An Incomplete History of the
52nd Regiment, Georgia Volunteer Infantry
Army of the Tennessee
The 52nd Infantry Regiment served entirely in the west. They would be an interesting regiment to research since they followed an unusual path through the war. My book on "The Boys of the Fifth" shows some of the same battles at Vicksburg, Tennessee, etc., but like most regiments, the "Fifth" participated in Chickamauga, and the Atlanta campaign.
The 52nd was organized on 16 MAY 1862. It surrendered at Vicksburg, Warren County, Mississippi on 4 JUL 1863 and was paroled at Vicksburg later that same month. Declared exchanged on 12 SEP 1863.
According to Sifakis, they were surrendered by General Joseph E. Johnston at Durham Station, Orange county, North Carolina on 26 APR 1865, but Crute states that they were detailed to protect a wagon train at Columbus, Mississippi on 23 FEB 1865 and were surrendered on 4 MAY 1865. Actually, both sources are correct. The majority of the 52nd was with Johnston in the Carolinas, and they were surrendered by him on April 26th. However, a significant number were detached to guard the wagon train in Columbus, Mississippi after the battle of Nashville. They remained separated from the rest of the regiment for the duration of the war. Apparently these were volunteers for this duty, because nearly every company was represented in this detachment. Or maybe the company commanders would have selected the men to serve in this detachment.
First Commander: Wier Boyd, Colonel
Rufus R. Asbury, Lt. Col.
James J. Findley, Maj.
John J. Moore, Maj.
Charles D. Phillips, Lt. Col., Col.
Solomon H. Van Diviere, Lt. Col.
Click here for more detailed account of the 52nd's activities.
Click here for Company G's of Union County Muster Roll.
Part 1: Cumberland Gap to Vicksburg
March 1862 to July 1863
March 13, 1862 52nd Georgia Volunteer Infantry begins mustering in at Camp McDonald; Big Shanty, Georgia
[The 52nd was at Camp MacDonald, Big Shanty, now Kennesaw, at the time of the “Great Locomotive Chase” when Union raiders stole the locomotive the General. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Locomotive_Chase One Union County man was on guard duty and helped give chase.]
March 28, 1862 Major General E. Kirby Smith is notified in a letter from Confederate military headquarters in Richmond, Virginia, that the 52nd Regiment, Georgia Volunteer Infantry is currently being raised and will be under his command.
April 24, 1862 Camp Van Dorn; Knoxville, Tennessee - Abstract of the return of the Department of East Tennessee (Major General E. Kirby Smith, commanding) notes that the men of the 52nd Georgia Regiment are still unarmed. This problem was later alleviated when the regiment was issued brand-new .58 caliber Enfields. These rifles had been confiscated by Confederate officials from the C.S.S. Nashville. The rifles had been bought from England and were on their way to Georgia governor Joseph Brown.
May 16, 1862 The 52nd Regiment, Georgia Volunteer Regiment is officially organized. They are assigned to Leadbetter's (1st)Brigade, Department of East Tennessee. First Commander and field officers of the 52nd were: Wier Boyd, Colonel Rufus R. Asbury, Lieutenant Colonel Charles D. Phillips, Lieutenant Colonel Solomon H. Van Diviere, Lieutenant Colonel James J. Findley, Major John Jay Moore, Major
May 31, 1862 The men of the 52nd Regiment are assigned to Barton's (4th)Brigade. They march to Cumberland Gap.
June 6, 1862 After the withdrawal of General Morgan's Federal troops from Cumberland Gap, General Seth Barton's regiments move south along the Clinch River, to Clinton, Tennessee. There they await further orders.
June 10, 1862 Return Abstract shows the 52nd Georgia assigned to Thomas H. Taylor's (1st) Brigade, organized on this date.
June 12, 1862 The 52nd Georgia is ordered to go by rail to Morristown, Tennessee, and then to the crossing at Powell's River. They were traveling with T.H. Taylor's (1st) Brigade.
June 17-18 1862 Cumberland Gap The Confederate works at Cumberland Gap are "turned" and they are forced to fall back to the East Tennessee & Georgia railroad.
July 3, 1862 Assigned to Seth M. Barton's (3rd)Brigade, Carter L. Stevenson's (1st)Division , Department of East Tennessee, (E. Kirby Smith, commanding).
August 14 - September 16, 1862 General Carter Stevenson's division of Georgians lay seige to General Morgan's federal soldiers at Cumberland Gap.
