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Army of the Tennessee

Army of the Tennessee
The Siege of Vicksburg
Active December 20, 1861 – August 1, 1865
Country  United States of America
Branch  United States Army
Type Field army
Part of District of Cairo (1861–1862)
District of West Tennessee (1862)
Dep't of the Tennessee (1862–1863)
Military Division of the Mississippi (1863–1865)

American Civil War


Ulysses S. Grant
William Tecumseh Sherman
James B. McPherson
Oliver O. Howard
John A. Logan

Joseph Hooker

The Army of the Tennessee was a Union army in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, named for the Tennessee River. It should not be confused with the similarly named Army of Tennessee, a Confederate army named after the State of Tennessee.

It appears that the term "Army of the Tennessee" was first used within the Union Army in March 1862, to describe Union forces perhaps more properly described as the "Army of West Tennessee"; these were the troops under the command of Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in the Union's District of West Tennessee.[1] In April 1862, Grant's troops survived a severe test in the bloody Battle of Shiloh. Then, during six months marked by discouragement and anxiety for Grant, his army first joined with two other Union armies to prosecute the relatively bloodless Siege of Corinth and then strained to hold Union positions in Tennessee and Mississippi. In October 1862, Grant's command was reconfigured and elevated to departmental status, as the Department of the Tennessee; the title of his command was thus officially aligned with that of his army.[2] Grant commanded these forces until after his critically important victory at Vicksburg in July 1863. Under other generals, starting with William Tecumseh Sherman, the army marched and fought from the Chattanooga Campaign, through the Relief of Knoxville, the Meridian Campaign, the Atlanta Campaign, the March to the Sea, the Carolinas Campaign, and to the end of the war and disbandment. This article also discusses Grant's 1861–1862 commands—the District of Southeast Missouri and the District of Cairo—because the troops Grant led in the Battle of Belmont and the Henry-Donelson campaign during that period became the nucleus of the Army of the Tennessee.[3]

A 2005 study of the army states that it "was present at most of the great battles that became turning points of the war—Fort Donelson, Vicksburg, and Atlanta" and "won the decisive battles in the decisive theater of the war."[4] More poetically, in 1867, apparently speaking of the Atlanta campaign, General Sherman said that the Army of the Tennessee was "never checked—always victorious; so rapid in motion—so eager to strike; it deserved its name of the 'Whip-lash,' swung from one flank to the other, as danger called, night or day, sunshine or storm."[5]


  • History 1
    • Cairo and the Battle of Belmont 1.1
    • The Henry-Donelson Campaign 1.2
    • Shiloh and the Siege of Corinth 1.3
    • Iuka and the Battle of Corinth 1.4
    • The Vicksburg Campaign 1.5
    • Chattanooga and Knoxville 1.6
    • The Meridian Campaign 1.7
    • The Atlanta Campaign 1.8
    • The March to the Sea 1.9
    • The Carolinas Campaign 1.10
    • End of War and Disbandment 1.11
    • Society 1.12
  • Command history 2
  • Notes 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


History remembers the Army of the Tennessee as one of the most important Union armies during the Civil War, an army intimately associated with the Union's two most celebrated generals, Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman.[6] It is thus rather ironic that frequent military reorganizations and looseness of usage during the war itself make it difficult to pinpoint the exact date at which this army formally came into existence. It should suffice to note that the "nucleus [of troops] around which was to gather the . . . Army of the Tennessee" first took shape in 1861–1862, while Grant was headquartered at Cairo, Illinois.[7] Those troops continued under Grant in his next command, the distinct District of West Tennessee; they were then sometimes, and perhaps most appropriately, called the "Army of West Tennessee."[8] However, army correspondence began using the term "Army of the Tennessee" in March 1862; that term soon became commonplace and naturally lived on when Grant's command was elevated to departmental status in October 1862, as the Department of the Tennessee.[9] During the course of the war, elements of the Army of the Tennessee performed many tasks, and the army evolved with the addition and subtraction of many units. It is not feasible to chronicle every such development here, even at the corps level. Rather, this article traces the main thrust of the army's development and its most memorable activities. At any given time, substantial numbers of troops were engaged in activities not discussed here. For example, in April 1863, less than half of Grant's departmental strength was directly engaged in the Vicksburg Campaign.[10]

Cairo and the Battle of Belmont

Brigadier General Grant and staff, Cairo, October 1861

In September 1861, [12] Just days later, prompted by Confederate occupation of Columbus, Kentucky, on the Mississippi River, Grant led a small force to seize Paducah, Kentucky, where the Tennessee River joins the Ohio River; Grant thus forestalled a Confederate effort to occupy the strategically important town. Paducah promptly became a separate Union command under Brig. Gen. Charles F. Smith, who soon occupied Smithland, Kentucky, at the junction of the Cumberland River and the Ohio.[13]

According to Rawlins, the "first affair dignified by the name of a battle" for any of Grant's forces occurred at Fredericktown, Missouri, where some of Grant's troops helped defeat Confederate forces under M. Jeff Thompson.[14] Grant's own first engagement came on November 7 at Belmont, Missouri, a Mississippi River landing opposite Columbus, Kentucky. Grant, accompanied by Brig. Gen. John A. McClernand, moved a force of approximately 3,000 to Belmont by water, cut his way into the Confederate camps there, and then had to fight his way back out to regain his transports. Grant's casualties in this first battle totaled about 500; Confederate casualties were similar. While Grant had suffered a repulse, he won favorable press coverage.[15] This battle, reports Rawlins, "confirmed General Grant in his views" that he should "give battle" whenever "he had what he thought a sufficient number of men."[16] Also in November, John Fremont lost his command at St. Louis, to be replaced by Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck, whose command was designated the Department of the Missouri.[17]

The Henry-Donelson Campaign

On December 20, Grant's command was reconfigured to include C.F. Smith's and renamed the District of Cairo.[18] From that perch, in February 1862, Grant led the Union campaign against Fort Henry, on the Tennessee River, and Fort Donelson, on the Cumberland River.[19] His troops for this campaign eventually numbered approximately 27,000 men, divided into three divisions commanded, respectively, by John McClernand (1st Division), C.F. Smith (2nd), and Brig. Gen. Lewis Wallace (3rd).[20]

Battle of Fort Henry and the movements to Fort Donelson.

Grant initially moved up the Tennessee River (southward) to Fort Henry with only two divisions, McClernand's and Smith's. On February 6, even before he could organize his force for attack, the fort surrendered to U.S. Navy Flag Officer Andrew H. Foote, commander of the Western Flotilla.[21] Several days later, in winter conditions, most of Grant's two divisions marched overland to attack the more formidable Fort Donelson, situated on the Cumberland River but only twelve miles (19 km) away from Fort Henry.[22] Additional Union regiments arrived at Fort Donelson by water; these were formed into the new 3rd Division under Lew Wallace.[23] The Battle of Fort Donelson began on February 13 and, after sharp fighting, concluded on February 16 with the unconditional surrender of the remaining Confederate garrison of approximately 15,000.[24]

Although it would still be a month before the term "Army of the Tennessee" came into use, the three divisions that served under Grant in the Henry-Donelson campaign were the nucleus of that famous army and had now won an important victory that foreshadowed its later successes.[25] One historian describes their accomplishments in the Henry-Donelson campaign as the "first significant Union triumph in the war"; its fruits included breaking the Confederacy's western line of defense, securing Kentucky to the Union, and opening the South, especially Tennessee, to invasion.[26] Another historian notes that Grant's troops "had performed prodigies of valor and endurance during the campaign" and had learned from it that "hard fighting would bring success."[27] As a result of the campaign's conspicuous success, Grant, McClernand, Smith, and Wallace were all promoted to the rank of major general of volunteers.[28] Grant in particular became a national celebrity—"Unconditional Surrender" Grant—for his refusal to allow any other terms of surrender.[29]

Shiloh and the Siege of Corinth

On February 14, 1862, during the Donelson campaign, Grant was given command of the newly created District of West Tennessee; it appears that his troops soon came to be called the "Army of the Tennessee" more often than the "Army of West Tennessee."[30] Over the next several months, Grant twice was in danger of losing his command, a development that doubtless would have changed the future course and character of the army and perhaps deprived it at this early stage of one source of its future success—continuity of leadership.[31]

In early March, Grant's superior, Maj. Gen.

