44th Tennessee Infantry Regiment

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The following history is taken from John Berrian Lindsley's "Military Annals of Tennessee (Confederate)", originally published in 1886. The history of 44th Regiment as reproduced below was written by Dr. D. J. Noblitt of Lincoln County, a surgeon who served with the 44th throughout the war.

In the fall of 1861 Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston was assigned the department of Tennessee; finding his lines poorly prepared for defensive or aggressive war, and to remedy this deficiency, he called on the Governors of the neighboring States for troops. Under this call many regiments were organized- the Forty-fourth one of that number, being from the counties of Bedford, Franklin, Grundy, Coffee, and Lincoln . Their regimental organization was completed at Camp Trousdale on the 9th of December, 1861, as follows: C. A. McDaniel, of Lincoln county, Colonel; Henry Sheid, of Coffee, Lieutenant-Colonel; Matt Johnston, of Bedford, Major; Dr. John Gannaway, Surgeon; Dr. D. J. Noblitt, Assistant Surgeon; Hugh Edins, Quartermaster; Polk Green, Commissary. For a few days the regiment remained in camp drilling, and was then ordered to Bowling Green, Ky., and assigned to Col. S. A. M. Wood's brigade, Hardee's division. Early in February it was obvious to the most casual observer that Gen. Johnston would be compelled to double his forces or shorten his lines - Thomas flanking on the right by meeting and defeating Gen. Zollicoffer at or near Mill Springs, Ky. In that engagement Zollicoffer fell mortally wounded, and into the hands of the enemy, who are said to have treated his remains with great indignity. His fall demoralized his command. Gen. Zollicoffer was one of the most brilliant men of the State - his learning and gallantry enrolled him in the affections of his countrymen as a military hero. Gen. Grant was moving with superior forces on our lines at Forts Henry and Donelson.

On or by the first of February it had been discovered by Gen. Johnston that Gen. Buell, in our front, was moving his troops in the direction of Donelson, in support of Grant. To checkmate this he sent Gens. Floyd and Buckner's command to Gen. Pillow's support. In the meantime Fort Henry was captured by the enemy. A concentration upon Donelson was now evident - our lines being broken on both flanks. On the llth of February the remainder of the army received orders to make the necessary preparations for the evacuation of Bowling Green by sending the sick South and issuing rations for a march. The march was continued from day to day until we arrived at Nashville . Snow was encountered at Franklin, Ky. Notwithstanding snow and cold weather, the line of march was taken up in the morning, and getting several miles into the State of Tennessee another order was issued to cook rations. Accompanying this order was the announcement that the Confederates had repulsed the Federals with great loss at Donelson. The march was continued, and occasionally we heard the firing of cannon said to be at Donelson. On the road-side, in many places, and at houses were to be seen anxious and distressed women who had sons, brothers or husbands in that stirring conflict. Late in the evening, near Goodlettsville, the army was thrown into line of battle with the assurance of an instant attack. It was a false alarm - no enemy appearing.

Sunday morning (16th) moved early in consequence of the favorable reports on tne day before; was in splendid spirits until met by a courier with the intelligence of the fall of Donelson. He had dispatches from Gen. Johnston to Gen. Breckinridge informing him of the disaster, and urging him to push on with his column.

On entering Edgefield sorrow and despair were unmistakably written on every face. There was great difficulty experienced in crossing the bridge into Nashville, only a limited number crossing at a time, necessarily making it slow. This gave rise to every sort of rumor that would arouse anxiety and fear. This precaution was necessary to prevent a general rush on the suspension bridge of panic-stricken soldiers, who would, if left at will, have crowded upon it in sufficient numbers to have forced this fine structure from its giant pillars with great disaster to the retreating army.

The arrival of the army seemed to demoralize the already panic-stricken city. The officials-State and city-were wild; some were speaking, some crying, some cursing, some praying, while others were running to and fro, scarcely knowing what to do. The hospitals were deserted by all that could get away; the sick, lame, and halt were seen on every southern outlet from the city, and for many miles south of Nashville the barns and outhouses were the recipients of sick, wounded, and tired soldiers.

