Uniforms of the 1st Tennessee


 

Clothing

There is really no official record detailing what type of uniform the 1st Tennessee was issued during their four years at war.  All we have is photographic and very little written evidence.  Another problem arises in the fact that there are several pictures or first hand accounts from one company and little to none on some or most of the others.  Using photographs, memoirs, and Quartermaster requisitions, I have tried to piece together everything. 

"Homemade Uniforms 1861"

Private J. Clay March

Company A "Rock City Guards"

Transferred to Engineers 1863

TN DIV SCV

Captain James Park Hanner

Company D "Williamson Grays"

Resigned December 1861

TN DIV SCV

Below is a picture of Sam Watkins, writer of Company Aytch.  There is some debate of when this photograph was taken.  My theory is it is an early war photo taken before the regiment was issued matching uniforms probably May or June 1861.  He has five buttons running along the cuff of his sleeves.  He is wearing a tie and his uniform looks fairly clean.  His black hat seems to be a similar design to the black hats worn by Nicholson and his friend (pictures further below) who were both in Sam's company.  His uniform as a whole looks more stylish and well kept compared to what it probably would have been later in the war.  I talked to his granddaughter Ruth Hill McAllister who informed me the family is not aware of when the photo was taken but they assumed it was early in the war. Some people have speculated that Sam looks like his hair is going gray in the photo, but according to his prison of war record his hair was described as "sandy."  So, his hair would appear lighter anyway in a black and white photo.  I am basing my assumption on the time frame of the photo on the clues I see.  This does not mean there is not a chance the photo was taken later in the war or after.

Private Samuel R. Watkins

Company H "Maury Grays"

Captured 1865

From Company Aytch

The companies of the 1st Tennessee did not assemble at Camp Cheatham with uniforms matching the other companies.  Each company was outfitted by the local towns people before leaving for Camp of Instruction.  The uniform of the Williamson Grays, later Company D, was made by the ladies of Franklin as told by Adelicia McEwen, a young woman from Franklin, TN.  She recounts that the women of the town turned the Masonic Lodge into a clothing factory.  They brought in sewing machines and began making uniforms while the younger girls made housewives for the soldiers.  The uniforms created for the Williamson Grays were described as: "Black pants with gilt [gold] side stripes, grey coats trimmed with gilt braid and brass buttons, a grey cap setting off their uniforms."

A similar scene was repeated in Pulaski, TN by Captain Hume R. Feild's company.  A local man named Thomas Martin paid for the material and the ladies of Pulaski and Giles county brought sewing machines to the Court House.  The women turned the material into gray suits for the men.  The company named themselves the Martin Guards in appreciation.  This company would eventually become Company K.  The ladies of Nashville formed the the Centre Female Military Aide Society, later renaming it the Ladies Soldiers Friends Society.  They made 100 coats, 100 pantaloons, and 200 checked and hickory shirts for the Railroad Boys, later Company F.  This same organization also donated items to the Browns Guards which later became Company G.

In the picture of Clay March (above), he appears to be wearing a thick undershirt, with the buttons only coming halfway down the shirt.  He has only one breast pocket.  It is possible this was an undershirt issued to the regiment or his company. The Rock City Guards (Companies A-C) were a militia unit formed before 1860.  Their original uniform consisted of a blue uniform with shoulder scales.  In October 1860 they were issued Chasseur Uniforms with a red cap and pants.  They marched in a parade through Nashville on January 20, 1861 wearing these uniforms.  

Captain Hanner is wearing what is commonly called a "Battle Shirt."  Which is usually a thin wool shirt worn over the undershirt as a uniform.   Captain Hanner's shirt is buttoned all the way down as a jacket would be.  This would give it a more a more military uniform appearance.  Hanner's shirt also has pockets on each side and brass buttons.  Noticeable, is the U.S. Military Officer's bars on his shoulders.  His officer's bars are that of a Lieutenant, so this most likely a pre-war militia photograph.

 

"Camp Cheatham" 1861 Uniform:

Marcus B. Toney 1st Tennessee Infantry Company B wrote of the march to Warm Springs Mountain in August 1861:

"This was our first march fully equipped. Besides our gun, knapsack, haversack, and cartridge box, nearly all our boys had on one side a six-shooter Colt's revolver buckled around them, and on the other side was a large Damascus blade (made at a blacksmith's shop). This too had a scabbard and belt. The accompanying picture of Private Henry H. Cook. of Franklin, Tenn, [Picture is Below] will give my readers a full knowledge of the uniform and accouterments, as Henry (now judge Cook) had it taken just before leaving home, and his Company (D, Williamson Grays) was next to mine on the march. In Henry Cook's hand can be seen a small book. This is the pocket edition of the New Testament, which, when through with the picture, he placed in his knapsack. Each one of us was given a New Testament by our chaplain, Dr. Quintard, and on the fly leaf was written: 'God is our sun and shield.' We thought that 'thrice armed is he who is armed with the word of truth.'"