  • 1866 Address by John Rawlins: History of the Army of the Tennessee, First Meeting of the Society of the Army of the Tennessee
  • : General Sherman's November 13, 1867 Address to the Society of the Army of the TennesseeThe New York Times PDF
  • Civil War Home: Atlanta Campaign, Sherman's Order of Battle
  • Civil War Archives: XVI Corps History
  • Army Organization during the Civil War
  • Army of the Tennessee

External links

  • Ambrose, Stephen E.. Halleck: Lincoln's Chief of Staff. reprint, 1990 ed. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press; 1962. ISBN 0-8071-2071-5.
  • Badeau, Adam. Military History of Ulysses S. Grant, From April, 1861, to April, 1865. New York: D. Appleton; 1885.
  • Bailey, Anne J.. The Chessboard of War: Sherman and Hood in the Autumn Campaigns of 1864. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press; 2000. ISBN 0-8032-1273-9.
  • Ballard, Michael B.. U.S. Grant: The Making of a General, 1861 – 1863. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers; 2005. ISBN 0-7425-4308-0.
  • Carpenter, John A.. Sword and Olive Branch: Oliver Otis Howard. reprint, 1999 ed. New York: Fordham University Press; 1964. ISBN 0-8232-1987-9.
  • Castel, Albert. Decision in the West: The Atlanta Campaign of 1864. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas; 1992. ISBN 0-7006-0562-2.
  • Conger, Arthur L.. The Rise of U.S. Grant. reprint, 1996 ed. New York: Da Capo Press; 1931. ISBN 0-306-80693-2.
  • Cox, Jacob D.. Atlanta – Campaigns of the Civil War. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons; 1882.
  • Cox, Jacob D.. The March to the Sea; Franklin and Nashville – Campaigns of the Civil War. reprint, 1913 ed. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons; 1882.
  • Cox, Jacob D.. Military Reminiscences of the Civil War. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons; 1900.
  • Daniel, Larry J.. Shiloh: The Battle that Changed the Civil War. New York: Simon and Schuster; 1997. ISBN 0-684-83857-5.
  • Dawson, George F.. Life and Services of General John A. Logan as Soldier and Statesman. Chicago: Belford, Clarke & Co; 1887.
  • Civil War High Commands. Stanford: Stanford University Press; 2001. ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.
  • George Thomas: Virginian for the Union. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press; 2007. ISBN 978-0-8061-3867-1.
  • Struggle for the Heartland. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press; 2001. ISBN 0-8032-1818-4.
  • Grant and Sherman: The Friendship That Won the Civil War. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 2005. ISBN 0-374-16600-5.
  • Foster, Buck T.. Sherman's Mississippi Campaign. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press; 2006. ISBN 978-0-8173-1519-1.
  • Grant, Ulysses S.. Memoirs and Selected Letters. reprint, 1990 ed. New York: Library of America; 1885. ISBN 0-940450-58-5.
  • How the North Won the War: A Military History of the Civil War. Urbana: University of Illinois Press; 1991. ISBN 0-252-06210-8.
  • Hirshson, Stanley P.. The White Tecumseh: A Biography of General William T. Sherman. New York: John Wiley & Sons; 1997. ISBN 0-471-28329-0.
  • Howard, Oliver O.. Autobiography of Oliver Otis Howard, Major General, United States Army. New York: Baker & Taylor; 1908.
  • Johnston, Joseph E.. Narrative of Military Operations, Directed, During the Late War Between the States. New York: D. Appleton; 1874.
  • Lewis, Lloyd. Sherman: Fighting Prophet. reprint, 1994 ed. New York: Smithmark; 1932. ISBN 0-8317-3287-3.
  • Marszalek, John F.. Commander of All Lincoln's Armies: A Life of General Henry W. Halleck. Cambridge: Belknap Press; 2004. ISBN 0-674-01493-6.
  • Marszalek, John F.. Sherman: A Soldier's Passion for Order. New York: Free Press; reissued with new Preface, Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2007; 1992. ISBN 0-02-920135-7.
  • Marszalek, John F.. Sherman's March to the Sea. Abilene: McWhiney Foundation Press; 2005. ISBN 1-893114-16-3.
  • Martin, David. The Vicksburg Campaign: April 1862–July 1863. Cambridge: Da Capo Press; 1994. ISBN 0-306-81219-3.
  • McKinney, Francis F.. Education in Violence: The Life of George H. Thomas and the History of the Army of the Cumberland. reprint, 1991 ed. Chicago: Americana House; 1961. ISBN 0-9625290-1-X.
  • McMurry, Richard M.. Atlanta 1864: Last Chance for the Confederacy. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press; 2000. ISBN 0-8032-3212-8.
  • Abraham Lincoln: A History. New York: Century; 1890.
  • Statistical Record of the Armies of the United States – Campaigns of the Civil War. reprint, 2002 ed. Edison: Castle Books; 1883. ISBN 0-7858-1585-6.
  • Rawlins, John A. (1866). "Address". Report of the Proceedings of the Society of the Army of the Tennessee. 1. (1877): 24. 
  • Reid, Whitelaw. Ohio in the War: Her Statesmen, Her Generals, and Soldiers. New York: Moore, Wilstach & Baldwin; 1868.
  • Schenker, Carl R., Jr. (2010). "Ulysses in His Tent: Halleck, Grant, Sherman, and 'The Turning Point of the War'". Civil War History 56 (2): 175–221.  
  • Schenker, Carl R., Jr. (2006). "Grant's Rise From Obscurity". North & South 9: 3. 
  • Secrist, Philip L.. Sherman's 1864 Trail of Battle to Atlanta. Macon: Mercer University Press; 2006. ISBN 978-0-86554-745-2.
  • Sherman, William T.. Memoirs. reprint, 1990 ed. New York: Library of America; 1875, 1886. ISBN 0-940450-65-8.
  • Sifakis, Stewart. Who Was Who in the Civil War. New York: Facts On File Publications; 1988. ISBN 0-8160-1055-2.
  • Simon, John Y., ed.. The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press; 1967–.
  • Simpson, Brooks D.. Ulysses S. Grant: Triumph over Adversity, 1822 – 1865. Boston: Houghton Miflin Company; 2000. ISBN 0-395-65994-9.
  • Smith, Jean Edward. Grant. New York: Simon and Schuster; 2001. ISBN 0-684-84927-5.
  • U.S. War Department. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office; 1880–1901.
  • Wallace, Lew. An Autobiography. New York: Harper & Brothers; 1906.
  • Woodworth, Steven E.. Nothing but Victory: The Army of the Tennessee, 1861 – 1865. New York: Alfred A. Knopf; 2005. ISBN 0-375-41218-2.


