(Continued from last week)
President Jefferson Davis visited the men of the Army of Tennessee on Saturday, Oct. 10.
He “rode around our lines today…was greeted with a great deal of enthusiasm…was accompanied by Generals’ Bragg, Cheatham, Maney and our Gen. O. F. Strahl.”
Men of the 51st Tennessee were relieved from picket duty by the 13th Tennessee. The consolidated 13th and 154th Tennessee infantry regiments were commanded by Col. R. W. Pittman. Tiptonians served in both regiments with the most in Co. D, 154th regiment where they had enlisted at Randolph in 1861. (In the Battle of Chickamauga these men had captured 300 Yankees and the flag of the 77th Pennsylvania infantry; their ordnance officer reported these men firing 10,338 rounds at the enemy during the battle.)
The men of the “Tipton Rifles,” in common with their comrades of the 4th Tennessee (O. F. Strahl’s brigade) endured picket duty and rain for the next 13 days. On the 17th, the men of the 9th Tennessee (Geo. E. Maney’s brigade), were stationed behind temporary breastworks they had constructed. On Sunday, the 18th, Van Oldham of the 9th Tennessee wrote:
“The Yanks and their works are plainly visible from our position. I have come back to the wagons four miles in the rear to draw rations where I will remain until fit for duty. The rations for the men are cooked there and carried to them by a detail.”
On Oct. 22, D. C. Neal and the men of the 51st Tennessee infantry (Tipton has 3-and-a-half companies in this regiment), learn that Cheatham’s division (which includes all of Tipton’s infantry soldiers) is ordered to move by rail 40 miles to Charleston (East Tennessee). The 51st Tennessee is in Gen. Marcus J. Wright’s brigade. It was on Friday, Oct. 23, that Cheatham’s division began their movement to upper East Tennessee. The 51st Tennessee entrained that night. Col. John Chester being sick, Lt. Col. John Gracey Hall of Tipton commanded the regiment.
William Dillon of the 4th Tennessee wrote: “We marched on the Knoxville and Chattanooga Railroad and it is very hard marching; rain fell all morning in torrents and the ties are so slippery a man could hardly walk. This evening we marched four miles further reaching Tyner’s Station….awaiting for a train to take us up the road towards Knoxville.”
A soldier in the 9th Tennessee noted the division was moving to reinforce Gen. Carter L. Stevenson’s troops.
The sickly Van Oldham wrote: “We were waked this morning by barefoot men with wagons coming to stay while the division moved…An ambulance came for me and others and carried us to a place called the brigade hospital. The hospital is a Negro cabin in a farmer's yard. There is no surgeon, no rations and no person to draw rations.”
On Sunday Oct. 25, at 2 a.m., the 4th Tennessee infantry marched to the railroad, got on the cars and rode the 42 miles arriving at Charleston that day where they joined the rest of Cheatham’s division.
D. C. Neal of the 51st Tennessee wrote: “We are all at Charleston on the Hiwasee River…opposite Calhoun on the railroad. Gen. (Marcus J.) Wright commands the post; troops going up the road; our brigade remains here.”
Col. John Chester arrived on the 27th….(by the 28th all of Cheatham’s division had moved leaving Wright’s brigade to repair the railroad bridge over the Hiwasee.)”
Continued next week.