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Army of Tennessee
Active November 1862 - April 1865
Country Confederate States of America
Branch Confederate States Army
Role Premier Confederate Army in Western Theater
Engagements American Civil War
Braxton Bragg
Joseph E. Johnston
John Bell Hood

The Army of Tennessee was the principal Confederate army operating between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River during the American Civil War. It was formed in late 1862 and fought until the end of the war in 1865, participating in most of the significant battles in the Western Theater. It should not be confused with the Union Army of the Tennessee, named after the Tennessee River.





Braxton Bragg
Joseph Johnston
John Bell Hood

The army was formed on November 20, 1862, renaming the Army of Mississippi.[1] (As the Army of Mississippi it had fought the battles of Shiloh and Perryville.) Its first commander was General Braxton Bragg, who fought Union Maj. Gen. William Rosecrans's Army of the Cumberland to a draw at the Battle of Stones River on December 31, 1862. However, Bragg was forced to withdraw from Murfreesboro and fall back on Tullahoma.


In the summer of 1863, Rosecrans began an offensive, generally known as the Tullahoma Campaign, a name taken from the Confederate headquarters at the time. Union forces gradually forced Bragg to fall back into northern Georgia, abandoning the important railroad hub of Chattanooga. However, reinforced by Lt. Gen. James Longstreet's First Corps from the Army of Northern Virginia, the Army of Tennessee was able to inflict a significant defeat on Rosecrans at Chickamauga in September 1863.

After Chickamauga the Army of Tennessee besieged the Union army in Chattanooga, taking up defensive positions on the surrounding hills. The Army of the Cumberland was reinforced by the troops of Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's Army of the Tennessee, along with two corps from the Army of the Potomac under Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker, and Grant replaced Rosecrans in command. Bragg then sent Longstreet's forces to Knoxville and nearly all of his cavalry away, reducing his army's strength. The combined Union army was able to inflict a significant defeat on Bragg at the Battle of Missionary Ridge on November 25, forcing Bragg to abandon the siege of Chattanooga and withdraw again into northern Georgia.


Shortly thereafter, Bragg was replaced as commander of the Army of Tennessee by Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, who was much better liked by both troops and high level subordinates than the sour Bragg. In the 1864 Atlanta Campaign, Johnston faced the combined Northern armies of Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, whose orders were to destroy the Army of Tennessee, with the capture of Atlanta as the secondary objective. Johnston, who felt the continued existence of his army was more important than protecting territory, tended to avoid battle with Sherman, executing a skillful withdrawal, which caused impatience among the Confederate leadership in Richmond, particularly Confederate President Jefferson Davis, who had never gotten on well with Johnston. Following Sherman's outflanking of Johnston at the Chattahoochee River, forcing Johnston back on Atlanta itself, Johnston was replaced by Lt. Gen. John Bell Hood.

Hood's tenure as commander proved disastrous. After several unsuccessful attempts to force Sherman's withdrawal from Atlanta, the city fell to Union troops on September 2, 1864. Instead of continuing to parry against Sherman's forces, Hood now turned west and headed back north into Tennessee, allowing Sherman to turn south unopposed for the March to the Sea. In the meantime, Hood was faced in Tennessee by the army's old enemy, the Army of the Cumberland, under Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas, as well as the Army of the Ohio under Maj. Gen. John Schofield. On November 30, 1864, Hood attacked Schofield's smaller army at the Battle of Franklin, losing almost a quarter of his troops, but continued to advance north into central Tennessee, where he attempted to besiege Nashville. On December 15, Thomas's troops launched their attack, completely routing the Confederates in the Battle of Nashville, the most decisive tactical engagement of the war. The Federals pursued the retreating Army of Tennessee, which left stragglers, cannons, and small arms in its wake. When the army stopped its retreat in Tupelo just before the new year, less than half of the men remained who had set out at the beginning of the Tennessee campaign and barely a quarter of the army's strength when Hood took command that summer.


Hood resigned his command in January, and in the final months of the war, General Joseph E. Johnston was reinstated to command what was left of the Army of Tennessee and other small armies in defense against Sherman's troops marching through the Carolinas.

The Army of Tennessee was surrendered at Bennett Place near Durham Station, North Carolina on April 26, 1865. The men, who were encamped around Greensboro, North Carolina during the negotiations between Johnston and Sherman, furled their flags, stacked their arms, and received their paroles, and then headed home.

Corps organization

Major battles and campaigns

Movements of the Army of Tennessee, 1862 until 1865.


  • Eicher, John H., and Eicher, David J., Civil War High Commands, Stanford University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.


  1. ^ Eicher, p. 891.

External links

Further reading

  • Connelly, Thomas Lawrence, Army of the Heartland: The Army of Tennessee, 1861-1862, Louisiana State Univ Press, 1967, ISBN 0807104043.
  • Connelly, Thomas Lawrence, Autumn of Glory: The Army of Tennessee, 1862-1865, Louisiana State University Press, 1996, ISBN 0807104450.
  • Daniel, Larry J., Soldiering in the Army of Tennessee: A Portrait of Life in a Confederate Army, University of North Carolina Press, 1991, ISBN 0807820040.
  • Haughton, Andrew, Training, Tactics and Leadership in the Confederate Army of Tennessee, Routledge, 2000, ISBN 0714650323.
  • Horn, Stanley Fitzgerald, The Army of Tennessee, University of Oklahoma Press, 1993, ISBN 0806125659.
  • Liddell, St. John Richardson, Liddell's Record, American Society for Training & Development, 1997, ISBN 0890293147.
  • McMurry, Richard M., Two Great Rebel Armies: An Essay in Confederate Military History, Univ of North Carolina Press, 1989, ISBN 0807818194.
  • Woodworth, Steven E., Jefferson Davis and His Generals: The Failure of Confederate Command in the West, University Press of Kansas, 1990, ISBN 0700605673.


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