Volunteer Infantry Regiment
(Third Army Corps (A.P. Hill's), Heth's Division, McComb's Brigade)
Participants in the Breakthrough Battle at Petersburg on April 2, 1865
Fought on or near the present day grounds of Pamplin Historical Park
After its organization, the regiment first assembled at Knoxville, where it was assigned to Brigadier General C. L. Stevenson's Division on August 23, 1862. From there it moved to Loudon, Tennessee. On October 9, 1862, Major General Sam Jones advised General N. B. Forrest at Murfreesboro: I shall send Fain's Regiment also as soon as I can find a guard to replace it at Loudon.
Regimental reports quoted in substance continue the story. From Loudon, we were ordered to Bridgeport. Alabama and instructed to report to General Forrest at Murfreesboro. Remained till last half of November when we returned to Knoxville. General Stevenson ordered us to report to General Gracie at Cumberland Cap. Arrived December 8, after a severe march thru heavy snow and rain. While at Cumberland Gap made two marches into Kentucky about 30 miles to secure supplies. On the first one made during Christmas week into Harlan County, we brought out 56 beef cattle. The regiment is pretty well drilled, well armed, and would be very efficient if we had plenty of clothing and shoes.
The brigade commanded by Brigadier General Archibald Gracie Jr., to which the report referred had so many units attached to it at one time or another, that it is hardly worthwhile to trace its composition in detail, but the regiments which remained together until after the Battle of Chickamauga were the 43rd Alabama, Hilliard's Alabama Legion, and the 63rd Tennessee Regiment.
On June 19, 1863, the 63rd Tennessee left Cumberland Gap for Knoxville. Under General Buckner they moved by rail to Tullahoma to reinforce General Bragg, reaching there just in time to retreat with the army. Marched to Bridgeport; by rail back to Knoxville; remained in East Tennessee till the last half of August. Left Sweetwater in September to join the Army of Tennessee at LaFayette, Georgia. Skirmished at McLemore's Cove; lay in line of battle September 18-19; carried an aggregate of 404 men into assault on September 20th, came out with 202.
At Chickamauga Gracie's Brigade was in Buckner's Corps, Brigadier General William Preston's Division and consisted of the 43rd Alabama, Hilliard's Alabama Legion and the 63rd Tennessee. Lieutenant Colonel Abraham Fulkerson was in command of the 63rd and was severely wounded.
They remained in front of Chattanooga until October, then transferred to Johnson's Brigade, Buckner's Division. Soon afterward they were transferred to Lieutenant General James Longstreet's command in East Tennessee. They reached Knoxville November 28th and engaged in an assault on Fort Loudon on the 29th in which 15 were killed or wounded. Remained in front of Knoxville until December 4th when the siege raised. After several days and nights continuous marching reached Rogersville, December 9th. Engaged at Bean's Station December 14th with 2 killed, 17 wounded. The marches from Chattanooga to Knoxville, and from Knoxville to Rogersville were made in very severe weather, and nearly half the command was entirely barefooted. Since the engagement at Bean's Station the regiment had been in every march that has been made by the Army of East Tennessee up to the present time. It now had an aggregate of 405 present and willing to serve their country wherever ordered. This report was dated April 8, 1864 at Zollicoffer (now Bluff City).
Brigadier General Bushrod Johnson's Brigade was composed of the 17th, 23rd, 25th, 44th, and 63rd Tennessee Infantry Regiments. These regiments remained together until the end of the war. On December 31, 1864, Major Aiken was reported to be in command of the 63rd (until killed May 16th, 1864), and Colonel John S. Fulton, of the 44th, in command of the brigade. A Federal report dated October 8, 1863, stated that a scout had heard the men in Longstreet's Army talking; that they were much discouraged; and that on the march from Knoxville, 80 men deserted from the 63rd in one night.
Later reports state that on May 1, 1864, they marched from Bristol to Richmond, Virginia, to Drewry's Bluff. Charged the enemy in his works on the 16th; retired to Petersburg, and fought at Petersburg June 17th; at Walthall Junction June 19th; retired to Petersburg the 23rd; on the front the rest of June. On June 17th, at Petersburg, the 11th New Hampshire Volunteers captured the colors of the 63rd.
Relieved July 5th; at New Market in camp July 8 to 27; skirmished the 28th, moved to Chaffin's Farm July 31. Moved to Signal Hill August 11: remained in front of the enemy at Signal Hill till August 31, 1864.
On the move into Virginia, the 63rd was placed in Major General Robert F. Hoke's Division. On May 15, at Drewry's Bluff, the 63rd reported 311 effective, 351 present.
The report for September-October, 1864 is missing, but the final report for November -December 1864 stated as follows. During this two months the regiment remained in quarters on the lines of Chaffin's Farm in front of Fort Harrison until the 28th of December, when the regiment, with the brigade, was transferred to Heth's Division (Major General Henry Heath), III Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, and moved five miles to the right of Petersburg. The regiment was in no engagement during this period. It was wholly occupied in work on the bomb proofs of General Ewell's lines. Joined Archer's Brigade December 27, 1864 when Johnson's and Archer's Brigades were consolidated under Colonel (later brigadier general) William McComb. The units in Archer's Brigade were the 2nd Maryland Battalion, 7th and 14th Tennessee Infantry Regiments. On January 31, 1865, the 63rd Tennessee was reportedly commanded by Captain A. A. Blair; on February 28, by Captain John W. Roberson.
The regiment was surrendered and paroled at Appomattox Courthouse April 9, 1865 as part of Lieutenant General A. P. Hill's Corps, Heth's Division, McComb's Brigade. At this time the 17th, 23rd, 25th, 44th, and 63rd Tennessee Regiments were reported as consolidated into one unit, commander not shown. Colonel Fulkerson, in his history of the regiment in Lindsley's Annals said there were only 28 men left from the 63rd, under the command of Lieutenant E. L. Etter of Company "C".
A 63rd Tennessee Soldier's Pension Application
63rd Tennessee Volunteer Infantry Regiment
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Not For Fame Or Reward
Not For Place Or For Rank
Not Lured By Ambition
Or Goaded By Necessity
But In Simple
Obedience To Duty
As They Understood It
These Men Suffered All - Sacrificed All
Dared all - And Died
Inscription written by Dr. Randolph Harrison McKim and carved
on the north side of the Confederate Memorial sculpted by Moses Ezekiel
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