Gibson in Gray

47th Tennessee Volunteer
 Infantry, CSA

Barry Dunagan's Genealogy and History
Letters Home from Capt. Marchant
Gibson in Gray
Memorial Roll of the 47th
Reports from Col. Hill
Reports from Capt. Robert Patterson
Picture of Lee and Gordon's Mill
Report of Col. Watkins at Chickamauga
Report of General A.J. Vaughn at Chickamauga
General Order No.9

The 47th Tennessee Infantry Regiment was composed of 10 companies from Dyer, Gibson and Obion counties in West Tennessee raised during the fall of 1861.
     Company A enlisted at Troy, Obion County, James White was elected captain.
     Company B enlisted at Donaldson's, near Gibson Wells, Gibson County. It consisted of men from Dyer and Gibson County and had William Gay as its captain.
     Company C enlisted at Dyersburg, Dyer County, Vincent G. Wynne was captain.( later lieutenant colonel)
     Company D also enlisted at Dyersburg with William M. Watkins captain (later colonel)
     Company E enlisted at Dyersburg with George Miller as captain.
     Company F enlisted at Humboldt, Gibson County, Jesse Booth was elected captain.
     Company G enlisted at Trenton with Thomas Carthel, captain.
     Company H enlisted in Kenton, on the Obion, Gibson County line. B. E. Holmes was captain.
     Company I was from Troy, W.S. Moore was captain.
     Company K enlisted at Yorkville, Gibson County and Green Holmes was captain.

     After their enrollment into service, the different companies moved to Trenton and on December 16, 1861 were organized into the 47th Tennessee Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Munson R. Hill was elected colonel and his 17 year old son was his adjutant. B.E. Holmes was elected lieutenant colonel, Thomas Shearon, major, A. S. Baldridge, surgeon and J.S. Smith was his assistant. John Duncan was promoted to captain to replace B.E. Holmes in Company H. Green Holmes, captain of Company K, was unfit for duty and was replaced by 1st Lieutenant Thomas Cummings.

     The unit then went into winter quaters at Beech Grove, just north of Trenton. The next few months were busy for men and officers alike. The raw recruits were drilled daily in military maneuvers and the officers, from colonel down were actively engaged is searching for arms and equipment.
     The guns of the 47th at this time were mostly what had been brought from home, hunting rifles and shotguns. To remedy this lack of proper arms, Colonel Hill had an armory started in Trenton and was able to have 350 sporting rifles bored out to the standard military .58 caliber. Before the armory could be brought into full operation it was ordered to move south to Grenada, Mississippi. (see Hill's reports)

     The regiment stayed at Camp Trenton until early April unattached to any brigade but under the command of General Leonidas Polk.

     On Saturday April 5, 1862 the 47th left warm winter quarters headed to a little known boat landing on the Tennessee River called Pittsburg Landing, just a short way from the Methodist meeting place called Shiloh. The march began around 5 o'clock in the morning.The regiment marched through the rain until midnight, when they arrived at Bethel, south of Jackson. On Sunday, April 6 the march resumed at 7 o'clock and continued all day. With but a few hours rest Sunday night, the regiment arrived on the battlefield between 8'oclock and 9 o'clock Monday morning. This was a march of close to 90 miles in 48 hours. The thought that their brothers in arms were in a great battle no doubt inspired many of these men to push on during such circumstances. The Mobile and Ohio railroad runs from Columbus, Kentucky south through Trenton, Jackson, Bethel, Corinth Mississippi, but evidence from Colonel Hill, Private R.N. Davis and others does not indicate the 47th used it.

     According to Confederate Military History, Volume 8, page 41; " The 47th Tennessee Infantry, under Colonel Munson R. Hill, of Trenton Tennessee arrived on the battlefield on the morning of April 7th and reported to General Polk. It was poorly armed with sporting rifles and shotguns, and  before going into action was conducted by a staff officer of General Cheatham to the point to where Prentiss surrendered, and was at once armed with new Springfield muskets and supplied with ammunition from a Federal store. It then turned them upon the enemy and made a good record with Cheatham, attached to the brigade commanded by Colonel Preston Smith......."