Arriving in the city late at night no halt was made, but we marched out on the Murfreesboro pike in the Mill Creek neigborhood. Rain commenced, and our camp became untenable. Orders were issued to repair to a better camp and cook eight days rations. The latter order was severely criticised by the men, and they threatened to mutiny if not allowed to meet the enemy; but this spirit was overcome by speeches from Gens. Pillow, Floyd, and Hardee.

The next morning the retreat was resumed for Murfreesboro; but early that day rumor said Beauregard had taken Cairo and Paducah, and Jos. E. Johnston Washington, and that we would fall back to Murfreesboro, and possibly to Decatur, Ala.; that Beauregard would ascend the Cumberland, J. E. Johnston would make his way through Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Kentucky in support of Beauregard, and Albert Sidney Johnston would attack Grant, Buell, and Thomas in detail; with these armies in their rear the Federal armies would be defeated and captured, closing out the war in six months. Around camp-fires at night this was discussed with great earnestness, and claimed a master-stroke of military strategy.

For a few days the army camped at Murfreesboro, resting, reorganizing, gathering up the sick, and those escaping capture at Donelson, and all the recruits that could be induced to volunteer. The Forty-fourth, with Wood's brigade, was assigned to Pillow's division, Hardee's corps. The retreat was continued south by way of Shelbyville and Fayetteville, Tenn., via Decatur. An order was received from the seat of government suspending Pillow. The command was temporarily assumed by Gen. Hindman, of Arkansas. We continued the march and arrived at Corinth, Miss., on March 20, 1862 - the point selected by Gen. A. S. Johnston for concentrating his army. He determined to engage the enemy that he might defeat him in detail, as it had been learned that Grant was being reinforced by Halleck from St. Louis , and Buell was making forced marches through Middle Tennessee to join Grant at Pittsburg Landing on the Tennessee River.

On the 3d of April a general order was issued, directing the troops to prepare five days rations and forty rounds of cartridges. In the evening the regiment left camp, marching until midnight in the direction of the river. Early next morning the march was resumed, and continued until late in the evening, taking position in line of battle about one mile northeast of the Mickey house. We had scarcely arrived in position when the rapid discharge of small arms, and two or three shots from a field piece, was heard but a few hundred yards in advance. The regiment stood for half an hour or more in a drenching rain, expecting an order to advance, but was somewhat relieved by seeing a Federal Lieutenant-colonel and fifty of his men marched to the rear as prisoners, captured by Col. Clanton's cavalry of Alabama. and the Twenty-third Tennessee Regiment of infantry. At night the regiment was ordered to sleep on their arms. Next morning at day-break the regiment was aroused for duty, every moment expecting an attack. During the day we were advanced about one-fourth of a mile, and kept in line all day. The dense undergrowth and well-guarded lines concealed our proximity from the enemy, until they were attacked by Hardcastle's battalion on Sunday morning, the regiment promptly following them into the Federal encampment, a short distance east of Shiloh Church, surprising and capturing them while cooking breakfast. They made a stubborn resistance for awhile, yet the Confederate line pressed upon them, driving them back with heavy loss on both sides.

The entire Confederate front was engaged early in the day driving the Federals toward the river. Between eleven and twelve o'clock the enemy made such stubborn resistance that the reserves under Gen. Breekinridge were ordered in, when the enemy were again driven back. An advance along the entire Confederate line was ordered. About three o'clock in the afternoon an Arkansas regiment was thrown into confusion. Gen. Johnston, observing the disorder, sprung to their colors, held them aloft, and said, "Forward, my men!" They rallied to the charge, with heavy loss of men, and Gen. Johnston mortally wounded. The fall of this noble man stopped the farther advance of the Confederates, and many believe affected the result of the war. Gen. Beauregard, assuming command, being next in rank, changed the order of battle by using shot and shell in place of small arms. The result was not as he hoped. The demoralized Federals, in place of surrendering, rallied at the hesitancy of the Confederates and the prospect of reinforcements from Gen. Buell on the north side of the river.

