The Fifty-first Tennessee (Confederate) Regiment was organized at Henderson Station, Madison County, Tenn., Dec. 1861, and sworn into service January 2, 1862, with eight companies, four from Shelby and Tipton Counties, and four from Madison and Henderson Counties. It was first commanded by Col. Bartlett M. Browder. It participated in the siege of Forts Henry (Feb. 6, '62) and Donelson (Feb. '16, '62), at which time it was only a battalion, and at the latter battle was assigned to artillery service, and consisted of only about sixty effective men. Col. Browder and part of the battalion were captured, but the lieutenant-colonel, John Chester, gathered the remainder together and with two other companies from Madison and Tipton, reorganized and moved to Corinth doing provost duty during the battle of Shiloh, though some of the men served with the Fifty-second Tennessee during the battle (Apr 6-7, '62). After the battle it was then consolidated with the Fifty-second, with John Chester, colonel (Apr 25, '62), renamed the 51st Tennessee Infantry Regmt Consolidated. April 27, 1863, the consolidation was declared illegal and the separate regiments were reconstituted. Both regiments, however, were field consolidated from 1863 to '65 and served together for the remainder of the war and known as the 51st Tenn Consolidated or 51st/52nd Tenn.
On the Kentucky campaign it fought at Perryville (Oct '62), doing splendid execution, and losing 8 killed and about 30 wounded. At Murfreesboro (Dec. '62 - Jan. '63) it captured a battery and about 600 prisoners. March 14, 1863, half of the regiment was briefly sent to the aid of Vicksburg and participated in the Port Hudson Bombardment. At Shelbyville (June '63) many of the men captured at Donelson were exchanged and rejoined the regiment. It was engaged at bloody Chickamauga (Sep '63) with great gallantry, and again at Missionary Ridge (Nov '63). It participated in many of the battles from Dalton to Atlanta (May - Sep '64), and later at Franklin (Nov '64) and Nashville (Dec '64) lost very heavily. A small remnant was surrendered at Greensboro, NC. (1865).