. Formerly Co. “F”, 9th (5th) Kentucky. This company was a consolidation of what was left of Crews’ Battalion after the Battle of Shiloh. Muster rolls indicate that it was organized at Savannah, ilardin County, in January, 1862.
  • Thomas J. Stanfield, Co. “C”. Organized October 20, 1862 at Thompson Creek, Bedford County. A Bedford County unit. Mustered in at Winchester, November 13, 1862.
  • William J. Awalt, Co. “D”. Organized November 7, 1862 at Ridgeville, then Franklin, now Moore County. Some of its men were from Bedford County.
  • James L. Moore, Co. “E”. Organized November 8, 1862 at Lynchburg, then Franklin, now Moore County, with men from Franklin and Lincoln Counties.

The order transferring Companies “A” and “B” to this battalion stated that since the men were Tennesseans they were being transferred to this Tennessee Battalion.

The battalion remained in camps at Shelbyville and Tullahoma until April 22, 1863. On February 28, 1863 it was assigned to Major General J. C. Breckinridge’s Division, Brigadier General John C. Brown’s Brigade, composed of the 18th, 26th, 32nd, 45th Tennessee Infantry Regiments, and the 23rd Battalion. On April 22, it moved to Fairfield, Tennessee where it remained until the retreat to Chattanooga began in July, 1863. In July and August it was reported at Charleston and Loudon. It moved from there in time to take part in the Battle of Chickamauga, September 19-20, 1863, which was its first engagement.

At Chickamauga, the brigade was in Major General Simon B. Buckner’s Corps, Major General A. P. Stewart’s Division. The battalion reported 51 casualties out of 145 effectives engaged. Major Newman was wounded and Captain Simpson took command of the battalion.

On November 12, the brigade was transferred to Breckinridge’s Corps, Major General C. L. Stevenson’s Division, and the battalion consolidated into a field unit with the 45th Regiment under the command of Colonel Anderson Searcy, which lasted throughout the war. After Major Newman recovered from his wounds, he was placed on the supernumerary list, and given detached service. For the further history, and brigade assignments of the consolidated unit, see the history of the 45th Tennessee Infantry Regiment.

The last report from any company of the 23rd Battalion was dated August 31, 1864 at Atlanta, and read: “The company left camp in Dalton, Georgia May 6, 1864, and served with the command in marching, working and fighting till this time. It was in the assault at Resaca May 14, and engaged May 15; also on June 22 near Marietta, Georgia, besides a great deal of skirmishing and picket firing.”

At times in the Official Records, the 23rd Battalion is reported as though it were a regiment) and care must be taken not to confuse these reports with Colonel Matt Martin’s 23rd Regiment which by this time had formed a field unit with the 17th Tennessee Infantry Regiment.

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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