  1. ^ Eicher, Commands, pp. 856–57; McPherson, Battle Cry, p. 512.
  2. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, p. 512; Woodworth, Victory, p. x.
  3. ^ Woodworth, Victory, p. x.
  4. ^ a b Woodworth, Victory, p. ix.
  5. ^ NYT: General Sherman's November 13, 1867 Address to the Society of the Army of the Tennessee; see Lewis, Sherman, p. 381.
  6. ^ Woodworth, Victory, p. ix; Flood, Friendship, pp. 4–6.
  7. ^ Rawlins, Address, pp. 27–28.
  8. ^ That usage appears, for example, in reports filed by various Union officers after the April 1862 Battle of Shiloh (Official Records (OR) I, v. 10/1, pp. 165, 203, 240, 277, 280, 282, 284, 286–87) and can be found as late as October 1862 (Report of Brig. Gen. Thomas A. Davies, October 18, 1862, OR I, v. 17/1, p. 251). During the period September 28–December 9, 1862, there was also a Confederate Army of West Tennessee, organized from the Confederate Army of the West and commanded by Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn. Confederate authorities ruled that "the name and function of this army [were] improper," and Van Dorn's forces were merged into the Army of Mississippi. See Eicher, Commands, p. 892.
  9. ^ Eicher, Commands, p. 857; see Halleck to Pope, March 21, 1862, OR I, v. 8, p. 629 ("I am preparing additional re-enforcements for the Army of the Tennessee"); Phisterer, Statistical Record, p. 54 (Grant's forces fought at Shiloh (April 1862) as "the Army of the District of Western Tennessee" and "became the Army of the Tennessee upon the [post-Shiloh] concentration of troops at Pittsburg Landing"); McPherson, Battle Cry, p. 512; Woodworth, Victory, p. x.
  10. ^ a b See Departmental returns for April 30, 1863, I, v. 24/3, p. 249OR.
  11. ^ Eicher, Commands, p. 264; Grant, Memoirs, p. 174.
  12. ^ John A. Rawlins, Address, Proceedings of the Society of the Army of the Tennessee.
  13. ^ Smith, Grant, pp. 118–21.
  14. ^ Rawlins, Address, p. 27; Conger, U.S. Grant, pp. 75–76.
  15. ^ Smith, Grant, pp. 124–32.
  16. ^ Rawlins, Address, pp. 28–29.
  17. ^ Smith, Grant, p. 134; Ballard, Grant, pp. 26–27.
  18. ^ See Special Orders, No. 78, HQ, Dept. of the Missouri, December 20, 1861, I, v. 52/1, p. 201OR; Grant, Memoirs, p. 189. It appears that Grant formally assumed this new command as of December 23, 1861. See Eicher, Commands, p. 264; General Orders No. 22, HQ, Dist. of Cairo, December 23, 1861, Papers of Ulysses S. Grant, 3:330.
  19. ^ For detailed discussion of the Henry-Donelson campaign, see Woodworth, Victory, pp. 65–120.
  20. ^ Grant, Memoirs, p. 213; Woodworth, Victory, pp. 72, 86.
  21. ^ Engle, Heartland, pp. 53–59.
  22. ^ Engle, Heartland, pp. 62–63.
  23. ^ Engle, Heartland, p. 70; Wallace, Autobiography, 1:387–89.
  24. ^ Engle, Heartland, pp. 68–81.
  25. ^ Eicher, Commands, p. 857; Woodworth, Victory, p. x.
  26. ^ Smith, Grant, p. 165.
  27. ^ Woodworth, Victory, pp. 119–20.
  28. ^ See Eicher, Commands, p. 773; Grant, Memoirs, p. 214.
  29. ^ Smith, Grant, pp. 165–66.
  30. ^ General Orders, No. 37, HQ, Dept. of the Missouri, February 14, 1862, I, v. 8, p. 555OR; Eicher, Commands, pp. 856–57. At this time, the geographical limits of his district were "not defined." See General Orders No. 1, HQ, Dist. of West Tennessee, February 17, 1862, Papers of Ulysses S. Grant, 4:230.
  31. ^ The leadership of the Army of the Tennessee was notably more stable than that of the Union's McClellan, Burnside, and Hooker. There was no equally destabilizing event in the life of the Army of the Tennessee, although Grant could have fallen by the wayside in 1862 and some dislocation followed the death of James B. McPherson in 1864. Further, as Grant and Sherman in turn ascended to broader responsibilities, the Army of the Tennessee enjoyed virtually seamless transitions from Grant to Sherman (1863) and from Sherman to McPherson (1864). See Woodworth, Victory, pp. 216, 420, 460, 490, 569–71; Hirshson, White Tecumseh, pp. 232–33.
  32. ^ Grant, Memoirs, pp. 219–20; Ballard, Grant, pp. 40–43; Engle, Heartland, pp. 105–06; Marszalek, Halleck, pp. 116–20; Woodworth, Victory, pp. 128–32.
  33. ^ Smith, Grant, pp. 179–80.
  34. ^ Many authors see presidential pressure behind Grant's reinstatement to field command. See, e.g., Simpson, Triumph, pp. 124–25; Woodworth, Victory, pp. 141–42. But there is room to question that conclusion. Halleck relieved Grant of field command of the expedition, but not his overall command, on March 4 (OR I, v. 10/2, p. 3). On March 9 and 10, Halleck advised Grant to prepare himself to take the field. On March 10, the President and Secretary of War inquired about Grant's status, and on March 13, Halleck directed Grant to take the field. See Halleck to Grant, March 9, 10, 13, 1862, OR I, v. 10/2, pp. 22, 27, 32; Thomas to Halleck, March 10, 1862, OR I, v. 7, p. 683. This sequence suggests that Halleck may have decided to restore Grant to field command before receiving Lincoln's inquiry. See Smith, Grant, p. 176: Halleck's "reinstatement of Grant preceded by one day the bombshell that landed on his desk from the adjutant general [on behalf of the President and Secretary of War] in Washington."
  35. ^ Smith, Grant, p. 179.
  36. ^ Daniel, Shiloh, p. 322.
  37. ^ See Daniel, Shiloh, p. 322; Grant, Memoirs, pp. 226–27.
  38. ^ Smith, Grant, pp. 187–204.
  39. ^ Smith, Grant, p. 204.
  40. ^ For the varying impact of Shiloh on these officers, see Woodworth, Victory, pp. 183–84, 198–99, 201; Marszalek, Sherman, p. 182; Eicher, Commands, p. 493.
  41. ^ Woodworth, Victory, pp. 205–06; Ambrose, Halleck, pp. 43–49.
  42. ^ Grant, Memoirs, p. 248; Woodworth, Victory, p. 206.
  43. ^ See Special Field Orders, No. 35, HQ, Dept. of the Mississippi, April 30, 1862, I, v. 10/2, p. 144OR.
  44. ^ See Nicolay, Lincoln, 5:338.
  45. ^ On May 11, Grant wrote Halleck privately that he considered his second-in-command assignment to be "anomylous," to constitute a "sensure," and to put him in a position that "differs but little from that of one in arrest." Papers of Ulysses S. Grant, 5:114; see Smith, Grant, p. 209.
  46. ^ Marszalek, Halleck, pp. 123–26.
  47. ^ Grant, Memoirs, pp. 255–57.
  48. ^ Sherman, Memoirs, p. 274.
  49. ^ Smith, Grant, pp. 207–12; Schenker, "Ulysses in His Tent," passim; Grant, Memoirs, p. 258; Sherman, Memoirs, pp. 275–76.
  50. ^ Daniel, Shiloh, pp. 309–10; Einolf, Thomas, pp. 126–27.
  51. ^ Woodworth, Victory, p. 420.
  52. ^ Smith, Grant, pp. 213–14; Einolf, Thomas, pp. 128–29; Special Field Orders, No. 90, HQ, Dept. of the Mississippi, June 10, 1862, I, v. 10/2, p. 288OR; Halleck to Buell, June 22, 1862, OR I, v. 16/2, pp. 48–49 ("General Thomas has orders to report to you, but at present his division should not be moved beyond Tuscumbia [Alabama]"); Halleck to Buell, July 15, 1862, OR I, v. 16/2, p. 151 ("Thomas . . . [will] re-enforce you and be replaced by one of Grant's divisions"); Grant to Halleck, July 23, 1862, OR I, v. 17/2, p. 114 ("Morgan's division [of the Army of the Mississippi] has relieved Thomas [at Tuscumbia]").
  53. ^ Marszalek, Halleck, pp. 125–28; Grant, Memoirs, pp. 256, 258, 261; Smith, Grant, p. 213. At this stage, the District of West Tennessee was defined to include "all that portion of the State west of the Tennessee River and Forts Henry and Donelson." See General Orders, No. 33, HQ, Dept. of the Mississippi, June 12, 1862, I, v. 16/2, p. 20OR.
  54. ^ Marszalek, Halleck, pp. 127–28; Grant, Memoirs, p. 263; Eicher, Commands, p. 833.
  55. ^ Special Field Orders, No. 161, HQ, Dept. of the Mississippi, July 16, 1862, I, v. 17/2, p. 101OR; District returns for July 31, 1862, I v. 17/2, pp. 143–44OR; Smith, Grant, p. 216.
  56. ^ Smith, Grant, pp. 215–17; Grant, Memoirs, pp. 266, 268, 278; Badeau, Military History, 1:108. Grant's Memoirs (p. 278) state that "Thomas was ordered east to reinforce Buell" on September 19, 1862. In fact, however, this occurred in July, more or less simultaneously with the expansion of Grant's command to areas in Alabama and Mississippi. See McKinney, Violence, p. 143; Special Field Orders, No. 160, HQ, Dept. of the Mississippi, July 15, 1862, OR I, v. 17/2, pp. 99–100 (General Grant to order a division "to replace the division of General Thomas, on the road from Iuka to Decatur, as soon as the latter is ready . . . to join General Buell"); Special Orders, No. 136, HQ, Dist. of West Tennessee, July 16, 1862, OR I, v. 17/2, p. 102 ("Morgan's division of the Army of the Mississippi will . . . relieve the command of Major-General Thomas on duty guarding [the Memphis and Charleston] road").
  57. ^ Grant, Memoirs, pp. 263–64.
  58. ^ See Woodworth, Victory, pp. 210–40. There are separate categories in the Official Records for battle reports from the "Army of the Mississippi" and the "Army of West Tennessee." See OR I, v. 17/1, pp. 150–54.
  59. ^ Grant, Memoirs, p. 281.
  60. ^ General Orders, No. 159, War Dept., October 16, 1862, I, v. 17/2, p. 278OR. The department initially included portions of Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi. By late 1864, after various changes in its boundaries, "the Department effectively vanished" as a geographic entity, but the name "continued to be used along with the command of the Army of the Tennessee until 31 Mar. 1865." See Eicher, Commands, p. 848.
