Officially organized at Fort Donelson,
Tennessee, on January 7, 1862, the 53rd Tennessee
Infantry was composed primarily of men from Giles and
Marshall Counties, Tennessee. Many of the Marshall County
men came from the area around Cornersville, which was
still part of Giles County in 1862. Giles Countian Alfred
Harris Abernathy was elected Colonel of the Regiment.
The men who composed the nine companies of
the regiment had begun forming in December, 1861, and had
assembled at Camp Weakley, near Nashville. Nine companies
were mustered into Confederate service at Fort Donelson:
Company A - Captain Theo Westmoreland
- Men from Giles County.
Company B - Captain William B. Holden
- Men from Marshall County.
Company C - Captain Alfred H.
Abernathy - Men from Gile County.
Company D - Captain Thomas F. Winston
- Men from Giles and Marshall.
Company E - Captain Isaac H. Hill -
Men from Giles and Marshall.
Company F - Captain William N. Baker
- Men from Giles and Perry County.
Company G - Captain James D. Bevers -
Men from Giles County.
Company I - Captain John R. White -
Men from Giles County.
Company K - Captain Milton C.
Alexander - Men from Giles County.
Company H had also been formed with
men from Nashville, but did not have sufficient men to be
sworn into Confederate service. These men soon left Fort
Donelson without permission. A second Company H was
organized in late 1862.
Giles Countian Hans H. Aymett replaced
Alfred Harris Abernathy as Captain of Company C when
Abernathy was elected Colonel of the regiment. Thomas F.
Winston of was elected Lieutenant Colonel and was
replaced by William H. Wilkes as Captain of Company D.
The Major elected was William N. Baker of Perry County,
who was replaced by John R. Coble as Captain of Company
The 53rd Tennessee had been almost decimated
by measles and had less than 300 men fit for duty when
they became part of the original garrison of Fort
Donelson in January, 1862. Among those who had died were:
The mission of Fort Donelson was to watch
over the Cumberland River and stop any Union gunboats or
troops that might be trying to reach Nashville. The
original garrison was small, but was soon increased to
approximately 15,000 as Confederate troops poured in from
Tennessee and Kentucky. Union General Grant attacked the
fort with 27,000 men and six gunboats on February 14. The
53rd Tennessee was part of Heiman's Brigade, along with
the 10th Tennessee, the 48th Tennessee, and the 27th
Alabama Infantry regiments. Heiman's Brigade took part in
some of the heaviest of the fighting. After several days
fighting the fort was surrendered on February 16, 1862,
and the men of the 53rd Tennessee were part of more than
11,000 Confederate soldiers that were taken to northern
prisons. Among the men of the 53rd Tennessee who died
during that battle were:
Richard Tucker Abernathy, son of Elisha and
Mary Ann Evans Abernathy, told of being wounded five
times during the Battle of Fort Donelson: "I went to
the hospital after I was wounded. I stayed in the
hospital 3 months then was carried out to Gilbert
Abernathy's and stayed four months. I was carried home in
a buggy and made the trip very well - my mother was going
to have my funeral preached Sunday and I got home
Saturday afternoon - she heard I was dead."
After spending seven months as
prisoners-of-war, the officers and men of the 53rd
Tennessee taken down the Mississippi River to Vicksburg,
Mississippi, where they were released on parole, then
declared exchanged on November 10, 1862. Colonel Alfred
H. Abernathy resigned and William H. Wilkes succeeded him
as Colonel of the regiment.
The 53rd Tennessee served in the Department
of Mississippi and East Louisiana during early 1863 and a
detachment of the regiment was involved in the siege,
bombardment and surrender of Port Hudson, Louisiana,
during May, June and July. In July, a detachment of the
regiment was present during the siege and assault of
Jackson, Mississippi. They remained in southern
Mississippi and Louisiana until they moved to Mobile,
Alabama, in September, 1863. From Mobile, the 53rd
Tennessee was ordered to join the Army of Tennessee near
Chattanooga. Lieutenant Colonel John R. White was in
command of the regiment when they reached Missionary
Ridge. The battle had been lost before they arrived, thus
they joined the Confederate Army of Tennessee as it
retreated to Dalton, Georgia. On December 14, 1863, the
53rd Tennessee was in Quarles' Brigade of Breckinridge's
Division. The regiment reported 212 effectives, 227
present, 220 arms.
On January 20, 1864, the 53rd Tennessee was
ordered to the Department of Alabama, Mississippi and
Eastern Louisiana and were back at Mobile on April 2,
1864. The regiment reported 222 effective soldiers out of
a total of 339, present and absent. The 53rd Tennessee
then returned to Georgia and were soon involved in the
fighting north of Atlanta, including Pumpkin Vine Creek,
Dallas, New Hope Church, Allatoona, Marietta, Kennesaw
Mountain, Peach Tree Creek and Lick Skillett Road. The
53rd Tennessee was present at the siege of Atlanta.
After the fall of Atlanta, the 53rd
Tennessee followed General Hood to Tennessee. On October
26, they were in Decatur, Alabama. They fought at
Franklin in November and at Nashville in December. As
Hood's Army of Tennessee retreated southward after being
soundly defeated at Franklin then Nashville, the 53rd
Tennessee was involved in a skirmish at Columbia,
Tennessee, on the 20th of December. Retreating on through
Pulaski during the Christmas holidays, they soon reached
the safety of the Tennessee River in north Alabama.
On March 31, 1865, the 53rd Tennessee was
reported as part of Quarles' Brigade at Smithfield, North
Carolina. The 53rd Tennessee was not accounted for in the
final order of battle for General Joseph E. Johnston's
Army of Tennessee on April 9, 1865. Some of the men of
the 53rd Tennessee surrendered at Greensboro, North
Carolina, on May 1, 1865, as part of the 4th Consolidated
Others of the 53rd Tennessee Infantry who
did not survive the war:
Others who served with the 53rd are:
- C. A.
Ashworth died a prisoner of war, April, 1862.
H. Bass died a prisoner of war.
D. Bevers died a prisoner of war.
F. Brown died December 10, 1862.
C. Cashion died a prisoner of war, February 27,
J. Dillehay died June 15, 1862.
H. Emerson died April, 1862.
J. Estes died September 24, 1862.
H. Fowler died February 21, 1862.
S. Griffis died March 12, 1862.
M. Henderson died March 15, 1862.
Riley Henson died June 22, 1862.
Horn died April 17, 1862.
- E. F.
Keltner died June 2, 1862.
Calvin Kimbrough died a prisoner of war, March 8,
- E. W.
Langhorn died February 22, 1862.
H. Maxey died March 2, 1862.
H. McConnell died March 10, 1862.
McNease died March 28, 1862.
P. McNease died April 12, 1862.
D. Mitchell died July 24, 1862.
B. Morris died a prisoner of war, October 28,
A. Osborne died April 12, 1862.
A. Osborne died October 4, 1864.
Pamplin died March 6, 1862.
James Petty died in 1864 in Georgia.
Currin Richardson died in 1864 in Georgia.
H. Turner died in 1863 in Louisiana.
J. Williams died March 3, 1862.
Submitted by Bob Wamble
William V. MOORE served as a Pvt. I Co. 53rd INF (submitted by:Robt. Yates)