15th Tennessee Regiment: Fighting Before Belmont

battle of belmontThe 15th Tennessee was never trained in Columbus, Missouri. Company G was stationed here in September of 1861, along with the main force of General Polk’s Confederate army, who was preparing for a Union invasion of Kentucky.  The 15th Tennessee quickly developed a reputation for being one of the most poorly trained and equipped units in the Army of the Tennessee. Due to this it was placed in the reserve brigade along with the 11th Louisiana due purely to incompetence. The first orders were for the regiment to march from Columbus to Milburn. Problems quickly arose when the officers realized the men had never been trained on how to properly march. Along the way to Milburn, the first fighting of the war broke out for the 15th Tennessee. Company C, the Irish American’s got into an argument while marching with Company I the Germans. The scuffle ended up being a full-blown fist fight that left the Regiment completely disbanded, with half the men continuing to Milburn, some going back to Columbus, and others completely deserting. Colonel Carroll was court-martialed and replaced by Col. Robert Charles Tyler who had to whip the Regiment into shape before the imminent conflict with Grant’s Union forces. (Gleeson p. 26)