Sometimes, in order to preserve an equal or authentic number of Union troops on the field of battle, Confederate units are asked to "galvanize" or "go blue" at an event. When the men of the 48th Tennessee were called upon to don the dreaded blue coat of a Union man, they chose a unit which history is full of well, let's just say, interesting facts, the scandalous, drunken regiment of U.S. Volunteers known as the Tenth Tennessee.
The history of the Tenth Tennessee U.S. was filled with mishaps that definitely gave it a place in history. Formed in and around Wayne county Tennessee, this group of "homespun" Yankees drank their way out of every single command they ever served under. Most commanders, when seeing the men of the Tenth, immediately asked that the regiment be removed from their command. As far as we know, the Tenth caused more damage within its own ranks than the Confederates ever could have. Most of these casualties seem to stem from arguements during gambling and rum binges.
In the winter of 1999, the "rebirth" of the Tenth came full circle as the membership of the 48th Tennessee Infantry (Nixon's) voted to form a seperate command structure within the "blue" unit. The original commander of the 10th US, Captain "Beau" Mays could always be distinguished on the field by his hard-charging, go get 'em style of leadership and, by the way he shook his head in utter disgust when his men ran away like scared chickens whenever the chance arose. Look for these rascals coming to a battlefield near you and, oh, be sure to stay out of their way.
Over the years Captain Coy and myself have had great fun PLAYING yankee. When we wore the blue it was not color fast, it ran easily. But, time marches on, faces and rank change. Past Commander Bo Mays and Mrs. Debbie re-enact the war less often and the same for Barry Ayers and Mrs.Ellen.
The men have honored me with the title of Captain and now, since 2013, we only have one command structure for both armies. I have witnessed the change, from behind the ranks, in how the new generation of the 48th play their brethren of the 10th U.S.V.I. They are more like the 48th of years ago and it shows, even through the blue cloth. They all take more pride in doing it right.
The 2014 Iuka event, was a good example of the changes. Even the Confederate Commander had much praise for their conduct and actions as Federal troops, even though they ran most of his Rebs off on Saturday evening. The good people in town cheered and clapped for the seasoned blue clad soldiers. We are family and brothers and that shows on and off the field of battle, in what ever color we wear. There will always be less starch in the blue uniforms and camp, but we do honor their memory.
Your comrade and brother, Captain David Bradley
A Link to the Regimental History of The Original 10th U.S.V.I.. Links from this site include rosters of selected companies.