The Tennessee Military and Financial Board was founded on May 6, 1861.  They purchased 30,000 yards of gray satinette and 25,000 yards of red, gray, and blue flannel, metal coat buttons from Louisville, KY.  They purchased $50,000 worth of uniform items from Baltimore, MD.  They also purchased knapsacks, oil cloth blankets, and hats.  The 1st Tennessee received some of the first Tennessee State Frock Coats and are unique in the fact they were the only ones to be issued with a blue collar and plain cuffs (later versions had blue pointed cuffs). 

Below are several of the known photographs of 1st Tennessee soldiers taken in 1861.  The main headgear appears to be a gray kepi with the company's brass insignia placed on the hat.  Marcus Toney later states in his book, "I left Edgefield, clad in my uniform of gray with a big brass B on my cap."  All of the Rock City Guards photographed below have brass letters on their hats.  Thompson is the only soldier not a member of the Rock City Guards photographed with a kepi, and  his cap does not have brass insignia.  This could possibly mean the Rock City Guards were the only companies to receive the brass insignia, or it could mean that Thompson's 'D' simply broke or fell off.  Other photographs of George Nichols and Sam Watkins have their respective brass letters on their hats.  So, it was at least an item that other soldiers in the regiment had on their headgear.  The picture of Private Nicholson and his friend is the only early war photo of a 1st Tennessee soldier not wearing a kepi.  The black hats they wear are possibly just personal hats they brought with them. 

Most of the regiment was issued medium gray, wool satinette frock coats with a navy blue or dark colored collar.  In the photographs of Thompson, the Brandons, Cook, and Nicholson the frock coat is fully visible, all have 8 buttons as is common with Tennessee State issued jackets.  In most of the pictures of Company H soldiers you can see a stripe runs along the sides of the pant legs. The photograph of Corporal Graham below is unique in the fact that it is the only known 1st Tennessee Photograph where a soldier is pictured with his chevrons.  They appear to be a light color and interestingly they are pointed up instead of down as was common during the war. 

The pictures of the soldiers from the Rock City Guards seem to be the only exception to the rule.  They have a dark gray sack coat  with a light blue cuffs and collar.  The photograph of Private Berry you can see his uniform from head to toe.  He appears to have light blue pants with a black or navy blue stripe running down the side.  In all of the pictures of the Rock City Guards there is a light colored stripe running down the front of their jackets parallel to the buttons.  This stripe is very visible on the photo of Private Brown.  The photos of Privates Cheatham and Ramage are the only exception.  Both soldiers were in Company C which was formed a week or so after the rest of the Rock City Guards.  It would seem they received almost the same uniform minus the front stripe.

Does this mean that the regiment wore two different uniforms when they left for Virginia?  Marcus Toney of the Rock City Guards in his book wrote: "The accompanying picture of Private Henry H. Cook. of Franklin, Tenn, [Picture is Below] will give my readers a full knowledge of the uniform and accouterments."  When describing what the 1st Tennessee wore as a uniform he never used anyone from his company.  He instead used a soldier from a different one than his own.  Is Toney implying that the entire1st Tennessee eventually wore the uniform Cook is pictured in?  Or since most of the regiment was wearing Cook's uniform he felt that would be considered the uniform of the 1st Tennessee?  None of the images of the Rock City Guards are dated more specifically then the year 1861.  In fact, this goes for every image in the Camp Cheatham uniform set except for Private Cook who had his picture made in July 1861.  Since we cannot pin point what month or day in 1861 the Rock City Guards photographs were taken, it maybe safe to assume that the Rock City Guards took their pictures in their uniforms they were wearing when they formed up in Nashville.  While at Camp Cheatham they were given the same uniform as the rest of the regiment.  To add to this theory almost every picture in this set is documented as being taken in Nashville.  The Rock City Guards would have already been in Nashville and could have had their pictures taken before leaving for camp of instruction, therefore being photographed in their militia uniforms.  The rest of the regiment would not have spent any significant amount of time in Nashville until just before leaving for Virginia after they received their new uniforms, therefore being photographed in the "Camp Cheatham Uniform."  There is currently not enough solid evidence to confirm one way or the other.