Late in the evening Gen. Lew. Wallace's division was thrown into line of battle, having crossed the river. Early on the morning of the 7th they attacked the Confederates with great determination, driving them at every point. The Confederates fell back on the Mickey house and formed. The Federals appeared to be satisfied in regaining the lost ground of the day before, and left the Confederates to fall back at will to Corinth . The Forty-fourth went into battle with four hundred and seventy men in line. On Tuesday morning, at roll-call, one hundred and twenty answered to their names. It did as gallant service as any command on that field.

The Mickey house had been selected by Dr. Cross as hospital head-quarters for our brigade. By his order tents had been erected for the comfort and protection of the wounded in the yard. After examining wounds and temporarily dressing them on the field, Dr. Noblitt, aided by Dr. Chandler, had succeeded on Monday morning in transferring their wounded from the field to the Mickey house, and as comfortably quartered as could be expected with the surroundings. Rain fell Sunday night. About two o'clock p.m. Monday there was a ruinous stampede among the wagon and ambulance men, and was not fully quieted until night. It happened that a man came riding at full speed among the trains, crying, "Take care of yourselves! The Yankee cavalry has broken our lines, and will be on you in a minute!" Many of the drivers took one horse or a mule, and made all possible speed to Corinth . Others drove to the Mickey house and unloaded the wounded on the ground, without tent or fly. The ground was covered with the wounded, the dead, and the dying. After dark the rain fell in torrents upon hundreds of the poor fellows. Their agonizing cries, moans, and prayers for help and water were audible above the dashing rain and rolling thunder. But in the long night-watch the rain ceased, the thunder hushed, and so had the cries of the suffering in the stillness of death. Morning came, and with it a melancholy sight - a sleeping camp. Men lay in every possible posture, with eyes closed as if in sleep on crimson beds. The rain had washed the blood from their clothes and blankets, making the earth red.

Drs. Cross, Lawrence, and Noblitt worked all night attending the different calls and operating. Neither of them had slept for more than forty-eight hours. Late Monday evening it was understood that the hospitals and wounded would be surrendered on Tuesday morning. Dr. Noblitt succeeded in securing wagons to carry sixty-five wounded and one dead (Lieut. Patterson) to Corinth .

The following is a list of the killed- Bedford county Co. -R. J. George, J. C. Bates, T. S. Rhoten, D. C. Frizzell; Lincoln county Co.-W. B. Marler, J. T. Spencer, jr., W. M. Spencer, W. H. Whitworth, S. A. Mitchell, A. M. Collins, Lieut. L. M. Patterson, L. C. Hardin, J. F. Hatlicock; Coffee county Co.-W. M. McCullough, W. H. Pulley, Allen Bynurn. Badly wounded: W. A. Bates, W. S. Moore, died at the hospital; J. A. Pamplyer, B. E. Spencer, James Hampton, G. A. McKinney, died at Corinth; Lieut. N. P. Norton, Joe Tillman, died at Holly Springs; J. F. Ferriss, died in camp at Corinth; A. J. Lamberton, shot through the right lung, and fought for an hour or more, until be fainted, and was afterward killed at Chickamauga; James Yates, W. C. Jennings, A. J. Radacine, Jasper Williams (died); Col. McDaniel was severely wounded on Sunday, but continued with his men in both days engagements; W. A. Loyd, J. W. George, J. F. Russell, E. B. Norvell, J. F. Rhoten, F. 0. Shriver, H. Manley, R. F. Smith (died), T. J. Kimes (died), Y. J. Smith, E. M. Crouch, K. Call, Lieut. J. C. Haley, James Coats (died), T. C. Taylor, D. Q. George, J. H. Call. Slightly wounded: H. H. Colter, D. H. Call, M. C. Eslick, S. H. Kimes, J. D. Stone, A. M. Spencer, B. E. Spencer-the two latter were on a visit to the regiment, and secured guns, fighting gallantly, B. E. Spencer losing an arm; J. H. Oglevie, H. H. Hampton, J. W. Hampton, W. J. Harris (afterward drowned), M. M. Storey, J. W. Gill, Jas. N. Sawyers, R. Bailey, T. J. Loveless, A. Tucker, M. Jarrett, R. C. Robertson, Wm. Brown, Jas. Earles, B. F. Cass, Harvey McGuire, C. MeCree, R. B. Eakin, J. B. Majors, M. J. Smith, D. H. McKinney, Lieut. Goodloe, Lieut. Bratton, H. C. Bass, W. M. Wood, R. S. Adcock, Capt. Brannori, W. C. Radacine, R. L. McGehee, Lieut. J. A. Dollins, W. F. McDaniel. Over one-fifth of the number engaged received wounds or were killed.

