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First Corps—Army of the Mississippi and of Tennessee

Major-General Leonidas Polk

commanded from June, 1861, to March, 1862, the First Division in the Western Department (No. 2), the troops of which were scattered along the Mississippi from Columbus, Kentucky, to Memphis, and in the interior of Tennessee and Mississippi. It numbered about twenty-five thousand men. On the organization of the Army of the Mississippi in March, 1862, this division was called the First Grand Division, and after the consolidation with the Central Army of Kentucky, on March 29th, the First Corps, Army of the Mississippi. On August 15th, Polk's Corps was reorganized as the Right Wing in ten divisions, with over fifteen thousand present for duty. In the Army of Tennessee, the Right Wing became the First, or Polk's Corps. After the battle of Chickamauga, Polk was relieved of the command, and both corps of the army underwent reorganization. The leading corps was thereafter known as Hardee's, or Cheatham's Corps, from the names of its commanders.

Lieutenant-General Leonidas Polk

(U. S. M. A. 1827) was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, April 10, 1806. He left the army for the church, and eventually became the first Protestant Episcopal Bishop of Louisiana, in 1841. In 1861, he entered the Confederate army and was made major-general in June. He was assigned to the command of the Western Department (No. 2); and in September he was replaced by General A. S. Johnston and given the First Division, Army of the Mississippi, with which he won the battle of Belmont in November. He led the First Corps at Shiloh, and later had temporary command of the army itself. In October, 1862, he was given the rank of lieutenant-general, and accompanied the Western Confederate army until after Chickamauga, where he commanded the Right Wing when he was temporarily suspended, but the charge of delay on his part was dismissed by President Davis. In the winter of 1863-64, he was in command of the Department of Alabama, Mississippi, and East Louisiana, and brought his forces, which he called the Army of Mississippi, to Georgia in May, 1864, to assist Johnston in opposing Sherman's advance to Atlanta. On Pine Mountain, near Marietta, Georgia, he was killed by a cannon-ball, June 14, 1864.

Major-General Benjamin Franklin Cheatham

was born in Nashville, Tennessee, October 20, 1820. He entered the Mexican War, rising to the rank of colonel after distinguished service at Monterey and elsewhere. At the close of this war he became major-general of the Tennessee militia, and when the Civil War broke out he attached himself to the Confederate cause and organized the entire supply department for the Western troops. As brigadier-general, he served under Polk at Belmont, and had a division of the First Corps, Army of the Mississippi, at Shiloh, and was commander of the Right Wing of the same army during Bragg's invasion of Kentucky in 1862. He led his division at Stone's River, through the Tullahoma campaign, and at Chickamauga, and after that battle was head of Cheatham's Corps, an organization formed upon the departure of Polk from the army, and of which Hardee shortly afterward took command. In the Atlanta campaign he led a division in Hardee's Corps, and assumed command of the corps, which later was known as Cheatham's Corps, after the departure of Hardee for Savannah in October, 1864, with which he continued until the surrender at Durham Station. After the war he became a farmer in Tennessee, and was appointed postmaster of Nashville in 1885. He died there September 4, 1886.

Major-General Patrick Romayne Cleburne

was born in County Cork, Ireland, March 17, 1828. He ran away from Trinity College, Dublin, and enlisted in the Forty-first Foot. In 1855 lie came to America, settling in Helena, Arkansas, where he practised law until the opening of the war. He entered the Confederate service as private, and rose to the rank of major-general, in 1862. He planned the capture of the United States arsenal in Arkansas, March, 1861. He was colonel of an Arkansas regiment, and at Shiloh, as brigadier-general, he commanded a brigade in the Third Corps, Army of the Mississippi. He was wounded at Perryville. At Murfreesboro and Chickamauga he commanded a division, and his troops formed the rear guard at Missionary Ridge. For his defense of Ringgold Gap, in the Atlanta campaign, he received the thanks of the Confederate Congress. Cleburne covered Hood's retreat at Jonesboro, and had temporary command of Hardee's Corps. He continued to hold his division in Cheatham's Corps, and at the battle of Franklin was killed, November 30, 1864. A brilliant charge at Chickamauga earned him the title of ‘Stonewall of the West,’ and it was he who initiated the Order of the Southern Cross and was among the first to urge the advantages to the Confederates of colored troops.

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