Private Martin N. Brown

Company A "Rock City Guards"

Surrendered at Greensboro, NC 1865

Lester Porter Collection

Private Ferdinand Berry

Company B "Rock City Guards"

Died of Disease in Knoxville March 1862

TSLA

Private Joseph McBride Halfacre

Company B "Rock City Guards"

Transferred to Signal Corps 1863, killed November 1864

WCHF

 

Private George E. Wharton

Company B "Rock City Guards"

Killed at Perryville

Military Annals of Tennessee

 

William P. Rutland?

Company B "Rock City Guards"

Deserted and joined the Cavalry after being left as a nurse after the Battle of Perryville

 

Private Robert Cheatham

Company C "Rock City Guards"

Surrendered 1865

TSLA

 

Private Henry L. C. Ramage

Company C "Rock City Guards"

Killed at Chickamauga

Military Annals of Tennessee

 

Private Joseph Campbell

Company C "Rock City Guards"

Killed at Chickamauga

Military Annals of Tennessee

Private Henry Howe Cook

Company D "Williamson Grays"

Discharged 1861, later became one of the "Immortal 600"

TSLA

 

Private John M. Thompson (Later 1st Corporal)

Company D "Williamson Grays"

Mortally Wounded at Perryville

WCHF

 

Private William H. Hardison

Company H "Maury Grays"

Discharged February 1862

TSLA

Private A.O.P. Nicholson (Right) and Unidentified Friend

Company H "Maury Grays"

Nicholson was discharged December 1861

TN DIV SCV

 

 

 

Corporal William A. Graham and Joseph Bynum

Company H "Maury Grays"

Graham is only known NCO photographed with chevrons

Graham was killed by a sharpshooter in July 1864

Bynum was killed in West Virginia 1861

From "Company Aytch"

Privates in Company H "Maury Grays"

  James was Killed at Kennesaw Mountain

Edmond and Alexander surrendered in 1865

TN DIV SCV

 

Private (later Corporal) Green Rieves

Company H "Maury Grays"

http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~maury/cemetery/RievesCemetery/Ri18.htm

 

 

Second-Issue Uniform

August 1861 found the 1st Tennessee situated in West Virginia along with the 7th and 14th Tennessee Regiments.  A member of the 7th Tennessee reported, "Our clothes are beginning to give out."  Around this time the State of Tennessee was beginning to have trouble meeting demands but by November 1861 was catching up.  It is reported in this same month, the three Tennessee Regiments in West Virginia were issued Winter Coats.  According to one Tennessean, "We do not make a very uniform appearance, some having light and gray, others dark colored clothing." 

Around the time the Tennessee brigade was receiving winter clothing, it appears they began receiving new Frock Coats as well.  The new frock coat was of a similar pattern to the Camp Cheatham uniform with the exception of a gray collar instead of a blue one.  Private George S. Nichols is the first evidence of the new frock coat.  His photo below was taken in December 1861.  Private James Neely, pictured below, was photographed wearing the same jacket a month later.  His picture was taken in Staunton, VA in January 1862.  In a second picture taken in October 1862, Nichols appears to have the same jacket on suggesting the 2nd Issue frocks were made a little better than the first ones they received.    Nichols's October picture is the last known image taken of a 1st Tennessee soldier while the war was still going on.  In his picture, he shows the natural progression of soldiers in the regiment towards non-uniformity.  He wears what looks to be a blue Federal bummer or southern forage cap with a brass 'D' and cross cannon insignia.  The cannon insignia was probably a souvenir from the Romney Campaign earlier in the year where the 1st Tennessee overran a Federal Battery.  He is wearing civilian, windowpane pattern plaid pants as well.

 

Private George S. Nichols

Company D "Williamson Grays"

Picture taken  December 1861

Joined Cavalry in 1864

TSLA

Private George S. Nichols

Company D "Williamson Grays"

Picture taken at Chattanooga, TN in October 1862

Joined Cavalry in 1864

TSLA

Private James Neely

Company D "Williamson Grays"

Picture taken at Staunton, VA in January 1862

Leg amputated at Perryville

TN DIV SCV

Other incidents would help rid the regiment of uniformity.  At Shelbyville in June 27, 1863, 4th Corporal William M. Pollard of Company D remembers:

"Co. D remained at the depot to load trains, until the enemy began firing on our picket in the edge of town.  We were then ordered to leave.  The boys then at once began to break open boxes stored in the depot, and loaded themselves with clothing, and abundance of good things, that had been sent to various ones from their homes."

By 1863 it would be safe to say the regiment no longer matched. 