The battle of Shiloh was disastrous to the Tennessee troops. It was necessary to reorganize all the Tennessee commands. Cut off from the State, nothing in the line of recruiting could be done. In pursuance of that fact, the Fifty-fifth Tennessee Regiment, having been organized in November previous, from the counties of Davidson, Williamson, Smith, Bedford, and Lincoln, by the election of - McCoen, of Williamson county, as Colonel; Wiley M. Reed, of Nashville , Lieutenant-colonel; - Jones, of Smith county, Major; Dr. Dugan, of Bedford county, Surgeon; and Dr. Waller, of Rutherford county, Assistant Surgeon. The casualties of this regiment were so heavy that it had not the minimum numbers to preserve its organization, and it was therefore consolidated with the Forty-fourth, taking its number. Among its killed at Shiloh were James May and Napoleon B. Hyde, of Nashville , two as gallant young men as ever shouldered a musket. E. D. Richards was also badly wounded. Col.McCoen was placed on the superannuated list, and Col. Reed on the supernumerary, acting for awhile as Provost Marsbal, and afterward assigned to duty on Gen.Forrest's staff. He fell mortally wounded in a gallant charge on Fort Pillow , on December 31st, 1862. Col. Reed was one of the bravest of men, and a Christian. He was pastor of the First Cumberland Presbyterian Church, of Nashville , and left the pulpit for the army. Col. McDaniel, whose health was wretched, was advised by his medical staff to resign, but refused until after the battle of Shiloh . Lieut.-col. Sheid was placed on the supernumerary list. Maj. Johnson was discharged on account of paralysis.

Gen. Hardee appointed Col. Kelly, of Arkansas, to the command, who served a short time, and was succeeded by the election of John A. Fulton, of Lincoln county, as Colonel; John L. McEwen, of Williamson county, Lieutenant-colonel; William Ewing, of Davidson county, Major; R. G. Cross, of Nashville, Adjutant. Drs. John Gannaway and D. J. Noblitt were continued on the medical staff; assisted by Drs. Davis, Osborne, and Templeton.

J. W. Franklin died in camp on the 27th.

On the 29th of April the army retreated from Corinth to Tupelo. Joshua Phillips, of Smith county, was discharged on account of wounds received.

On June 30, 1862, Gen. Beauregard was relieved, and Gen. Braxton Bragg was assigned to the command. On the 10th of July an accident befell three men of Co. A by the discharge of a gun, wounding J. B. Rhoten, A. R. Ray, and N. T. Bowden-the latter dying.

On July 20 Mr. Harper, of Co. B ( Wilson county), and Mr. Cooper, of Co. I (Smith county), died of typhoid fever. On July 25th J. D. Johnston, of Capt. Jackson's company (formerly Wiley M. Reed's), died of sunstroke.

On the 27th of July the command was transferred to Chattanooga. None but those that have been soldiers can appreciate the joy with which the soldiers, minds were filled at the prospect of driving the enemy from and regaining their homes. Many had not seen or heard any thing from their friends or families for more than six months. While en route a collision occurred near West Point, fatally wounding M. L. Smith, of Co. F. We arrived at Chickamauga Station August 30th. At Chattanooga Gen. Buckner was placed in command of our division. Dr. Noblitt was offered promotion, but declined it, preferring to remain with his regiment.

