Thirty-Second Tennessee Infantry

From "Military Annals of Tennessee – Confederate"

In the spring and summer of 1861 volunteer companies were organized in Middle Tennessee, reported to the Governor of the State, and were ordered to Camp Trousdale, Sumner county, where they were placed under the command of Col. Bushrod Johnson, with Lt. J. P. McGuire acting temporarily as Adjutant.

Ten companies were formed into the 32nd regiment, and offered their services formally to the Confederate Government for twelve months. These companies were from the counties of Giles, Lincoln, Lawrence, Marshall, Williamson, and Franklin.

Once organized, the regiment was accepted and mustered into service, and ordered to report to Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston. All of the men were reported to have "the least idea of military life" and had to be fully trained.

In the fall of 1861, the regiment was armed with smooth bore muskets and soon ordered to East Tennessee to do patrol duty in Chattanooga and surrounding areas, and to guard bridges from Bridgeport, Alabama to Chattanooga.

In December they were ordered to Bowling Green, KY, by rail, and arrived around Christmas, where they went into winter quarters.

Around Feb. 1, 1862, the regiment was ordered to Russellville, KY to report to Gen. Buckner. From Russellville, they were ordered, by rail, to Clarksville, TN. There they took the steamer "City of Nashville" to Fort Donelson near Dover, TN.

At Fort Donelson, they were in "the line of defense immediately on the right of and supporting Grave’s Kentucky battery." Their position was to the right of the center of the main line of defense and "perhaps a mile and a half from the fort." Here they dug in, fortified their positions and were engaged through the whole battle, only to have General Buckner surrender the army on February 16, 1862. They were put on steam boats and shipped north with the officers being taken to Camp Chase near Columbus, OH and the non-commissioned officers and privates taken to Camp Morton, near Indianapolis, IN.

The regiment remained in prison for approximately six months when they were then exchanged at Vicksburg, MS. They were ordered to rendezvous at Jackson, MS, where the regiment was reorganized about October 1, 1862.

The regiment was then armed, equipped and sent to Knoxville, TN. From there, they were ordered to report to Gen. Nathan B. Forrest at Murfreesboro, TN sometime in October. There they trained and recruited. They bivouacked in LaVergne, TN until orders came to move with other units of artillery, infantry, and cavalry toward Nashville, TN. They marched out at 11:00pm arriving on the Murfreesboro Pike the following day. After a brief demonstration, the units retired to Murfreesboro, TN. A few days before the Battle at Stones River, the 32nd was ordered on post duty with headquarters at Wartrace, TN. They were encamped there until the Army of Tennessee withdrew from Murfreesboro and went into winter quarters at Tullahoma, TN.

At this time, Col. John C. Brown, of the 3rd TN, was promoted to Brigadier-General and given his brigade: the 18th , the 26th, the 32nd, and 45th regiments, all of Tennessee troops.

In June of 1863, they were marched to Beech Grove, then towards Woodbury, TN. Here, they had hoped to cut off federal troops before they passed through a gap in the mountains. The federals had found out about the trap and withdrawn. They then marched back to Beech Grove and on to Wartrace, TN.

On July 1st, they fell back to Tullahoma and dug in. After several days, Gen. Bragg began his retreat from Middle Tennessee via Sewanee and Jasper, crossing the Tennessee River below Chattanooga and went into camp at Tyner’s Station.

They were then ordered to the Tennessee River a few miles above Chattanooga where skirmishing occurred. Stewart’s Division, which Brown’s Brigade was a part of, was ordered to the south of Chattanooga, east of Lookout Mountain where federals were supposed to have crossed the river and were expected to flank Gen. Bragg by way of McLemore’s Cove. Upon arrival at the gap, the main body of the federals had escaped. Stewart’s Division then marched across country via LaFayette, GA to Chicamauga, GA.

Brown’s Brigade was in the first line of battle at Chicamauga, September 19, 1863. The 32nd was the center regiment of Brown’s Brigade. Several pieces of federal artillery were captured the first day with the 32nd being in battle some three and a half hours. On the morning of the 20th, Brown’s Brigade charged and captured twelve federal guns. Losses were heavy for this brigade.

Two days after the battle, they marched to Chattanooga and drew up in line of battle east of the city. They were here for about a month, when they were re-enforced by the 3rd TN Inf and ordered to join Major-General C. L. Stevenson’s division on top of Lookout Mountain. Their principal duties were to picket the passes and trails up the sides of the mountain in order to prevent the division being surprised.

Sometime in November, the brigade received orders to move on Will’s Valley near Trenton, GA via Nickajack Trail to capture a federal contingent, but upon arrival found out that Sherman’s whole army was there. The brigade faced about and returned to Lookout Point and rejoined the division.

After the battle between Hooker and Walthall, the division withdrew from Lookout Point to the valley south of the city. The next day they marched to their position in the battle line on Missionary Ridge. Their position was on the western slope of the ridge, their left resting near the tunnel on the East Tennessee and Virginia railroad. After this battle the army retreated toward Dalton, GA where they went into winter quarters and remained until the following spring. During this time the Army of Tennessee was placed under the command of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston.

In early spring of 1864, the brigade moved to the vicinity of Tunnel Hill and into the line of battle on the summit of Rocky Face Mountain.

From Rocky Face Mountain, they were ordered to retreat to Resaca, GA. The brigade was assigned a position near the extreme right of the line of battle.

After Resaca, they moved toward Atlanta. They fought in the battle of Powder Springs Road on June 22, 1864. More than half of the officers and men of the 32nd were killed or wounded in this engagement.

Then the army retreated across the Chattahooche River, in the vicinity of Atlanta. Around July, Gen. John B. Hood was given command of the Army and Liet.-Gen. Stephen D. Lee was placed in command of Hood’s Corp.

Around August 30th, orders were given for the corps to move to Jonesboro, GA. After the battle of Jonesboro, they withdrew toward Atlanta and rested near Lovejoy’s Station, below Jonesboro. From here, the Army of Tennessee was marched to Palmetto, a small town on the Chattahooche River. It was here that Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States, reviewed the army.

The movement into Tennessee was next made via Gadsden, AL to Florence, AL. About November 20th, the corps was marched from Florence, AL. The brigade reported to Gen. Nathan B. Forrest on nearly the whole of this expedition. They marched by way of Mount Pleasant and Columbia, TN, entering Columbia about the 27th . They engaged at Columbia and moved toward Franklin, TN. Cheatham’s and Stewart’s corps had gone around Columbia toward Franklin attempting to flank the federals and cut them off, while Lee’s Corp engaged at Columbia. After the engagement and crossing the Duck River, Lee’s Corp did not arrive in Franklin until about 11:00pm after the battle at Franklin, TN. They were ordered into line of battle to resume the attack the next day, but the federals retreated toward Nashville.

The next day, the brigade moved on toward Nashville. They reached Nashville in early December. After remaining in front of Nashville several days, Brown’s Brigade was ordered to report to Gen. Forrest at Murfreesboro, TN.

The army then retreated from Tennessee and went to South Carolina, where Lee’s corps fought Sherman from Branchville, SC to Greensboro, NC. The Army of Tennessee was surrendered by Gen. Johnston on April 26, 1865.

The last battle for the 32nd was on March 14, 1865 near Bentonville, NC.

*** This summary was taken from pages 469 – 484 of "The Military Annals of Tennessee – Confederate", Broadfoot Publishing Company, ISBN No. 1-56837-310-4, Vol. 1