1864 Uniform

By the end of 1863 most of the cities and towns the 1st Tennessee called home were under Federal control.  There is a quote from a soldier in the 14th Michigan, that once was in garrison around Franklin, TN, stating that he had run into a company of Confederates at Kennesaw Mountain who hailed from Franklin and told him they had not received a letter from home in over a year.  The 14th Michigan did not attack the 1st Tennessee, but it shows the soldiers of the 1st Tennessee probably had not heard from their loved ones either.  In 1864 Sam Watkins states that Joe Johnston issued new uniforms to every soldier he could.  Whether or not most of the men wore the new uniforms is another story.  By 1864 the Confederates in the West had become so independent in their manner of dress and its very likely uniformity never did entirely come back to the regiment.  Most of their clothing would have been issued by the government or self purchased.  The only clothing giiven to them was from Chaplin Charles Quintard, who mentions buying cloth for the 1st Tennessee to make winter clothing from Columbus, GA.

The other photograph is of Marcus Toney and some other soldiers upon their release from Elmira Prison in 1865 (Toney is in the center with the light colored jacket).  This photograph is often mistaken for early war volunteers but if you look closely at the photograph you can see their clothing is mismatched and has been worn out from service. Toney says in his book:

"..were at the depot when an enterprising photographer set up his camera and said, 'Boys, you should take a picture to take home show the folks what you looked like the day you got out of prison.  I will only charge you a quarter.'  I told him to fire way.  I was the only one of the 28 that had a quarter, so I took the center of the group.  I was clad in a light hat and linen duster."

Toney had transferred to the Army of Northern Virginia in 1864 so his clothing was mostly picked up when he went east or whatever he could scrounge while in prison.

Private Marcus Toney (Center) wearing the light duster

Company B " Rock City Guards"

Joined Army of Northern Virginia 1864 captured at Spotsylvania

TSLA and Privations of a Private

 

  On July 5,1863, Private William M. Moss of Company D was captured with another unnamed companion.  He later described his clothing the day he was captured:

"I had on a pair of cotton pants, an old shirt, a pair of old shoes, no socks, and an old coon skin cap with a tail behind.  The other fellow was dressed about like me.  The Federals had all gathered around, and were looking at us like a show."

I would not say this was normal for the regiment (especially the coon skin cap).  The cotton pants and no jacket was perhaps due to the Georgia summer heat.  This clothing would have been cooler then wearing wool.

Most likely a jean wool Columbus or Atlanta Depot jacket would have been the most common jacket for the regiment at the time.  Civilian slouch hats would have slowly started taken over dominance for primary headgear for the regiment even though kepis were still issued from time to time.  From October 1 to December 5, 1864, the Quartermaster issued the following items to the 1st/27th Tennessee:

Date Hats Caps Jackets Pants Shirts Drawers Blankets Shoes Socks
Oct. 1               31  
Oct. 5       42     14 20  
Oct. 22   25 53 85 30 53 7 6 100
Nov. 1     58 18       36 38
Nov. 6     7       26 45 2
Nov. 14       34 27 29      
Nov. 20       15     25 5 45
Nov. 20             9 18  
Dec. 5 1     1 3 3 3 1  
Subtotal 1 25 118 195 60 85 84 162 185

The regiment was issued 118 Jackets, 195 pairs of pants, 162 pairs of shoes.  The 1st/27th Tennessee combined following the Atlanta campaign and into the Tennessee campaign numbered at most 200 men.  This would mean that almost the entire regiment received a new pair of pants and shoes before the Battle of Franklin on November 30, 1864.  Half of them would have received a new jacket before the battle too.  Even late in the war the 1st Tennessee would have made a presentable appearance.

 

Equipment

Ferdinand Berry is the only known 1st Tennessee soldier photographed with the soldier wearing his gear.  He has on an oval CS Belt Buckle and all black leathers.  The photographs of Thompson, Cook, and March were each photographed wearing their belt.  In Thompson's photograph, the belt has 'U' shaped roller buckle.  Cook has on a thicker belt but the buckle is not visible.  Private March, pictured above, has a regular black leather belt with a rectangular brass belt buckle.  All the belts appear a little different so the regiment may have had a variety of belts and buckles.  Both Thompson and Cook are equipped with a knife as Marcus Toney of Company B said in his quote (above) that most of the regiment was carrying.  The following requisition and ordnance reports from different periods in the war will shed some light on what the gear and equipment of the 1st Tennessee had during the war.

