Organized October, 1861; reorganized May, 1862; field consolidation with 15th Tennessee June, 1863; merged into 4th Consolidated Tennessee Infantry Regiment April 9, 1865; paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina May 1, 1865.
Nine of the companies composing the regiment had been organized in August and September, 1861. They assembled at Camp Ram-say, near Knoxville, where the regiment was organized. The original intention was to form a rifle brigade of three regiments, hence the name 1st Tennessee Rifles. However, it was not possible to secure guns of any sort, much less rifles, so that name was soon dropped. Shortly after organization the regiment moved to Camp of Instruction at Camp Sam Hays, Germantown, Shelby County. While enroute to that point, Company "E" joined the regiment at Madison, Alabama.
On October 26, 1861, Colonel Carroll was promoted to brigadier general, and ordered to proceed with all possible dispatch via Cumberland Gap to join Brigadier General Felix K. Zollicoffer, with the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Regiments of East Tennessee Rifles. The same dispatch ordered that these three regiments be known as the 7th, 8th, 9th Provisional Regiments. Later, in order to avoid confusion with Colonel Robert Hatton's 7th Tennessee Regiment, this regiment was officially designated as the 37th Tennessee Infantry Regiment. Carroll was having trouble getting arms of any sort, but finally scraped up an assortment of old shotguns, country rifles and muskets, and on November 12, reported that the 37th had started to join General Zollicoffer.
On December 9, Carroll reported to Major General G. B. Crittenden: "My command 38th (Looney), 39th (Colonel Moses White; at Knoxville, except one company at Morristown." The 39th should have read 37th. The report went on to state the 37th had 771 men, with about 200 rifles, shotguns and muskets, mostly unfit for use except in emergency. On December 19, Crittenden reported to Adjutant General Cooper that the 37th was still at Knoxville, with more than half the arms wholly unserviceable, and most of the remainder unfit for service. "This was the first regiment ordered forward, and consequently cannot go." Finally, on January 1, 1862, Carroll reported: "The 37th, well equipped, having muskets, is nearing Zollicoffer in Southeastern Kentucky."
General Crittenden, in his report of the Battle of Fishing Creek, January 19, 1862, stated that the 17th, 28th, and 37th Tennessee Regiments were at Mill Springs, Kentucky, on the south side of the Cumberland River, on January 17: that he had transferred the 17th and 28th across the river, leaving the 37th at Mill Springs, where it remained while the battle was being fought.
Following the defeat at Fishing Creek, the regiment, in Carroll's Brigade, Crittenden's Division, moved to Camp Harding, near Carthage, to Murfreesboro, to Shelbyville, to Athens, Alabama, to Decatur, to Tuscumbia, Alabama, to luka, to Burnsville, Mississippi where it remained until after the Battle of Shiloh. On February 23, 1862, Carroll's Brigade was reported as composed of the 17th, 25th, 29th, 37th Tennessee Infantry Regiments, Hawkins' Battalion, Baker's and Monsarrat's Batteries, and Gordon's Cavalry Company.
On April 17, 1862, the regiment moved to Corinth, Mississippi, where it was placed in Major General William J. Hardee's Corps, Brigadier General J. S Marmaduke's Brigade, which on April 26 was reported as composed of the 3rd Confederate, 6th Mississippi, 25th, 29th and 37th Tennessee Infantry Regiments, and Baker's Battery. The 37th reported 422 effectives. By May 26, the 6th Mississippi had been transferred elsewhere, leaving the other four regiments in the brigade. At the reorganization May 10, 1862, Colonel White was re-elected; R. Dudley Frayser replaced Moffitt as lieutenant colonel; and I. T. McReynolds replaced Hunt as major. Later field officers were Gabriel Moffitt, lieutenant colonel; B. M. Tankesley, major.
On May 29, the regiment moved out of Corinth to Baldwyn, to Tupelo, to Verona, back to Tupelo, Mississippi; to Mobile and Montgomery, Alabama, to Atlanta, Georgia, to Chattanooga. Here it was placed in Major General Simon B. Buckner's Division, Brigadier General Bushrod R. Johnson's Brigade. On August 27, the regiment started on Bragg's Kentucky campaign, moving via Pikeville, Sparta and Red Sulphur Springs, Tennessee, to Glasgow, to Munfordville, Kentucky where it was present at the surrender of the Federal forces at that point. From Munfordville it moved via Bardstown to Perryville, where it was engaged in the Battle of Perryville on October 8, 1862.
In this battle, Johnson's Brigade was composed of the 5th (9th) Confederate, 17th, 23rd, 25th, 37th, and 44th Tennessee Infantry Regiments. No report of casualties for the regiment was found, but it entered the battle with about 230 men. This is indicative of the heavy attrition which disease and desertion, mainly disease, played in the reduction of Confederate regiments. In December, 1861 the regiment reported a strength of 771; eight months later, having been engaged in no major battle, there were only 230 left.
