Organized at Boston, Kentucky, April, 1862; mustered out at Nashville, April 24 to June 30, 1865.
Colonel Cooper began the organization of this regiment at Barboursville, Kentucky, about March 6, 1862, under an appointment from the Secretary of War, dated February 27, 1862. In April, four companies having been mustered into service, Edward Maynard was appointed lieutenant colonel. By May 1, three other companies had been completed and William C. Pickens was appointed major. On July 31, 1863, the regiment was reported with eight companies, but muster rolls were found on only seven, and all other reports list the regiment with seven companies.
The regiment was assigned to Brigadier General George W. Morgan's 7th Division, Brigadier General James G. Spears' 25th Brigade, Army of the Ohio, composed of the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th Tennessee Regiments. The regiment was reported stationed at Archer's, Tennessee, until June 10, when, with the rest of the brigade, it moved to Big Creek Gap where it had several minor engagements, and reached Cumberland Gap June 18, 1862, where it remained until General Morgan evacuated that point on September 17, 1862. On July 28, a Confederate report estimated the strength of the regiment at 310 men.
On July 16, the 3rd, 5th and 6th Tennessee Regiments surprised four companies of McLin's Tennessee Cavalry (Rogers' 1st) under Captain Mims, and captured all their baggage and equipment, with four or five men. From September 6-10, a portion of the regiment went with an expedition under Colonel Cooper against a Confederate camp on Pine Mountain, which routed the Confederates and captured the major part of the command.
Following the withdrawal from Cumberland Gap, General Morgan, at Portland, Ohio, listed the 6th Tennessee with an aggregate of 535 men, and commented: "The 6th Tennessee has an excellent Colonel, with good officers. On October 31, 1862, Spears' Brigade was reported as the 1st Brigade, District of western Virginia.
On November 13, 1862, the 3rd, 5th and 6th regiments were ordered to Cincinnati, Ohio, thence to Bowling Green, Kentucky, with orders to report to Major General W. S. Rosecrans, commanding at Nashville. On December 12, the regiment was reported in a temporary brigade under Colonel W. E. Woodruff; and on December 24, the 3rd and 6th were ordered to report to Brigadier General R. B. Mitchell, command post of Nashville. It left Nashville January 3, 1863, as rearguard for an ammunition and hospital train under Colonel Daniel McCook; had a skirmish with Confederate General Joseph Wheeler's Cavalry near the Asylum, six miles from Nashville, and joined Brigadier General Spears at Murfreesboro. At this time it reported 12 officers, 213 men, and was placed in General Spears' 1st Brigade, General J. S. Negley's 2nd Division XIV Corps; the brigade being composed of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 6th Regiments Tennessee Infantry.
The regiment remained at Murfreesboro until April 2, 1863, when it moved to Carthage. On June 8, 1863, the 3rd, 5th and 6th East Tennessee Regiments were placed in the 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, Reserve Corps, Army of the Cumberland, Commanded first by Colonel Cooper, then by Colonel William B. Stokes. On July 31, the 6th, with eight companies, was reported under Major Gamble. About August 15, the 3rd and 6th were moved to Alexandria, Tennessee, where Brigadier General Spears was again appointed to command the brigade on August 28, 1963.
On September 2, the 3rd and 6th, under Colonel Shelley, of the 5th, moved to McMiunville, where they were joined a little later by General Spears, with the rest of the brigade. The brigade left MeMinuville on September 13, and after some marching and countermarching, arrived at Chattanooga September 21, just after the battle of Chickamauga. Here the brigade was stationed at the bridge over Chickamauga Creek, just outside of Chattanooga, with instructions to stop all Federal soldiers below the rank of major general. The 6th, with five companies of the 5th, was attacked here by Confederate troops, and after a fight of about an hour and a half, fell back to a point on Lookout Mountain, where the 6th was again attacked on September 24 and withdrew into Chattanooga.