Lieutenant John L. House took over Company D as soon as they left Camp Cheatham because Captain Hanner fell ill.  Hanner would never return to the company.  He resigned in December 1861 and House was promoted to Captain.  Immediately following his promotion his war record contains several Quartermaster Special Requests for the beginning winter of 1862:

Date Qty. Station Item
January 31, 1862 9 Romney, VA Shoes
(Clothing) 4   Pants
  3   Overcoats
  2   Shirts
  13   Drawers
February 14, 1862 9 Winchester, VA Tents
(Equipment) 2   Wall Tents
  6   Haversacks
  5   Camp Kettles
(Clothing) 11   Shirts
March 18, 1862 20 Chattanooga, TN Shoes
(Clothing) 4   Pairs of Drawers
  2   Pants
March 20, 1862 6 Chattanooga, TN Cartridge Boxes
(Equipment) 6   Waist Belts
  6   Cap Boxes
  6   Bayonet Scabbards
March 22, 1862 14 Chattanooga, TN Pants
(Clothing) 1   Shoes
March 28, 1862 8 Chattanooga, TN Wall Tent
(Equipment) 2   Shelter? Halves
April 17, 1862 1 Corinth, MS Pants
(Clothing) 25   Shoes
 

On Captain Oscar F. Atkeison's war record is included several orders for items made during the summer of 1862 after he took over the company after House's promotion to Major:

Date Qty. Station Item
May 11, 1862 1 Tupelo, MS Jacket
(Clothing) 1   Pair of Shoes
  10   Shirts
  2   Pairs of Socks
(Equipment) 16   Knapsacks
  2   Haversacks
  8   Camp Kettles
  11   Canteens
  11   Tin Cups
July 7, 1862 5 Jackson, MS Shoes
  12   Pairs of Drawers
August 29, 1862 35 Kentucky Shoes
  7   Pairs of Drawers
  6   Shirts
September 6, 1862 1 Kentucky Officer's Sword
September 25, 1862 16 Kentucky Pairs of Socks
  6   Pairs of Shoes
  2   Pants
  1   Coat
  1   Plain Hat
  1   Shirt
 

 

Total For 1862

Item Quantity
Pairs of Shoes 102
Socks 18
Pairs of Drawers 36
Pants 23
Overcoats 3
Jackets/Coats 2
Hats 1
Shirts 30
Wall Tents 10
Tents 9
Shelter Halves 2
Cartridge Box 6
Waist Belt 6
Cap Box 6
Bayonet Scabbard 6
Haversack 8
Canteens 11
Knapsacks 16
Officer's Sword 1
Camp Kettles 13
 

 

This illustrates how easy it became for the regiment's gear to become inconsistent.  In the course of one year they drew clothing and equipment from four different states.  Most of the items ordered are only basic clothing necessities.  In other words they are ordering things like socks and shoes but not very much in the way of jackets or pants. This would suggest that the regiment could still had access to clothing items from home for this part of the war. 

The following list comes from Col. Hume R. Feild's service record.  It is the ordnance and ordnance stores report for the 1st & 27th Tennessee regiments dated June 30, 1864 near Marietta, GA.  The report was filled out while the 1st Tennessee was still in the Dead Angle at Kennesaw Mountain.  This report does not state how many men he actually had present at the time.  It would safe to assume somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 men.  The excess gear would have been stored in the ordnance wagons for the regiment.

Item Qty.
Enfield Rifles 114
.58 Rifles (most likely Springfields) 215
Bayonets 319
Cartridge Boxes 363
Cap Pouches 353
Bayonet Scabbards 323
Cartridge Box Belts 300
Waist Belts 330
Gun Slings 209
Ball Screw 1
Wipers 62
Screw Drivers 141
Knapsacks 306
Haversacks 550
Canteens 500
Canteen Straps 475
Waist belt Plates 47
Caps 16620
Rifle Cartridges 15462

From the 1862 and 1864 reports we can see that knapsacks were carried by almost every man in the regiment.  The 1864 report shows everyone still had a bayonet for their rifle.  Canteens and haversacks were an abundant item and could easily be replaced if lost or damaged.  Interestingly, there are only 47 waist belt plates.  Does this mean the regiment predominantly had roller buckles or maybe even Georgia Frame buckles?  This report does show that the regiment was well supplied in 1864. 

 

Officers

Colonel Hume R. Feilds

Surrendered 1865

Courtesy of Ronnie Townes

Lieutenant Colonel John Patterson

Killed at Perryville

Courtesy of Company E's Website

 

Captain John F. Wheless

Company C "Rock City Guards" 

Resigned March 1864

TN DIV SCV

Lieutenant Carey Allen Harris

Company D "Williamson Grays" 

Resigned in 1862

WCHF

 

