Whitworth Riflemen in Army of Tennessee

Nathan Stuart

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Joined
Apr 14, 2020
The Army of Tennessee (A of T) was the main Confederate army operating in the western theater. Like the Army of Northern Virginia, the A of T did not appear to start equipping with whitworths rifles until about halfway through the war. Whitworths were used in its battles in Georgia and Tennessee, during 1863 and 1864, and up until the end of the war.

Around April/May 1863, the A of T received 20 imported English whitworth rifles. At the time, five of these weapons went to Cleburne’s division. While at Wartrace, Tennessee, Cleburne formed his division’s own corps of whitworth sharpshooters, issuing the five whitworths to his best marksmen. Cleburne would continue to grow his sharpshooter corps, whose members were armed with either whitworths or imported English kerr rifles.

Soon afterwards, outside of Chattanooga, a corps was organized of hand-picked sharpshooters, which included all the whitworths in the A of T. Individual rifle marksmen, detached from their original infantry units, were assigned to divisions in the A of T.

Later, following the high casualty rates in Hood’s failed Tennessee campaign, another group of whitworth sharpshooters was organized at Meridian, Mississippi.

In ‘The Confederate Whitworth Sharpshooters’ (2nd​ ed, 2002), John Morrow stated at page 27 that ,”…an ammunition report submitted for the week ending June 19, 1864, by the Army of Tennessee, lists a total of twenty-six whitworth rifles….”… Similarly, in ‘Shock Troops of the Confederacy’ (1st​ ed., 2006), Fred L. Ray at page 276 refers to a report dated, June 24, 1864 showing 32 whitworths were possessed by the Army of Tennessee.

Some writers have suggested that a few more whitworths (and kerrs) might have been acquired by Cleburne’s division at Dalton, during the start of the Atlanta campaign in 1864.

It is not known exactly how many whitworths were operating in the A of T during the conflict. A reasonable estimate might be perhaps between 26 and 40, subject to any further information becoming available.

The below list of whitworth riflemen (plus their original units) in the A of T is compiled from Confederate veterans accounts found in various journals and newspapers.

Cleburne’s Division

Sgt. Walter L. Bragg 6 AK

Cpl.. Stan C. Harley 6 AK

Pvte. James Griswold 6 AK

Pvte. Henry Harrison 16 AL

Pvte. Charles Trickett 1 AK

Pvte. Jim Moore ? TN

Pvte. Walter Norris 1 AK

Pvte. Licurgus A. Saller 1 AK

Pvte. John C. Knox 1 AK

Pvte. John/George Decker 8 AK

Pvte. James Lane 15 AK

Pvte. James Melvins 32 MS

Pvte. John McKinney 6 TX

Pvte. George Armore ? TX

Pvte. John Driscol 10 TX

Pvte. Sam Mizer 7 AK

Pvte. Barney P. Roark 10 TX

Pvte. Barney Robart ? TX

Pvte. James Patterson ? AL

Pvte. John H. W. Terry 2 TN

Pvte. Jim Lawler 16 AL

(2) Unknown ? AK

Unknown 6 TX

Cheatham’s Division

Lt. John M. Ozanne 1 TN (volunteers)

Cpl. Isaac N. Shannon 9 TN

Pvte. William Beasley 1 TN

+ 2 others

Bate’s Division

Lt. Abraham. B. Schell 2 TN

Pvte. John King 20 TN

Pvte. A. G. Hill 15 AK

Pvte. ? Jackson 24 TN Battalion Sharpshooters (Maneys) ?

French’s Division

Pvte. C. T. Ingram 3 MI

Walker’s Division

Pvte. Henry C. Green 24 TN Battalion Sharpshooters (Maneys)

Clayton’s Division

Pvte. A. T. Davis 18 AL

Walthall’s Division

Pvte. W. C. McTyere 17 AL

Loring’s Division

Pvte. Richard W. Evans 14 MS



Any comments or further information would be welcome.
 

Nathan Stuart

Private
Joined
Apr 14, 2020
I add the below name to the list of whitworth sharpshooters in the A of T.

Walthall's Division

Pvte. Thomas J. McCray 1 AK (mounted rifles)

Some more information.

During the Atlanta campaign, Confederate armament records showed the total number of whitworth rifles in use by the Army of Tennessee as:

For week ending, June 19, 1864 26 whitworth rifles
(Source - 'Official Records', Series 1, Volume XXXVIII, Part IV, at page 782)

One week later, the records indicated an increase in the total number of whitworths possessed by the A of T.

