This organization was mustered into service at Memphis, March 12, 1862, for one year for local defense and special service in the City of Memphis. Adjutant and Inspector General's Office rosters show it was officially recognized as the 3rd Tennessee Infantry Battalion, but it was known as the Memphis Battalion.
The battalion was to be subject to the call of the Provost Marshal and the Commandant of the Post. It was disbanded in May, 1862, due to the surrender of Memphis to the Federal troops.
Possibly the forerunner of this battalion was an organizatioli called the Memphis Legion, of which information was found in a letter addressed to Lieutenant General Leonidas Polk dated August 6, 1861. This letter set forth the facts that since the proclamation of war nearly 4000 men from Memphis and vicinity had gone into the Confederate Armed forces, "leaving at home only the heads of families and business men who cannot go into regular service until compelled by dire necessity." 700 of these men had formed a military organization called the Memphis Legion. "As originally intended our organiza-tion contemplated no other object than the protection of our families and our homes." However the offer was made to place the organization under General Polk's command, if the War Department would accept it on that basis, "to be detailed for duty mainly for the defense of Memphis and the immedi-ate vicinity, with the understanding that when not on duty our members be allowed the privilege of attending to their ordinary business." This letter was signed by L. V. Dixon, Colonel; J. J. Worsham, Lieutenant Colonel; H. 0. Lofland, Major; and John B. Weld, Adjutant.
Nothing was found to indicate what action, if any, was taken with regard to this offer. However, it will be noted that John B. Weld, who was Adjutant of the Memphis Legion, was later Captain of Company "A" of the Third Battalion. The letter from the Memphis Legion stated also that many of the members were men of substantial interests, and Lieutenant Colonel Auguste M. Foute appears to have fallen in this category, for in the fall of 1861 he was one of the members from the Chamber of Commerce in Memphis, sent to Richmond to protest certain regulations which the Confederacy had imposed on the shipment of grain from Mississippi River points, which the Chamber of Commerce felt to be harmful to the business interests of Memphis.
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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