Army of the Tennessee "Rugged Western Soldiers" October 16, 1862 - August 1, 1865
When first organized in October 1862, the Union Army of the Tennessee contained but one corps, the XIII, which held 11 divisions and a cavalry command. This organization was too cumbersome, and the army was reorganized in December into four corps- the XIII, XV, XVI, and XVII- each containing two or three divisions and detachments of artillery and cavalry. The army's first commander was Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, who led it in the long campaigns to capture Vicksburg, Miss.
When Grant was transferred to command of the forces at Chattanooga, TN, the Army of the Tennessee was given to Gen. William T. Sherman, who commanded it for the Meridian campaign and other operations around Vicksburg from October 1863 until he was placed in command of the western armies for the Atlanta campaign in March 1864. United with the Army of the Cumberland and the Army of the Ohio, the Army of the Tennessee's tough veterans, commanded by Gen. James B. McPherson, fought their way south from Chattanooga, TN, to Atlanta, GA. McPherson was killed during the battles around Atlanta, and Gen. Oliver O. Howard took command for the rest of the war.
The Army of the Tennessee's soldiers saw little combat with organized Rebel forces during the March to the Sea and the Carolinas campaign, but they waged horrible war on the South's civilian population and destroyed all public and private property within their reach. Throughout its existence, the Army of the Tennessee was constantly fighting or campaigning and earned a reputation that was second only to that of the much larger Army of the Potomac, which did all of its fighting on the eastern front of the war.
The rugged western-state soldiers who served in the Army of the Tennessee ended their service with the surrender of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's Rebel forces in April 1865. The next month they paraded through the streets of Washington in the grand review, and then were mustered out of service, disbanding the Army of the Tennessee for all time.
Fascinating Fact: The Army of the Tennessee never lost any of its major campaigns during the war and amassed what was probably the best combat record of any Union army.
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