First Corps, Army of Tennessee

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First Corps, Army of Tennessee
Polks corps flag.svg
Battle Flag of the First Corps (Polk's Flag)
ActiveNovember 20, 1862 – April 26, 1865
Country Confederate States of America
Allegiance Tennessee
Branch Confederate States Army
TypeArmy Corps
Part ofArmy of Tennessee
EngagementsAmerican Civil War
Lt. Gen. Leonidas Polk
Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Cheatham
Lt. Gen. William J. Hardee

The First Corps, Army of Tennessee was a military unit that defended the C.S.A. during the American Civil War. It was an army corps within the Army of Tennessee, officially created in November 1862 and continued in existence until its surrender in April 1865 in North Carolina. It was also variously known as Polk's Corps, Hardee's Corps, and Cheatham's Corps.


The units comprising the First Corps were drawn from the organization of Department No. 2 (or the Western Department) of the Confederate States, which held responsibility for defending the area between the Tennessee River and the Mississippi River. It contained soldiers previously from the Army of Mississippi, the predecessor of the Army of Tennessee.

Command history[edit]

Command under Lt. Gen. Leonidas Polk[edit]

Lt. Gen. Leonidas Polk

Lt. Gen. Leonidas Polk commanded the First Corps from November 20, 1862 – September 29, 1863. He assumed command on November 26, 1862, and held it (with minor interruptions) until his relief on September 29, 1863, and subsequent arrest on October 23.[1] The First Corps participated in the Tennessee Campaign from June–October 1863 under Gen. Braxton Bragg.

Major engagements under Lt. Gen. Polk:

Command under Maj. Gen. B. F. Cheatham[edit]

Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Cheatham

Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Cheatham commanded the First Corps four times, during the periods September 29 – October 23, 1863, from December 2–27, 1863, then August 31 – September 2, 1864, and lastly from September 28, 1864 – February 23, 1865. This last posting was the only period which he was not in "temporary" command of the corps.[1]

Command under Lt. Gen. W. J. Hardee[edit]

Lt. Gen. William J. Hardee

Lt. Gen. William J. Hardee commanded the First Corps four times, during the periods October 23 – December 2, 1863, again from December 27 – August 31, 1864, a third time from September 2–28, 1864, and lastly from February 23 – April 26, 1865. On that date the corps, along with the rest of the Army of Tennessee, were surrendered by Gen. Joseph E. Johnston.[2]

Command under Maj. Gen. P. R. Cleburne[edit]

Maj. Gen. Patrick R. Cleburne

Maj. Gen. Patrick Cleburne commanded the First Corps temporarily from August 31–September 1, 1864.

Units added
  • On October 31, 1863, a portion of the Third Corps, Army of Tennessee was added to the First Corps
  • On November 4, 1863, the "Reserve Corps" of the army was added
  • On April 10, 1865, all remaining forces in the state of Georgia were added.[3]


  • Eicher, John H., and Eicher, David J., Civil War High Commands, Stanford Univ. Press, 2001, ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.


  1. ^ a b Eicher, p. 890.
  2. ^ Eicher, pp. 890-1.
  3. ^ Eicher, p. 891.