September 17, 1862 Stevenson's division, containing 9,000 men, reopens Cumberland Gap and enters Kentucky, joining the rest of General Kirby Smith's army. Cumberland Gap had been under the control of G.W. Morgan's Union Division of 8,000 men before being forced northward by the Confederates.
September 17 - December 24, 1862 The 52nd Georgia marches northward through Kentucky, advancing through Lexington, Harrodsburg, and Frankfort. They are held in reserve, and thus are not involved in any of the major battles during this time.
October 8, 1862 The 52nd Georgia is held in reserve at the battle of Perryville, Kentucky.
November 24, 1862 General Joseph E. Johnston assumes command over Kirby Smith, Braxton Bragg, and John C. Pemberton.
November 25, 1862 The resignation of Colonel Wier Boyd goes into effect. He had submitted his resignation on November 1st.Wier Boyd was suffering from a "disease of the kidneys and liver". Colonel Boyd is replaced by Charles D. Phillips in the command of the 52nd Regiment.
December 24, 1862 Arrived in Tazewell, Tennessee, returning from the campaign in Kentucky.
December 25, 1862 Departed for Vicksburg, Mississippi.
December 26-29, 1862 Chickasaw Bayou Walnut Hills, Mississippi The 52nd Georgia arrived at Chickasaw Bayou late in the evening of the 27th. They were quickly marched to the defensive works at the Indian mound overlooking Chickasaw Bayou. They were placed in the line of battle early in the morning of the 28th. The Georgians, along with the other Confederate defenders at the Indian mound, repulsed five separate attacks by William T. Sherman's federal troops. The Union army left hundreds of soldiers lying dead in front of the defensive works of the Confederates. The 52nd regiment had one man killed and three wounded.
January 2, 1863 The 52nd Georgia, now under the command of Colonel Phillips, had 377 men available for duty. (Barton's Brigade had 2,100 total available)
April, 1863 The 52nd Georgia was at Vicksburg, Mississippi, along with the rest of Stevenson's Division.
May 7, 1863 Stevenson's Division is in defensive line South of the city of Vicksburg, along the road from Warrenton, Mississippi to Hall's Ferry on the Big Black River.
May 14, 1863 Stevenson's, Loring's, and Bowen's Divisions are all encamped at Edward's Station (23,000 troops).
May 15, 1863 - 5:00pm Stevenson's Division (with 52nd GA), at the rear of the army, leaves its position near Edward's Depot. They march in a line of battle.
May 16, 1863 - 3:00am Stevenson's Division reached the head of the column, in bivouac on Raymond Road.
May 16, 1863 Champion Hill Bakers Creek, Mississippi Stevenson's Division was on the crest of Champion's Hill. This was the extreme left side of the Confederate line. Barton's Brigade was at the right side of Stevenson's Division, but in order to keep the Yankees from turning the left flank, they were later moved to the extreme left end of the line. The left end of Barton's Brigade was resting on Baker's Creek, next to the bridge. The main Federal assault was against these troops. 25,000 Federal soldiers attacked Stevenson's Division of a mere 6,500 men. When this line finally broke, the Union victory at Champion's Hill was assured. Colonel Charles D. Phillips was reported missing after the battle. He was wounded in the head and hands during the fighting, and in the confusion of the Confederate retreat, was left behind. He was captured by the Federals. Command of the 52nd Regiment was then turned over to Major John Jay Moore. Barton's Brigade held the bridge over Baker's Creek, and then fell back to Edward's Depot. Shortly after 4:00pm, Stevenson's Division was ordered to withdraw to Big Black River Bridge. They arrived there at 1:00am, and bivouacked near Bovina.
May 17, 1863 Big Black River Bridge, Mississippi Brigadier General Carter Stevenson stated in his report to Major R.W. Memminger (Assistant Adjutant-General) that his division was not involved in the battle at Big Black River, but they did occupy the heights on the West bank to cover the crossing of the troops who had occupied the entrenchments on the east bank of the river.
May 18-July 4, 1863 Siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi The city of Vicksburg was shelled around the clock by Union army and naval batteries. But sickness and starvation were the biggest problems. Barton's Brigade, containing the 52nd Georgia, occupied the riverfront and the fortifications on the right side of the Confederate line (South of the city of Vicksburg).
July 4, 1863 Confederate troops at Vicksburg are surrendered by General Pemberton.
