Portrait of Joseph Johnston.

General Joseph Johnston surrendered the 89,270 troops under his command, including the Army of Tennessee, to Union General William T. Sherman on April 26, 1865. [Wikimedia]

Army of Tennessee (CSA) Facts

November 20, 1862 – April 26, 1865

Key facts about the American Civil War Confederate Army of Tennessee.

Formation Date:

  • November 20, 1862

Dissolution Date:

  • April 26, 1865

Commanders:

  • Braxton Bragg
  • William J. Hardee
  • Joseph E. Johnston
  • John Bell Hood
  • Richard R. Taylor

Significance:

The Army of Tennessee was the Confederacy’s main fighting force of the Western Theater of the American Civil War.

The roots of the Army of Tennessee trace back to the formation of the Tennessee Provisional Army and the Confederate Army of the Mississippi 1861.

On July 13, 1861, Tennessee Governor Isham Harris authorized the Tennessee Provisional Army to serve under Confederate General Leonidas Polk, even though the state’s forces would not be folded into the Provisional Confederate Army until July 31.

On September 10, 1861, the Confederate War Department issued Special Orders, No. 149, appointing General Albert Sidney Johnston to command of the Western Military Department, which encompassed most of the Confederacy west of the Appalachian Mountains.

On March 29, 1861 General Albert Sidney Johnston issued General Orders, No. 1-8 (Headquarters of Forces at Corinth, Mississippi) announcing the reorganization of the troops in the Western Military Department as the Army of the Mississippi.

The Army of the Mississippi was the primary Confederate force at the Battle of Shiloh (April 6 – 7, 1862).

General Albert Sidney Johnston, commander of the Army of the Mississippi, was mortally wounded during the Battle of Shiloh on April 6, 1862.

General P.G.T. Beauregard assumed command of the Army of Mississippi during the Battle of Shiloh, after General Albert Sidney Johnston, was mortally wounded on April 6, 1862.

After the Confederate defeat at the Battle of Shiloh, the Army of the Mississippi retreated to Corinth, Mississippi.

On May 6, 1862, General P.G.T. Beauregard issued General Orders, No. 37, Headquarters of the Forces, placing General Braxton Bragg in command of the Army of the Mississippi.

General P.G.T. Beauregard saved the Army of the Mississippi with a brilliantly executed evacuation of Corinth, Mississippi on May 29, 1862.

On June 20, 1862, Confederate President Jefferson Davis appointed General Braxton Bragg as commander of the Western Department.

On July 5, 1862, General Braxton Bragg issued General Orders, No. 22, temporarily handing off command of the Army of the Mississippi to Major General William J. Hardee.

On August 15, 1862, General Braxton Bragg issued General Orders, No. 116 (Department No. 2) resuming his command of the Army of the Mississippi.

On September 17, the Army of the Mississippi captured an important rail station at Munfordville, Kentucky, along with 4,000 Union soldiers, at the Battle of Munfordville (September 14-17, 1862).

On October 8, 1862 the Army of the Mississippi won a tactical victory over Major General Don Carlos Buell’s Army of the Ohio at the Battle of Perryville.

Lieutenant General Leonidas Polk commanded the Army of the Mississippi from September 28, through November 7, 1862.

On November 20, 1862 General Braxton Bragg issued General Orders, No. 151, reorganizing his forces and designating his newly-structured command as the Army of Tennessee, thus bringing an end to the Army of the Mississippi.

The Army of Tennessee participated in the Battle of Stones River (December 31, 1862 – January 2, 1863).

Confederate President Jefferson Davis resisted efforts by Braxton Bragg’s subordinate officers to have Davis relieve Bragg from command of the Army of Tennessee following the Confederate defeat at the Battle of Stones River.

Major General William S. Rosecrans’ Army of the Cumberland forced the Army of Tennessee out of Middle Tennessee following the Union victory at the Battle of Hoover’s Gap (June 24-26, 1863), ending the Tullahoma Campaign.

On September 9, 1863, Bragg abandoned Chattanooga and led the Army of Tennessee through the mountains into northern Georgia.