For week ending, June 25, 1864 32 whitworth rifles
(Source - 'Official Records', Series 1, Volume XXXVIII, Part IV, at page 791)

By the start of the Atlanta campaign (May, 1864), Cleburne's division clearly had more whitworth riflemen, than any other division, in the A of T.
 

ucvrelics

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Regtl. Quartermaster Shiloh 2020
Asst. Regtl. Quartermaster Antietam 2021
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Location
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I add the below name to the list of whitworth sharpshooters in the A of T.

Walthall's Division

Pvte. Thomas J. McCray 1 AK (mounted rifles)

Some more information.

During the Atlanta campaign, Confederate armament records showed the total number of whitworth rifles in use by the Army of Tennessee as:

For week ending, June 19, 1864 26 whitworth rifles
(Source - 'Official Records', Series 1, Volume XXXVIII, Part IV, at page 782)

One week later, the records indicated an increase in the total number of whitworths possessed by the A of T.

For week ending, June 25, 1864 32 whitworth rifles
(Source - 'Official Records', Series 1, Volume XXXVIII, Part IV, at page 791)

By the start of the Atlanta campaign (May, 1864), Cleburne's division clearly had more whitworth riflemen, than any other division, in the A of T.
Interesting thread. Here is a list of SS I found in the Alabama archives.
1631892073582.png
 

Nathan Stuart

Private
Joined
Apr 14, 2020
I believe that all, if not nearly all, of the whitworth riflemen listed in the Army of Tennessee survived the war.

None of the Confederate veteran accounts found refer to any of these riflemen being killed in combat. (Obviously, this is not conclusive evidence by itself).

Late in the war, at the disastrous Battle of Franklin (November 30, 1864), the Army of Tennessee was slaughtered and virtually destroyed as a fighting force. This was one of the very few battles in the western theater where whitworth riflemen were pressed into a massed frontal infantry assault. Total Confederate losses over about five hours of fighting were estimated to be around 7,000. Total losses comprised: 1,750 killed; 4,500 wounded; 702 captured. (Some writers estimate total Confederate losses in fact exceeded 8,000).

The McGavock Confederate cemetery adjacent to the battlefield was dedicated to the Confederate dead from the battle. There are almost 1,500 Confederates buried there, who were either killed or died of wounds. About 1,000 of these graves have some form of identification, by name and unit. A search of cemetery records shows that none of the listed whitworth sharpshooters are included among the known dead.

If the whitworth men survived the bloody carnage of Franklin, there is a good chance they managed to last out the war until it ended shortly afterwards.

I am open to any additional information.
 

Nathan Stuart

Private
Joined
Apr 14, 2020
I add the name of Sergeant Henry F. Green 26 TN to the list of whitworth sharpshooters in the Army of Tennessee.

Sgt. Green carried his whitworth rifle throughout the Chattanooga campaign (following Chickamauga), the Atlanta campaign, Franklin/Nashville and up until the surrender at Greensboro, NC, in April, 1865. His unit was attached to Stevenson's/Brown's Division.

(Reference - 'Confederate Veteran', Volume XXXIX, at page 68)
 

Nathan Stuart

Private
Joined
Apr 14, 2020
Found an interesting report of a whitworth rifle captured on the battlefield in early June, 1864, during the Atlanta campaign in Northern Georgia.

'The Soldiers Journal'', July 13, 1864 (at page 175) and 'The Ashland (Ohio) Union' newspaper, June 29 1864 (at page 3), both reported a Union soldier's account appearing in the 'Chattanooga Gazette', June 7, 1864.

The account states that near Resaca, a Confederate sharpshooter perched in a treetop was shot and instantly killed by a Federal marksman. The Southern rifleman was left dangling from the tree until cut down and his imported whitworth rifle was retrieved by advancing Northern troops. The eyewitness added that this particular Southern marksman had shot many Northern soldiers, including Colonel Wiles, Major Norton and Captain Sheridan.

The Official Reports (OR) support these casualty claims. Lt.-Col. Wiles of the 22 IN was indeed seriously wounded in an engagement outside of Resaca on May 17, as Union troops headed towards Rome. (OR: Series 1 – Volume XXXVIII – Part 1 at page 629 and page 726). Major D. W. Norton of the 14 OH was killed during encounters on June 3 - 4, 1864. (OR: Series 1 – Volume XXXVIII – Part 1 at page 806).

In both these instances, the relevant Union units confronted the Divisions of Cleburne and Bates in Hardee's Corps. The unidentified Confederate marksman killed almost certainly belonged to one of these two divisions, more probably Cleburne's Corps of whitworth sharpshooters.
 
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