Organized May 14, 1861; Confederate service August 13, 1861; formed field consolidation with 13th Tennessee Infantry March 1, 1863; merged into 2nd Consolidated Tennessee Infantry April 9, 1865; paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina May 2, 1865.
These were the original 10 companies. Later coinpanies were:
"The Southern Guards," of Memphis, Captain James Hamilton, was part of the prewar organization, but withdrew and formed an Artillery company, and their place was taken by "The Beauregards."
"The Steuben Artillery," Captain F. Krone, was also attached to the regiment while in State service. Before it entered Confederate service, the officers of this battery resigned, and the company disbanded. The guns and equipment were turned over to Captain J. W. Stewart in August, 1861.
The 154th Tennessee Militia Regiment was a pre-war organization, dating back to 1842, when it was first organized, and assigned the Tennessee Militia number 154. It held on to its designation, and when the old militia system was dropped in 1859-60, the officers and men took out a charter of incorporation, being incorporated by act of the Legislature on March 22, 1860. As soon as war was declared, the regiment reorganized at Randolph, Shelby County, and retained the old number. Since it was known as the oldest of the old, it asked for, and received permission to add the appellation "Senior" to its regimental number, to indicate that it antedated the regiments with lower numbers.
Of the original field officers, Major Genette left the regiment and became Captain of Company "B", 15th Tennessee Infantry. He was succeeded by Captain John D. Martin, who also resigned and raised the 25th Mississippi Regiment of which he became colonel. He was succeeded by Captain Edward Fitzgerald.
At the Battle of Shiloh, both Colonel Smith and Lieutenant Colonel Wright were seriously wounded and incapacitated for some time; later, both were promoted to brigadier general. Major Fitzgerald became colonel; Captain Michael Magevney, lieutenant colonel; and J. W. Dawson, major. Colonel Fitzgerald was killed at Richmond, Kentucky August 30, 1862, and Magevney became colonel, Dawson lieutenant colonel, and Captain Marsh M. Patrick major. Patrick later became lieutenant colonel in March, 1863. John D. Marfin was recommended for brigadier general for his conduct in the Battle of Shiloh, and was given an appointment as acting brigadier general, but never commissioned. Brigadier General William H. Carroll was an officer in the pre-war organization of the 154th, so that from this regiment came three brigadier generals, and one acting brigadier.
The regiment remained at Randolph, which was fortified and known as Fort Wright, for some time, and was reported there in July, 1861 with 802 men armed with percussion muskets. From there it moved to New Madrid, Missouri where it was mustered into Confederate service on August 13, 1861.
On September 7, it was reported in Brigadier General B. F. Cheatham's Brigade, composed of the 5th, 15th, 22nd, 154th Tennessee Regiments and Blythe's Mississippi Battalion.
On October 24, Cheatham was in command of a division, and Colonel Preston Smith, of the 154th, in command of a brigade composed of the 154th Tennessee, Blythe's Mississippi and Hudson's Battery. It was engaged at the Battle of Belmont, November 7, 1861, where Colonel Smith was Officer of the Day for Cheatham's Division. The 154th was one of the regiments ferried across the river in the afternoon to the support of General Pillow, and pursued the retreating Federal troops to their transports. In the engagement, it reported one killed, 12 wounded.
By March 9, Preston Smith's Brigade had been increased by the addition of I. Knox Walker's 2nd and the 15th Tennessee Infantry Regiments, and Polk's Battery. The brigade, with the same units, engaged in the Battle of Shiloh as Brigadier General Bushrod Johnson's Brigade. Mter General Johnson was wounded, Colonel Smith again took command of the brigade, and Lieutenant Colonel Marcus Wright of the regiment. It was heavily engaged on both the 6th and 7th. Lieutenant Colonel Wright reported it entered the battle with about 650 men, and lost 25 killed, 163 wounded, and 11 missing.
Following the battle, in the reorganization of the army, the 154th had a rapid succession of brigade assignments. On May 26, it was reported in Brigadier General D. S. Donelson's Brigade; on June 15, in Colonel A. S. Fulton's Brigade; on June 30, in Brigadier General Charles Clark's Division, Colonel R. M. Russell's Brigade; but finally, at Tupelo on July 8th it was given the brigade assignment which was to last throughout the war. Colonel (later brigadier general) Preston Smith was given command, and the other units were the 12th, 13th, and 47th Infantry Regiments, Edmondson's Sharpshooters, and Bankhead's Battery. It will be remembered that Edmondson's (later Allin's) Sharpshooters, was originally Company "B" of the 154th. These four regiments, with other units added from time to time, continued together from this time on. The brigade was known as Preston Smith's until his death at Chickamauga; then Vaughan's Brigade, named for Colonel (later brigadier general) Alfred J. Vaughan, of the 13th Tennessee.
In the Battle of Richmond, Kentucky August 30, 1862, the brigade was in Brigadier General P. R. Clebume's Division. After Cleburne was wounded, Preston Smith took command of the division. The 154th was commanded by Colonel Fitzgerald until he was killed, when Lieutenant Colonel Magevney took command. No report of casualties was found, but the regiment did some heavy fighting.
The brigade rejoined Cheatham's Division at llarrodsburg, Kentucky, prior to the Battle of Perryville, but was not engaged in that battle, although it came under fire. By December 31, at the Battle of Murfreesboro, the brigade had been increased by the addition of the 29th Tennessee and 9th Texas Regiments. Lieutenant Colonel Magevney was in command of the 154th and reported 245 engaged, with 100 casualties. The 29th became a permanent member of the brigade, but the 9th Texas was soon transferred elsewhere.
On March 1, 1863 the 13th and 154th were consolidated into a field unit under Colonel A. I. Vaughan, of the 13th. Separate muster rolls were maintained, but from this time on the two regiments were reported as one unit, the l3th/l54th. See the history of the 13th Tennessee Infantry Regiment for further details as to the activity of the unit.
The 154th was the first regiment in Vaughan's Brigade to re-enlist for the war in January, 1864, and was commended by Major General Hiudman for the fine example of patriotism and devotion to duty which they had set.
From July 10, 1864 to August 31 Colonel Magevney of the 154th was reported in command of the brigade, but on September 20, Brigadier General G. W. Gordon was reported in command of the brigade, and Magevney of the l3th/l54th. On March 31, 1865, at Smithfield, North Carolina, Major Marsh M. Patrick of the 154th was reported in command of a consolidated unit in the brigade, composed of the l3th/Slst/52nd/l54th Tennessee Regiments. In the final reorganization of General Joseph E. Johnston's Army on April 9, 1865, the 154th formed part of the 2nd Consolidated Tennessee Infantry Regiment commanded by Lieutenant Colonel George W. Pease, made up from the llth/l2th/l3th/ 29th/47th/50th/5lst/52nd, and 154th Tennessee Regiments. As part of this unit, it was surrendered and paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina May 2, 1865.
The name, 154th Senior Regiment, caused some confusion to the Federal Authorities, who took it to mean that 154 regiments of infantry had been raised in Tennessee, which they could not believe. A report of a court of inquiry was found, in which the idea was advanced that there were two 154th Regiments, a Junior and a Senior.
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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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