15th Tennessee Regiment: Belmont

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Steamboats under fire.

The first fighting seen by the 15th Tennessee was at Belmont, Missouri. The Southern Illinois boys were listed as the Reserve Brigade, and were not called into battle until later in the day as reinforcements. After confusion on the battlefield, and a treacherous ferry ride, the 15th Tennessee ended up squaring off against the 31st Illinois under John Logan. The 15th Tennessee was able to push the Illinois troops off the battlefield, and were delighted for a chance to fight for the southern cause. Frank Metcalf remembers Harvey Hays, “With his shirt covered with sweat and blood, Harvey Hays sat on a tree stump drinking from his flask with a grin on his face having lived his dream of punishing the hated Yankee foe.” (Gleeson p.39) Ironically, most of the hated Yankee foe Harvey had been firing at were his neighbors and friends from Marion, Illinois. The 15th Tennessee only had 4 losses from the battle, 3 injuries and 1 deserter. After the battle, and throughout the duration of the war, not a single newspaper article was written about the rebels from Little Egypt. In his work Gleeson suggests that this could be to cover for Logan, who according to Metcalf and other sources, had promised Hibe he would join the Confederacy. It is not until after the war that information on Logan comes out, yet as discusses earlier this was solely due to the 1866 election. For more information on the Battle of Belmont, see the Belmont tab.