July 7-9, 1863 The 52nd Regiment is paroled. The soldiers are given a thirty day furlough. It is difficult to confirm what exactly happened to the soldiers at this time. It appears that the soldiers of the 52nd simply returned home for a much-needed rest. These brave volunteers would need all their strength when they were exchanged and reorganized in the Fall...
Part 2: Missionary Ridge to Atlanta
September 1863 to July 1864
September 12, 1863 52nd Georgia Regiment is officially exchanged.
September - October, 1863 The 52nd Regiment is reorganized at Sweetwater, Tennessee; under new Brigade commander, General Marcellus A. Stovall.
October, 1863 Assignment: Marcellus A. Stovall's Brigade, Alexander P. Stewart's Division, John C. Breckinridge's (2nd) Corps , Army of Tennessee. The 52nd Regiment is shown as having 232 men available, 197 arms, and 39 rounds of ammunition per man.
November 23 - 25, 1863 Chattanooga, Tennessee
Following its defeat at Chickamauga, the Union army retreated to Chattanooga where it was besieged by the Confederates. By October 30th, after a month long siege, supply lines were reopened and the Union Army of the Cumberland was reinforced. On November 24, 1863, the 52nd Georgia was in the line of battle South of the city, just East of Chattanooga Creek. On November 25th, the 52nd Regiment was on Missionary Ridge. Stewart's Division was located on the left end of the line of battle. After the defeat at Missionary Ridge, Bragg's army retreats to Dalton, Georgia where they set up winter camp.
November, 1863 Major John Jay Moore resigns his command of the 52nd Regiment. He is replaced by Rufus R. Asbury.
December 27, 1863 General Joe Johnston again resumes command of the Army of Tennessee, replacing General Bragg after his loss at Missionary Ridge.
April 30, 1864 Assignment: Marcellus A. Stovall's Brigade, Alexander P. Stewart's Division, John Bell Hood's Corps, Army of Tennessee. (Joseph E. Johnston, commanding)
May 5-11, 1864 Rocky Face Ridge Other Names: Buzzard Roost, Mill Creek Gap, Dug Gap 52nd Regiment was deployed as skirmishers during this battle, with Stewart's (detached) Division at Dug Gap. The rest of Hood's Corps anchored the right side of the Confederate line at the northern entrance to Crow Valley.
May 14-15, 1864 Resaca Johnston Retreats from Dalton and reinforces his line at Resaca. Hood's Corps is again on the right end of the Confederate line. 52nd Georgia Regiment was on the front line, actively engaged in the fight. They assaulted the Union lines, pushing the Yankees back to their fortifications. A strong force was discovered there, and the attacking Confederates were forced to retire. The battle is a victory for the Confederates, but Johnston is forced to retreat thirty miles after hearing that Union forces crossed the Oostanaula River five miles to his rear.
May 18, 1864 Hood's Corps are on the right side of the Confederate line, on the hills about 5 miles north of Cassville, Georgia.
May 19, 1864 The Army of Tennessee is in a defensive line on the Western & Atlantic railroad just South of Cassville.
May 20 - 23, 1864 Joseph Johnston's army has been forced to shift its line southward once again. The army of Tennessee is now on the high ground midway between Cartersville and Allatoona, on the Western & Atlantic railroad.
May 25 - June 4, 1864 New Hope Church A.P. Stewart's Division was at the center of the Confederate line. His left flank was anchored at New Hope Church. The 52nd Regiment was engaged with the enemy for two hours, fighting on the open battleground, unprotected by the log barricades which were occupied by the remainder of Stewart's division. The Brigade held their position all day, repulsing repeated assaults on the line. Colonel Rufus R. Asbury was wounded in the battle, but was later able to return to command of his regiment.
June 6, 1864 The 52nd, along with the rest of Hood's Corps, is on the right side of the Confederate defensive works, at the base of Brush mountain. They have the north face of the mountain to their backs. Wheeler's cavalry is covering the right flank.
June 27, 1864 Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia General Joseph E. Johnston withdrew his army to a new, previously selected position on Kennesaw Mountain. This entrenched arc-shaped line, to the north and west of Marietta, protected the Western & Atlantic Railroad, the supply link to Atlanta. The 52nd (Hood's Corps) was on the left end of the defensive line, about two miles south of Kennesaw Mountain. Sherman decided on a frontal attack against the entrenched Confederates at Kennesaw Mountain. On the morning of June 27, Sherman sent his troops forward after an artillery bombardment. The Federal troops made little headway against the determined Confederates. The fighting ended by noon, and Sherman suffered high casualties.
