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Sumner County, Tennessee
In the Civil War

By Edwin L. Ferguson

Chapter Five


Abstracted with editing by E. J. Keen, 1997 / 1998

Permission granted by David, son of Edwin L. Ferguson

20th Tennessee Infantry Regiment

Organized June 12, 1861. Mustered into Confederate Service in August 1861.

Colonel's: Joel A. Battle, Thomas Benton Smith and William M. Shy.

Lieutenant Colonel's: Moscow B. Carter, John S. Gooch, Frank M. Lavender and William M. Shy.

Major's: Patrick Duffey, Frank M. Lavender, Fred Claybrooke, William M. Shy, J. F. Guthrie and Henry C. Lucas.

Company F, Captain's: James A. Nimmo, F. M. Davis. Men from Sumner County.

Company K, Captain's: Patrick Duffey, M. M. Newsome, W. J. Dyer, John W. Hargis and John B. Austin. Men from Hartsville, then Sumner County. A few from Smith, Macon and Wilson counties.

Of the Field Officers, Colonel Battle was captured at Shiloh and never rejoined the regiment. Colonel Smith was promoted to Brigadier General in July 1864, and captured at the Battle of Nashville. Colonel Shy was killed at the Battle of Nashville. Lieutenant Colonel Carter was captured at Fishing Creek, Kentucky paroled and at home in Franklin, Tennessee when the battle of Franklin was fought. Lieutenant Colonel Gooch resigned July 10, 1863. Major Duffey was not reselected. Major Claybrooke was killed June 24, 1863. Major Guthrie was killed August 31, 1864 and Major Lucas was commanding the regiment at the final surrender. Lieutenant Colonel Lavender had resigned October 13, 1863.

The regiment was ordered to Virginia in July 1861, reaching Bristol, Virginia. when the order was countermanded and they were returned to General Zollicoffer, fighting furiously at Fishing Creek, Kentucky on January 19, 1862 losing thirty-three killed and about one hundred wounded. Retreated to Mississippi, then to the Battle of Shiloh losing one hundred and eighty-seven killed and wounded. Then to Vicksburg, Mississippi and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. At Murfreesboro, Tennessee out of 350 engaged losing one hundred and eighty-seven killed and wounded.

Their next battle was at Hoover's Gap with forty-five killed and wounded. Then at Chickamauga losing ninety-six killed and wounded out of one hundred forty engaged. After this Missionary Ridge, the Georgia Campaign at Reseca, Dalton, New Hope Church, Pine Mountain, Kennesaw Mountain, Peach Tree Creek, Jonesboro, and Atlanta losing heavily.

Then on Hood's Invasion of Tennessee suffering desperate loss at Franklin, Tennessee and being almost annihilated at Nashville, Tennessee. It was at Nashville that their beloved boy General Thomas Benton Smith was captured and an hour after surrendering and a mile back of the line of battle was cruelly beaten over the head by a Union officer, causing an injury which he never recovered, spending the remainder of his life in the Lunatic Asylum and although a mental wreck could still call from memory, the roll of the 20th Regiment.

After the retreat from Nashville, the remaining few were sent to North Carolina, fighting their last battle at Bentonville then being surrendered at Greensboro, North Carolina receiving as mustering out pay $.25 per man. Then the long sad march over the mountains to reach a railroad at Greenville, Tennessee to get a train back to Tennessee.

Sumner County and Her Sons during the War Between the States 1861 - 1865

Sumner County, Tennessee Genealogist Companion