A Brief History of the Army of Tennessee (adapted from Boatner)
This, the principle Confederate army of the West, was formed on 20 Nov. 1862 under Bragg by merging his Army of Mississippi with Kirby-Smith's Army of Kentucky. Kirby Smith had been under Bragg's orders in the previous operations which culminated in the battle of Perryville on 8 Oct. 1862, and his command had been referred to as "Kirby Smith's Corps (Horn, p. 188). In the reorganization of 20 Nov. 1862 his force was technically "Kirby Smith's Corps, Army of Tennessee (Miller, X, p. 258), but it did not actually exist as such. (See Boatner: Kirby Smith's Corps.) In mid-December 1862 Bragg's army was critically weakened by the detachment of Stevenson's division (10,000 men) to reinforce Pemberton at Vicksburg.
In its first engagement, at Murfreesboro (Stones River), Bragg's army numbered 38,000 effectives. It contained the infantry corps of Polk and Hardee and Wheeler's cavalry division. When it dropped back to block the approaches to Chattanooga from Murfreesboro it was reinforced to 44,000 effectives. Turned out of these defensive positions by Rosecrans's skillfully conducted Tullahoma campaign (23-29 June 1863), Bragg's army withdrew behind the Tennessee River. On 25 July 1863 the Department of Tennessee was created.
In Sept. 1863 Bragg was reinforced by Longstreet's corps (less Pickett's division) from Virginia, and by the brigades of W.H.T. Walker, Gregg, and McNair from Mississippi. Forrest's cavalry also joined him. The army now numbered 47,500 infantry and 14,500 cavalry. The infantry corps were commanded by Polk, D.H. Hill (vice Hardee), Buckner, Longstreet, and W.H.T. Walker. A reserve division, 3500 men under Bushrod Johnson, was also designated. In some accounts Walker's command is called the reserve corps, and Bushrod Johnson's force is shown as part of Buckner's corps. Wheeler and Forrest each led a cavalry corps.
After the battle of Chickamauga there was another reorganizatino. Polk was relieved of command (for disobedience of orders). On 23 Oct. 1863 he was ordered to the Army of Mississippi, and Hardee was ordered to rejoin Bragg from the latter army. D.H. Hill and Buckner also left. The Army of Tennessee was then reorganized into three corps; Longstreet's, Hardee's, and Breckinridge's. In early November 1863 Longstreet's corps was detached by Davis to operate against Burnside at Knoxville.
Bragg was relieved on 2 Dec. 1863. Before J.E. Johnston assumed command on 27 Dec. 1863, the army was headed temporarily by Hardee (2-22 Dec. 1863) and Polk (23-26 Dec. 1863).
Johnston's Army of Tennessee was reorganized into the corps of Hardee, Hood, Polk, and Wheeler's cavalry for the Atlanta campaign. Hardee had taken over Polk's original (I) corps. Polk was absent from late Dec. 1863 until he rejoined the Army of Tennessee on 12 May 1864 with his Army of Mississippi to form the third corps.
Hood relieved Johnston on 19 July 1864. After the unsuccessful Franklin and Nashville campaign Hood was relieved at his own request and succeeded by Dick Taylor on 23 Jan. 1865. Johnston resumed command of the greatly weakened army on 25 Feb. 1865, together with all troops in the Confederate Deparment of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. On 16 March 1865 Beauregard was named second-in-command, and A.P. Stewart took command of the infantry and artillery of the Army of Tennessee. At this time Johnston's enlarged command included the troops of Hardee in the far South and those of Bragg in North Carolina. The Army of Tennessee numbered about 20,000. On 9 April 1865 there was another reorganization, after which the army comprised the infantry corps of Hardee, A.P. Stewart, S.D. Lee, and Hampton's cavalry (including Wheeler's corps and M.C. Butler's division).
Hostilities were suspended on 18 April 1865, and Johnston surrendered on 26 April 1865 at Bennett's House, near Durham Station, NC.
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