  61. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, p. 512; Woodworth, Victory, p. x. Even at this stage, however, that usage was not automatic. Almost immediately, Washington specified that Grant's departmental troops would constitute the XIII Corps (rather than the "Army of the Tennessee"); Grant in turn divided his forces into a right wing, center, and left wing. See General Orders, No. 168, War Dept., October 24, 1862, OR I, v. 16/2, pp. 641–42; Eicher, Commands, p. 861. Grant also specified that the "Army of the Mississippi, being now divided and in different departments, will be discontinued as a separate army." See General Orders, No. 2, HQ, Dept. of the Tennessee, October 26, 1862, OR I, v. 17/2, p. 297.
  62. ^ See Halleck to Rosecrans, October 24, 1862, and General Orders, No. 168, War Dept., October 24, 1862, OR I, v. 16/2, pp. 640–42; Eicher, Commands, p. 461.
  63. ^ The numbers assigned the various corps emanated from Washington and were part of a nationwide scheme. See General Orders, No. 210, War Dept., December 18, 1862, I, v. 17/2, p. 432OR; Woodworth, Victory, p. 264; Sherman, Memoirs, p. 326.
  64. ^ Smith, Grant, pp. 220–22; Marszalek, Sherman, pp. 202–03.
  65. ^ Smith, Grant, pp. 221–25; Marszalek, Sherman, pp. 203–08.
  66. ^ Smith, Grant, pp. 222–23; Eicher, Commands, p. 372.
  67. ^ Smith, Grant, p. 222.
  68. ^ Smith, Grant, p. 227; Marszalek, Sherman, p. 205; Sherman, Memoirs, pp. 316–25.
  69. ^ Smith, Grant, pp. 227–28.
  70. ^ Smith, Grant, pp. 228–34; Reid, Ohio, 1:385.
  71. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pp. 626–33; Smith, Grant, pp. 234–53.
  72. ^ Grant, Memoirs, p. 367; Departmental returns for July 1863, I, v. 24/3, pp. 567–68OR. A detailed order of battle can be found in Martin, Vicksburg, pp. 217–22.
  73. ^ Grant, Memoirs, pp. 366–67; Martin, Vicksburg, p. 193. Burnside's Army of the Ohio was not the same force that, under Don Carlos Buell, had operated with the Army of the Tennessee in April and May 1862 (Shiloh and Corinth); Buell's army had by this time become the Army of the Cumberland. See Eicher, Commands, pp. 824, 855–56.
  74. ^ Smith, Grant, p. 255n; Grant, Memoirs, p. 367; Eicher, Commands, p. 372.
  75. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pp. 635–36.
  76. ^ Marszalek, Sherman, pp. 227–30; Hirshson, White Tecumseh, pp. 158–62; Sherman, Memoirs, pp. 354–57; Martin, Vicksburg, pp. 205–06.
  77. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, p. 637; Woodworth, Victory, pp. 454–55; Sherman, Memoirs, p. 370.
  78. ^ Smith, Grant, p. 256.
  79. ^ Schenker, "Grant's Rise," pp. 64–65; Eicher, Commands, p. 775.
  80. ^ Sherman, Memoirs, p. 370.
  81. ^ Indeed, Sherman's first returns as departmental commander, for October 1863, show only the XV, XVI, and XVII Corps and report a total strength of 135,000. See I, v. 31/1, p. 817OR.
  82. ^ Sherman, Memoirs, p. 370; see Woodworth, Victory, p. 459.
  83. ^ See Smith, Grant, pp. 262–66; Simpson, Triumph, pp. 225–29; Grant, Memoirs, pp. 403–04.
  84. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pp. 671–76.
  85. ^ Sherman, Memoirs, pp. 372–90; Marszalek, Sherman, pp. 237–42; General Orders, No. 2, HQ, Military Div. of Mississippi, October 19, 1863, I, v. 30/4, p. 476OR.
  86. ^ Woodworth, Victory, p. 460; Sherman, Memoirs, pp. 372–73, 379–83.
  87. ^ See McPherson, Battle Cry, pp. 677–81; Woodworth, Victory, pp. 462–78; Sherman, Memoirs, pp. 389–90.
  88. ^ Woodworth, Victory, p. 478; Hirshson, White Tecumseh, pp. 174–76.
  89. ^ Sherman, Memoirs, p. 872. Some of the XV Corps traveled by rail partway from Memphis to Chattanooga. Ibid., p. 376.
  90. ^ Sherman, Memoirs, p. 414; see Marszalek, Sherman, p. 248.
  91. ^ Sherman, Memoirs, pp. 417–23, 872; Marszalek, Sherman, pp. 252–55.
  92. ^ Marszalek, Sherman, pp. 253–54. It should be noted that a related cavalry expedition under William Sooy Smith was frustrated by Confederate cavalry under the command of Nathan Bedford Forrest. See Foster, Mississippi, pp. 125–49.
  93. ^ Foster, Mississippi, p. ix.
  94. ^ Marszalek, Sherman, p. 255.
  95. ^ Sifakis, Civil War, p. 329.
  96. ^ See Woodworth, Victory, pp. 528, 579.
  97. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, p. 718; Woodworth, Victory, pp. 70, 490.
  98. ^ McMurry, Atlanta, pp. 6–9, 138–40.
  99. ^ Secrist, Sherman's Trail, p. xi.
  100. ^ Sherman, Memoirs, p. 487; McMurry, Atlanta, pp. 33–34, 100. The Right Wing of the XVI was detached for other duty; this was supposedly a temporary arrangement, but these troops never served with the main Army of the Tennessee again. See Civil War Archive, XVI Corps History.
  101. ^ For a concise description of the various elements of Sherman's force, see McMurry, Atlanta, pp. 32–34; a detailed order of battle can be found in the Official Records at I, v. 38/1, p. 89OR.
  102. ^ See Cox, Atlanta, p. 50; Carpenter, Oliver Otis Howard, p. 66; McMurry, Atlanta, p. 58; Hattaway, North, pp. 550–51, 564, 597–98, 604–08.
  103. ^ Castel, Decision, p. 322; see McMurry, Atlanta, p. 110; Hattaway, North, p. 598.
  104. ^ Woodworth, Victory, p. 505; Castel, Decision, p. 411.
  105. ^ McMurry, Atlanta, pp. 54-66; Woodworth, Victory, p. 505.
  106. ^ McMurry, Atlanta, pp. 67–77.
  107. ^ Woodworth, Victory, pp. 506–28; McMurry, Atlanta, pp. 72–140.
  108. ^ Castel, Decision, pp. 303–22; see McMurry, Atlanta, pp. 107–10; Hattaway, North, pp. 596–99.
  109. ^ McMurry, Atlanta, pp. 120, 139–41; Lewis, Fighting Prophet, p. 381; Eicher, Commands, p. 890.
  110. ^ McMurry, Atlanta, pp. 146–52; Hattaway, North, pp. 604–09.
  111. ^ McMurry, Atlanta, pp. 152–55.
  112. ^ Woodworth, Victory, p. 568.
  113. ^ Woodworth, Victory, p. 570.
  114. ^ McMurry, Atlanta, pp. 155–57.
  115. ^ McMurry, Atlanta, pp. 158–76.
  116. ^ Woodworth, Victory, p. 583.
  117. ^ Sherman, Memoirs, p. 872. Sherman's estimate for the late-joining XVII Corps was 89 miles (142 km).
  118. ^ Bailey, Chessboard, pp. 26–47; Marszalek, Sherman, pp. 288–93; Sherman, Memoirs, pp. 872.
  119. ^ See Sherman, Memoirs, p. 620; Civil War Archives, XVI Corps History. Dodge himself had been wounded in August and was replaced by Brig. Gen. Thomas E.G. Ransom. See Woodworth, Victory, p. 578.
  120. ^ Marszalek, Sherman, pp. 293–97; Sherman, Memoirs, pp. 649–50.
  121. ^ Sherman, Memoirs, pp. 646, 872; Marszalek, Sherman's March, pp. 37, 134–44 (detailed order of battle).
  122. ^ Sherman, Memoirs, p. 697.
  123. ^ Marszalek, Sherman, pp. 297–316.
  124. ^ Woodworth, Victory, p. 587.
  125. ^ Marszalek, Sherman, pp. 306–07; Woodworth, Victory, p. 603.
  126. ^ Marszalek, Sherman, pp. 307–09; Sherman, Memoirs, p. 711.
  127. ^ Marszalek, Sherman, p. 315.
  128. ^ Woodworth, Victory, pp. 607–09; Sherman, Memoirs, p. 749.
  129. ^ Sherman, Memoirs, pp. 749–50; Marszalek, Sherman, p. 318.
  130. ^ Marszalek, Sherman, pp. 317–27; Woodworth, Victory, p. 627.
  131. ^ Marszalek, Sherman, pp. 327–31; Sherman, Memoirs, pp. 785–88; Report of Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant re operations from March 1864 to May 1865, OR I, v. 38/1, pp. 35–36.
  132. ^ Sherman, Memoirs, pp. 789, 872; Marszalek, Sherman, pp. 329–31.
  133. ^ Sherman, Memoirs, p. 788.
  134. ^ Cox, , 2:531–32Military Reminiscences; Cox, , p. 168March; Johnston is also quoted in McPherson, Battle Cry, p. 828.
  135. ^ Hirshson, White Tecumseh, pp. 302–03; Sherman, Memoirs, pp. 819–32; for an order of battle for Sherman's forces at this stage, see pp. 820–28.
  136. ^ Sherman, Memoirs, pp. 831–52; Marszalek, Sherman, pp. 339–49; Hirshson, White Tecumseh, pp. 303–08; Eicher, Commands, pp. 323, 875, 881–82; Johnston, Narrative, pp. 412–17.
  137. ^ Sherman, Memoirs, pp. 856, 864–69, 872; Hirshson, White Tecumseh, pp. 312–20.
  138. ^ Eicher, Commands, p. 351; Hirshson, White Tecumseh, pp. 317–18; Howard, Autobiography, 2:210–12.
  139. ^ Dawson, Logan, p. 100.
  140. ^ Eicher, Commands, p. 856.
  141. ^  
  142. ^ The dates in this command history are consistent with the information provided in Eicher, Commands. Grant's District of Southeast Missouri, headquartered at Cairo, Illinois, was embraced within the Western Department until November 9, 1861, and thereafter within the successor Department of the Missouri.
  143. ^ Grant's command was reconfigured and renamed by an order dated December 20, 1861.
  144. ^ Grant was promoted to major general effective February 16, 1862. See Eicher, Commands, p. 703.
  145. ^ According to Eicher, Commands, Grant assumed command of the District of West Tennessee on February 14, 1862, and the Army of West Tennessee on February 21, 1861. See Eicher, Commands, pp. 264, 852, 857.
  146. ^ During this period Grant served as "second in command under the major-general [Halleck] commanding the [Department of the Mississippi]." The major units of three armies in the department (the Ohio, the OR.
  147. ^ Grant was not present at the second battle of Corinth, but a detachment of two divisions from the Army of the Tennessee was engaged at Corinth under the overall command of Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans, Army of the Mississippi.
  148. ^ McPherson was killed this day. See Eicher, Commands, pp. 383–84.