Following the battle, the regiment retreated to Harrodsburg, Kentucky, to Cumberland Gap, to Knoxville, to Shelbyville, to College Grove, to Murfreesboro. Here Johnson's Brigade, the 17th, 23rd, 25th, 37th, and 44th Tennessee Infantry Regiments, and Darden's Battery, was in Major General Patrick B. Cleburne's Division of Hardee's Corps. In the Battle of Murfreesboro, the 37th lost 68 men out of 225 engaged, including Colonel White and Lieutenant Colonel Frayser, who were wounded, and Major McReynolds who was mortally wounded. The regiment was commanded successively by Colonel White, Major McReynolds, and Captain C. G. Jarnagin.
The regiment then moved to Chattanooga, to rest and recruit, and was stationed in and around Chattanooga until June 1863, when it returned to Wartrace, Tennessee. On June 9, 1863, the 37th, with 484 present, was consolidated into a field unit with the 15th Tennessee, with 140 men. The combined regiment was commanded by Colonel B. C. Tyler, of the 15th; Lieutenant Colonel R. D. Frayser, of the 37th, and Major J. M. Wall, of the 15th. According to Adjutant I. Harvey Mathes, of the 37th, this consolidation was bitterly resented, and resulted in the resignation of 13 officers from the 37th, which resignations were not accepted. The consolidated regiment was placed in Major General Alexander P. Stewart's Division, Brigadier General William B. Bate's Brigade, composed of the 9th Alabama Battalion, 4th Georgia Sharpshooter Battalion, 37th Georgia, l5th/37th and 20th Tennessee Infantry Regiments, plus the Eufaula Artillery. As part of Bate's Brigade, it was held in reserve during the engagement at Hoover's Gap, June 24, but suffered six casualties.
It then moved to Chattanooga, to Tyner's Station, to Charleston, Tennessee, to La Fayette, Georgia, and to Chickamauga for the battle there on September 19-20, 1863. At Chickamauga, Stewart's Division was in Buckner's Corps, and the 58th Alabama Regiment had replaced the 9th Alabama Battalion as a member of the brigade. The l5th/37th lost 121 out of 230 engaged. It was commanded successively by Colonel Tyler, Lieutenant Colonel Frayser, and Captain B. M. Tankesley of the 37th. Every field officer in the brigade, except three, was wounded.
Following the battle the regiment was stationed near Lookout Mountain, and on November 12 Bate's Brigade was placed in Breckinridge's Division, Breckinridge's Corps, with the brigade now composed of the 4th Georgia Battalion, 37th Georgia, l0th, l5th/ 37th, 20th and 30th Tennessee Regiments and the 1st Tennessee Infantry Battalion.
In the Battle of Missionary Ridge, November 25, 1863, General Bate was in command of the division, Colonel Tyler of the brigade, and Major Wall of the l5th/37th. The Division's loss was 43 killed, 224 wounded, and 590 missing. No record of regimental casualties was found. Colonel Tyler was badly wounded, was later promoted to brigadier general arid the brigade was henceforth known as Tyler's Brigade, although it was actually commanded by Colonel (later Brigadier General) Thomas Benton Smith of the 20th Tennessee.
The regiment went into winter quarters near Dalton, Georgia, where on December 14, 1863, it reported 183 effectives, 234 present, 148 arms. On December 31, 1863, the division was reported in Major General T. C. Hindman's Corps, but on April 30, 1864 was once more in Hardee's Corps, and as part of his Corps participated in the Atlanta Campaign, and the return to Tennessee under General John B. Hood.
On June 30, 1864, the 2nd Tennessee was reported as an addition to the brigade, with the l5th/37th commanded by Captain Dwyer. On August 30, 1864, Major General John C. Brown was reported as commanding the brigade, and on his order on September 28, 1864, the 2nd/l0th/l5th/20th/30th Tennessee Regiments were consolidated into one field unit at Palmetto, Georgia. The regiment left Palmetto on September 29, moved to Dalton, Georgia, to Gadsden to Tuscumbia, Alabama, where it arrived October 31, 1864. From here it moved into Tennessee and the Battle of Franklin November 30, 1864.
Following this battle, on December 10, 1864, the brigade was reported in Bate's Division, Cheatham's Corps. The brigade was listed as composed of the 4th Georgia Battalion, 37th Georgia Regiment, and 2nd/l0th/20th/30th/37th Tennessee (Colonel William M. Shy). It will be noted that the 15th Tennessee was not included in this list, but this was an error, for the 15th was a part of Shy's Command at the Battle of Nashville, December 15, 1864, in the fight at Shy's Hill.
On March 31, 1865, at Smithfield, North Carolina, the brigade was reported with the same units, somewhat differently arranged. The l0th/l5th were now consolidated, and the 2nd/20th/30th/37th Consolidated were commanded by Captain H. Rice. In the final reorganization of General Joseph E. Johnston's Army April 9, 1865, the 37th formed part of the 4th Consolidated Tennessee Infantry Regiment commanded by Colonel Anderson Searcy, composed of the 2nd/3rd/l0th/l5th/ l8th/20th/26th/30th/32nd/37th/45th Tennessee Infantry Regiments. This was one of four Tennessee regiments in Brigadier General J. B. Palmer's Brigade, which was surrendered and paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina May 1, 1865.
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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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