As I work my way through the battle piece by piece, I come across small pieces of information that leave lingering questions. these might not be mysteries, really, but they do usually set me off on a side trail as I seek the answers. Not every question has a satisfactory answer, however.
First comes the tale of Tazewell Newman. Newman was a Tennessee politician, Speaker of the Tennessee House from 1859-61. This suggests that he would be a prominent man, and he was, early in the war. He was the first colonel of the 17th Tennessee, with a commission dating from June 1861. He also had Mexican War Experience.
However, in May of 62, Newman was not re-elected as Colonel of the 17th; the men instead replaced him with the Lieutenant Colonel, T.C.H. Miller. I have found no reason for this change, but can surmise a few things: For example, the 17th was first issued flintlocks, taking them with great reluctance and only with the promise that they would receive more modern arms. Of course, that promise was not speedily kept. The 17th had to endure the disaster at Mill Springs with decidedly inferior arms, which caused a great deal of disgruntlement in the ranks.
In any case, Newman was out of a job, and out of the army. He next raised the 23rd Tennessee battalion, becoming Major of that outfit in November 1862. The 23rd was a mix of two veteran companies, transferred from other units, and three companies of new men. It saw no combat until Chickamauga. There, early in the fight, Newman was wounded and command devolved upon Captain W. P. Simpson. By the time Newman recovered from his wound, the 23rd had been consolidated with the 45th Tennessee, and while Newman was carried on the rolls of the new organization, he was placed on detached duty for the rest of the war.
His combat career was an enigma. A couple of brief mentions, and then he’s gone. I have not been able to find what detached duty he was performing. It’s possible that his wound was so disabling that he could not take the field again. (He died in 1868, in part at least from that wound, according to what biographical information I could find.) However, it’s also possible that he simply did not measure up as a combat commander, and the lack of the usual effusion of praise heaped upon fallen warrriors makes me wonder.
Next up is the tale of Private Harry Barger, Company I, 25th Arkansas. Private Barger did well enough at Chickamauga to draw the notice of his brigade commander, Colonel David Coleman. Barger is credited with capturing a Union flag (possibly that of the 8th Kansas) probably on September 20th. This was apparently a significant deed, since in October 1862, Private Barger was promoted to Sergeant.
However, Barger did not keep his trophy. In an addendem to the brigade report, Coleman noted that the flag was taken from Barger “by force” by a Lieutenant from Manigault’s Brigade, who apparently desired the trophy for himself. None of the reports from Manigault’s command, however, note the capture of a Federal color, making it hard to figure out what happened to this flag or whom it belonged to.
To further complicate matters, the 8th Kansas did not report losing a flag. Nor is there any mention of it in the postwar accounts, or in the recent regimental history.
All in all, poor Private (soon to be Sergeant) Barger’s experience leaves a number of lingering questions. I wish I could answer them.
Maybe someday. Anyone got any more information?