Commander From To Major Battles and Campaigns
Major General Ulysses S. Grant October 16, 1862 October 24, 1863 Vicksburg Campaign, Siege of Vicksburg
Major General William T. Sherman October 24, 1863 March 26, 1864 Chattanooga, Missionary Ridge, Meridian
Major General James B. McPherson March 26, 1864 July 22, 1864[148] Atlanta Campaign, Atlanta
Major General John A. Logan (temp.) July 22, 1864 July 27, 1864 Atlanta
Major General Oliver O. Howard July 27, 1864 May 19, 1865 Ezra Church, Jonesborough, March to the Sea, Bentonville
Major General John A. Logan May 19, 1865 August 1, 1865  
Department of the Tennessee
Commander From To Major Battles
Major General[144] Ulysses S. Grant February 14, 1862[145] April 30, 1862 Shiloh
Major General Ulysses S. Grant[146] April 30, 1862 June 10, 1862 Siege of Corinth
Major General Ulysses S. Grant June 10, 1862 October 16, 1862 Corinth (detachment only)[147]
District of West Tennessee
Commander From To Major Battles
Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant December 23, 1861 February 14, 1862 Fort Henry, Fort Donelson
[143]District of Cairo
Commander From To Major Battles
Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant September 1, 1861 December 23, 1861 Belmont
[142]District of Southeast Missouri