July 8, 1864 Johnston's Army of Tennessee is now placed on the west bank of the Chattahoochie River.
July 20, 1864 Peachtree Creek, Georgia Joseph E. Johnston had been relieved of command by president Jefferson Davis, and John B. Hood was selected to replace him. Hood's Corps was now under the command of General B.F. Cheatham. Hood attacked Thomas with Stewart's and Hardee's Divisions after the Federals crossed Peachtree Creek. The 52nd Regiment was on the left side of the 3:00pm assault. The determined attack threatened to break the Union line at many locations. Ultimately, however, the Yankees held, and the Rebels fell back.
July 22, 1864 Atlanta, Georgia Late in the afternoon, Hood ordered General Benjamin F. Cheatham to attack the Yankees on the east side of Atlanta with his entire corps. The 52nd Regiment was in the vanguard of this assault. They fought in the area of the Troup Hurt house. This assault is immortalized for future generations in the painting at the Cyclorama in Atlanta.
July 26, 1864 Assignment: Marcellus A. Stovall's Brigade, Henry Clayton's Division, Stephen D. Lee's Corps, Army of Tennessee. (John Bell Hood, commanding)
July 28, 1864
Battle of the Poor House Georgia
Having no luck in capturing Atlanta with attacks from the north and from the east, Sherman now decided to attack from the west. He ordered General Howard to move from the left wing of his army to the right, and cut Hood's last railroad supply line between East Point and Atlanta. Hood anticipated this move and sent the two corps of Lt. Gen. Stephen D. Lee (with the exception of Stovall's Brigade) and Lt. Gen. Alexander P. Stewart to intercept the Union force. On the afternoon of July 28, these two divisions marched southward out of Atlanta, then turned west to assault Howard at Ezra Church. Lee's Corps crashed headlong into Howard's Federals, and later in the afternoon Stewart's Corps joined the battle also. After six separate assaults on the Federal lines, the Confederate casualties numbered 2,500. The Federals lost only 700. Howard failed, however, in his attempt to cut the railroad. Luckily for the men of the 52nd Regiment, they had been left behind in the trenches Northeast of Atlanta.
July 29 - August 25, 1863 Siege of Atlanta
August 31-September 1, 1864 Jonesboro, Georgia Hood ordered General Hardee to rush his corps down to Jonesboro, with Lee's Corps following, and attack at first light on the 31st. Hardee's attack didn't begin until 2:00 p.m., giving the Yankees time to entrench. The 52nd Regiment was onthe left side of the Confederate assault. They approached to within 40 yards of the enemy's entrenchments, but failed to dislodge him. Lee's Corps was ordered to return to Atlanta early in the morning of September 1st.
September 2, 1864 Hood evacuates Atlanta.
September 4 - 14, 1864 10 days armistice between the armies around Atlanta, in order for William T. Sherman to evict all civilians from their homes in Atlanta. The 52nd is encamped at Lovejoy's Station.
Part 3: Franklin, Tennessee to Bentonville, North Carolina
September, 1864 to April 26, 1865
September 21, 1864 Hood's Army of Tennessee reached Palmetto, on the Atlanta & Montgomery railroad. They stayed there until September 30, 1864.
September 30 - October 3, 1864 The 52nd, with the rest of Hood's army, marched from Palmetto to Big Shanty. They crossed the Chattahoochie River on October 1st.
October 11, 1864 The 52nd crossed the Coosa River ten miles west of Rome, Georgia.
October 12, 1864 Reached Resaca, Georgia.
October 13, 1864 Hood's Army of Tennessee reaches Tunnel Hill, on the Western & Atlantic railroad. Hood then turns west and passes through Snake Creek Gap.
October 18, 1864 Marched into Alabama (Blue Pond), where the Confederate troops received new uniforms. They then proceeded to Gadsden, Alabama.
October 26, 1864 Hood's Army of Tennessee is just south of Decatur, Alabama.
November 19 - 26, 1864 The Army of Tennessee pursues the fleeing Federals from Florence, Alabama to Columbia, Tennessee. Hood has divided his divisions into three wings on the march. They pass through Lawrenceburg, Tennessee on November 22. The 52nd Regt. is now in Stephen D. Lee's Corps - Henry D. Clayton's Division - Marcellus A. Stovall's Brigade.