     This account differs with Colonel Hill's report and R.N. Davis' letter home. Both Hill and Davis state that the regiment immediately went into battle as soon as it arrived on the field. Colonel Hill states " There with shotguns and our own rifles (bored out) sustained the shock of the enemy advancing - replused him- drove him back 3/4 of a mile- took his battery without a dozen bayonets in the regiment; and held our ground until the general retreat."  Davis said the 47th was " Ordered into the fight without resting a moment." Therefore, when the regiment was actually was properly armed in uncertain. But in 1864, the 47th had a mixture of .58 Enfield and .54 Austrian muskets.

     The April 25, 1862 edition of the "West Tennessee Whig" gives the following casualty report of the 47th at Shiloh.
     Company A
Wounded: Captain J.R. White, Privates M.K. Caudle, J.S. Marberry, and J.W. Barrett

Company B
Wounded: Corporal W.C. Patterson, Privates B.T. Bird, T.C. Taylor, B.T. Fielder, M. Robertson, J.S. Fuqua, and W.A. Vaughn

Company C
Killed: Private W.G. Code
Wounded: Private H. Ellis and Sam Ray

Company D
Wounded; Corporal G.A. Pate, Privates S.E. Huguely, E.D. Hunley, J.A. Tarkington, P.A. Viar and B. H. Williams

Company E
Killed: Private Barley Stringer
Wounded: Captain G.B. Miller, Lieutenant M.G. Burton, Sgt. F.M. Winborn, Privates W.T. Ford and S.C. Fullerton

Company F
Wounded; Sgt. W.F. Campbell, Corporal Wm. Mathias, Privates J.Rice, K. Connell, W.R. Fulgham, E.R. Fulgham and J.H. Estes
Missing: M.M. Wood

Company G
Wounded: Privates Jacob Mobely, W.B. House, J.D. Carne, Jas E. Talley, Jesse H. Moore, Jas Donelson, J.M. Hunt, J.W. Bass, D.A. Reese, J.A. Bradford and W.R. Cooper
Missing: Jacob Mobely

Company H
Wounded: Privates N.B. Wood, S.A. McNight, S. Cantrell, G.H. Wright, J.C. Cathey, W.M. Busick, D.T. Griffin and _____Grier

Company I
Killed; Private N.M. Jackson
Wounded: Private David Jackson

Company K
Killed; Private W. Pierce and G.W. Spencer
Wounded: W.H. McCaslin, Robt. Parks, L.C. Crenshaw, H. Ashley, E.N. Pierce, A.H. Taylor, W.F. Snow, John W. Elder and John Glasss.

This makes a total of five killed and sixty one wounded and two missing out of 731 enganged

     The 47th was the only reenforcements the Confederates army recieved at Shiloh.

     The 47th then trudged through mud and water, some of which was waist deep, the 20 miles south Corinth.
Here, much sickness occured in the entire army. Many of the men of the 47th had blisters the size of silver dollars on their feet which attest to the harshness of the Trenton to Shiloh march on men unused to a military campaign. This coupled with but 2 crackers a day to eat from Sunday the 6th until Wednesday the 9th, deep mud, heavy rains, poor sanitary conditions and the fatigue of battle caused from 25 to 30 men per day to be sent to hospitals from Trenton to Tueplo. The effective strength of the regiment was down to 199 by May 24, 1862. This prompted Colonel Hill to propose that Lieutenant Holmes, who was unfit for duty, to take the sick to a more healthy location close to Corinth to recuperate.

     On May 8, 1862 the army was reorganized. The 47th had its changes too. Lieutenant Colonel Holmes was replaced by Captain Vincent Wynne, although his commission did not come through until much later. Peter Marchant of Company C replaced Wynne as captain. On May 26 the regiment was reported in Lieutenant General Leonidas Polk's Corp, Brigadier General Charles Clark's Division, Brigadier General Bushrod Johnson's Brigade composed of the 12th, 13th, 22nd, and 47th Tennessee Infantry Regiments and Bankhead's Battery.