Command history

The preliminary meeting for the formation of the Society of the Army of the Tennessee was held in the senate chamber at the state capitol in Raleigh, North Carolina, on April 14, 1865. Membership in the Society was restricted to officers who had served with the Army of the Tennessee. The Society erected in Washington, D.C., at a cost of $50,000, a bronze statue of Major General John A. Rawlins, and also placed a memorial, costing $23,000, over the grave of Major General James B. McPherson, at Clyde, Ohio. Also erected in Washington by the Society were an equestrian statue of General McPherson, and a monument in memory of General John A. Logan.[141]


To salve the injury he had inflicted in bypassing John A. Logan for Oliver Howard after McPherson's death, Sherman arranged in May for Logan to become the final commander of the Army of the Tennessee. Thus, while Howard rode with Sherman, Logan led the army in the Grand Review.[138] On July 13, Logan issued a farewell address to the Army of the Tennessee: "Four years have you struggled in the bloodiest and most destructive war that ever drenched the earth with human gore; step by step you have borne our standard, until to-day, over every fortress and arsenal that rebellion wrenched from us, and over city, town, and hamlet, from the Lakes to the Gulf, and from ocean to ocean, proudly floats the 'Starry emblem' of our national unity and strength."[139] Taps sounded for the Army of the Tennessee on August 1, 1865.[140]

On April 10, 1865, the day after Washington, D.C. and on May 24 participated there with Sherman in the Grand Review.[137]

General Sherman at war's end with Generals Howard, Logan, Hazen, Davis, Slocum, and Mower; Howard and Logan were the last two commanders of the Army of the Tennessee

End of War and Disbandment

On February 1, 1865, after a month in Savannah, Sherman resumed in force his destructive march, now northward into the Carolinas, with the ultimate objective of concentrating with Grant's forces in Virginia.[128] Howard's Army of the Tennessee again constituted the right wing of a two-column advance, with John Logan now resuming command of the XV Corps and the XVII Corps continuing under Blair. The other column was again composed of Slocum's Army of Georgia.[129] Resistance was scarce in South Carolina, and Sherman's troops worked much destruction on the cradle of secession. (As Sherman exited the state in early March, one soldier observed that South Carolina "has her 'rights' now.")[130] Confederate opposition intensified in North Carolina, led by Sherman's erstwhile foe, Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston. At Sherman's final significant battle, [133] Observing Sherman's swift progress, Joe Johnston concluded "that there had been no such army since the days of Julius Caesar."[134]

Sherman's Carolinas Campaign

The Carolinas Campaign

Sherman himself characterized his march to the sea as a largely unopposed "'shift of base,' as the transfer of a strong army, which had no opponent, and had finished its then work, from the interior to a point on the sea-coast, from which it could achieve other important results."[122] As is well known, during the march, his troops lived off the land and demoralized the South by extensive destruction of property.[123] (On the eve of the march, one soldier wrote that "[w]e understand . . . that Sherman intends to use us to Christianize this country."[124]) In the final stage of the march, Sherman called upon his old Shiloh division, now in the Army of the Tennessee's XV Corps and under the command of Brig. Gen. Robert E. Lee.[127]

Ultimately, Sherman received approval from his superiors to detach other forces under George Thomas and John Schofield to defend Tennessee, cut loose from his lines of communication back to Chattanooga, and march southeast to the sea with approximately 60,000 men.[120] In November and December, then, the Army of the Tennessee constituted the right wing during the march of 280 miles (450 km) to the sea; Howard's command at this stage consisted of the XV Corps (now under Maj. Gen. Henry W. Slocum.[121]

The Army of the Tennessee, under Oliver O. Howard, was now fated to function as Sherman's right arm in the March to the Sea and the Carolinas Campaign, but not immediately. After losing Atlanta in early September, Confederate General Hood regrouped and then sought with some success to lure Sherman back northward by attacking his communications and threatening Tennessee; Sherman estimated that his own regression toward Chattanooga and subsequent return to Atlanta involved 270 miles (435 km) of marching by the Army of the Tennessee.[118] During this period (September–October), Sherman made many adjustments to his forces. One involved dividing Grenville Dodge's XVI Corps troops between the XV and XVII Corps; this ended the role of the XVI Corps with the main Army of the Tennessee.[119]

Sherman's March to the Sea

The March to the Sea

Notwithstanding Logan's battlefield success that day, Sherman chose West Pointer Maj. Gen. Oliver O. Howard, imported from a corps command in Thomas's army, to become the new commander of the Army of the Tennessee.[113] Thereafter, Sherman refocused his efforts west of Atlanta, now swinging the Army of the Tennessee around to his right flank. This led to the Battle of Ezra Church on July 28, where Howard repulsed Hood's third attack in nine days "with ease."[114] However, Sherman also suffered setbacks in cavalry operations at this juncture, and for a month his campaign became more static. He finally broke the impasse in late August, essentially abandoning his positions north and east of Atlanta, and wheeling the Army of the Tennessee well south of Atlanta to attack Hood's last rail communications. On August 31, Howard's army repulsed a final Confederate attack in the first day of the Battle of Jonesborough (August 31 and September 1). With all his rail communications finally severed, Hood evacuated Atlanta during the night of September 1–2.[115] Sherman's capture of Atlanta, facilitated by the prowess of the Army of the Tennessee, "was one of the great epochs of the war, on a level with the seizure of Vicksburg" and contributed importantly to the November reelection of Abraham Lincoln.[116] Sherman later estimated that the XV Corps had "traversed in maneuvering" approximately 178 miles (286 km) during this campaign.[117]

[112] The July 22 battle, writes one historian, was "the climax of the Army of the Tennessee's wartime career," as 27,000 men "defeated the attacks of nearly 40,000 Confederates who had the advantages of surprise and position."[111] on July 22, Hood launched a strong assault against McPherson's army, on Sherman's left. McPherson himself was killed, and command temporarily passed to Maj. Gen. Logan, his senior corps commander.Battle of Atlanta Then, in the [110] (July 20); his attack was intended to exploit a gap in the Union lines (between Thomas on the right and Schofield in the center) but ended unsuccessfully.Battle of Peachtree Creek The aggressive Hood soon initiated the [109] On June 27, Sherman departed from character and attempted a direct assault on Johnston's position at [107] Resaca set the tone for the first phase of the campaign, as Sherman's armies attempted to maneuver around Johnston, and Johnston continually fell back toward Atlanta.

