15th Tennessee Regiment: Perryville and the War’s End

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While technically the Southern Illinois Company no longer existed in 1862, 5 men from Little Egypt continued to fight for the Confederacy. At Perryville, Kentucky, the friends from Marion fought what would be their last battle together. Placed on the left flank under Col. Brooks from Southern Illinois, the 15th Tennessee engaged the Union forces. Over the course of the battle the Union deployed 36,940 men, the Confederates only 15,990. (Gleeson p.76) The battle was essentially a stalemate, and was extremely unorganized. Southern Illinois contributions were made from Brooks who commanded the 15th Tennessee, and Hibert A. Cunningham whose Company was forced off the battlefield early in the day. However, Hibe was able to gather his men and capture two Union cannons from an Indiana regiment. Frank Metcalf the color bearer of the 15th Tennessee was struck by canister fire and carried to the back of the rear where he was expected to die.

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After Perryville what was left of the Southern Illinois Company was completed disbanded on June 6th, 1863 when it was added to Company A of the new consolidated Tennessee regiment. Frank Metcalf ended up surviving his wounds, yet was placed on the Invalid Cops due to his injury. He moved back to Graves County, Kentucky, and never returned to the fighting. Hibert A. Cunningham deserted from the Confederate Army in 1863, and made his way to the Union forces of his brother-in-law General John Logan. In 1864 he was put on Logan’s staff in the Union army and was given the rank of Captain. This gives Hibe the unique position of being a captain in both the Confederate, and Union army. The last to serve for the Confederacy from Little Egypt was a member of the Twelve Apostles Col. Thorndike Brooks. He remained active in the Confederate army as a Colonel, and was present with Gen. Joe Johnston at the surrender to Gen. Sherman in North Carolina in 1865. (Gleeson p. 1865)

Click to zoom. Battle of Perryville.

Click to zoom. Battle of Perryville.