Organized May 6, 1861. Mustered into Confederate Service at Lynchburg, Va. May 12, 1861.
Col. - William B. Bate, W. D. Robinson.
Lt. Col. - David L. Goodall, John A. Butler, William J. Hale.
Majors - William R. Doak, William T. Driver, W. H. Wilkinson.
Co. H - Capt. - David L. Goodall, William G. Henry, Charles P.
Moore and William H. Saunders.
Men from Sumner County.
Co. I -Capt. - William. B. Bate, Joe P. Tyree, Lycurgus Charlton
and John W. House.
Men from Gallatin.
Co. K -Capt. - Humphrey Bate, Isaac P. Thompson.
From Castalian Springs.
Immediately after being mustered into Confederate service the regiment was under fire at Aquia Creek, Va on June 1, 1861 in less than 30 days after organization. Then it was sent down the Rappahonnuck River, this expedition resulting in the capture of two Federal ships loaded with supplies.
Was present at Manasas but not heavily engaged, then to what is now Quantico, Va where they re-enlisted for three years or the duration of the war. Then to Knoxville, to Huntsville, Ala. to Corinth, Miss and bloody Shiloh.
The 2nd entered Shiloh with 385 effectives. Col. Bate was wounded the first days fighting and Lt Col. Goodall took command.
In the two days fighting, April 6th and 7th, 1862, the regiment lost 235 men killed, wounded or missing. This was almost 65%.
In the second days fighting the regiment was in General Stewart's Brigade.
Colonel Bate was promoted to brigadier general and later to major general and never did resume command of the regiment. Lt. Colonel Goodall resigned and Captain John A. Butler was elected Lt. Colonel. He commanded until the Battle of Perryville where he was killed.
The regiment remained in Cleburne's Brigade until just before the battle of Murfreesboro. During this time it took part in the siege of Corinth, the retreat to Tupelo, then to Chattanooga.
When Bragg started his invasion of Kentucky the 2nd was detached to operate with General E. Kirby Smith in the Battle of Richmond, Kentucky. At Richmond, Colonel Benjamin J. Hill was in command of the regiment. They entered the battle with 300 men and lost 112 including Lt. Colonel John A. Butler.
The brigade then rejoined Bragg's Army to take part in the Battle of Perryville October 8, 1862 under the command of its Senior Captain C. P. Moore. They then retreated to Knoxville where Captain W. D. Robinson was elected Colonel and W. J. Hale, Lt. Col. Robinson remained in command until wounded at Jonesboro, Georgia. He was its last Colonel.
The regiment was then moved to Shelbyville and College Grove prior to the Battle of Murfreesboro, December 31, 1862, where it lost 63 killed, wounded and missing.
The 2nd wintered at Tullahoma then guarded the Rail Road south of Tullahoma then retreated with the rest of Bragg's army to Chattanooga when they were flanked out of Middle Tennessee.
The regiment then took part in the battles of Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge and Ringgold Gap. It entered the Battle of Chickamauga with 264 men and lost 159 in casualities. At Ringgold Gap it had 133 men and lost 9. Lt. Colonel William J. Hale was commanding.
Early in 1864 the regiment was ordered to Mississippi to re-enforce General Polk but on getting as far as Montgomery, Alabama was ordered to return to Dalton, Georgia. From April until August the 2nd was almost constantly engaged all the way down to Atlanta. At Peachtree Creek, Lt. Colonel Hale and two companies of 40 were captured. In July 1864 the regiment was transferred from Polk's Brigade of Cleburne's Division to Tyler's Brigade of Bate's Division. Thus returning to the command of its first Colonel. The Brigade now consisted of the 2nd/10th/15th/20th/30th/and 37th Tennessee Regiments, 37th Georgia, and 4th Georgia Battalion of Sharpshooters, Brigadier General Thomas Benton Smith commanding. At the Battle of Jonesboro, Colonel W. D. Robinson was wounded and Major William Driver killed.
The regiment was with General Hood on his desperate invasion of Tennessee suffering greatly at Franklin, Tennessee on November 30th and being virtually annihilated at Nashville on December 15/16 having only 65 men left. It retreated with the remnants of Hood's Army to Mississippi and was transferred to North Carolina fighting at Bentonville and losing its last Regimental Commander, Major W. H. Wilkinson.
