Tennessee in the Civil War

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Battle of Chattanooga--General Thomas' charge near Orchard Knob, 24 November 1863


Tennessee joined the Confederacy in 1861, but Tennessee soldiers served in both the Union and Confederate armies. Tennessee was the last state to join the Confederacy. However people in some counties in the northeast section were very loyal to the Union. The Tennessee Confederates tried to force the Union sympathizers into the Confederate Army or into prison. So an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 men fled to Kentucky to join the Union army there.[1]

  • Charles A. Reeves Jr. created a detailed map illustrating how each Tennessee county voted for secession: Tennessee-Divided Loyalties (published 1995). It may be purchased for a small fee through his website.

Tennessee Military Units

Most units were numbered, however, some were named. See the table below for lists of the regiments, battalions, batteries, and unassigned companies.

Tennessee's United States Colored Troops in the Civil War. by Bennie J. McRae, Jr.

The information in the lists of Tennessee Military Units comes from the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors web site. This web site can also be searched by the name of a soldier.

Tennessee Confederate Units by Number or by Name
Confederate Units
22nd- 49th
50th- 154th

Tennessee Confederate Units by Type of Unit
Confederate Units
Local Units

Tennessee Union Units by Number or by Name
Union Units
A to Z

Tennessee Union Units by Type of Unit
Union Units

General Histories

Union Records

Service Records

Indexes to the service records are at the Family History Library and the National Archives. The service records are available at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

  • United States. Record and Pension Office. Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served in Organizations From the State of Tennessee. Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1962. (Family History Library film 821889–904). Individual index cards are alphabetical and include the soldier’s company and regiment.
  • United States. Record and Pension Office. Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Tennessee. Washington, DC: National Archives, 1962. (Family History Library film 1482042–261). This includes regimental returns and a detailed record of events of the war.

Roll of Honor

  • United States. Quartermaster’s Department. Roll of Honor: Names of Soldiers Who Died in Defense of the American Union, interred in. . . Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1981 (Family History Library film 1311589–91). Records contain the name, rank, regiment, company, death date, and burial place of Union soldiers. Names are arranged alphabetically.

1890 Veterans Census

A special census was taken in 1890 of Union veterans of the Civil War:

  • United States. Census Office. 11th census, 1890. Schedules Enumerating Union Veterans and Widows of Union Veterans of the Civil War. Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1948. The films for Tennessee are: (Family History Library films 338254–57.) Each entry lists the veteran’s name (or if he did not survive, both the widow’s and the veteran’s names) and may contain the following: the veteran’s rank, company, and regiment or vessel; dates of enlistment and discharge; length of service in years, months, and days; post office and address; disability incurred; and remarks necessary to a complete statement of the term of service.  In Tennessee, this schedule included both Union and Confederate soliders.  An online description is available at TSLA.
  • Tennessee Census lists other sources for the 1890 Civil War veterans’ schedules.

Confederate Records

Service Records

  • United States. Record and Pension Office. Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Tennessee. Washington, DC: National Archives, 1959. (370 Family History Library films beginning with 1499671.) This record is indexed in volume 2 of Tennesseans in the Civil War listed below; it is also in:
  • United States. Adjutant General’s Office. Index to Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Tennessee. Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1959. (Family History Library films 880055–102.)


  • Tennessee. Adjutant General’s Office.Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Tennessee, of the Military Forces of the State, from 1861 to 1866. Bethesda, Maryland: University Publications of America, 1990. (Family History Library fiche 6082658 [set of eight].) This alphabetical list includes each soldier’s rank, age, enlistment date, and muster date.
  • Tennessee CRHA [Confederate Relief and Historical Association of Memphis] Roster. Online database taken from Tennessee State Library and Archives. Record of Ex-Confederate Soldiers and Sailors, Members of the Confederate Relief and Historical Association of Memphis. Available online at World Vital Records (free).


The Board of Pension examiners was established for Tennessee in 1891. Widows were allowed to file for a pension beginning in 1905. For a Confederate veteran to qualify for a pension, he was required to prove that he was unable to support himself, that he was honorably discharged from the service, and that he was a resident of the state for at least one year. It is important to note that Confederate veterans applied to the pension board in the state where they currently resided, not the state from which they served. Records may contain the applicant's name, age, address, county of residence, company, battles fought in, and marriage information.

  • An online index for veteran, widow's and African-American Confederate pension applications is found at the website of TSLA. This index is searchable by the applicant's name as well as by county. A county search is helpful when trying to determine which veterans served together from a particular unit. Use care when limiting your search of this index by county. Veterans may have moved from the county where they were born or the county where they enlisted in their unit. "S" indicates that the application is a soldier's application. "W" indicates that it is a widow's application. A "C" indicates that the applicant is African-American.
  • Tennessee. Board of Pension Examiners. Confederate Pension Applications: Soldiers and Widows, 1891–ca. 1965. Nashville, Tennessee: State Library and Archives. (On 181 Family History Library films beginning with 978497.)
  • Sistler, Samuel D. Index to Tennessee Confederate Pension Applications. Nashville, Tennessee: B. Sistler, 1995. (Family History Library book 976.8 M22s index; fiche 6125500 [set of 5].) This book-form index to pension applications includes entries from all three pension files:  soldiers, widows and colored men's applications.  An "S", "W", or "C" before the application number designates the file where the application originated.  The county where the application was filed is listed as well as the applicant's unit in which he served.  Again, use care when limiting your search of this index by county.  Veterans may have moved from the county where they were born or the county where they enlisted in their unit.
  • Wiefering, Edna. Tennessee’s Confederate Widows and Their Families: Abstracts of 11,190 Confederate Widows Pension Applications.Cleveland Public Staff and Volunteers, 1992. (Family History Library book 976.8 M28w.) These records include widow's maiden name, widow's residence at time of application, year and place of widow's birth, name of soldier with his year and place of birth, year and place of marriage, and year and place of soldier's death.

