10th Tennessee

10th Tennessee
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History of the Tenth Tennessee

Officially, the Tenth portrays D Company of the Tenth Tennessee. The companies had three sets of company letters: one when organized in state service, another when accepted into Confederate service, a third when reorganized in 1862. We refer to Company D as the company letter assigned when reorganized October 2, 1862.

Organized at Fort Henry, May, 1861;
Confederate service September 1, 1861;
Reorganized October 2, 1862;
Merged into 4th Consolidated Tennessee Infantry Regiment April, 1865;
Paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina, May 1, 1865.

Field Officers

Colonels-Adolphus Heiman, Randall W. MacGavock, William Grace, John G. O’Neill.
Lieutenant Colonels-Randall W. MacGavock, William Grace, Sam Thompson, John G. O’Neill.
Majors-Stephen O. W. Brandon, William Grace, Sam Thompson, John G. O’Neill.

Company D (originally Company G)

Commissioned Officers

Captain Boyd M. Cheatham, Captain William Sweeney, First Lieutenant Bartley Dorsey, Second Lieutenant John Clark


Master Sergeant James Hayes, Master Sergeant Hugh McGuire, Master Sergeant W. A. Wray, Sergeant Edward English, Sergeant S. L. Grult, Sergeant James T. Trumble, Corporal John Bollin, Corporal Jerry Donohoe, Corporal Michael Laffey, Corporal James McCue, Corporal John Morrissey


Owen Bollin, John Brennan, Patrick Brien, William Burks, Michael Cochran, Peter Collins, Mike Conley, Patsey Connas, Patrick Connell, James Connelly, Jimmy Connolly, John Connoly, Mike Corcoran, Martin Creahan, Michael Deharty, John Delany, W. H. Dempsey, Martin Devaney, William Dolaney, Thomas Donlon, Anthony Doudon, Michael Dougherty, James Dwyer, Edmund Eagan, Anthony Egan, Morris Fitzgerald, William Fitzgerald, Martin Flaherty, Patrick Gallagher, Patrick Hackett, Owen E. Haley, Patrick Haney, Daniel Harrington, James Hartnett, John Joyce, Michael Kelly, John Kenney, Michael Levins, James Loughlin, John Lucas, John Madden, Amable Martin, Walter McAvellay, William R. McGinley, John McGurty, Frank McKenney, Thomas McNichols, Francis J. Mellville, George W. Miller, Timothy Mohan, Michael Mullin, Thomas Mulry, Daniel Murphy, Michael Murphy, P. W. Murphy, Michael O’Sullivan, Pierce Pendergast, Patrick Riley, Michael Riordan, William Roach, John Ryan, Richard Shea, Eugene Sullivan

Brief Overview of Service

Of the field officers, Colonel Heiman died in November 1862. Colonel MacGavock was killed at Raymond, Mississippi on May 12, 1863; Colonel Grace died of wounds on August 31, 1864; Lieutenant Colonel Thompson was retired to the Invalid Corps on September 17, 1864, and Major Brandon resigned on October 12, 1861.

The regiment was reported at Fort Henry in July, 1861, with 720 men, armed with flintlock muskets. Also present at Fort Henry in October, 1861 were Captain Jesse Taylor’s Company of Artillery, and Captains Hambrick’s and Bacot’s companies of Colonel Nathan B. Forrest’s Battalion of Cavalry. The regiment remained at Fort Henry until the evacuation of that point on February 6, 1862, but Lieutenant Colonel MacGavock was detached from the regiment and sent to Fort Donelson on October 8, 1861.

An inspection report November 1, 1861 spoke of the 10th as being in fine condition, saying it was the only regiment at Fort Henry ready for service. In February, 1862, Colonel Heiman was in command of a brigade at Fort Henry, composed of the 27th Alabama, l0th and 48th (Voorhies’) Tennessee Infantry Regiments, Culbertson’s Battery, and Gantt’s Cavalry Battalion.