In the final re-organization the 2nd was consolidated with the 3r/10th/15th/18th/20th/26th/30th/32nd/37th/45th Tennessee Infantry Regiments and the 23rd Tennessee Battalion to form the 4th Consolidated Regiment of Tennessee Infantry, Palmer's Brigade Colonel Anderson Searcy commanding.
Lieutenant Edward L. Drake of Co. K, 2nd Regiment was elected Lt. Colonel. They were surrendered May 1, 1865 after exactly four years service all active.
It would not be fitting to omit mentioning the part William Brimmage Bate of Castalian Springs, Sumner County had in being the main figure in raising the Second Tennessee Infantry There were two Second Tennessee Infantry Regiments raised but owing to the fact that the regiment raised by Colonel Bate was the second recognized by the Confederate Government it became officially the Second Tennessee. The other was raised in Memphis, Tennessee by J. Knox Walker.
Colonel Bate bestowed upon the regiment the name "Walker Legion" in honor of L. P. Walker, Confederate Secretary of War.
General Bate served in the Mexican War, then studied law at Cumberland University at Lebanon. When the Civil War began, General Bates enlisted as a private in a company being raised at Gallatin and became its Captain and later was elected Colonel of the regiment. When the one year's term of enlistment was about to expire, so great was the influence of Colonel Bate that the entire regiment re-enlisted for three years or the duration. Not one man refused. After serving in Virginia for a time, Colonel Bate was given a choice of the army in which to continue service. Naturally he selected the Army of Tennessee. When the transfer was made Colonel Bate gave the entire regiment a sixty days furlough. Before this expired, the battle of Shiloh being imminent the regiment voluntarily hastened to report. At Shiloh, Colonel Bate was severely wounded but continued to lead and cheer on his men until loss of blood caused him to drop his bridle reins then his horse was shot from under him.
The surgeons decided that his only chance for recovery was amputation of his badly shattered leg. He over-ruled the decision of his surgeons knowing that with only one leg he would not be able to continue his service to his country. He returned to the army on crutches as a Brigadier General.
At Shiloh, he had a brother, brother-in-law and a cousin killed and another cousin wounded. Five members of one family in one battle. I wonder how many families can equal that record.
General Bate was afterwards twice wounded while still so crippled from his first wound that he had to be helped to mount his horse. He had three horses killed beneath him at Chickamauga. At Bentonville, North Carolina when the surrender came he dismounted from his horse, hobbled on his crutches to the remnant of his old 2nd Tennessee to surrender with them.
What else could have been expected for he was born in sight of the location of Old Bledsoe's Station, the scene of so many encounters between our early settlers and the Indians. In sight of the sycamore tree in which lived one summer Thomas Sharp Spencer, who cultivated the first corn ever grown by a white man in Sumner County. With this background it was but a natural course of events.
While this is not a history of "the greats" of the Civil War but rather given to mention of the private soldier and in as many cases as possible, a brief statement of what happened to him, I would like to include two true stories concerning Col. Bate.
Col. Bate had a younger brother, Capt. Humphrey Bate to whom he was very much attached. During a lull in the fighting at Shiloh the two brothers met and while they were conversing the Colonel asked for a light for his cigar from the cigar which his brother was smoking, and as he was in the act of lighting the cigar, Capt. Humphrey Bate received a mortal wound from the enemy and died in a few hours. Col. Bate was often seen with cigars in his mouth afterwards, but never lighted one as long as he lived.
At the battle of Chickamauga Gen. Bate's command was waiting orders while under a heavy artillery fire from the enemy. Major John C. Thompson of Gen. Stewart's staff brought the order and as he reached the General he raised his hand in salute and began delivering the order, when a cannon ball passed through Gen. Bate's horse and he and the horse went to the ground together. Gen. Bate struggled to his feet with the aid of his crutch which he was still using as a result of the wound received at Shiloh and found the cool and daring Thompson still standing at salute, he then finished delivering the order, completing the partly finished sentence that was so rudely interrupted by the cannon ball, which had, or took, the right of way regardless of courtesy.