Veteran Questionnaires

  • Index to Questionnaires of Civil War Veterans. Nashville, Tennessee: The Archives, 1962. (Family History Library book 976.8 A1 no. 57; 982038 item 22.) Available online, courtesy: Tennessee State Library and Archives. This alphabetical list includes the veteran’s company, regiment, and county of residence. After finding an ancestor listed in the online index, make sure to view the books, as they contain abstracts of the records and an index to every person mentioned in each questionnaire.
  • Joint Union and Confederate Records. Tennessee. State Library and Archives (Nashville, Tennessee). Civil War Veterans Biographical and Genealogical Questionnaires, 1914–1922. Nashville, Tennessee: State Library and Archives, 1974. (Family History Library films 975591–99.) The record contains responses of both Union and Confederate veterans in Tennessee.

The effort to record Civil War veterans' experiences, during the conflict and before and after it, started in 1914. Dr. Gus Dyer, Tennessee State Archivist, developed a questionnaire and contacted all known living Tennessee Civil War veterans, asking them to return the questionnaires to Nashville.

In 1920 the project was continued by John Trotwood Moore of the Tennessee Historical Commission and also State Librarian and Archivist. The 1,650 completed forms were returned by 1922 and were made available for historical research. They are on file in the TSLA and have been microfilmed for security and ease of use (Microfilm #484).

The responses are rich in detail about pre- and post-war life, as well as military experiences. They include personal and family information; opinions about class and race distinctions; and details of agricultural, business and educational opportunities for the young in nineteenth century Tennessee.

United Daughters of the Confederacy

Military data from the application forms of the United Daughters of the Confederacy are in:

  • United Daughters of the Confederacy. Tennessee Division. Confederate Patriot Index. N.p., 1976–1978. (Family History Library book 976.8 M2u; Fiche 6046695 [set of 17].) Soldiers are listed alphabetically with their death dates, regiments, and names of living relatives.

Confederate Physicians

The Tennessee State Library and Archives compiled an index to Tennessee Confederate Physicians. This list was compiled from several different sources. The database indicates the source record and usually the unit with which the physician served.

Unit Histories

  • An important inventory for finding Civil War military histories is, A Guide to the Microfiche Edition of Civil War Unit Histories: Regimental Histories and Personal Narratives. Part 1, Confederate States of America and Border States. Bethesda, Maryland: University Publications of America, 1992. (Family History Library book 973 M2cwu pt. 1.) Tennessee units are listed on pages 75–80. The Family History Library has the large microfiche collection described in this guide. Use the library catalog to find individual items, including correspondence, diaries, memoirs, and regimental histories published before 1920. The guide shows the unit name, counties where it was raised, author, title, publication information, number of pages, and source repository. It also includes an author index and a major engagements index.
  • Tennesseans in the Civil War: A Military History of Confederate and Union Units with Available Rosters of Personnel. Nashville, Tennessee: Civil War Centennial Commission, 1964. Volume 1 contains brief unit histories. Volume 2 is an alphabetical list of Confederate and Union troops. Family History Library book 976.8 M2t; fiche 6046966 [set of 13]
  • List of Officers of Tennessee Regiments With the Name, Rank, Company, Regiment and P.O. Address. Bethesda, Maryland: University Publications of America, 1990. (Family History Library fiche 6082657.) This list is alphabetical.
  • Carter, William Randolph. History of the First regiment of Tennessee volunteer cavalry in the great war of the rebellion, with the armies of the Ohio and Cumberland, under Generals Marogan, Rosecrans, Thomas, Stanley and Wilson. Knoxville, Tenn., Gaut-Ogden co., printers, 1902. Free digital copy.
  • Lindsley, John B. The Military Annals of Tennessee: Confederate, First Series; Embracing a Review of Military Operations, with Regimental Histories and Memorial Rolls, Compiled from Original and Official Sources. 1886. Reprint. Spartanburg, South Carolina: Reprint Co., 1974. (Family History Library book 976.8 M2L.) Digital versions at Ancestry ($); Internet Archive.

Southern Claims Commission

If a Union sympathizer in Tennessee claimed a loss during the Civil War due to Union military confiscation, he could apply to the Southern Claims Commission for reimbursement. Only a few applied per county, but their neighbors were called as witnesses and asked dozens of questions. Hundreds of the residents of all kinds in a county may be mentioned in answers to Commission questions, and their wartime activities described. To learn how to find records mentioning these neighbors in Tennessee counties during the Civil War see the Southern Claims Commission.

  • Tennessee Civil War Southern Claims. Online resource based on the following book: Mills, Gary B. Southern Loyalists in the Civil War: The Southern Claims Commission. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1994. FHL US/CAN Book 975 M2s. Database available at World Vital Records (free).


  1. Shively, Nancy. Dancing for Uncle Sam, Family Tree Firsts, Family Tree University web site, (viewed 8 July 2011).