On the 28th of August we broke up camp near Chattanooga, and moved northwest, across Walden's Ridge, then up the Sequatchie Valley to Dunlap, thence across the mountain by Spencer and Sparta to Glasgow , Ky. The command arrived at Glasgow on September 13, rested two days, and left on the Cave City road. The writer remained with the sick. After properly attending to them we overtook the command near Woodsonville, where Gen. Chalmers committed his great blunder.

On the 16th Gen. Bragg environed the town and fortifications of Munfordsville with his army, and demanded its surrender unconditionally. Col. Wilder at first refused. Late in the afternoon he asked for an armistice, and at midnight the terms of surrender were settled. At six o'clock the next morning the enemy laid down their arms-about five thousand. Left Munfordsville on the 20th for Bardstown, passing through Hodgensville and New Haven .

We left Bardstown for Perryville, and halted here on the 7th of October, taking position in line of battle on the hills north of the town. Our rear skirmished all day with the Federal advance. Late in the evening some close fighting occurred, and a few prisoners were captured. On the morning of the 8th the Federals advanced cautiously in column; skirmishing with their cavalry and Confederate pickets up to 12 o'clock. Between that and 2 o'clock an artillery duel was fought by Darden's Confederate and a Federal battery. This lasted some two hours, when the Confederates were ordered to deploy by regiments to the attack, which command was executed in splendid order and fearful effect upon the Federals. Federal officers have often remarked to the writer that the deploying of the Confederate regiments was the grandest military display they ever beheld. There has never been an army of better discipline and spirit than Gen. Bragg had in that campaign; and for the time it lasted and numbers engaged there has never been a fiercer engagement than the battle of Perryville. The losses were heavy on both sides. The Federal loss was fully twice that of the Confederate. The Confederate loss was in all not above twenty-five hundred. The Federal surgeons often remarked to the writer that their loss was between five and seven thousand. The Confederate forces engaged were Cheatham's and Buckner's divisions and Anderson 's brigade, of Stewart's division. Cheatham's division sustained the heaviest loss-Donelson's, Maney's, and Stewart's brigades-all Tennesseans except two regiments, Forty-fifth Georgia and Ninth Texas. Cheatham fought on our right, Buckner in the center, and Anderson on the left. The Chaplin hills were made red with Tennessee blood. The Forty-fourth Regiment had forty-two killed and wounded, thirteen being killed upon the field in front of the burning barn (Bottom's barn). It was quite a victory to the Confederates. They slept upon their arms on the field, and retreated early next morning.

The writer remained at the Prewitt house with the wounded that were not able to be moved. About 4 o'clock on the 9th the Federal advance came to the hospital. Their treatment was uniformly kind. Captain Harrison, a grandson of President Harrison, was generous, brave, kind, noble, and honorable, doing all be could to alleviate the suffering of the unfortunate. There were ten Federals and nine Confederates in this house, all badly wounded, not one being able to hand water to the other. None but the Surgeon was left in charge to wait on them. He reported the condition to Gens. Steadman and Thomas, who visited the hospital. Gen. Steadman soon had all that was necessary for comfort and assistance. Harrison called at the hospital each day while at Perryville, to make prison life as pleasant as possible.

The killed and wounded are as follows. Co. B-Killed: Corp. M. M. Hague; wounded: privates J. F. Floyd, Ben Marshall. Co. C-Wounded: G. Butler, J. C. Cowen (severely). Co. D-Killed: private Wm. Mays; wounded: W. B. Norton-arm amputated, and be retreated with the army to Knoxville rather than remain a prisoner; W. M. Griffin, wounded in the shoulder-joint-the operation of resection saved his arm and life. Co. F-Killed: Privates W. T. Parris, J. M. Rhise, W. W. Eaks, F. M. James, Thos. McCall; wounded: E. K. Shannon, S. M. Williams. Co. F-Killed: Capt. Joel J. Jones, Lieut. S. W. Burdwell, privates W. A. Hammans (or Hammond), A. R. Ray; mortally wounded: T. J. O'Neal, G. S. Marcom, W. D. Gill, J. D. Harris; severely wounded: G. W. Davis, W. M. Brody, slightly wounded: G. W. Summers, B. Y. Holland, F. M. Barnes, James M. Goodwin, W. H. Gibbs, D. H. McKinney. Co. G--Killed: N. J. Dozier, W. M. King, A. M. Lovelass. Co. K - Mortally wounded: A. Kirkpatrick; severely: J. R. Tooly, L. D. Higgerson; T. K. Price and Dan Duncan both lost a leg, and have both been elected to office in Coffee county since the war. Co. I-Severely wounded: G. Hill.