On February 6, 1862, Fort Henry fell, but all but about 80 men were evacuated prior to the surrender and sent to Fort Donelson, with Colonel Heiman to assume command until the arrival of Brigadier General Gideon J. Pillow. At Fort Donelson, Heiman’s Brigade was in Brigadier General Bushrod R. Johnson’s Division, comprising the left wing of the Confederate defenses. The brigade consisted of the l0th, 42nd, 48th (Voorhies’) and 53rd Tennessee Infantry Regiments, Maney’s Tennessee Battery, and the 27th Alabama Infantry Regiment, totaling about 1600 men. Fort Donelson was surrendered February 16, 1862, and the enlisted men in the 10th were sent to Camp Douglas, Illinois.

While there, Colonel James Mulligan, of the Federal Irish Brigade, wrote General Halleck that there were a good many Irishmen in the 10th Tennessee Infantry who wished to take the oath of allegiance and enlist in his forces. Permission to enroll prisoners was denied at this time. A little later, March 19, at Camp Butler, Springfield, Illinois there was published a list of Confederate prisoners who desired to join the Federal forces, but there were only five men from the 10th, 50 Mulligan seems to have exaggerated.

The regiment was paroled at Vicksburg in September, 1862, reorganized October 2, 1862, and declared exchanged November 10, 1862. At the reorganization the same field officers were re-elected, but Colonel Heiman’s health had been impaired by imprisonment, and he died in November, 1862. Lieutenant Colonel MacGavock succeeded him as colonel, William Grace became lieutenant colonel, and Sam Thompson major.

The regiment was placed in Brigadier General John Gregg’s Brigade, consisting of the 3rd/30th Consolidated, l0th,“4lst Consolidated, 50th, 51st Tennessee Infantry Regiments, and the 1st Tennessee Infantry Battalion. In December, 1862, the brigade was at Chickasaw Bayou, where it met General Sherman’s forces in an engagement.

On January 3, 1863, the 10th reported 349 effectives, and moved with the brigade to Port Hudson, Louisiana, where it stayed until May 2, 1863. On March 31, 1863 Gregg’s Brigade was composed of the ~h Louisiana Battalion, 3rd/l0th/30th Tennessee Infantry Regiments, all commanded by Colonel R. W. MacGavock, 4lst/5oth/5lst Regiments and 1st Tennessee Infantry Battalion, all under the command of Lieutenant Colonel T. W. Beaumont, 7th Texas Infantry Regiment, the Brookhaven Artillery and Bledsoe’s Missouri Battery. The same organization was shown on April 30 except that the 51st Tennessee Infantry Regiment was no longer listed.

On May 2, 1863 the brigade was ordered back to Mississippi, and fought at Jackson, Mississippi May 7, and at Raymond May 12. At Raymond the regiment suffered 52 casualties, including Colonel MacGavock, who was killed. Lieutenant Colonel Grace was promoted to colonel, Major Thompson to lieutenant colonel, and Captain John G. O’Neill became major.

On May 26, 1863, Gregg’s Brigade was shown as in Major General W. H. T. Walker’s Division with 2730 present for duty. Composition of the brigade was the 14th Mississippi, 3rd, l0th, 30th, 41st, and 50th Tennessee Regiments, 1st Tennessee Infantry Battalion, 7th Texas Infantry, and Bledsoe’s Battery. The brigade remained in Mississippi until September, 1863, when it was ordered to join General Bragg’s Army of Tennessee, which it reached on September 17, just in time to take part in the Battle of Chickamauga, September 19-20. At Chickamauga, the brigade was in Brigadier General Bushrod R. Johnson’s Division. Gregg was wounded, and Colonel Cyrus A. Sugg, of the 50th Tennessee; took command of the brigade. The 10th reported 190 men engaged. The Brigade reported a total of 1415 engaged, with 652 casualties. It captured a Federal battery of nine guns.