Officers during the civil war were required to supply their own uniforms which accounts for the variety of uniforms you see above.  Both Patterson and Harris have light colored piping around their collar.  This jacket is seen on numerous early war Tennessee officer's from other regiments suggesting it is from pre-war militia regulations.  Some officers of the 16th Tennessee were photographed with a very similar jacket that was described as "dark blue frock coat with light-colored trim around the bottom of the collar only, plain sleeves."  Patterson has a star design on top of his kepi with gold braid and his sword looks to be of a Masonic design. It looks like there are two stars on his collar meaning he had already been promoted to Lt. Colonel when this photo was taken.  This would date the photo sometime in the Spring of 1862.   Harris has on what appears to be a dark gray uniform.  His kepi has a blue or black band running around the bottom.  Both Harris and Feild have on pants with a very nice crease.  Wheless wears a black civilian overcoat in his photograph and Captain's Bars on his collar.  Wheless was promoted to Captain on April 16, 1862.  It is safe to assume he took this picture shortly after.   Captain Matthew Pilcher's, Quartermaster of the 1st Tennessee, frock coat is still in existence at the Sam Davis Home museum.  Pilcher was wearing this jacket when he was shot at Franklin in 1864.  It is Cadet Gray with light blue cuffs and collar.  The gold insignia on his collar is tiered and looks to have been done himself or not necessarily by a tailor.  To view a photograph click here.

 

Band

Musician June Tucker on left side and unidentified soldier

Deserted December 1864

Courtesy of Ronnie Townes

Another photo of June Tucker taken later in the war. 

While it is hard to say, it appears their uniforms are blue or black.  The unidentified soldier on the right side of the photo is wearing a double breasted (two rows of buttons) civilian jacket with light trim running along the base of the collar and along side the buttons.  Tucker's jacket appears to be single breasted, but it is hard to tell if it is civilian or a military pattern based on the quality of the photograph.  The amount of hat brass is extremely noticeable as well.  Both soldiers are wearing boots and the finger strap is visible on the tops of the boots that assist in pulling the boot on your foot .  Both were original members of Company H "Maury Grays."  June Tucker was a bugler for the regiment.  The second photo is of June Tucker taken a little later in the war.  He appears to have on the second issue frock coat and is holding a saxhorn.  It looks like his belt is being held together with a piece of string or a hook.  I would place this photo as being taken in early 1862 probably while the regiment was encamped in Winchester, VA or Chattanooga, TN.

 

Weaponry

1855 Springfield Rifle

The 1st Tennessee was issued 1855 Springfield Rifles at the beginning of the war.  701 1855 Springfields and 368 1855 Cadet Springfields (a slightly shorter version of the Musket) were issued to the State of Tennessee in 1860.  It appears these rifles were given to the 1st Tennessee as Ferdinand Berry and John Thompson pictured above each have a model 1855 U.S. Springfield.  A soldier in Company H of the 1st Tennessee wrote in the Columbia Daily Herald on October 5, 1900 "The regiment all voted to go [to Virginia], and they carried their guns, the comparable Springfield Rifle until they surrendered them to Sherman on the 26th of April 1865." On a report by the State of Tennessee in July 1861, it is listed that Colonel George Maney had 944 men with rifle muskets.  An article from the Nashville Republican Banner stated the Tennessee Government had purchased several crates of rifles from New Orleans that were expected to be issued to Maney's Regiment in 1861.  Since it appears there were enough rifles in the arsenal already, these New Orleans rifles may have been given to the 11th TN which was the only other Tennessee regiment issued percussion rifled muskets by the state of TN as of the July 1861 report.

Berry's photo above shows his rifle has no patchbox near the butt of the rifle, therefore making it the Type I 1855 Springfield that was manufactured between 1855 and 1858.  In 1859 the Type II began production which included a patchbox near the butt of the rifle.  The Type II is seen in the hands of Thompson's photo above.  Both types of the 1855 Springfield appears to have been in the ranks of the 1st Tennessee. 

Model 1855 Springfield Rifle

Maynard Priming System

  Model 1855 Springfield Rifle Type II with a patchbox near the butt of the rifle

1853 Enfield Rifle

On the 1864 report above, Col. Feild states he has 215 .58 caliber rifles and 114 Enfields in the regiment as of June 30, 1864.  This report is for the 1st and 27th Tennessee so the Enfield Rifles maybe mostly from the 27th Tennessee.  We have two sources from the 1st Tennessee showing they carried Enfields.  Sam Watkins of Company H states at Rocky Face Ridge, "Our Enfields crack, keen and sharp; and ha ha ha, look yonder!  The Yankees are running away."  An Enfield belonging to Martin Brown of Company A is in the private collection of Les Porter.  It is an 1862 Tower Rifle.  You can see more photos of the rifle here: 1st Tennessee Artifacts.  In the book "Soldiering in the Army of Tennessee" by Larry J. Daniel, he quotes a Sergeant in the 1st Tennessee as stating on March 29, 1862, "We have drew the finest arms in the Confederate States, they were made last year, they are Enfields."  I have tried to trace his source on this quote and cannot find that it was written by anyone in Maney's 1st Tennessee. 