E and F, being color companies, were heavy losers. The striking down or loss of the colors caused confusion and demoralization, consequently both armies made their best efforts at the colors. After the fall of Capt. Jones and Lieut. Burdwell, the command of the two companies fell upon Lieut. John Y. Gill, of Co. E. He commanded them with such success and gallantry that Col. Fulton and Gen. B. R. Johnson publielv complimented him for gallantry and the skillful maneuvering of his men on the field of battle.

Capt. Joel J. Jones was a model Tennessean - a man that any State or country might feel proud to honor. At the time of his death he was a member of tile Tennessee Legislature, representing the counties of Franklin, Lincoln, and Marshall in the Senate. Four days after the bloody conflict Elder Marcum died of wounds through the right arm and abdomen. He was a member of Capt. Jones's company (F). Elder Marcum was a pious Christian, a member of the Primitive Baptist Church .

The retreat from Perryville was one of fearful suffering. Lieut. Kelsoe was detailed to the command of the barefooted men of the brigade (two hundred and two), and sent out as wagon-guard. We were ordered to draw ten days rations and march to Knoxville by way of Cumberland Gap . We failed to draw the ten days rations, as we did not overtake any provision-wagons and those we guarded were filled with ordnance. For ten days we had nothing to eat save what we could find on tile march. As that was through a mountainous and sparsely settled country, and it had been ravaged by both armies before our retreat, the few people that lived on the line had left. The armies preceding us had not left them a living. We were seven days without bread, much of that time without meat also. Our food was a few grains of parched corn and water.

On Thursday evening, September 19, 1863, near Ringgold, Ga., the Forty-fourth Regiment, with the remainder of Johnston 's brigade, engaged the Federal cavalry. Early Friday morning we encountered them again, driving them all day. The next day at ten o'clock we engaged their infantry, which was stubbornly resisted. Capt. Rogan, of Co. I, fell mortally wounded early in the day. The engagement was close and hard all day. We camped in line on the field. Early Sunday morning we were ordered to charge the enemy, which was executed with terrible effect, driving the enemy one mile and a half with great slaughter before they were able to make a stand. The rest of the day was consumed on that line in taking and retaking a battery. It was taken three times. Just at night Capt. Terry, of the Seventeenth Reginient, ordered a detail of men and moved one of the guns with the charging line, which was executed to the letter with glorious results, routing the enemy and capturing all their dead and wounded. The killed of Co. F were Win. Bearden, John Alerrill, Sergt. Alonzo Gill; wounded: Call Story, Will Gibbs, and Bob Bearden.

We remained a few weeks on Missionary Ridge before we were assigned to Longstreet's corps. Were with him at the siege of Knoxville and the battle of Bean's Station all of which was amid much suffering from cold and the hardships incidental to a winter campaign, until we went into winter-quarters at Morristown , East Tennessee .

The last of April or first of May, 1864, we broke up winter-quarters, and moved to Richmond, Va., getting there at midnight May 6. Were immediately ordered to Walthall's Junction, where we had a skirmish next morning, which was almost daily from there to Petersburg, with but little damage to us until the 2d of April, 1865, when the Federals broke our lines, capturing half of our brigade, including myself, John Carpenter, John Woodard, Frank Clark, John Pool, Jack Mitchell, and John Keith. The two last named, with many others, died in prison at Fort Delaware. We arrived at the latter place on the 4th of April, 1865, and remained there until the 8th of May. Were paroled; got home on the 13th, worn out, poor in this world's goods, but proud of home, country, and family; and that is all I can now boast of - love of home, country, and family.

 

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