Organized February 26, 1862; attempted reorganization May, 1862; disbanded June 1862.
Companies "A" to "G", inclusive, comprised Camp's Battalion. Companies "H", "I" and "K" were consolidated into Company "L" on June 30, 1862. This later became Company "L", 35th Tennessee Infantry Regiment.
The first reference to the organization found in the Official Records was in a letter dated March 7, 1862 from D. Leadbetter, colonel, Provisional Army, to General S. Cooper, Inspector General, in which he stated: "On receiving your order by telegraph to re-enforce Cumberland Gap, I proceeded to that point with the 29th North Carolina Regiment, and the 3rd Georgia Battalion. Major Camp's Battalion, Tennessee Volunteers had already been sent forward. Camp's Battalion should be withdrawn to Morristown to make up a regiment." On March 22, 1862, Colonel James E. Rains (11th Tennessee Infantry), commanding the post at Cumberland Gap, reported that one man of Colonel Morgan's Regiment was mortally wounded in a skirmish with Federal troops on that day.
On April 17, H. C. Clay, Assistant Adjutant General, in a letter to Brigadier General C. L. Stevenson at Cumberland Gap, stated "Morgan's Regiment will be removed from Cumberland Gap as soon as another regiment can be substituted for it." April 19, a Federal report from Cumberland Ford stated that "deserters from Morgan's Regiment come in constantly." On April 26 a report from Major General E. Kirby Smith stated "Morgan's Regiment is disloyal, and has been ordered down from Cumberland Gap to be sent out of the Department."
April 28, General Smith, in a report to Inspector General Cooper, stated: "A portion of the 4th Tennessee Volunteer Regiment, Colonel Morgan, will leave to-day for Milledgeville, Georgia, in charge of Union prisoners. Brigadier General Stevenson has reported many desertions to the enemy, and urged its removal from Cumberland Gap. Because of this, and the general character of the regiment for disloyalty, I have thought it best to send it beyond the limits of ths Department. Being thus removed beyond the influence of friends in the ranks of the enemy, it is thought these men may make loyal and good soldiers." April 29, another Federal report from Cumberland Ford stated "Morgan's disaffected battalion has been sent to Kingston."
May 11, 1862, a letter from J. F. Belton, Aide-de-camp, to Colonel R. J. Morgan, 36th Tennessee Volunteer Regiment, stated: "I am directed by Major General E. Kirby Smith to say that, owing to the peculiar circumstances under which your regiment was organized and the evil influences surrounding it, some unfaithful members have been received into it. Removed from the disloyal element of Eastern Tennessee and to a purer political atmosphere, no longer arrayed against relations who have joined the Federal Army in Kentucky and with examples of true patriotism about them, these men will become good and loyal soldiers. For these reasons your regiment is ordered to Savannah, Georgia."
Nothing was found to indicate the nature of "the peculiar circumstances" under which the regiment was organized. At the attempted reorganization of the regiment under the Conscript Act in May 1862, only five companies "A", "B", "C", "H" and "I" were reported present. The other five companies were reported in May as detached from the regiment in Savannah, Georgia. At this time Alex K. Alley was elected colonel; John A. Smith, lieutenant colonel; William H. Wetmore, major; but these officers were never commissioned. Personal papers of Colonel Morgan indicate there were so many desertions that the reorganization was impossible, and the regiment was disbanded, although no official order for disbandment was found.
By order of General E. Kirby Smith, June 24, 1862, Companies "H", "I" and "K" were consolidated into one company under Captain A. K. Alley. This company was mustered June 30, 1862 as Company "L", 36th Tennessee Infantry Regiment. Subsequently it was known as Alley's Independent Company, and on October 25, 1862 it was attached to the 35th Tennessee Infantry Regiment as Company "L" of that regiment. Captain Alley stated that the men were from Hamilton and Marion Counties.
Some men from other companies of the regiment joined the 43rd, some the 63rd Tennessee Infantry Regiments in June 1862. And so ended the history of this ill fated regiment after a life span of only four months. Colonel Morgan was assigned to staff duty with Lieutenant General Leonidas Polk until Polk's death, and later served on a court of claims in Georgia.
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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.
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