Despite Sherman's confidence in the Army of the Tennessee, one historian has characterized McPherson as the "least aggressive" commander of that army; another considers that he "worried too much about what might be 'on the other side of the hill.'"[104] These qualities, together with troop shortages, may account for McPherson's failure to fully exploit his opportunities early in the campaign, before the Resaca, Sherman sent McPherson, on the Union right, to the west of Rocky Face Ridge and through the "unoccupied, unguarded, unobstructed, and unobserved" Snake Creek Gap to Resaca. McPherson did reach Johnston's rear, but assumed a defensive position there, rather than carrying through Sherman's plan to cut Johnston's railroad link to the south.[105] After the rest of Sherman's forces moved up, the first significant battle of the campaign occurred at Resaca (May 13–15). While a much more decisive outcome might have been achieved, Sherman had to be satisfied with Johnston's falling back toward Adairsville.[106]

Sherman's Atlanta Campaign

Sherman later described the Atlanta campaign, launched in early May, as "a continuous battle of 120 days," fought for "over a hundred miles [160 km]" along the route of the Western & Atlantic Railroad, during "which, day and night, were heard the continuous boom of cannon and the sharp crack of the rifle."[99] For this campaign, the Army of the Tennessee initially numbered about 25,000, consisting of the XV Corps under Maj. Gen. Army of the Cumberland and Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield's smaller Army of the Ohio.[101] Typically, Thomas's large force served as Sherman's center, with McPherson and Schofield operating somewhat interchangeably on the wings.[102] During the intricate campaign, having special confidence in his old army, Sherman "prefer[red] to employ the Army of the Tennessee . . . for flanking maneuvers."[103]

Now that Chattanooga was secure, an avenue of invasion lay open into the heart of the Deep South. It fell to Sherman to lead this invasion in the 1864 Atlanta Campaign, with the Army of the Tennessee serving as his "whiplash."[96] To set the stage: In March 1864, Lincoln promoted Ulysses S. Grant to the new rank of Lieutenant general and gave him command of all Union armies; to fulfill that role, Grant relocated to the Eastern Theater and maintained his headquarters thereafter in the field with the Army of the Potomac. In the West, Sherman succeeded Grant in command of the Military Division of the Mississippi. Command of the Army of the Tennessee now passed to the XVII Corps commander, Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson; he had begun his association with his new army as a lieutenant colonel and the chief engineer in Grant's Henry-Donelson force.[97] On the Confederate side, after Chattanooga, Braxton Bragg lost command of the Confederate Army of Tennessee, replaced initially by General Joseph E. Johnston and later by Lt. Gen. John Bell Hood.[98]

Major General McPherson, third commander of the Army of the Tennessee

The Atlanta Campaign

[95] The Meridian campaign essentially marked the end of Hurlbut's role in the Army of the Tennessee; subsequently he became commander of the Department of the Gulf.[94] Another historian has stated that the Meridian campaign taught Sherman that he "could march an army through Confederate territory with impunity and feed it at the expense of the inhabitants. He could wage successful war without having to slaughter thousand of soldiers in the process."[93] Only about a third of Sherman's Army of the Tennessee (mostly

The Meridian Campaign

Immediately after Chattanooga, Grant ordered Sherman to take command of a mixed force, including part of the XV Corps, and proceed to break the siege that other Confederate forces had mounted against Ambrose Burnside's command at Knoxville, Tennessee. Sherman's mere approach resulted in the lifting of the siege, allowing Sherman to return to Chattanooga with the XV Corps troops.[88] Sherman later calculated that, in these crises, the XV Corps had marched 330 miles (530 km) from Memphis to Chattanooga and 230 miles (370 km) from Chattanooga to Knoxville and back.[89]

It was William Tecumseh Sherman who led the Army of the Tennessee's contingent to Chattanooga, up the Mississippi River from Vicksburg and then east from Memphis. Sherman began his march as a corps commander and ended it as Grant's replacement as commander of "the Department and Army of the Tennessee."[85] He brought to Chattanooga most of his old XV Corps, now placed temporarily under the command of Maj. Gen. Frank P. Blair, Jr., and the 2nd Division of the XVII Corps, led by Brig. Gen. John E. Smith.[86] With the arrival of Sherman's force, Grant was prepared to take the offensive and break Bragg's siege. He assigned Sherman to assault the right flank of Bragg's army, at the north end of Missionary Ridge, with three of his four divisions and other troops; this attack was intended to play the major role for the Union. However, in the Battle of Missionary Ridge on November 25, Sherman's attack gained no traction, and it fell to Thomas's Army of the Cumberland to break the Confederate line by assaulting directly up the middle of Missionary Ridge. On this occasion, then, the Army of the Tennessee ended up playing second fiddle to the Army of the Cumberland.[87]

Major General Sherman, second commander of the Army of the Tennessee

[84]; and 17,000 men from the Army of the Tennessee.Joseph Hooker Grant's forces at Chattanooga eventually included elements of three armies: 35,000 men from the Army of the Cumberland under Thomas; 20,000 men sent west from the Army of the Potomac under Maj. Gen. [83] But soon enough the changing roles for the army and its leading figures evidenced themselves in the November 1863 victory achieved by a mixed Union force in the [82] After taking Vicksburg, the Army of the Tennessee "lay, as it were, idle for a time."

Chattanooga and Knoxville

Grant's capture of Vicksburg, achieved largely by long-established elements of the Army of the Tennessee, was one of the most important Union victories of the war. It opened the Mississippi River for the Union and cut the Confederacy in half.[77] In recognition of his achievement, Grant was promptly elevated to the rank of major general in the regular army.[78] At Halleck's suggestion, Grant then asked Lincoln to give Sherman and McPherson the rank of brigadier general in the regular army, in addition to their rank of major general of volunteers.[79] Sherman later wrote that, with the capture of Vicksburg, "Grant's army had seemingly completed its share of the work of war."[80] Even though much work in fact still lay before the Army of the Tennessee, there is much truth in Sherman's observation. Soon Grant would move on to expanded responsibilities, leaving the Army of the Tennessee in Sherman's hands. And the army itself would shift its operations eastward, closing the 1861–1863 chapter of riverine operations on the Cumberland, the Tennessee, and the Mississippi and beginning a series of epic marches. In addition, after Vicksburg, the Army of the Tennessee would ebb in size and usually operated in tandem with other forces, principally the Army of the Cumberland.[81]

These reinforcements included troops from Hurlbut's XVI Corps, a "strong division" from the late Army of the Frontier under Maj. Gen. Francis J. Herron, and the IX Corps, 8,000 men from Ambrose Burnside's Army of the Ohio under the command of Maj. Gen. John G. Parke.[73] On June 18, essentially on grounds of insubordination, Grant replaced the ever-political McClernand in command of the XIII Corps with Maj. Gen. Edward O.C. Ord.[74] The city ultimately surrendered on July 4; its garrison of 30,000 was given parole (rather than taken prisoner).[75] Even before Vicksburg fell, reflecting his growing confidence in W.T. Sherman, Grant placed him in charge of a force drawn from the IX, XIII, XV, and XVII Corps to shield the siege operations against potential attack from the east by Joe Johnston's relief force. After Vicksburg fell, Sherman commanded a sizable Expeditionary Army (IX, XIII, and XV Corps) to drive Johnston beyond Jackson and then fell back toward Vicksburg. Maj. Gen. Frederick Steele led Sherman's XV Corps in this operation, which effectively concluded the roles of both the IX Corps and XIII Corps in the Department of the Tennessee.[76]

Grant discussing the terms of the capitulation of Vicksburg with defeated Confederate General Pemberton

During the siege, the army received significant reinforcements, from within and without the Department of the Tennessee, bringing Grant's total strength at Vicksburg above 70,000 soldiers out of a reported July 1863 total strength for the department of approximately 175,000.[72]

In the early months of 1863, Grant pursued various futile operations seeking to capture Vicksburg from the north, causing one newspaper to complain that the "army was being ruined in mud-turtle expeditions, under the leadership of a drunkard [Grant], whose confidential adviser [Sherman] was a lunatic."[70] However, in April Grant proceeded to establish his troops well south of Vicksburg by marching them down the west side of the Mississippi and crossing it with the aid of the Navy. Working well with the Western Flotilla under Acting Rear Admiral David D. Porter, Grant led approximately 40,000 men in the XIII (McClernand), XV (Sherman), and XVII (McPherson) Corps through the Vicksburg Campaign, a masterful 180-mile (288 km) campaign of maneuver against two Confederate armies, Pemberton's Vicksburg force and a relief force under General Joseph E. Johnston. After capturing and briefly occupying Jackson, Mississippi, on May 14, and winning the Battle of Champion Hill on May 16, Grant failed in initial assaults against the Confederate entrenchments at Vicksburg on May 19 and 22 and then settled in for siege operations rather than incur additional casualties.[71]

Grant's Operations against Vicksburg.