November 29, 1864 "The Affair at Spring Hill" - The 52nd GA, along with the majority of Lee's Corps, is assigned to 'demonstrate' against General Schofield's front, while the rest of Hood's army flanks the Federals on both sides. At least that was the plan ... While Lee's Corps performed its job - freezing Schofield in place - the attack on the flanks failed miserably. The Federal army was allowed to escape the trap, marching out after dark to Franklin, Tennessee.
November 30, 1864 Franklin, Tennessee General John B. Hood marched in rapid pursuit of John M. Schofield's retreating Union army. Schofield's advance reached Franklin about sunrise on November 30 and quickly formed a defensive line on the southern edge of town. The Confederate attack began at 3:30 p.m. Cheatham's and Stewart's Corps attacked the Federal line. (Stephen D. Lee's Corps - and the 52nd GA - had not yet arrived on the battlefield) The Confederates took the first line of Yankee entrenchments, but the Union soldiers didn't retreat. They remained in the second line of defenses. All that separated the two armies was a mound of dirt. they fought into the night, shooting into each other from a distance of just a few feet. Sometime during the night the Federal soldiers quietly abandoned this line and marched quickly out of Franklin.When Lee's Corps arrived that night, the 52nd Regiment was placed in the second line of the abandoned Yankee works, near the Columbia turnpike.
December 15-16, 1864 Nashville, Tennessee After the battle of Franklin, Hood marched his army onward to Nashville. The army of Tennessee entrenched South of the city in the frozen soil. General Hood spent his time from December 2nd to the 15th desparately requesting reinforcements from the Confederate government, while his shoeless soldiers tried to keep from freezing to death in the unusually harsh Tennessee winter. The 52nd was in the center of the Confederate line. Attacks on the Confederate left began on the afternoon of the 15th, and the weary Confederates were pushed back. By this time it was dark and fighting stopped for the day. During the night, Hood drew his army into a U-shaped line in the Brentwood Hills. Now Lee's Corps, who had held the center, were now on the far right side of the Confederate line. Here the 52nd GA, along with the rest of Henry D. Clayton's division, defended against an assault by two Federal Corps. This assault was beaten back violently. Brigade and division commanders in Lee's Corps had to restrain their men from counterattacking against the failed bluecoat assaults. The left side of the Confederate line wasn't nearly as successful, and eventually the corps of both Cheatham and Stewart retreated. Stephen D. Lee and his troops were left to defend the rear of Hood's army. Clayton's Division was rearguard for the army of Tennesse until they reached Duck River, where they were relieved by Forrest's cavalry. Hood retreated to Tupelo, Mississippi, where he resigned his command on January (Friday) 13th, 1865.
December, 1864 - March, 1865 The whereabouts of the 52nd Regiment after the retreat from Nashville is uncertain. In February, 1865 they are listed as being on detached service in Mississippi to guard a wagon train, which was bringing supplies to the remnants of the army of Tennessee in the Carolinas. They arrived in North Carolina in time to participate in the battle at Bentonville. They were temporarily attached to the 39th Georgia Regiment, in Cumming's Georgia Brigade which was under the command of Robert J. Henderson.
March 19 - 21, 1865 Bentonville, North Carolina Although outnumbered by the Federal troops 2 to 1, General Johnston decided to make a stand at Bentonville, North Carolina. After repulsing the Federal attack on the right flank in the morning, the right wing of the Confederate army went on the attack around 3:00pm. The Union left was crushed by this assault and fell back in confusion. Only the timely arrival of Union reinforcements stopped the advancement of the tattered Southern army. Fighting ended at dusk, though intermittent firing continued. There was no fighting the next day, but more Union reinforcements arrived. Johnston's army was now outnumbered 3 to 1. Cumming's Brigade arrived in Bentonville just in time to beat back an assault by the Federal troops. Along with members of the 8th Texas Cavalry, the 52nd regiment forced back the Union troops a distance of 1 1/2 miles before stopping. On the evening of the 21st, Johnston ordered his men to begin a withdrawal across Mill Creek and onward to Smithfield.
On April 18, Johnston signed an armistice with Sherman at the Bennett House, and on April 26, formally surrendered his army.
52nd Georgia was surrendered by General Joseph E. Johnston at Durham Station, Orange County, North Carolina on April 26, 1865.