History in their own words…
are treasures that some families get to savor and keep over the centuries.
Here is a first hand account at the Battle of Shiloh by Chaplain J W. Collum as documented within the eyewitness series in mid-Tennessee during the War Between the States:
Cullom, Chaplain J.W.; 24th Tennessee, Cleburne’s brigade, Hardee’s corps
“Pastoral Sketches 1857-1907,” by J.W. Cullom; Williamson County Historical Journal, No. 27, 1996
Notes: 24th Tennessee organized at Murfreesboro in summer of 1861. Cullom was the chaplain; he resigned as chaplain after almost two years of service.
“On the night before the battle of Shiloh (Lt.) Colonel (Thomas H.) Peebles and I raked up a pile of dry leaves, spread our blankets over them, and lay down to sleep. We were in easy hearing of the enemy. … We listened to their brass bands and songs till a late hour.
“Awhile before day an order came to detail three men from each company to go down under the hill and make some coffee for the boys, but before their task was done an order came to march forward in line of battle.
“I ran down to where the boys were cooking and caught up two big army coffee boilers that held about half a bushel apiece, and as I ran along the line of battle the men held out their cups and drank. When the vessels were empty, we threw them down and fell into line.
“While the officers were placing their men, I said to Colonel Peebles that I would step over a little to the left and look for the enemy.
“I found them. The woods were blue with them, and they rose up from their ambush and poured a volley into us that was frightful.
“The men were ordered to lie down. …
“Gen. W.B. Bate, with his crack regiment, was held in reserve on the hill behind us, and Colonel Peebles called out to him in his stentorian voice to sustain our left wing.
“And so the Second Tennessee came charging into the fray and took me into their ranks about twenty men deep.
“Bate charged and fell back two or three times, and of course I went and came as they did. I was by the side of Captain Hemp Cheney. …
“General Bate was wounded and his horse killed. Major Doak and his horse were both killed at the same moment and rolled over down the hill within a dozen feet of me.
“It was frightful. The swish of the Minie balls seemed to be in our very hair, the dust knocked up at our feet, the shrubs cut down, and the cannon balls cutting off the limbs and dropping them among us….
“On the second day of the battle I was with the hospital. … From the amputation room I carried … out several times an armful of limbs and laid them in an old garden.
“One poor fellow was shot through the head, and his brain was oozing out; but he was still alive and seemed conscious of only one thing – his wish for water; but there as none to give him, as the old well had been dipped dry.
“The army that night fell back toward Corinth, and awhile after dark, the rain pouring down, I hitched my horse to an old peach tree in a little hamlet where a division of the army had camped.
“I first went into what seemed to be an empty tent, but stumbled over a sleeping man and lay down in my wet blanket.
“In a little while, however, the men to whom the tent belonged came in from the battlefield and pushed me out. I stood a minute or two in the drenching rain, looked at my shivering horse hitched to a limb, and it was the saddest moment that ever came over me.
“A few steps away was an old frame house in which there was a light. Looking at the door revealed … the floor was covered with wounded men, and a sentinel was sitting at the door with his gun across his lap; but he was fast asleep. Cautiously stepping over his knees, I picked my way over the wounded men to the fireplace and lay down at the edge of the ashes.
“It was late next morning when I awoke and was glad to find my horse still where he had been left.
“On my back to Corinth the straggling soldiers were picking their way over the streams. …
“I overtook … (Lt. Dick) Herbert, and he got up behind me and we rode double into camp.
“Colonel Peebles had heard that I was killed, and I had heard that he had been left dead on the battlefield. … When I walked up to him he looked at me a moment in mute astonishment, then threw his arms around me and wept like a child.”
An account of the regiment follows:
24th TENNESSEE INFANTRY REGIMENT
Organized August 6, 1861; Confederate service August 24, 1861; reorganized May 2, 1862; formed Company “F”, 3rd Consolidated Tennessee Infantry Regiment April 9, 1865; paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina May 1, 1865.
- Colonel-R. D. Allison, H. L. W. Bratton, John A. Wilson.
- Lieutenant Colonels-Thomas H. Peebles, J. J. Williams, H. L. W. Bratton, John A. Wilson, S. E. Shannon.
- Majors-J. J. Williams, H. L. W. Bratton, S. E. Shannon, William C. Fielding.
- John C. Jackson, F. M. Jackson, Co. “A”. Men from Rutherford County.
- Thomas H. Peebles, Samuel E. Shannon, Richard N. Herbert, Co. “B”. Men from. Williamson County.
