Tennesseans in the Civil War
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Many and various were the scenes through which this regiment passed from the time, when, a handful of raw recruits among the mountains of South-Eastern Kentucky, they baked their dialy ration of corn meal into cakes on boards before the fire, and broiled their beef, not always of the best quality, on the coals, to the day when the little remnant of this war-worn band was mustered out of service. Col. Joseph A. Cooper commenced the organization of this regiment on or about the 6th of March, 1862, at Barboursville, Ky, under and authority from Maj. D. C. Buell commanding the Department of the Ohio, which was confirmed by an appoinment from the Secretary of War, bearing date February 27, 1862 – mustered into service on the 22d of March. Col. Cooper immediately appointed the Regimental Quartermaster. Recruiting went on actively, the recruits being men, many of them, forced from East Tennessee by the rigor of the rebel rule, and on the 23d of April four companies begin completed, a Lieut. colonel was appointed. By May 1st, three other companies were organized, and the full quota of Field and Staff Officers was at once appointed. After a march from the northern outlet of Big Creek Gap to Barbourville and back about the 10th of June, the regiment took part in the opening finally resulted in the capture of Cumberland Gap, on the 17th of June, 1862, crossing with the 1st Brigade, to which it was attached, at Big Creek Gap, and moving up Powell's Valley, south of the mountains to the rear of the rebel stronghold. While stationed at the Gap, the regiment, with all the 1st Brigade, marched to Wallace's Cross Roads, 18 miles north of Knoxville, and destroyed a cavalry camp of the enemy, killing wounding about sixty men and capturing some prisoners and returned without loss. About the 1st of September, 100 men of the Sixth formed part of an expedition, under Col. Cooper, to Big Creek Gap, that killed and captured all but two of a rebel cavalry company, numbering one hundred and twelve men, padding safely through the lines of the enemy then environing the Gap. On the 17th of September, the regiment took up the line of march in Morgan's famous retreat to the Ohio River, which was reached on the 3d of October. After being entirely refitted at Portland, Ohio, the regiment was ordered to Gallipolis, Ohio where it lay until the 11th of November. While here, the regiment was now ordered to report for duty to Maj. Gen. Rosecranz, commanding the Department of the Cumberland, at Nashville, which it did, being transported by river and rail; and November 20th found the Sixth Tennessee Infantry encamped on the Franklin Pike, two miles from Nashville. It remained at Nashville until the last of December 1862 when the regiment was detailed as one of an escort or an ammunition train in Rosecranz's army, then engaged in the hotly contested battle of Stone's River Near the Lunatic Asylum, eight miles from Nashville, the train was attacked by the rebel cavalry under Wheeler, who was immediately repulsed with considerable loss by the Sixth Tennessee Infantry, slightly assisted by 250 recruits for the Second Tennessee Cavalry, a regiment then at the front. At Murfreesboro, the Sixth remained until April 2, 1863, attached to the 1st Brigade, 2d Division, 14th Army Corps. On the evening of that day, that Brigade was detached and started to Carthage, Tenn., by the way of Liberty. After a very hard march, the Brigade reached Carthage on the 4th, taking part in a skirmish near Liberty on the 3d. The regiment was stationed at Carthage, drilling and scouting the surrounding counties until about the 15th of August, when the Sixth, with the Third Tennessee, were moved to Alexandria, Tenn. There they lay two weeks and then relieved the garrison at Alexandria, Tenn. There they lay two weeks and then relieved the garrison at McMinnville. At this point they were rejoined by the Fifth Tennessee, and about the 10th of September, crossed the Cumberland Mountains at Beersheba Springs to Jasper, Marion County. From this point the Brigade moved to the Tennessee River at the mouth of Battle Creek. Crossing the river here, it moved to Chattanooga reserve  and there took part in the finale of the battle of Chicamauga as part of Granger's Corp. After this battle, the Brigade was sent to Sale Creek Academy, 28 miles above Chattanooga, north of the Tennessee, and the Sixth was stationed at Blythe's Ferry to guard the crossing above and below. They were quartered here, skirmishing with the enemy  on the other bank of the river almost daily, until they joined the forces that moved to relieve Burnside and raised the siege of Knoxville, early in December. the regiment took part in the sea-saw movements of the winter of 1863-4, know to the outside world as the campaign of East Tennessee, and to those engaged, as a game of prisoner's base with Longstreet. Having been transferred to the Department of the Ohio and assigned to the Second Division, Twenty-third Army Corps, the regiment in the latter part of April, 1864, moved with that Corps to join Sherman in his great campaign for Atlanta. In this the regiment took an active part, losing heavily in the fight around Resacca and engaging in every action from that time until the occupation of Atlanta. In the severe engagement of the 6th of August, Capt. Wm. L. Lea, of Co. C, was killed, the only officer of the Sixth Tennessee ever killed in action, than whom a braver man or better officer never, commanded a company. After the far-famed announcement, "Atlanta is ours and fairly won," the 23d Corps was stationed at Decatur until orders to join in the pursuit of Hood, who was on his north destroying Sherman's lines of communication. The pursuit was pressed as far as Gaylesville, Ala., where it was discontinued and preparations were commenced for the world's wonder, the "march to the sea." As one of them, the 23d Corps was ordered to report to Maj Gen. Thomas at Nashville. This done, the 1st Brigade, 2d Division was sent to Duck River, to guard its crossings. The stay on Duck River was cut short by these, the Brigade moved toward Nashville and finding themselves cut off, marched to Clarksville, by way of Charlotte, marching to reach Charlotte, 60 miles, in 33 hours. From Clarksville they joined their Corps at Nashville and took part in the battle around the city, on the 15th and 16th of December, and the pursuit that by water to Cincinnati, Ohio, and to Washington, D. C. by rail in January, 1865. In February they embarked at Alexandria, Va., and sailed to Fort Anderson, in N. C. and marched thence to Wilmington. On the 6th of March, the 2d and 3d Divisions, 23d Corps, took up the line of march to Kingston, and from there marched with Schofield and joined Sherman At Goldsboro'. The regiment was stationed at Moseby Hall, 14 miles from Goldsboro', until the 31st of March, when they were ordered to Morehead City, and there embarked and came by way of Fort Monroe to New York. From there the regiment came immediately to Nashville, and on the 27th of April, 1865, all but a detachment of recruits was mustered out of service having served a few days over three years and moved on foot and otherwise, near ten thousand miles.


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This page was last updated on Friday, February 25, 2005.