The Army of Tennessee defeated the Union Army of the Cumberland at the Battle of Chickamauga (September 19-20, 1863).

Following the Confederate victory at the Battle of Chickamauga, the Army of Tennessee seized the high ground overlooking Chattanooga (Lookout Mountain, Seminary Ridge and Raccoon Mountain) and laid siege to the city.

Following the Confederate victory at the Battle of Chickamauga, President Jefferson Davis ignored a petition prepared by Braxton Bragg’s subordinate officers to have Bragg relieved of command of the Army of Tennessee.

Union assaults on Lookout Mountain (November 24, 1863) and Missionary Ridge (November 25, 1863) broke the Siege of Chattanooga and drove the Army of Tennessee into northern Georgia.

After constant and prolonged sniping from his subordinate officers, Braxton Bragg asked to be relieved of his command of the Army of Tennessee on November 29, 1863. Jefferson Davis granted his request the next day.

On November 29, 1863, President Jefferson Davis named William J. Hardee as temporary commander of the Army of Tennessee.

William J. Hardee assumed temporary command of the Army of Tennessee on December 2, 1863.

On December 16, President Jefferson Davis ordered General Joseph E. Johnston to “proceed to Dalton and assume command of the Army of Tennessee.”

General Joseph E. Johnston assumed command of the Army of Tennessee on December 27, 1863.

Employing a series of flanking maneuvers during his Atlanta Campaign, Union General William T. Sherman persistently drove the Army of Tennessee south toward Atlanta during the spring and fall of 1864.

On July 17, 1864, President Jefferson Davis wrote to General Joseph E. Johnston, informing him that, “You are hereby relieved from the command of the Army and Department of Tennessee, which you will immediately turn over to General Hood.”

On July 17, 1864, General John Bell Hood assumed command of the Army of Tennessee.

During the summer of 1864, William T. Sherman’s forces defeated the Army of Tennessee at the Battle of Peachtree Creek (July 20), the Battle of Atlanta (July 22), the Battle of Utoy Creek (August 5-7), and the Battle of Jonesboro (August 31-September 1).

The Army of Tennessee evacuated Atlanta on the night of September 1, 1864.

After evacuating Atlanta, General John Bell Hood met with Confederate President Davis and devised a plan for the Army of Tennessee to recapture Tennessee.

General John Bell Hood launched his Franklin-Nashville Campaign on November 21, 1864.

On November 29, 1864 Major General John M. Schofield’s Union forces defeated the Army of Tennessee at the Battle of Franklin.

The Army of Tennessee suffered over 6,000 casualties, including 1,750 killed at the Battle of Franklin.

The Army of Tennessee lost fourteen generals (six killed, seven wounded and one captured), plus fifty-five regimental commanders at the Battle of Franklin.

Major General George H. Thomas’s Union forces easily defeated the Army of Tennessee at the Battle of Nashville (December 15-16, 1864). As Hood’s line crumbled,

General John Bell Hood resigned his command of the Army of Tennessee on January 23, 1865.

On January 23, 1865, Lieutenant General Richard R. Taylor assumed command the Army of Tennessee.

On February 22, 1865, Robert E. Lee, General-in-Chief of Confederate Armies ordered General Joseph E. Johnston to “Assume command of the Army of Tennessee and all troops in Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.”

On February 22, 1865, General Joseph E. Johnston advised Robert E. Lee, General-in-Chief of Confederate Armies that “the Army of Tennessee is much divided.”

On March 19, 1865 William T. Sherman’s Union forces defeated the Army of the South, which included the remnants of the Army of Tennessee, at the Battle of Bentonville.

On April 26, 1865 General Joseph E. Johnston surrendered the 89,270 troops under his command, including the vestige of the once-proud Army of Tennessee, to Union General William T. Sherman.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Army of Tennessee (CSA) Facts
  • Coverage November 20, 1862 – April 26, 1865
  • Author
  • Keywords Army of Tennessee
  • Website Name American History Central
  • URL
  • Access Date March 29, 2020
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update March 1, 2019

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