Tennesseans in the Civil War
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By order of the President of the United States, Felix A. Reeve was appointed to the rank of Colonel by the Secretary of War, on the 6th day of September, 1862 and authorized to recruit, raise and command, the 8th Tennessee Infantry Volunteers, from exiles or refugees, who were at that time escaping from their homes in East Tennessee, to find protection at the various Federal posts in Kentucky, especially at Cumberland Gap. Soon after this appointment the retreat from Cumberland Gap intervened to prevent recruitment for the Federal army at that point. Consequently the 8th Tennessee Infantry Volunteers was recruited at other points - Nicholasville, Lexington, Camp Dick Robinson, etc. Col. Reeve superintended the recruitment, arming, and equipmet of his regiment, with the energetic assistance of John B. Brownlow, (afterward Lieut. Col. of the 9th Tennessee Cavalry Volunteers) during a few weeks, and H. H. Thomas, Adjutant of the 8th Infantry. During the winter of 1862 and the spring of 1863, several cavalry regiments were proposed, and the idea of riding instead of walking striking favorably the minds of our tired refugees who had walked foot-sore about two hundred miles across the Cumberland Mountains and upon the Kentucky pikes, made the task of recruiting an infantry regiment far more arduous than was expected. However, several companies were organized and mustered in the spring of 1863, which beginning regimental formation was soon followed by the addition of other companies in the summer of that year, making on the first day of August of that year a battalion of about seven hundred men present for duty. From the time Col. R. had formed a nucleus of ragged and hungry refugees, and before they were provided with either clothes or rations, the authorities at Lexington saw fit to impose heavy fatigue duty upon them; and early in the spring they were ordered to proceed bare-foot through the mud and snow from Nicholasville to Camp Boone, afterwards unnecessarily changed to Camp Nelson, to fortify for the reception of Gen. John Morgan and his tatterdemalions. But after cutting much timber, and digging and building several rifle-pits in the rocks and out of rocks, the judicious John crossed the river somewhere else. After that the 8th Tennessee Volunteer Infantry was stationed at divers points until the 12th day of August, 1863, (ever memorable day!) when they took up the line of march for East Tennessee. At that period the regiment was organized in the 2d Brigade, 2d Division and 23d Army Corps, Department of the Ohio. The commanders were respectively Mr. Daniel Cameron, Brig. Gen. Heiskell, Maj. Gen. Hartsuff, and Maj. Gen. A. E. Burnside. After a long, weary, and anxious march, of which the details could not easily be given, the regiment reached the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad on the 4th of the following month. On the 22d of September, about one hundred of the regiment were engaged in a brisk skirmish fight with the enemy at Johnson's Depot, two of whom were wounded. On the 16th of November, the regiment was ordered to Knoxville, where it arrived the same day on the railroad from Bull's Gap. On the 17th Longstreet invested the town, and beseiged it until about the 5th of December, during which time the 8th Tennessee took an active part in the defense of the town. On the 17th of January, 1864, participated in the engagement at Dandridge. On the 26th of April left Bull's Gap en route for Georgia. On the 9th of May engaged with the enemy at Buzzard's Roost. On the 14th of May engaged at Resacca, the 23d Corps in front and on the extreme left, brought on the engagement. The 8th Tennessee Infantry on the extreme left without any support; the 16th Kentucky on the right of the 8th Tennessee. Moved through a large open field, across a deep ditch, making it difficult to keep up an alignment, and exposed to the shot and shell of the enemy; moved on through the timber till the line gained the protection of a hill, but exposed to sharpshooters in front and on the left flank. Relieved after four hours, by Howard's Corps. On the next day moved to the left one and a half miles as reserve to Hooker's Corps, which engaged the enemy vigorously, taking four guns and many prisoners. On the 16th, 17th, 18th, etc., marching and skirmishing with the retreating enemy. On the 22d, burnt some mills on the Hightower river, in the Allatoona mountains, all day skirmishing. May 27th in front as usual. The 8th Tennessee engaged fighting and skirmishing at Burnt Hickory. June 2. The 8th Tennessee charged and drove them from their position on a hill; eight men wounded. Don't know name of this affair. June 14. The whole regiment on the skirmish line and engaged. The line advanced and occupied the rebels' first line of works. June 17. The regiment engaged at the battle of Lost Mountain; the Adjutant, Lieut. Jesse S. Reeve, fell mortally wounded. June 22. Drove the enemy and took position near the Allatoona road, and fortified. June 26. The 8th Tennessee ordered out beyond the first line of battle to develop a piece of woods. Took possession of the rebel works without much fighting. On the 6th of August the Brigade to which the regiment was attached charged a strong work of the rebels at Utowah Creek, near Allatoona, the 8th in advance. The fire was so severe that about one hundred men of the regiment were killed and wounded in less than fifteen minutes. The color bearer was shot so near the fort that rebels seized the colors and hauled him still grasping one end of the staff, within their works. The General commanding the Corps ordered a new set of colors furnished the regiment, praising their gallantry in the action and the valor of the brave standard-bearer who refused to yield up his trust but with his life. It might be added that the Georgia campaign was one continuous engagement. The 8th Tennessee bore an honorable part in the heavy engagements of Jonesborough, Ga., and Columbia, Franklin and Nashville, Tennessee. With the rest of the Army of the Ohio they went to North Carolina in January, 1865, and displayed their wonted prowess in the actions of Fort Andersan, Town Creek and Wilmington, in the latter State. The 8th Tennessee, men and officers, fought bravely and were frequently complimented by personal addresses of their Brigade and Division commanders, and in general orders. Especially were praised by Gens. Reilley and Cox, the latter of whom, the commander of the 22d Corps, was one of the noblest officers in the army.

The regiment was mustered out at Nashville, Tenn., on the - day of - 1865


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