     On June 15, Brigadier General Preston Smith was in command of the brigade. On June 30, Colonel R.M. Russel, of Trenton, commanded the brigade of the 12th and 22nd Consolidated, 154th Senior and 47th Tennessee. On July 8th, General Smith was back in command of the brigade in Major General B.F. Cheatham's Division. These 4 units remained together for the rest of the war, first in Smith's Brigade and later with Brigadier General Alfred J. Vaughn in command.

     The regiment left Corinth May 29 for Tupelo, Mississippi. On July 25th, it left Tupelo by way of Mobile and Chattanooga for Knoxville to join Major General Kirby Smith and his Kentucky expedition. From Knoxville it marched, many of the men barefoot, over the Cumberland Mountains to Barbourville, to London, to Richmond, Kentucky, where it was engaged in the battle there on August 30, 1862. The 47th had eight killed and twenty four wounded, including the Color Sgt. John Barnett, who was shot down while gallantly carrying the colors.

     Due to Colonel Hill's illness, Lieutenant Colonel Wynne was in command of the regiment and Robert Milton Russell the brigade. The 47th then marched to Lexington, Paris, Cynthiana, Frankfort, to Hay's Pond, which is only 30 miles from Cincinnati, Ohio; to Shelbyville, 28 miles from Louisville, Kentucky. Then on to Perryville, where it was in reserve and not engaged in the battle there October 8, 1862. From here, the 47th marched to Harrodsburg, Cumberland Gap and back to Knoxville.

     Here the 12th and 47th Infantry Regiment were consolidated, but kept separate muster rolls. From Knoxville, the regiment took the railroad to Chattanooga, which was a welcome relief to the men's aching feet. It left there November 11, marching by way of Bridgeport, Alabama to Manchester to Tullahoma, to Murfreesboro where it arrived December 5, 1862.

     The regiment did pickett duty at LaVergne for two weeks and returned to Murfreesboro on December 22.

     At Murfreesboro, or Stone's River, the 47th was commanded by major Thomas Shearon in Polk's Corp, Cheatham's Division, Smith's Brigade. The brigade consisted of the 12th/47th and 154th Senior Tennessee Regiments, the 9th Texas, Allin's Sharpshooters and Scott's Battery. Out of 263 engaged the regiment suffered one officer and ten privates killed, seven officers and fifty six privates wounded, and one officer and one private missing. Captain James Sinclair was killed. Lieutenant Robert Benjamin Patterson was promoted to captain and served as such until his capture at Nashville in December of 1864.

     On January 5, 1863 Colonel Munson R. Hill resigned due to poor health that had troubled him since May of 1862. On March 1, senior captain William Watkins was promoted to colonel. As late as August 27, 1864 Colonel Watkins and Lieutenant Colonel Wynne's promotion was not official although Generals A.P. Stewart, O.F. Strahl and A.J. Vaughn had recommended them.

     Following the battle of Murfreesboro the unit withdrew to Shelbyville, arriving on January 14 where it was on provost guard duty. On April 1, 1863 the 12th/47th was reported under Colonel Tyree Bell (of Newbern) of the 12th in Polk's Corp, Cheatham's Division, Smith's Brigade, consisting of the 11th, 12th/47th, 13th/154th and 29th Tennessee Infantry Regiments and Scott's Battery.

     The 47th left Shelbyville June 27th for Tullahoma, left Tullahoma July 1 for Chattanooga, where it arrived July 7. According to company reports this was a tiresome march due to short rations and heavy rains. On July 31st, Colonel Watkins was in command and remained so until his wounding in July, 1864.

     On September 7th the 47th left Chattanooga for LaFayette, Georgia; to Rock Spring Church on the 14th; back to LaFayette on the 17th; crossed Chickamauga Creek below Lee and Gordon's Mill and attacked the Yankees early on the 19th, driving them back 600 to 800 yards. From mid-day until 2 p.m. a heavy fire was kept on the enemy. About this time, due to ammunition running low, the brigade was replaced in line by General Strahl's brigade. The brigade fell back  about 400 yards and was reformed, resupplied and resisted a second attack by the enemy.

