Organization begun at Camp Dick Robinson, Kentucky, in August, 1861; seven companies mustered out at Knoxville, Tennessee, October 6, 1864; final muster out at Nashville, August 3, 1865.
The muster rolls of the regiment are defective, a large portion of them having been captured with the regiment at Rogersville on November 6, 1863. A detachment from the regiment, under 2nd Lieutenant Elisha Harbour, composed of recruits, stragglers, absentees, and returned prisoners from the companies already mustered out was mustered out at Nashville, December 5, 1865.
The regiment left Camp Dick Robinson October 18, 1861; had a skirmish with General Felix Zollicoffer's forces at Wildcat, Kentucky; and arrived at London, Kentucky, October 28, 1861. It was placed in the 12th Brigade commanded by Navv Lieutenant Samuel P. Carter, who was soon appointed brigadier general.. During November and December it was stationed at London, then at Somerset; and left Somerset January 17, 1862 to join the Federal forces under Brigadier General George H. Thomas for the battle of Fishing Creek, or Logan's Cross Roads, which took place on January 19, 1862. Although it took part in this engagement, it was not heavily engaged.
On March 14, 1862 it was with General S. P. Carter as part of a force which captured Lieutenant Colonel John F. White and the major part of two companies of the 1st East Tennessee Cavalry, CSA, at Jacksboro, Tennessee. On March 20, the regiment was at Woodson's Gap, near Fincastle, Campbell County, Tennessee.
On April 14, 1862, General Carter's Brigade was designated as the 24th Brigade, of Brigadier General George W. Morgan's 7th Division, of the Army of the Ohio. The regiment served in this brigade in the operations around Cumberland Ford, and Cumberland Gap until September 17, 1862, when General Morgan, his supply-line threatened by Major General E. Kirby Smith's invasion of Kentucky, evacuated Cumberland Gap, withdrew through Kentucky to the Ohio River, and into the Kanawha Valley, West Virginia. On July 26, 1862, before the evacuation of Cumberland Gap, the regiment, with 450 men, was reported at Tazewell, Tennessee.
On October 31, the regiment was reported in General Carter's 3rd Brigade, District of Western Virginia, under General Morgan. On November 4, 1862, the regiment was ordered to Nashville, and on December 4, 1862 was at Louisville, Kentucky, awaiting transportation. It finally marched to Nashville, and was at that point when the battle of Murfreesboro, or Stone's River, began on December 31, 1862. Here the regiment was assigned to Brigadier General James G. Spears' 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, XIV Corps.
General Spears took command of the brigade on January 2, 1863, and with it escorted a train of supplies to the army outside Murfreesboro, arriving at 5:00 A.M. on January 3. His brigade then relieved troops in the front line of General Thomas' "Center" of the Federal lines. That night, in an engagement lasting from 6:00 to 8:00 P.M., the regiment took part in driving Confederate forces from a woods in front of their lines. On January 5, the regiment, under Lieutenant Colonel Melton, was assigned to picket duty. It remained at Murfreesboro until March 10, 1862, when it returned to Kentucky to be mounted. On May 14, it was reported at Somerset, Kentucky, with 588 men.
It was mounted in June, and served as mounted infantry until captured at Rogersville in November, 1863. On June 9, a detachment from the regiment was with Colonel August V. Katz, 2nd Ohio Cavalry, in an engagement at Monticello, Kentucky, with portions of Confederate General John Pegram's Brigade. On June 30, the regiment was reported in General Carter's 1st Brigade, of Brigadier General Samuel D. Sturgis's 1st Division, XXIII Corps.
On July 7, 1863, the regiment left Lebanon, Kentucky, as part of a force under Brigadier General J. M. Shackelford which pursued General John Hunt Morgan through Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio, capturing a large part of his force on July 20, and the remainder, including General Morgan at Salineville, Ohio, on July 26, 1863. Lieutenant Colonel Melton commanded the regiment on this expedition. A detachment from the regiment was with Colonel W. P. Sanders from July 29 to August 3, when he was engaged in driving out of Kentucky the forces under Confederate Colonel John S. Scott.
On August 6, 1863, the XXIII Corps was reorganized, in preparation for Major General A. E. Buruside's invasion of East Tennessee. The 2nd Tennessee Mounted Infantry, under Major Daniel A. Carpenter, was placed in General Shackelford's 3rd Brigade, of General S. P. Carter's 4th Division of Cavalry. On August 26, it was at Chitwood's, Tennessee; on August 30, reconnoitered to Winter's Gap; on September 21, in a skirmish at Carter's Station; and on October 10, was engaged in the battle at Blue Springs, Tennessee, with Confederate forces under Generals W. E. Jones, John S. Williams, and A. E. Jackson. In this engagement, Colonel James P. T. Carter was in command of the brigade.
The regiment pursued the retreating Confederates to Abingdon, Virginia, and then returned to Rogersville, Tennessee, where Colonel Israel Garrard, 7th Ohio Cavafry, was in command. On November 6, Colonel Garrard was attacked and routed on the road outside Rogersville, came flying into camp with his men, and ordered Major Carpenter, commanding the 2nd Tennessee, to hold the position, and then, apparently unable to rally his men, fled with them to Morristown, leaving Major Carpenter holding the bag. The regiment was surrounded and captured by forces under Colonel H. L. Giltner, 4th Kentucky Cavalry, CSA. Casualties were five killed, one wounded, and 20 officers and 474 men captured.
117 men from the regiment, many of whom had escaped after being captured, finally reported at Knoxville, and remained there during the siege of that city until November 30, 1863. Under Colonel Melton, they moved to Clinton, Tennessee, skirmishing with Major General Joseph Wheeler's forces on the way, escorted General Buruside to Camp Nelson, Kentucky, and returned to Rogersville.
On April 10, 1864 the XXIII Corps was reorganized, and the regiment was placed in Brigadier General Davis Tillson's Brigade (Reserve Artillery) of Brigadier General J. Ammen's 4th Division. The brigade was assigned to the Defenses of Knoxville, with orders to hold that city against all hazards. The order went on to specify: "The 2nd Tennessee Volunteer Infantry will furnish such details as may be required by the provost-marshall-general of East Tennessee for the execution of his orders." It remained in this brigade until the end.
On August 5, a detachment of 80 men was at Sevierville, Tennessee, and General Tillson, commenting on the actions of the commanding officer, which he disapproved, stated he would prefer charges and ask for a court of inquiry, if it were not for the fact that the regiment was so soon to be mustered out of service. At the time of Major General Joseph Wheeler's raid the last of August, detachments were at Maryville, Sevierville, Maynardville and Clinton. The detachment at Maryville was captured August 21, but the others were safely withdrawn to Knoxville.
The report of Tennessee Adjutant General Brownlow states the regiment was mustered out of service at Knoxville, October 6, 1864, retaining only 106 of the original number." This statement applied only to Companies "A" through "G", the other companies remaining in service. On October 31, 1864, Captain S. C. Honeycutt was reported in command; on December 31, Captain William M. Murray. On March 17, 1865, the 1st and 2nd Tennessee Regiments were ordered to Cumberland Gap. The 2nd, by this time, consisted only of the detachment under Lieutenant Elisha Harbour, which remained at Cumberland Gap until it moved to Nashville to be mustered out.
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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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