- John M. Uhls, I. W. Burrow, Co. “C”. Men from Macon County.
- John A. Wilson, Nicholas H. Lamb, Co. “D”. Men from Williamson County.
- John A. Baskerville, Jesse Gwinn, H. M. Austin, Co. “E”. Men from Sumner County.
- R. D. Allison, William C. Fielding, H. P. Dowell, W. H. Lincoln, Co. “F”. Men from Alexandria, DeKaib County
- James M. Billington, 1st Co. “G”. Consolidated with “B” May 2, 1862. Men from Maury County.
- William W. May, Isa
ac T. Roberts, W. M. Bennett, 2nd Co. “C” formerly “L”. Men from Hillsboro, Coffee County.
- Charles Wesley Beale, H. C. Campbell, 1st Co. “H”. Consolidated with “I”, May 2, 1862. Men from Hickman County.
- Henry W. Hart, Erastus S. Hance, 2nd Co. “H” formerly “M”. Organized June 22, 1861 at Nashville, Tennessee. Men from Smith County. Attached to regiment early in 1862, prior to the Battle of Shiloh.
- John I. Williams, Edward W. Easley, I. A. Holmes, Co. “I”. Men from Hickman County.
- T. C. Goodner, Henry C. McBroom, Thomas H. Ragsdale, Co. “K”. Men from Manchester, Coffee County. Some from Wilson County.
Of the field officers, Colonel Allison resigned in July, 1862 and organized a squadron of cavalry. Colonel Bratton was killed January 4, 1863. Lieutenant Colonel Peebles resigned in May, 1862; Lieutenant Colonel Williams declined re-election. Major William C. Fielding died May 10, 1864.
The regiment was originally composed of 11 companies which had been organized in June, July and August 1861. They assembled at Camp Trousdale, where they were organized into a regiment, and mustered into Confederate service. Company “M”, which had formerly been an independent company was not attached until early 1862, making twelve companies, which, upon reorganization, were consolidated into ten.
Soon after organization the regiment moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky. On October 23, 1861, Major General William J. Hardee reported the troops then on the line subject to his command were Hindman’s, Hanson’s, Hawthorn’s and Allison’s Infantry Regiments, two battalions of cavalry, and one battery, Hanson’s was a Kentucky regiment, Hindman’s and Hawthorn’s were Arkansas regiments. On January 31, 1862 the regiment was reported in Colonel Patrick H. Cleburne’s Brigade along with the 15th Arkansas, 6th Mississippi, 23rd, 24th, and 35th (also called 5th) Tennessee Infantry Regiments. The regiment left Bowling Green February 13, 1862 and on February 23 was reported at Murfreesboro, where in Cleburne’s Brigade, the 1st Arkansas had replaced the 15th Arkansas Infantry Regiment, and the Watson Battery had been added.
It arrived at Corinth February 27, and was engaged at the Battle of Shiloh, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Peebles, as part of Cleburne’s Brigade, Hardee’s Corps.
The brigade in this battle was composed of the 15th Arkansas, 2nd (Bate’s), 23rd, 24th and 35th Tennessee, and 6th Mississippi Infantry Regiments, Shoup’s Artillery Battalion, and the Watson Battery. The regiment re-entered the battle with 406 effectives, and was commended by Cleburne for steadfast valor; he also commented that Lieutenant Colonel Peebles possessed all qualifications necessary for a commander of troops in the field. No itemized record of casualties by regiments was found, but the brigade reported 1032 casualties out of 2750 engaged.
In May, 1862 the 6th Mississippi had been replaced by the 48th Tennessee Regiment in Cleburne’s Brigade. In Cleburne’s report of an engagement outside of Corinth on the Farmington Road on May 28, 1862, he severely criticized Colonel Allison, but commended Major Bratton for his handling of troops.
On July 8, 1862 the regiment was placed in Major General Benjamin F. Cheatham’s Division, Brigadier General Alexander P. Stewart’s Brigade, composed of the 4th, 5th, 24th, 31st, 33rd Tennessee Infantry Regiments, and Stanford’s Mississippi Battery. These five regiments remained together for the duration of the war. This 5th Tennessee Regiment was commanded by Colonel Calvin J. Venable, and was not the same regiment with which the 24th had been associated in Cleburne’s Brigade which was commanded by Colonel Benjamin Hill, and was early called the 5th, although its official designation was the 35th Tennessee Infantry Regiment. As part of this brigade the regiment participated in General Bragg’s invasion of Kentucky, and was engaged at the Battle of Perryville October 8, 1862, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel H. L. W. Bratton. Here it suffered 68 casualties.