     The brigade was to support General Deshler in a night attack. During the confusion that occured in the darkness General Preston Smith was killed by enemy troops he had mistaked for Confederates. When the enemy realized they had become mixed with the Confederate battle line and were outnumbered they threw down their weapons and surrendered. The 12th/47th and 13th/154th captured 300-400 prisoners and the colors of the 77th Pennsylvania, which was sent by Colonel Vaughn to the rear in charge of Captain Carthel.

     Captain John Duncan of Company H and Captain James Watkins of Company D were killed. W.H. Holoman replaced Captain Duncan and George Miller was made Captain of Company D. There were also three lieutenants and six privated killed and seventysix wounded and missing.

     After the battle, the 47th stayed in the Chattanooga Valley until October 29th, when it moved to Sweetwater, but returned to Missionary Ridge November 7, 1863, where the brigade was transferred to Major General T. C. Hindman's Division. The regiment was engaged at the Battle of Missionary Ridge on November 25 but its actions here are unknown. It then retreated to Dalton, Georgia arriving on the 27th. Here it went into winter quarters with no tents and short rations. Crude shelters were built but were not very comfortable due to a shortage of axes.

     On December 14 the 12th/47th reported 281 effective, 373 present and 686 present and absent with 36 rounds of ammunition per man. The regiment was in Breckinridge's Corp, Hindman's Division, Vaughn's Brigade. Since General Bragg had finally been relieved of duty, Lieutenant General William J. Hardee was in command of the army.

     On January 18, 1864 the 47th reenlisted for the remander of the war, moving General Hindman to proclain:
" The spirit in which these brave men enlisted is an eloquent rebuke to the despondent .......with men who thus prefer duty to ease and comfort, nothing is impossible in war."

     On February 20th the brigade was transferred back to Cheatham's Division. The 47th was part of an expedition which started to Mississippi to reeforce General Polk. It left Dalton February 16th, reached Demopolis, Alabama and was ordered back to Dalton. A company report states, " The men regretted the return to Dalton to eat poor beef and cornbread, having been assured by General Polk there was plenty of pork and bacon in the Confederacy if commissionaries would do thei duty."

     On April 30th, Major Thomas Shearon was detached as an enrolling officer at Grenade, Mississippi. On this same date the regiment was reported in Hardee's Corp, Cheatham's Division and Vaughn's Brigade.

     With General Joseph Johnston in command, the army fell back from Dalton toward Atlanta. The 47th fought at Resaca May 14 and 15, at New Hope Church and was at "Dead Angle" at Marietta on June 27, 1864. On July 17th John Bell Hood replaced Johnston as army commander. On July 22nd, the battle of Peachtree Creek was fought, Colonel Watkins was shot through the left thigh. He was admitted to Ocmulgee Hospital at Macon on July 22nd and furloughed for 30 days on August 17th. He returned September 2nd and was readmitted to the hospital.

     At Decatur, near Atlanta, Captain T. J. Carthel was killed while in command of the regiment, all other field officers being wounded.

     The 47th was engaged at Ezra Church on July 28th, at Jonesboro September 1st, where Captain T.E. Cummins was killed and Lovejoy Station on September 3, 1864. The army then headed north, hoping to draw Sherman out of Georgia.

     On September 20th, the 12th/47th was in Hardee's Corp, Cheatham's Division and Vaughn's Brigade. The brigade was commanded by Brigadier General George Gordon and consisted of the 11th under Major John Binns, the 12th/47th commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Wynne, the 13th/154th under Lieutenant Colonel Michael Magevney and the 29th under Colonel Horace Rice.

     By December 1864, Hardee had been transferred. General Cheatham had replaced him as corp commander and General John Brown was in command of the division.