 

Martin Brown's Model 1853 Enfield Rifle

 

1861 Springfield Rifle

There were at least a few 1861 Model Springfields present in the ranks of the 1st Tennessee before as early as 1863.  As seen in this story related by a soldier who only acknowledges himself as "Private Rock City Guards" in the Southern Bivouac Newspaper in 1884.  He writes about his conversion rifle during his memoirs of the Battle of Graysville (Cat's Creek), GA:

"The writer in trying to stop a bullet, found that he could not succeed. The position was exposed - no particle of shelter, a plain, open field, with the enemy under cover of the woods. In the meantime, the order was given to fall back into the woods behind. This was done in reasonably good order. The moon, which had now risen, displayed the glistening bayonets of a still unbroken front. Every wagon was for the present in safety, and the only capture the enemy had made from us was the gun of the writer, and those of several others who had been wounded or killed. Ah, my old gun! I well knew where I got it. It was on another moonlight night, of the 20th of September, 1863, the second day's battle of Chickamauga. It lay inside the Federal works, near their extreme left. It was bright, and perfectly new from the factory. "Bridesburg" was stamped on the lock-plate. It was like a foreign country to me, but I knew it was a suburb of Philadelphia. Though twenty years younger than I now am, I was still too old a soldier to give up a trusted friend, without knowing more of the merits of my new one. So I strung both muskets over my shoulder, and, at the first opportunity, in the firelight of the night, proceeded to examine my new friend. The lock was perfect - bright as a new-coined silver dollar. I drew the rammer, and running it down the barrel, found that it stopped within a foot of the muzzle. I got a ball-screw and drew out ball after ball, with great labor, and found that its previous owner, doubtless a gallant Federal soldier, had simply been snapping caps at us. The job was hopeless. I gave it up, and taking off the barrel of my old musket, made at Springfield, Massachusetts, soon had as fine a weapon as any Confederate possessed. The parts were interchangeable - our arms were rifle muskets. Just as its brightness attracted me then - it now formed (November 26th), 1863, the last object of my solicitude - I 'own a kindly debt of old remembrance' for it. Some Federal, perhaps more worthy, may have the same feeling for parts of the same gun. A kind of love for your engine grows with its use.

A good workman comes to like - shall I say love - the machine which seems to share his labor.  It is thus I feel toward the "Bridesburg" musket. I was not a loser, but simply the gainer by its two months use. Long before this I had another gun, which I recollect with a feeling of grim satisfaction. While useful in sending bullets at the battle of Murfreesboro, it did me the service to stop one. The ball passed between the two lower bands, taking off half the stock between them, springing the rammer as it passed between it and the barrel. At many a regimental and brigade inspection, I "fessed out," as the West Point boys say, on that gun. "What's the matter with that gun, sir," would say the inspector. "Shot in battle, sir," would be the answer, and it saved me, for many months, a deal of rubbing and scrubbing. Oledowski, or whatever his name was, the Prussian Inspector of Hardee's corps, passed that gun a dozen times. It was still a serviceable weapon, but Captain Kelly, of the Rock City Guards, just before the battle of Chickamauga, got tired of my usual excuse, and a summary order was issued to turn it over to the quartermaster and get a good one. The privates were at times on a par with their officers, in shrewd devices to escape duty, and their humor at times smacked of Irish flavor. Thus said an inspector to J.W. Branch, or the same company who kept a clean gun, but which needed oiling, "Why do you not grease that gun?" "I can't afford it, sir, I can't grease my throat." Under the highest system of tariff taxation, grease in the Confederacy would have been admitted free. I have endeavored in the foregoing to depict the experiences of a private soldier, in connection with the operations of his regiment and brigade, in A notable battle. I am well aware that from the ranks, the field of observation is extremely limited. It extends only to the front and a few companies or regiments, to the right or left. Generally he finds enough to do in front. "

Model 1862 Bridesburg Springfield Rifle

1855 Colt Revolving Rifle

Some officers in the regiment carried Colt Revolving with them.  George Nichols recalls Lieutenant Loving Woldridge of Company D carrying his own rifle at the Battle of Chickamauga:

"At Chickamauga I tried to get him to get behind a tree, but he told me there were too many behind trees now doing no good.  He had a Colt  rifle that shot six times, he emptied his rifle and killed five Yankees, he had no more cartridges, and threw his rifle down and got him a minnie musket.  I picked up his rifle and carried it off the battle field and gave it to him." 