The regiment was next engaged at the Battle of Murfreesboro, December 31, 1862, where the 19th Tennessee Infantry Regiment was included in Stewart’s Brigade. Here the regiment suffered 79 casualties out of 344 engaged. Colonel Bratton was mortally wounded, Lieutenant Colonel Wilson was wounded, and Major S. E. Shannon took command of the regiment.
By April 1, 1863, Stewart had been promoted to Major General in command of a division, and Colonel (later brigadier general) O. F. Strahl was given command of the brigade, composed of the same units. The brigade remained unchanged until after the Battle of Franklin, where Strahi was killed. At Chickamauga, September 19-20, under the command of Colonel John A. Wilson, the regiment suffered 43 casualties.
On November 12, 1863, Strahrs Brigade was placed in Stewart’s Division, moved to Sweetwater, Tennessee, for a short time, but returned in time to be engaged at Missionary Ridge November 25, 1863, where the 24th suffered 45 casualties.
On February 20, 1864, the brigade was returned to Cheatham’s Division, where it remained until the end. The 24th was part of a force which was dispatched to Mississippi to re-enforce General Polk, but was ordered back to Dalton, Georgia, when it had reached Demopolis, Alabama. This expedition was the latter part of February. As part of the brigade, it was actively engaged in the Atlanta Campaign under General Joseph E. Johnston, and the return to Tennessee under General John B. Hood. On June 30, 1864, Colonel J. A. Wilson was reported in command of the regiment, but on July 31, August 31 and September 20 the commanding officer was shown as Lieutenant Colonel Samuel E. Shannon.
On December 10, 1864, Strahl’s Brigade, commanded by Colonel James D. Tillman was composed of the 4th/Sth/3lst/33rd/3Sth and the l9th/24th/4lst Tennessee Infantry Regiments with the l9th/24th/4lst commanded by Captain Daniel A. Kennedy. As such, the brigade was engaged at Nashville in the Granny White Pike area, and formed part of the force under General Walthall which covered the retreat of the army to Corinth, Mississippi.
Then came the move to North Carolina to join General Joseph E. Johnston’s forces, where, in the order of battle at Smithfield, North Carolina March 31, 1865, Strahl’s Brigade, commanded by Colonel James D. Tillman, was still composed of the same regiments. In the final reorganization of Johnston’s Army April 9, 1865, the 4th, 5th, 19th, 24th, 31st, 33rd, 35th, 38th, and 41st Tennessee Regiments, commanded by Colonel James D. Tillman, formed the 3rd Consolidated Tennessee Infantry Regiment in Brigadier General Joseph B. Palmer’s Brigade. The 24th Tennessee Regiment formed Company “F” of this regiment, and, as such, was paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina May 1, 1865.
This unit history was extracted from Tennesseans in the Civil War, Vol 1. Copyrighted © 1964 by the “Civil War Centennial Commission of Tennessee”
Thomas H. Peebles, the Lieutenant Colonel of the 24th, was from near Spring Hill, at which place and Franklin he had achieved great success as a teacher. He made up Company B in the southern part of Williamson County, and was elected its Captain. After Allison was chosen Colonel of the 24th, Peebles was given the next highest office, and Sam C. Shannon became Captain of Company B.
Col. Peebles commanded the regiment at Shiloh, and was highly complimented by Cleburne in his official report for the excellent manner in which he handled the men. Almost at the first fire his horse was killed under him. And he fought on foot throughout the rest of the battle, escaping unhurt, although his coat was pierced by three minie balls. Just after the battle he resigned and accepted a position with Cleburne and was not actively connected with the regiment afterwards.
Daring Work as a Spy.
A year or two later he was detailed on a hazardous secret mission into Middle Tennessee, then occupied by the Federals. He had accomplished the object of his trip, but just before reaching the Confederate lines was captured by a roaming squad of Federal cavalry. As they were proceeding to search him, he recognized one of these soldiers as having been a former member of his old Company, who, having deserted, had joined the enemy. The renegade prevailed on his comrades to desist, and treat the Colonel with more consideration. At the first convenient moment, Col. Peebles took the information he had been at so much pains to collect, and which, if discovered, would have hung him, and slipping the paper in his mouth, chewed it up. He was sent as a prisoner to Camp Chase, but was soon exchanged and returned to service. Col. Peebles was killed near Spring Hill in an unfortunate personal encounter in November 1870 on the very day on which he had been elected State Senator.