(base)Dedicated to the memory of
Sgt. Harris B. Cope
16th Tennessee Infantry
who fell in the fields ahead
October 8, 1862
The brigade of Brig. Gen. Daniel S. Donelson (nephew of President Andrew Jackson) consisted of the 8th, 15th, 16th, 38th, and 51st Tennessee Infantry regiments, and Capt. William Carnes' Tennessee Light Artillery Battery, and was the first of the four brigades of Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Cheatham's First Division, Maj. Gen. Leonidas Polk's Right Wing, Gen. Braxton Bragg's Army of the Mississippi.
October 8, 1862
In the late morning Donelson's brigade (with Cheatham's Division), leaving its bivouac site in and around the Perryville Cemetery, marched in the direction of Harrodsburg to take up a position on the right of the Confederate line. The brigade filed off of the turnpike near the Crawford House and followed the dry Chaplin River to get into position.
After arriving at the staging area near the Goodknight House along the river bottomlands behind you, Carnes' Battery and the 8th & 51st Tennessee Infantry regiments were detached to assist an artillery bombardment several hundred yards to the left and, later, to assist in the attack of Brig. Gen. George Maney's brigade to the far right.
It was determined that Donelson's Brigade would lead the main attack directly over the fields ahead. The attack was to be made without the detached regiments in spite of Donelson's personal appeals for their return. The attack of Donelson's three remaining units, the 15th, 16th and 38th Tennessee Infantry regiments was launched a few minutes after 2:00 P.M. against what was believed to be the Union left flank. Led by the 16th Tennessee Infantry regiment, the three regiments ran into a murderous cross fire from Parsons' improvised United States Battery on the high ground ahead and to the right and Harris' 19th Indiana Battery on the high ground to the left and front. The 16th Tennessee lost half of its men in just a few minutes. Despite the tremendous losses, the three regiments continued the attack with shouts of victory. They first struck the 33rd Ohio Infantry regiment and then the 2nd Ohio Infantry regiment directly ahead, inflicted heavy losses on the Ohioans and captured the Lieutenant Colonel of the 33rd regiment. Donelson's three regiments, in the end, bought enough time for the two other of Cheatham's brigades to adjust their lines and effectively assault the Union positions. The 15th, 16th and 38th Tennessee Infantry regiments surged ahead until they were halted by artillery fire and superior enemy numbers. Their ammunition exhausted, what were left of Donelson's three regiments were relieved by Brig. Gen. A. P. Stewart's brigade.
Later in the afternoon the 8th and 51st Tennessee Infantry regiments returned to this area and spearheaded another attack, along with the regiments of the 15th, 16th, and 38th Tennessee Infantry regiments, in the fields directly ahead. Darkness, though, finally ended the fighting.
8th Tennessee Infantry: Killed 4, Wounded 28, Total 33 — 15th Tennessee Infantry: Killed 9, Wounded 25, Total 34 — 16th Tennessee Infantry: Killed 41, Wounded 151, Missing 7, Total 199 — 38th Tennessee Infantry: Killed 5, Wounded 38, Total 43 — 51st Tennessee Infantry: Killed 9, Wounded 25, Total 34 — and Carnes' Tennessee Battery: Killed 1, Wounded 4, Total 5.
Polk's Right Wing
Army of the Mississippi