A Civil War Biography

Tyree Harris Bell

Bell was born 5 September 1815 in Covington, Kentucky. He was raised on the plantation the family owned and operated in Tennessee, then established and ran his own plantation also in Tennessee. He was occupied as a planter until the war interrupted.

After the war erupted Bell entered the military on 4 June 1861 as a captain commanding a company in the 12th Tennessee Volunteer infantry. When the 12th was mustered into Confederate service he was elected lieutenant colonel. He commanded the 12th at Belmont, Missouri on 7 November and then again at Shiloh where he had two horses shot from under him. He was promoted to colonel in July 1862 and commanded the 12th, which by then had been consolidated with the 22nd Tennessee, during the Kentucky campaign seeing action at Richmond, Kentucky. He then was given command independent cavalry unit which raided in the rear of the Union army during the Murfreesboro and Chickamauga campaigns. On 25 January 1864, shortly after Nathan Bedford Forrest assumed command of all cavalry in northern Mississippi, western Tennessee, and Kentucky, Bell was given command of a brigade. He saw action at Fort Pillow and Brice's Crossroads gaining the praises of his commander. Following Forrest's highly successful expedition along the Tennessee in October and November 1864, Bell was again praised for his action. He was promoted to brigadier general on 28 February 1865. Bell was surrendered along with the rest of Forrest's command following the defeat at Selma, Alabama on 2 April 1865.

Following the war Bell moved to California, settling in Fresno where he engaged in farming. He died 1 September 1902 while traveling through New Orleans, Louisiana.

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