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Joel Allen Battle
Nickname Grandpa, Grand Old Man
Born September 19, 1811
Died August 23, 1872
Place of birth Davidson County, Tennessee
Place of death Tennessee
Place of burial Davidson County, Tennessee
Allegiance Flag of the Confederate States of America (1863–1865).svg Confederate States of America
Service/branch Battle flag of the Confederate States of America.svg Confederate States Army
Years of service 1861-1863 C.S.A.
Rank 35px Brigadier General
Unit Tennessee 1861 proposed.svg 20th Tennessee Infantry
Battles/wars Second Seminole War, American Civil War
- Battle of Mill Springs
-Battle of Shiloh
Other work slave owner, landowner

Early lifeEdit

Joel Allen Battle was born in Davidson County, Tennessee. He became an orphan at an early age, but despite this became a very rich man under the slavery system economics of Tennessee. By 19 years old, he married Sarah Searcy who gave birth to his first son William. Sarah died two years after giving birth.

Military lifeEdit

Battle, now a widow, raised a company for the Second Seminole War in Cane Ridge. By 1835, Joel Allen Battle was promoted to Brigadier General of the Tennessee State Guard then known as the Tennessee Militia. Battle eventually remarried to Adeline Sanders Mosley, and had 7 children. He was also elected to the Tennessee General Assembly becoming a popular Whig. During April 1861, Joel Battle started an infantry company in Nolensville, Tennessee which he named the Zollicoffer Guards, paying respect to Felix Zollicoffer who he had fought with in the Second Seminole War. The company was amalgamated into the 20th Tennessee Infantry under control of his good friend Felix Zollicoffer, and Battle was now a colonel working directly underneath him. During the Battle of Mill Springs not only was his friend Zollicoffer killed, but also his son Joel jr. was wounded in action. In the Battle of Shiloh, Battle was wounded in battle and lost two of his sons, Joel jr. and William. He was captured looking for the bodies of his sons, William's body was never found and Joel jr. was discovered by a Union burial detail who happened to be classmates of his from Miami University.[1] After capture, the demoralized Battle was brought to Johnson's Island, effectively ending his career in the military.[2]

Political careerEdit

After being exchanged, Battle was appointed State treasurer of Tennessee, which he occupied until the end of the Civil War. When his son Frank Battle was captured during the war, he was used as leverage by the Union side to force the return of Captain Shad Harris who was under threat of execution as a spy. Joel Allen Battle relented and the prisoner transfer, which was endorsed by President Lincoln, took place. Battle also had to deal with the arrest and imprisoning of his daughter Fannie along with her friend Harriet Booker in Camp Chase on suspicion of her being a Confederate spy.[3][4] After the war, Battle was appointed superintendent of the State prison which he retained, until his death caused by severe dysentery.[5]


  1. Groom, Winston (2012). Shiloh, 1862. Washington: National Geographic Society. pp. 140–142. ISBN 9781426208799. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  2. Kelly, C. Brian (2000). Best Little Ironies, Oddities, and Mysteries of the Civil War. Nashville: Cumberland House Publishing. pp. 170–171. ISBN 1581821166. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  3. West, Mike (Mar 15, 2009). "The Battle family gave its all for the CSA". Murfreesboro: The Murfreesboro Post. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  4. Frank, Lisa (2013). An Encyclopedia of American Women at War: From the Home Front to the Battlefields. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO Publishing. pp. 70–71. ISBN 1598844431. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  5. Adkins, Ray (2008). One Foggy Morning in Barbourville, Kentucky. Kentucky: Createspace. pp. 14–20. ISBN 1438263384. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 

See alsoEdit

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