“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Germantown in Shelby County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)

Confederate Germantown

Shelby Grays, 4th Tennessee Infantry

Confederate Germantown image. Click for full size.
By Darren Jefferson Clay, July 11, 2020
1. Confederate Germantown
Inscription.  Although in 1860, Germantown numbered fewer than 300 people, almost every able-bodied man—85 of them—enlisted in the Confederate Army in 1861. They formed the Shelby Grays and were designated Co. A, 4th Tennessee Infantry. The regiment, under Col. Rufus P. Neely, was composed of companies from Collierville, Memphis, Raleigh, and other west Tennessee towns. With great fanfare from Germantown residents, newly sewn flags from the ladies, and a carnival atmosphere, the new unit was mustered into service in May 15, 1861. The men boarded the Memphis & Charleston Railroad train to Memphis and then took a steamboat to the training camp at Fort Wright and then to Fort Pillow.

They first saw action on April 6-7, 1862 at the Battle of Shiloh, where the 4th Tennessee captured a Federal battery at a cost of almost half their 512 men. The regiment, with the Army of Tennessee, later served in the Battles of Perryville (1862), Murfreesboro, Chickamauga (1863), Missionary Ridge, Atlanta (1864), Franklin, and Nashville, where they joined Forrest’s cavalry to fight a successful rearguard action in December 1864.

In January 1865,
Battle of Shiloh - April 6th 1862 image. Click for full size.
By Cosack & Co., circa 1885
2. Battle of Shiloh - April 6th 1862
Théophile Poilpot, artist. Library of Congress [LC-DIG-pga-00540]
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after a 30-day furlough, the regiment assembled again at West Point, Mississippi. It then rejoined the army under Gen. Joseph E. Johnston and was present at the Battle of Bentonville, North Carolina in March 1865. It surrendered at Greensboro, North Carolina on April 26, and was paroled on May 1. At war’s end only half of Germantown’s Shelby Grays survived to return home and start life anew.

Pvt. John Anderson Kirby (July 26, 1842-Nov. 19, 1929) was born near Danville, Virginia. His family moved to Germantown early in 1860. He was a bookkeeper in a local store when he enlisted in the Shelby Grays at age 18 in May 1861. He fought at Shiloh on April 6-7, 1862. On November 25, 1863, he was shot in the leg and captured during the Battle of Missionary Ridge, and imprisoned at Rock Island, Illinois. He was later released on parole on April 15, 1865, took a steamboat back to Memphis, and returned to Germantown.

4th Tennessee Infantry battle flag, issued just before the Battle of Shiloh and carried throughout the war - Courtesy Lee Miller
Battle of Shiloh, April 6th, 1862 - Courtesy Library of Congress

Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil
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. In addition, it is included in the Tennessee Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical date for this entry is May 15, 1861.
Location. 35° 5.219′ N, 89° 48.662′ W. Marker is in Germantown, Tennessee, in Shelby County. Marker can be reached from West Street south of Poplar Pike, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2260 West St, Germantown TN 38138, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. War Comes to Germantown (here, next to this marker); Germantown, Tennessee (within shouting distance of this marker); Germantown Cemetery (approx. 0.2 miles away); Fortunate Survivor (approx. 0.2 miles away); Neshoba Junior High School (approx. 0.6 miles away); Oaklawn Garden (approx. 0.7 miles away); John Gray Historic House (approx. 0.9 miles away); Raiding the Rails (approx. 1.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Germantown.
Credits. This page was last revised on December 18, 2020. It was originally submitted on December 17, 2020, by Darren Jefferson Clay of Duluth, Georgia. This page has been viewed 31 times since then and 7 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on December 17, 2020, by Darren Jefferson Clay of Duluth, Georgia.   2. submitted on December 18, 2020. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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Mar. 8, 2021