Model 1855 Colt Repeating Rifle

Lieutenant Woldridge probably had an 1855 Colt Repeating Rifle.  Most of these rifles had five shot cylinders that were .56 caliber.  There were some produced that were .36 or .44 versions that did have six round cylinders.  This rifle would have available to the south before the war and was a common firearm during the conflict on both sides.  It fired regular pistol rounds so ammunition for the rifle would have been available to him.  We have three sources stating Colonel Feild carried the same weapon.  Sam Watkins states in  his original version of "Company Aytch" that in Virginia in 1861 he spotted 25-30 Federals approaching his position.  It had been raining and Sam's rifle misfired due to the powder being wet.  The Federals tried to return fire but their powder was wet also.  That was when Sam states, "Captain Feild [later Colonel] came running up with his seven-shooting rifle."  In his revised edition, he changed "seven-shooting rifle" to "repeating needle gun."  Sam Watkins is the only one who describes Feild's rifle this way.  Three sources written during the war state he carried a Colt Revolving Rifle.  First comes from the Nashville Patriot Newspaper on September 7, 1861 referring to the same incident that Sam Watkins describes:

"A detachment of the 1st Regiment went out under Maj. Looney.  They found a party of the enemy and Capt. Feild with his Colt's rifle enjoyed the luxury of bringing down three of the scoundrels." 

The newspaper quotes a letter from the 1st Tennessee Regiment dated August 30, 1861.  Joseph O'Bryan of Company B wrote a letter to his sister in August 1861 regarding the same engagement saying, "Captain Feild himself had a Colt's Rifle (6 shooter) and commence firing when the Yankees fled."  Sometime in 1864 there was a report published in a Northern Newspaper stating Colonel Feild had deserted and taken the Oath of Allegiance.  Chaplin Charles Quintard published an article stating "Colonel Feild is at present at the front, in command of his regiment, ready now, as he at all times has been, to shoot not five, but five hundred Yankees with his Colt's Revolving Rifle."

 

Pistols

At the Carnton Museum in Franklin is the five-shot Navy Colt revolver belonging to Sergeant James R. Hughes of Company D (See picture).  Several companies of the regiment were given pistols during their time at Camp Cheatham, most of which were thrown to the side of the road during the march over Warm Springs Mountain, VA.  Marcus Toney mentions in his book that most of the regiment was carrying pistols and revolvers at the beginning of the war.  Many were thrown away during their first hard march over Warm Springs Mountain in Virginia, including his own.  It is very likely that many of them still held onto their pistols and some were carried throughout the war.

Written by Mike Hoover

 

Written Credits

"The Confederate Army 1861-65: Tennessee & North Carolina" by Ron Field

"Memorial to Loving Woldridge" by George S. Nichols (Company D)

"Memoirs of William M. Pollard" by William Pollard (Company D)

"The Memoir and Civil War Diary of Charles Todd Quintard" by Charles Todd Quintard (Chaplin of the Regiment)

"Privations of a Private" by Marcus B. Toney (Company B)

"Company Aytch" by Samuel R. Watkins (Company H)

War Records:

Colonel Hume R. Feild (F&S)

Lt. Colonel John L. House (Company D)

Captain Oscar F. Atkeison (Company D)

Picture Credits

Captain James P. Hanner-Tennessee Heroes Gallery

Private J. Clay March-Tennessee Heroes Gallery

Private Martin N. Brown-Lester Porter Collection

Private Ferdinand Berry-Tennessee State Library and Archives

Private Joseph M. Halfacre-Courtesy of Rick Warwick, Heritage Foundation

Private George E. Wharton-Military Annals of Tennessee

Private William P. Rutland-Matt Oswalt Collection

Private Henry L. C. Ramage-Military Annals of Tennessee

Private Robert Cheatham-Confederate Veteran Magazine

Private Joseph Campbell-Military Annals of Tennessee

Private Henry Howe Cook-Courtesy of Rick Warwick, Heritage Foundation

Private-Courtesy of Rick Warwick, Heritage Foundation

Private William H. Hardison-Tennessee State Library and Archives

Brandon Brothers- Company E's Webpage

Private Nicholson-Company E's Webpage

Corporal William A. Graham and Joseph Bynum-Company Aytch (Revised and Extended Addition)

Private George S. Nichols-Tennessee State Library and Archives

Private James Neely-Tennessee Heroes Gallery

Private June Tucker-David Fraley Carter House

Lt. Colonel Patterson-Company E's webpage

Lt. Harris-Ronnie Townes

Colonel Feild-Ronnie Townes

Captain Wheless-David Fraley Carter House


Company D Documents

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