On October 31, the brigade was again shown in General Walker’s Division, but on November 12, 1863, Gregg’s Brigade was broken up, and the l0th was placed in Major General William B. Bate’s Brigade of Major General John C. Breckinridge’s Division.

On December 14, 1863 the brigade consisted of the 37th Georgia Regiment, 4th Georgia Battalion Sharpshooters, l0th, l5th/ 37th, 20th, 30th Tennessee Infantry Regiments and 1st Tennessee Infantry Battalion. The l0th, commanded by Major John O’Neill, reported only 69 effectives. By February 20, 1864 General Bate had assumed command of the division, and the brigade was known as Tyler’s Brigade, with the same units, except that the 1st Tennessee Battalion was gone. On July 10, 1864, the 2nd (Robison’s) Tennessee Infantry was added to the brigade. No further changes in the composition of the brigade were shown until after the Battle of Franklin, November 30, 1864. During this time, the brigade had fought at Missionary Ridge, throughout the retreat to Atlanta, and the march back into Tennessee. At the Battle of Jonesboro, August 31, 1864, Colonel Grace was mortally wounded, and John G. O’Neill became colonel of the 10th in his stead. Bate’s Division had 319 casualties at Franklin.

On December 10, 1864, the 2nd/l0th/20th/ 37th Tennessee Infantry Regiments, along with the 37th Georgia Regiment and the 4th Georgia Battahon Sharpshooters formed a brigade commanded by Lieutenant Colonel William M. Shy, in General Bate’s Division. Immediately after the Battle of Franklin, Bate’s Division was ordered to Murfreesboro to co-operate with General Nathan B. Forrest, to destroy bridges and communications. In the fighting around Murfreesboro, the Division suffered 87 casualties on December 4, and 313 on December 6.

It rejoined the main army in time for the Battle of Nashville December 15-16. At Nashville the 2nd, 10th, 15th, 20th, 30th and 37th Tennessee Regiments, forming one unit, were stationed in the vicinity of Shy’s Hill in the Granny White Pike section. General Bate reported that his division was virtually annihilated in this battle, and that from the units named, only 65 escaped, and these not as a command, but as individuals. After reassembling the remnants of the division, Bate reported they crossed the Tennessee River December 25, 1864 on the retreat into Mississippi.

There now follows a curious note. Federal reports of the engagement at Egypt Station, Mississippi, on December 28, 1864, state that among the prisoners taken in that fight, there were 253 men, former Federal soldiers, prisoners of war at Andersonville, Georgia, who had enlisted in the 10th Tennessee Infantry Regiment in order to get out of prison. The question was raised as to whether they should be treated as prisoners of war, or traitors to the Union. There is no mention in Confederate records of any men from the 10th Tennessee being engaged in that fight, and in any event, 253 men would have been nearly four times the total from the six Tennessee Regiments whom General Bate reported escaped from the Battle of Nashville.

What was left of Bate’s Division went with the Army of Tennessee to join General Joseph E. Johnston in North Carolina in time to participate in the final battle at Bentonville, North Carolina March 31, 1865. Just after Bentonville, Tyler’s Brigade was shown as composed of the 4th Georgia Sharpshooters Battalion, 37th Georgia Infantry Regiment, 2nd/20th/30th/37th, and l0th/l5th Tennessee Infantry Regiments, with the l0th/15th commanded by Lieutenant Patrick Lavin. On April 9, 1865 the Fourth Consolidated Tennessee Infantry Regiment, commanded by Colonel Anderson Searcy, composed of the 2nd, 3rd Volunteers, 10th, 15th, 18th, 20th, 26th, 30th, 32nd, 37th, and 45th Regiments, and the 23rd Tennessee Infantry Battalion formed one regiment in Brigadier General Joseph B. Palmer’s Brigade of Major General Cheatham’s Division which was paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina May 1, 1865.

Battle of Raymond: MacGavock’s Fall