Organized July 30, 1862; surrendered and paroled at Appomattox Courthouse, April 9, 1865.
The ten companies from which the 63rd Regiment was formed had been organized as independent companies during the months of April, May, June and July, 1862. Many of the men had previously served in 12 months' organizations of cavalry. Some had served in the 36th Tennessee Infantry, which was disbanded. Some of them were from the 26th Tennessee Infantry Regiment who were not present at Fort Donelson when their regiment was surrendered, and were transferred to these companies by order of Major General E. Kirby Smith in May and June, 1862. Most of these were returned to their original organizations by order of General Bragg, in October and November, 1862.
As the companies were formed they were stationed at various points along the lines of the East Tennessee and Virginia, and the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroads. On July 30, 1862, without assembling for the purpose, the regiment was organized, the companies voting for their field officers wherever they were stationed. Colonel Fain resigned in November 1863, and Abraham Fulkerson succeeded him as colonel; Major Aiken became lieutenant colonel; and William H. Fulkerson became major. Lieutenant Colonel Aiken was killed May 16, 1864, and Major William H. Fulkerson became lieutenant colonel. Colonel Abraham Fulkerson had previously served as major of the 19th Tennessee Infantry.
After its organization the regiment was first assembled at Knoxville, where it was assigned to Brigadier General C. L. Stevenson's Division on August 23. From there it moved to Loudon, Tennessee, and on October 9, 1862, Major General Sam Jones advised General N. B. Forrest at Murfreesboro: "I shall send Fain's Regiment also as soon as I can find a guard to replace it at London."
Regimental reports, quoted in substance, continue the stbry. "From London, we were ordered to Bridgeport, Alabama, and instructed to report to General Forrest at Murfreesboro. Remained till last half of November when we returned to Knoxville. General Stevenson ordered us to report to General Gracie at Cumberland Gap. Arrived Decemher 8, after a severe march thru heavy snow and rain. While at Cumberland Gap made two marches into Kentucky about 30 miles to secure supplies. On the first one made during Christmas week into Harlan County, we brought out 86 beef cattle. The regiment is pretty well drilled, well armed, and would be very efficient if we had plenty of clothing and shoes."
The brigade commanded by Brigadier General Archibald Gracie Jr, to which the report referred had so many units attached to it at one time or another, that it is hardly worth while to trace its composition in detail, but the regiments which remained together until after the Battle of Chickamauga were the 43rd Alabama, Hilliard's Alabama Legion, and the 63rd Tennessee Regiment.
"June 19, 1863, it left Cumberland Gap for Knoxville. Under General Buckner, moved by rail to Tullahoma to re-enforce General Bragg, reaching there just in time to retreat with the army. Marched to Bridgeport; by rail back to Knoxville; remained in East Tennessee till the last half of August. Left Sweet-water September 1 to join Army of Tennessee at LaFayette, Georgia. Skirmished at McLemore's Cove; lay in line of battle September 18-19; carried an aggregate of 404 men into assault September 20; came out with 202."
At Chickamauga, Gracie's Brigade was in Buckner's Corps, Brigadier General William Preston's Division, and consisted of the 43rd Alabama, Hilliard's Alabama Legion, and the 63rd Tennessee. Lieutenant Colonel Abraham Fulkerson was in command of the 63rd, and was severely wounded.
"Remained in front of Chattanooga until October. Transferred to Johnson's Brigade, Buckner's Division. Soon after transferred to Lieutenant General James Longstreet's command in East Tennessee; reached Knoxville November 28; engaged in assault on Fort London the 29th; 15 killed or wounded. Remained in front of Knoxville till December 4th; siege raised. After several days and nights continuous marching reached Rogersville December 9. Engaged at Bean's Station December 14; two killed, 17 wounded. The marches from Chattanooga to Knoxville, and from Knoxville to Rogersville were made in very severe weather, and nearly half the command entirely barefooted. Since the engagement at Bean's Station the regiment has been in every march that has been made by the Army of East Tennessee up to the present time. It now has an aggregate of 405 present and willing to serve their country wherever ordered." This report was dated April 8, 1864 at Zollicoffer (now Bluff City).
Brigadier General Bushrod Johnson's Brigade was composed of the l7th/23rd, 25th/ 44th, and 63rd Tennessee Infantry Regiments, and these regiments remained together until the end of the war. On December 31, 1864, Major Aiken was reported in command of the 63rd, and Colonel John S. Fulton, of the 44th, in command of the brigade. A Federal report dated October 8, 1863, stated that a scout had heard the men in Longstreet's Army talking; that they were much discouraged; and that on the march from Knoxville, 80 men deserted from the 63rd in one night.
Later reports state: "May 1, 1864, marched from Bristol to Richmond, Virginia, to Drewry's Bluff. Charged the enemy in his works on the 16th; retired to Petersburg, and fought at Petersburg June 17th; at Walthall Junction June 19th; retired to Petersburg the 23rd; on the front the rest of June.
"Relieved July 5th; at New Market in camp July 8 to 27; skirmished the 28th. Moved to Chaffin's Farm July 31. Moved to Signal Hill August 11; remained in front of the enemy at Signal Hill till August 31, 1864."
On the move into Virginia, the 63rd was placed in Major General Robert F. Hoke's Division. On May 15, at Drewry's Bluff, the 63rd reported 311 effective, 351 present. On June 17th, at Petersburg, the colors ot tne 63rd were captured by the 11th New Hampshire Volunteers.
The report for September-October, 1864 is missing, but the final report for November-December 1864 stated; "During this two months the regiment remained in quarters on the lines of Chaffin's Farm in front of Fort Harrison until the 28th of December, when the regiment, with the brigade, was transferred to Heth's Division (Major General Henry Heth), III Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, and moved five miles to right of Petersburg. The regiment was in no engagement during this period. It was wholly occupied in work on the bomb proofs of Lieutenant General EwelUs lines. Joined Archer's Brigade December 27, 1864."
This does not mean that the regiment was transferred to Archer's Brigade, but that Johnson's and Archer's Brigades were consolidated under Colonel (later brigadier general) William McComb. The units in Archer's Brigade were the 2nd Maryland Battalion, 1st Confederate, 7th and 14th Tennessee Infantry Regiments. On January 31, 1865, the 63rd was reported commanded by Captain A. A. Blair; on February 28, by Captain John W. Robertson.
The regiment was surrendered and paroled at Appomattox Courthouse April 9, 1865 as part of Lieutenant General A. P. Hill's Corps, Heth's Division, McComb's Brigade. At this time the 17th/23rd/25th/44th/63rd Tennessee Regiments were reported as consolidated into one unit, commander not shown. Colonel Fulkerson, in his history of the regiment in Lindsley's Annnls said there were only 28 men left from the 63rd, under the command of Lieutenant L. L. Etter, of Company "C".
This unit history was extracted from Tennesseans in the Civil War, Vol 1. Copyrighted © 1964 by the “Civil War Centennial Commission of Tennessee” and is published here with their permission.
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