     On November 29th, the 47th was involved in the "Spring Hill Affair", which by either a mix up in orders or failure to execute orders given, Schofield's yankees marched by the Southerners during the night and moved on to Franklin. When Hood discovered the enemy had stolen a march on him he was furious and blamed everyone except himself, although as commander the fault rested square on his sholders. General Stephen Lee's Corp and most of the artillery was left at Spring Hill, while the remainder of Hood's Army hurried to Franklin.

     As the Confederates topped Winstead Hill, the strength of the enemy position was easily seen. The mile and a half to the town was gently rolling with little protection for an attacking force. In addition, the breastworks already in place were quickly being strengthened by the Northerners. Also, east of the Columbia Pike in front of part of the line was an Osage Orange hedge which was almost impenatrable. All this was easily seen and many Confederates knew that this would be their last fight. The Yankee forces were skeptical about an attack on their position and by late afternoon were lounging around watching the Confedrate banners flapping in the breeze of the Indian Summer day.

     General Forrest, like most, realized the foolishness of a frontal assault on such a strong position. He argued that with his command and one infantry division he could flank the enemy out of Franklin. But Hood would not hear of it, he was convinced that some of the failed assaults around Atlanta were the men being too timid unless behind breastworks and this assault would discipline them. General Hood was a brave men with an honorable record. But due to the loss of a leg and use of one arm due to wounds recieved at Chickamauga and Gettysburg he was in constant pain. The use of painkillers could be argued to be a cause of his actions at Spring Hill and the suicide attack he was planning.

     At around 4 p.m. the advance began with the men stepping off as on parade. Many Yankee soldiers could not believe the Confederate would really attack and watched, impressed at the precision of the maneuvers. When within about 400 yards of the enemy the Confederates halted, shifted into lines of battle, then charged. Brown and Cleburne's Divisions overran George Wagner's Division that was posted in front of the works on the pike. They were driven back with the Confederates so close the men in the works could not fire without endangering their own men. The Union soldiers were running back through gaps in the lines left to allow wagons to pass. When it became apparent that the Southerners were coming inside, a most destructive fire was opened on them which also struck down some Yankees who were not so fleet of foot. Hundreds of screaming Confederates poured through the gaps and overran batteries on either side of the pike. A counter attack by Emerson Opdyke's Brigade forced the Confederates back to the outer ditch which proved to be a death trap for hundreds. In the race to the works, Gordon's Brigade and part of H.B. Granbury's Brigade of Cleburne's Division became intermingled and veered east of the Columbia Pike. After the counterattack these me were driven back to the outer ditch just south and west of the Carter cotton gin. Unable to advance or retreat, these men suffered terrible losses, being raked by enemy fire from three direction because of an angle in the lines. Men from both side would shove muskets between the headlogs and fire. Fists and clubbed muskets were used freely along the line.

     Right before dark, the men in this section began to surrender, screaming for the firing to cease and raising their hats on their guns. General Gordon, who had been loading and passing muskets up to be fired, decided the only chance of survival was to cling to the ditchbank and crawl to safety under cover of darkness, but as men were dying and piling several deep in the ditch the chances of making it out were dwindling. he had a soldier raise a hankerchief and surrendered.

     As dawn broke on December 1, 1864 the toll of Hood's foolish attack was revealed. According to the "Southern Bivouac" of 1885: "Hood's infantry, after the battle of Franklin bivouacked on the field. When it was ascertained   that the enemy had withdrawn his forces, relief parties with torches, in the early hours of the morning before daybreak, were actively engaged in looking after the wounded, whose agonized sufferings during that cold night appealed so largely to the sympathies of the human heart. The early dawn developed to the eye the extent and magnitude of the disaster. A veteran army wrecked on the field of battle with its dead and wounded numbered by the thousand, its regimental organizations shattered, its battle colors and its broken and scattered arms covering the field in front of the entrenched line, plainly told the story, even to the ordinary man with common observation, that its great warrior crest in the great conflict of battle disadvantageously delivered with blood, had been torn from its brow. The dead and wounded marked the ground over which the various divisions charged, and immediately in front of the entrenched line, strewn with the bodies of slaughtered officers and men, unmistakably indicated the intense fury of the desparate assaults. In the entrenched line captured and held by Brown's Division the dead were piled in the ditch in many instances seven deep; and regimental and company officers were to be seen , stiff in death, supported in upright positions by the dead, who had fallen around them, as they looked down through the dusk of eternity upon that ghostly line."

