Organized at Nashville, Tennessee, May 6, 1861; mustered into Confederate service at Lynchburg, Virginia, May 12, 1861; merged into 4th Consolidated Tennessee Infantry Regiment April, 1865; paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina May 1, 1865.
Captain (later colonel) William B. Bate was the moving spirit in the organization of the regiment, and he bestowed upon it the name, Walker Legion,” to compliment L. P. Walker, Secretary of War for the Confederate States.
Almost immediately after organization the regiment moved to Lynchburg, Virginia, where it was mustered into Confederate service by Colonel E. Kirby Smith, being the second regiment from Tennessee to be mustered into the Confederate service, whence it derived its name as the 2nd Confederate Infantry Regiment.
The regiment was first under fire at Aquia Creek, Virginia, on June 1, 1861, where it supported Confederate batteries in an engagement with Federal warships. It was then placed in the brigade commanded by Brigadier General Theophilus H. Holmes, along with the 1st Arkansas Infantry Regiment, which brigade constituted the extreme right wing of General Pierre G. T. Beauregard’s Army. About the last of June, the regiment was ordered to Fredericksburg to embark on an expedition down the Rappahanock River which resulted in the capture of the Federal mail packet, the Saint Nicholas, the Halifax,laden with coffee, and the Mary of Virginia, laden with ice.
On July 19, 1861, the brigade joined Beauregard’s forces at Manassas, preparatory to the battle of July 21. Holmes’ Brigade was placed in support of Brigadier General Richard S. Ewell’s Brigade, and was not actively engaged in the fighting, although it came under heavy fire while shifting position in the afternoon of the battle.
On September 13, 1861, the regiment was transferred to Colonel J. G. Walker’s Brigade, stationed at Fredericksburg, along with the 1st Arkansas and the 12th North Carolina Volunteer Infantry Regiments. It remained in this brigade until December 30, 1861, when it moved to Evansport, now Quantico, Virginia, and was placed in the brigade commanded by Brigadier General Samuel G. French, in company with the 2nd Arkansas Infantry Battalion, the 35th Georgia, 22nd North Carolina, and 47th Virginia Infantry Regiments. Here the regiment assisted in the erection of batteries and other defenses. In February, 1862 the regiment re-enlisted for three years, or the duration of the war.
The regiment ended its service in the Virginia theatre on February 9, 1862, when, along with the 1st (Maney’s) and 3rd (Vaughn’s) Tennessee Infantry Regiments, it was ordered to Knoxville to assist in the defenses of East Tennessee. The fall of Fort Donelson on February 16 necessitated a change in plans, and, after a brief furlough, the regiment rendezvoused at Huntsville, Alabama, about the last of March, 1862. It reorganized on April 2, 1862, and moved to Corinth, Mississippi, to take part in the Battle of Shiloh, April 6-7, 1862.
At Shiloh, the regiment was placed in Brigadier General Patrick R. Cleburne’s Brigade, together with the 15th Arkansas, the 6th Mississippi, the 5th (later 35th), 23rd, and 24th Tennessee Infantry regiments. This brigade was in Major General William J. Hardee’s Corps. Colonel Bate reported that his regiment entered the battle with only 365 effectives. Colonel Bate was severely wounded, and many of the other officers killed and wounded in a charge on the first day of the battle, and the command of the regiment fell upon Lieutenant Colonel Goodall. On the second day, the 2nd Tennessee and the 13th Arkansas regiments were temporarily assigned to Brigadier General A. P. Stewart’s brigade. In the two days’ fighting, the regiment lost 235 men killed, wounded and missing, almost two-thirds of those engaged.
Before Colonel Bate recovered from his wounds, he was promoted to brigadier general, and later to major general, and never resumed command of the regiment. Lieutenant Colonel Goodall resigned, and Captain John A. Butler was elected lieutenant colonel, and commanded the regiment until he was killed in the Battle of Richmond, Kentucky. The regiment remained in Cleburne’s Brigade until just before the Battle of Muifreesboro December 31, 1862. During this time, it took part in the siege of Corinth, the withdrawal to Tupelo, Mississippi, and the movement to Chattanooga, Tennessee. When General Bragg started on his invasion of Kentucky, Cleburne’s Brigade was detached for a time to operate with Major General E. Kirby Smith, and was with General Smith at the Battle of Richmond, Kentucky, on August 30, 1862. Here Clebume was in command of a division, and Colonel Benjamin J. Hill was in active command of the brigade.
In the Battle of Richmond, the regiment entered the fight with 300 men, and lost in casualties 112 men, including its commander, Lieutenant Colonel John A. Butler. The brigade then rejoined General Bragg’s army in time to take part in the Battle of Perryville, October 8, 1862, under the command of its senior captain, C. P. Moore. From Perryville, the regiment retreated to Knoxville, where Captain W. D. Robison was elected colonel, and W. 3. Hale lieutenant colonel. Colonel Robison remained in command until he was wounded at Jonesboro, Georgia; he was its last colonel. From Knoxville, the regiment moved to Middle Tennessee, and was stationed at Shelbyville and College Grove prior to the Battle of Murfreesboro, December 31, 1862.