In the fall of 1862, Grant began organizing operations against Vicksburg, Mississippi, a Confederate strong point on the east bank of the Mississippi River under the command of Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton.[64] Grant's first initiative ended unsuccessfully in December, when Confederate attacks on his supply lines, especially the supply depot at Holly Springs, Mississippi, caused Grant to abandon his own planned overland move on Vicksburg from the east. Sherman, intended to be operating against Vicksburg down the Mississippi River in concert with Grant's abandoned thrust, then suffered a repulse in the Battle of Chickasaw Bayou.[65] Meanwhile, initially unbeknownst to Grant, his senior subordinate, John McClernand, had used his political influence with Abraham Lincoln to obtain authority for an expedition of his own against Vicksburg.[66] This development, which one historian has characterized as "one of the more bizarre episodes of the Civil War," set McClernand up as a potential competitor to Grant, but also benefited the Army of the Tennessee in the long run because McClernand raised new troops in the Midwest to further his own purposes.[67] In January 1863, shortly after Chickasaw Bayou, McClernand asserted control over the 30,000 men then under Sherman and redesignated those troops as the Army of the Mississippi; that force, under McClernand and Sherman, succeeded in capturing Fort Hindman on the Arkansas River.[68] Grant considered this objective to constitute "a wild-goose chase," and General-in-Chief Halleck authorized him to assume control over all Vicksburg operations. Hence, McClernand's briefly independent force was reincorporated into the Army of the Tennessee, and McClernand's further participation in the Vicksburg campaign was as XIII Corps commander under Grant.[69]

The Vicksburg Campaign

Soon thereafter, on October 16, Grant's geographical command was redefined and elevated to departmental status, becoming the Department of the Tennessee.[60] This made the term "Army of the Tennessee" more official for his troops.[61] Also in October, Don Carlos Buell lost command of the Army of the Ohio; his place went to Rosecrans, whose commands were christened the Department and the Official Records.[10]

[59] The victory at Corinth was sufficiently clear cut to relieve Grant "from any further anxiety for the safety of the territory within my jurisdiction."[58]. Grant was nearby and coordinating with Rosecrans, but not on the field, for these two battles; Rosecrans fought Iuka with elements of his shrunken Army of the Mississippi, and Corinth with the addition of two divisions from the Army of the Tennessee.Battle of Corinth and the more consequential October Battle of Iuka It came to an end with victories led by General Rosecrans in the September [57] This threw Grant on the "defensive," simply trying to deploy his remaining forces to protect his own positions against threatening Confederate forces; Grant later described this as his "most anxious period of the war."[56] One immediate result was that, on July 16, Halleck enlarged Grant's District of West Tennessee and included within it portions of Alabama and Mississippi, as well as the [54] In July 1862, Lincoln summoned Henry Halleck to Washington to serve as general-in-chief; Halleck was not replaced as departmental commander, leading by September to the demise of the geographically broad Department of the Mississippi.

General Henry Wager Halleck

Iuka and the Battle of Corinth

[4] Thus, having survived threats to his leadership both before and after Shiloh, Grant remained in position to "buil[d] the Army of the Tennessee in his [own image]," to reflect "his matter-of-fact steadiness and his hard-driving aggressiveness."[53], with "his troops strung out across half a dozen railheads along the Mississippi-Tennessee border."Memphis, Tennessee While departmental commander Halleck remained at Corinth, Grant established his headquarters for the District of West Tennessee at newly occupied [52] More immediately, however, Halleck soon rescinded the multi-corps organization adopted for the Corinth campaign and began to disperse his large force. On June 10, Halleck restored Grant to straightforward command of the "Army of the Tennessee"; Buell was dispatched toward [51] In turn, the trust between Grant and Sherman contributed importantly to the future effectiveness of the Army of the Tennessee.[50] Grant's experiences during this period have been cited as one reason for his subsequent warm relations with Sherman and his cooler relations with George Thomas.[49] After Corinth was taken, Grant might have left his command in frustration, but Sherman intervened and encouraged him to remain.

Halleck assigned Grant to be second-in-command of the entire 100,000-man force, but also expressly confirmed Grant in command of the "Army Corps of the Tennessee" (the right wing and the reserve).[43] It is unclear exactly why Halleck took these actions affecting Grant.[44] However, Grant was under severe public criticism about Shiloh at the time and soon complained that his second-in-command position constituted a "sensure" and was akin to an arrest; among his complaints was the fact that Halleck gave orders directly to Thomas and division commanders nominally subordinate to Grant.[45] With this awkward command structure, embarrassing to Grant, Halleck's forces took the entire month of May, with constant entrenchments, to advance the twenty miles [32 km] to Corinth. This Siege of Corinth culminated with the Confederate forces abandoning the town on the night of May 29–30.[46] Grant later suggested that Halleck failed to accomplish all that he should have in this campaign and its aftermath.[47] However, William Tecumseh Sherman, commanding a division in Thomas's right wing, considered the campaign to be an important period of training for Halleck's forces, including the Army of the Tennessee: "[I]t served for the instruction of our men in guard and picket duty, and in habituating them to out-door life; and by the time we had reached Corinth I believe that army was the best then on this continent."[48]

[42] His force included Grant's Army of the Tennessee, Buell's Army of the Ohio, and Maj. Gen. [41] In the aftermath of Shiloh came the second threat to Grant's leadership, as well as a preview of the multi-army operations that would feature prominently in the future of the Army of the Tennessee. Pursuant to previous plans, Grant's departmental superior, General Halleck, arrived at Pittsburg Landing to take command in the field. Intending to move against the Confederate forces concentrating at the rail hub at Corinth, Halleck proceeded to gather and organize what was in effect an army group of over 100,000 men.

On April 6–7, Grant's forces fought the bloodiest battle of the Civil War to that time, the Battle of Shiloh, when Confederate forces advanced largely undetected from Corinth, Mississippi, and attacked the five Union divisions staged at Pittsburg Landing. On the first day of the battle, the surprised and unentrenched army fought desperately and suffered many casualties. However, long-expected elements of the Army of the Ohio, under Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell, arrived to reinforce Grant late that day, with many more troops arriving overnight and the following day. Grant was also bolstered by the evening arrival of his own 3rd Division; Lew Wallace and his troops had been slow arriving at Pittsburg Landing from their separate position at Crump's Landing. Substantially reinforced by Buell and Wallace, Grant counterattacked the Confederate forces on April 7 and drove them from the field and back toward Corinth.[38] "Grant's victory at Shiloh," one historian has written, "bloody and bitter though it was, doomed the Confederate cause in the Mississippi valley."[39] In the near term, however, the battle resulted in much criticism against Grant for lack of preparedness, swift promotion to major general of volunteers for Sherman, capture for Prentiss, a fatal wound for W.H.L. Wallace, and Grant's loss of confidence in Lew Wallace. In addition, C.F. Smith died later in April from complications due to his non-combat leg injury.[40]

Shiloh: Crucible of the Army of the Tennessee

[37] took command of Smith's 2nd Division due to the latter's having suffered a debilitating leg injury.W.H.L. Wallace (6th). In addition, Brig. Gen. Benjamin M. Prentiss (4th Division), Brig. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman (5th), and Brig. Gen. Stephen A. Hurlbut The three new divisions were commanded by Brig. Gen. [36]

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