On October 9, 1863, in a reorganization of the Department of the Cumberland, the 3rd, 5th and 6th Tennessee Regiments were assigned as the 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, XIV Corps; but on October 15, General Spears, with the brigade reported as the 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, Reserve Corps, had Headquarters at Sale Creek, Tennessee, reported the 6th as stationed at Blythe's Ferry. On October 31, the brigade was reported as the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, XIV Corps; on November 14, 1863, with General Spears still in command, the brigade was reported as the 1st Brigade, East Tennessee Volunteer Infantry, Department of the Cumberland, with the regiment, with six companies under Colonel Cooper, still at Blythe's Ferry.
On January 1, 1864, the brigade was reported 30 miles northeast of Knoxville; on January 16, at Flat Creek; and on January 25, went into winter quarters, with the 6th four miles from Knoxville. On January 31, 1864, the brigade was assigned to the XXIII Corps, Department of the Cumberland. On February 13, 1864, the 3rd and 6th regiments were temporarily assigned to Brigadier General H. M. Judah's 2nd Division, XXIII Corps.
On April 4, 1864, the 3rd, 5th and 6th were transferred from the Department of the Cumberland to the Department of the Ohio. On April 10, in the reorganization of the XXIII Corps, the 3rd and 6th East Tennessee Volunteer Infantry were assigned to Brigadier General M. S. Hascall's 1st Brigade, Brigadier General H. M. Judah's 2nd Division. Under various commanders, the regiment remained in this brigade, and this division, until mustered out in April 1865.
On April 30, Colonel Cooper was in command of the brigade; Lieutenant Colonel Maynard of the regiment. It left Red Clay, Georgia, on May 7; was first engaged at Rocky Face on May 9; and again at Resaca on May 14. It took an active part in the campaign resulting in the capture of Atlanta, and reported six killed and 54 wounded in the campaign.
Colonel Cooper was promoted to brigadier general on June 4; Lieutenant Colonel Maynard was in command of the regiment until he had to relinquish command for a time on June 22, during which time Captain Marcus D. Bearden commanded until he was wounded on July 1, after which Captain William Ausmus took command. Captain William L. Lea, of Company "C", was killed in the heavy fighting on August 6, 1864.
Following the capture of Atlanta, the regiment was reported as stationed on September 8 at Decatur, Georgia, where it reported on September 13 that it needed 250 men to bring it up to the minimum strength. About the last of September, the brigade, under General Cooper, moved up to Chatttanooga, from there to Nashville; from there to Johnsonville, until the last of November, when it was sent to guard the crossings of the Duck River. Cut off from Nashville by the battle of Franklin, it moved via Charlotte and Clarksville, to Nashville, arriving early in December.
In the battle of Nashville, the regiment was stationed on the Harding Pike, on December 15; moved across the Hillsboro Pike, where it lost 10 men in the capture of a battery; and was not engaged on December 16, 1864. It took part in the pursuit of General Hood's Army across the Tennessee River, and wound up at Eastport, Mississippi, from whence it moved to the Department of North Carolina. Here, on February 24, 1865, it reported the need of 457 men to bring it up to maximum strength. It took part in the campaign from Fort Anderson to Wilmington; moved to Kingston, and from there to join General Sherman at Goldsboro, where t remained until March 31, 1865.
On March 30, 1865, the following order was issued: "The Sixth Tennessee Volunteer Infantry, which has for so long and eventful a period been associated with th First Brigade, is now relieved, and the Colonel commanding deems this a fitting time tender to the officers and men of that gallant regiment his thanks and the thanks of the brigade for the prompt and efficient manner in which they have performed their duties, both on the march and on the battlefield. Their heroic conduct on many a well-fought field and their self-sacrificing devotion to our Country in this great struggle has won for them the unbounded confidence and esteem of those gallant soldiers who have stood shoulder to shoulder with them in the field, and have learned to love them as brothers for everything which is ennobling and sheds a luster upon the patriot's brow. The history of the Sixth Tennessee will make a bright page in the future annals of this country. Many of these brave men have already served beyond the term of their enlistment, and their services are gratefully appreciated. We can but bid them a kind farewell with feelings of gratitude and deep solicitude for their future welfare. May they return in safety to their homes to enjoy the liberties of the Government they have so nobly defended."
At Nashville, April 27, 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 nearly 10,000 miles.
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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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