Cleburne was promoted to Major General December 13, 1862, and commanded the 2nd Division in Hardee’s Corps at the Battle of Murfreesboro. Colonel (later Brigadier General) Lucius E. Polk was in command of the brigade in Cleburne’s Division. The brigade now consisted of the 1st, 13th, 15th Arkansas regiments, the 2nd, 5th (35th), Tennessee Regiment, and the 5th Confederate Regiment, which was a consolidation of 2nd (Walker’s) and the 21st Tennessee Regiments. Regimental casualties in the Battle of Murfreeshoro amounted to 63 men killed, wounded and missing.
After Murfreesboro, the regiment wintered at Tullahoma, and in the late spring was detailed to guard the railroad south of Tullahoma. It rejoined Polk’s Brigade at Bridgeport, Alabama, on the retreat to Chattanooga, and as part of this brigade participated in the battles of Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, and Ringgold Gap. It entered the Battle of Chickamauga with 264 men, and lost 159 in casualties. At Ringgold Gap, with Lieutenant Colonel William J. Hale commanding, it had only 133 men, and lost nine. The brigade now consisted of the 1st Arkansas, 3rd and 5th Confederate, 2nd, 35th and 48th Tennessee Infantry Regiments.
Early in 1864 the brigade was ordered to Mississippi to re-enforce Lieutenant General Leonidas Polk, but on reaching Montgomery, Alabama, was ordered to return to Dalton, Georgia. The regimental reports state that from April to August, 1864 it was almost incessantly engaged in fighting, skirmishing, and marching, taking part in the battles of Resaca, New Hope Church, and the “Dead Angle” at Kennesaw Mountain. On September 14, at Peachtree Creek, Lieutenant Colonel Hale, and two companies, consisting now of only 40 men, were captured.
In July, 1864, on petition to the Secretary of War, the regiment was transferred from Polk’s Brigade, Cleburne’s Division to Tyler’s Brigade, Bate’s Division, thus returning to the command of its first colonel. This brigade consisted of the 2nd, l0th, 15th, 20th, 30th and 37th Tennessee Infantry Regiments, 37th Georgia, and 4th Georgia Battalion Sharp-shooters, Brigadier General Thomas B. Smith commanding. At the Battle of Jonesboro, Colonel W. D. Robison was severely wounded, and Major William Driver was killed.
The regiment was with Lieutenant General John B. Hood on the last desperate invasion of Tennessee, suffering heavy losses at Franklin November 30, and at Nashville December 15 and 16. General Bate’s report states that the brigade was virtually annihilated at Nashville, with only 65 men left. It retreated with the Army to Tupelo, Mississippi and was transferred with the remnant of Hood’s Army to North Carolina where it took part in the Battle of Bentonville, March 19, 1865 where it lost its last regimental commander, Major W. H. Wilkinson.
In the final reorganization of General Joseph E. Johnston’s Army in 1865, the 2nd was consolidated with the 3rd, l0th, 15th, 18th, 20th, 26th, 30th, 32nd, 37th and 45th Tennessee Infantry Regiments, and the 23rd Tennessee Battalion to form the 4th Consolidated Regiment of Tennessee Infantry, Colonel Anderson Searcy commanding, one of four regiments constituting Palmer’s Brigade. Lieutenant Edward L. Drake, of Company K”, 2nd Regiment, was elected lieutenant colonel of this regiment. General Johnston surrendered his army at Greensboro, North Carolina April 26, 1865. The regiment was paroled May 1, 1865, after almost exactly four years of service.
- Colonels-William B. Bate, W. D. Robison Lieutenant Colonels-David L. Goodall, John A. Butler, William J Hale
- Majors-William R. Doak, William T. Driver, W. H. Wilkinson
- Stephen N. White, John A. Butler, James T. C. McKnight, Thomas O. Butler, Co. “A”. Men from Murfreesboro, Rutherford County.
- John G. Anderson, Wiley George, John A. Mackey, Edmund O’Neill, Co. “B”. Men from Columbia, Maury County.
- Hampton J. Cheney, James I. Newsom, William E. Yeatman, Co. “C”. Men from Nashville, Davidson County. “The Cumberland Rifles.”
- James Denniston, William P. Bowers, Co. “D”. Organized March 1861 at Bell Buckle, Bedford County. Originally called Co. “H”. Casper W. Hunt, Richard Wynne, Albert Clarke, J. Albert Akers, Co. “E”. Men from Memphis, Shelby County.
- Thomas D. White, William H. Newman, William D. Robison, Co. “F”. Men from Millersburg, Rutherford County. John H. Earthman, William H. Wilkinson, Co. “G”. Men from White’s Creek, Davidson County. Consolidated with Co. “C” September 1, 1863.
- David L. Goodall, William G. Henry, Charles P. Moore, William H. Saunders, Co. “H”. Men from Hartsville, then Sumner, now Trousdale County. Originally called Co. “D”.
- William B. Bate, Joe P. Tyree, Lycurgus Charlton, John W. House, Co. “I”. Men from Gallatin, Sumner County.
- Humphrey Bate, Isaac P. Thompson, Co. “K”. Men from Castalian Springs, Sumner County.