     Of nearly 25,000 men under Hood's command at Franklin, 1750 were killed, including 6 generals, 4500 wounded and 700 captured. Hood had destroyed the Army of Tennessee.

     The morning after the battle, so many officers had fallen Captain Robert Patterson was in command of the 12th/47th. He had details formed to care for the wounded, bury the dead and glean the field for arms and equipment. Lieutenant Colonel Wynne was captured and take to Louisville Military Prison, then to Johnson Island, near Sandusky, Ohio. The men at this and other prisons suffered terribly due to one of the worst winters on record. Lieutenant Colonel Wynne was moved to Camp Morton before being released June 20, 1865.

     Hood marched the remnant of his army toward Nashville with Brown's Division as rear guard. It reached Nashville on December 2nd and dug in the frozen ground as best it could. From December 2nd to the 11th the Confederates strengthen its line and suffer through the sleet, snow and freezing rain the fell. Many of the men were shoeless and without blankets. The men would wrap beef hides around their feet and sew it to form makeshift mocassins. Still, men could be trailed by their bloody fotprints in the snow. At this time the brigade was commanded by Colonel Watkins and the 12th/47th by C.N. Wade of the 12th.

     On December 15, 1864 General George Thomas 54,000 soldiers pushed the Confederates back 2 miles. On December 16, the Confederate lines melt in front of overwhelming odds,the Army of Tennessee is routed and is sent flying south. The 12th/47th were part of the rear guard under Forrest that with his skilled leadership bought the army enough time to make it to the protection of the Tennessee River.

     Captain Patterson was captured, with hundreds more, on the 16th. He was sent to Johnson Island where he stayed until his release June 17, 1865. While a prisoner he contracted TB which he died from in 1893.

     As the army retreated from Nashville, there was skirmishing at Hollow Tree Gap, West Harpeth River, at Franklin on December 17th, at Spring Hill on the 18th, at Columbia on the 20th and at Richland Creek, Devil's Gap and White's Station on Christmas Day, 1864. Also on the 25th, the army reaches the Tennessee and the crossing is completed on the 27th. The army finally reaches Tupelo on January 9, 1865.

     On January 13, Hood resigns, Beauregard and Richard Taylor both have turns at command until Joseph Johnston resumes command on February 22nd.

     With the objective of possibly linking with Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, Cheatham's Corp left Tupelu on January 25 and marched to West Point, where it arrived on the 28th, It then boarded the trains for Meridan, to Selma, Alabama by way of Demopolis. The corp took steamboats to Montgomery. Here it boarded the rails for Columbus, Georgia. It marched from Columbus to Macon, through Milledgeville to Mayfield. At Mayfield, the trains were taken to Augusta. It then marched to Newberry, North Carolina and on to Bentonville, where it was engaged in the battle there on March 20, 1865. The corp fell back to Smithfield where the last reorganization took place. The 11th/29th, 12th/47th, 13th/154th, 50th, 51st, and 52nd Tennessee Infantry Regiments were consolidated and designated the 2nd Consolidated Infantry commanded by Colonel Watkins. The regiment was surrendered April 26th and paroled May 2nd.

The 47th had near one thousand Southern Heroes in December 1861, but the only ones remaining at the end were:   
                                                                     Colonel William Watkins
J. B. Patterson, Company A, D.B. Dodsun, Company G, N.A. Cresap, Company F

W.T. Kellough, Company B, H.D. Dunlap,Company G, Capt. George Booth,  Company F

W.M. Bell, Company F, J.T.Brown, Company A, W.S. Bone, Company G

M.M. Flowers, Comapny H, W.D. Privett, Company F, S.J. Kellough, Compny B

S.D. Reeves, Company B, J.R. Simmons, Company G, Capt. James Oliver, Company I