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Book Review- The Army of Tennessee: Organization, Strength, Casualties, 1862-1865

Recently, I acquired the book The Army of Tennessee: Organization, Strength, Casualties, 1862-1865 by Darrell L. Collins (2017, McFarland Publications). As the subtitle says, this book provides incredibly detailed information on the Army of Tennessee, and all in one place. Part One is month-by-month, year-by-year information on which regiments served in what brigade, and which brigade served in what division. There are also two subsequent sections that provide timelines of command- one at the army, corps, division, and brigade level; the other is at the regimental, battalion, and battery commander level. Part Two is chronological information from the Present for Duty reports compiled during the war. Part Three is casualty reports by each regiment for battles and campaigns from Fort Donelson to Bentonville. In each case, the information is not complete. Yes, some information was lost or destroyed, but the fact is that Confederate recordkeeping was not always complete in the first place. By the way, Collins has also done three other books like this one- one for the Army of the Potomac; one for the Army of the Cumberland; and the third one for the Army of Northern Virginia.

So, how can I use this book? Well, I am currently reading the book Civil War Citizens: Race, Ethnicity, and Identity in America’s Bloodiest Conflict by Susannah J. Ural (2010, New York University Press). In the chapter “Irish Rebels, Southern Rebels,” it mentions that Irish immigrant Patrick Cleburne

enlisted as a private, but his company elected him captain. By December 1862, he had been promoted to major general and had been given a division in General William J. Hardee's corps in the Army of Tennessee. Among his division were large numbers of Irish soldiers from Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee (p. 139).

From this information, I can look up Cleburne’s division command in Part One of Collins’ book. However, the earliest mention of Cleburne’s command is July 31, 1863, and by this time, Hardee’s Corps is under the command of D. H. Hill. But I do find several regiments from Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas, as Civil War Citizens claims (perhaps a look into the regimental rosters will reveal Irish surnames). Part Two tells me that on July 31, Hill’s Corps had 14, 321 effectives (officers and men), and 71.7% of the Corps was present for duty. The effective strength after the battle of Chickamauga (September 19-20, 1863) is found on page 163- 11,229. Part Three provides casualty reports for Chickamauga by brigade, and regiments within each brigade. Cleburne’s Division suffered 1774 casualties. This number is broken down in killed (204), wounded (1539) and MIA (31). And while information like this can be found on Wikipedia, the advantage to getting it from the book is that it is not subject to be changed by online editing, and it gives writers a published source to include in a bibliography of a book or an article.

If you are interested in this kind of structural information and statistical data for Civil War armies, I highly recommend this book. And given how much, or how little, is written exclusively on the Army of Tennessee, I think this book is extremely valuable.

Thanks for reading,

Bryan Cheeseboro

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