Richard M. Saffell was an officer in the 26th Tennessee Infantry (Confederate). He joined the unit in July 1861 as a lieutenant, and died at the Battle of Bentonville in 1865, as a colonel. Richard Saffell was born in Maryville, TN. He graduated from Maryville College and worked as a clerk in Atlanta in the 1850s. He then farmed in Roane County with his brother, Sam Saffell, and a few slaves, on a farm leased from their mother and eventually inherited from her. Richard Saffell never married, but his will (from Tennessee State Archives) indicates his intention to leave all his possessions to his illegitimate son, George. The Saffell brothers' letters to and from their sisters, brother-in-law, and cousin are at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The will and letters provide some information about these enslaved people: Alfred Saffell, Sr., Alfred Saffell, Jr., Nancy, Hugh, Phil, Jane, and Nash or Wash. Spelling variants include: Saffle, Saffles, Saffull, Saffer, Safful.

11 Feb 1835 1
Maryville TN 1
21 Mar 1865 2
Bentonville, NC 3

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Personal Details

Full Name:
Richard Meredith Saffell 3
11 Feb 1835 1
Maryville TN 1
Male 1
21 Mar 1865 2
Bentonville, NC 3
Cause: killed in battle 3
Burial Place: Bentonville National Battlefield, Bentonville, NC 4
Mother: Clementina Meredith Saffell 1
Father: John Samuel Saffell 1
Employer: Pegg and Bomar 5
Position: clerk 5
Place: Atlanta, Georgia 5
Start Date: 1852 5
End Date: 1854 5
Employer: Saffell & Bro. & Co.: Steamship tourism venture 6
Place: Concord, TN, and Louisville, TN 6
Start Date: 1857 6
End Date: 1857 6
Employer: self-employed farmer 7
Position: farmer with brother Sam Saffell 7
Place: Roane County, TN 7
End Date: 1860 7
Institution: Maryville College 8
Place: Maryville, TN 8
To: 1851 8
profanity lawsuit:
March 10, 1859; Roane County: State vs. profanity R.M. Saffell 9
Promoted to Major:
13 Oct 1862 3
slightly wounded near Marietta, GA:
22 Jun 1864 10
battle of chickamauga:
19 Sep 1863 11
joined CSA:
McClung's company, 3rd E. Tenn Volunteers, July 4, 1861 12
prisoner of war in sandusky ohio:
May 30, 1862; September 1, 1862 12
captured, Fort Donelson:
31 Dec 1969 12
exchanged as prisoner of war:
08 Nov 1862 12
in hospital, Richmond VA:
October 3-4, 1864 12
appointed Colonel CSA:
12 Feb 1864 12
paroled as prisoner of war:
19 Jun 1863 12
Battle of Stone's River:
severely wounded in thigh while serving in Pillow's brigade, CSA. January 2, 1863 13

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Will of Richard Saffell

Roane County, TN

Will of Richard M. Saffell

transcribed by Elizabeth M. Fisher-York (as edited by Robert R. Curlee)

 R. M. Saffle dec. March Term 1866

 I R. M. Saffell of the County of Roane and State of Tennessee do make and publish the following last will and testament, hereby revoking all wills by me at any time heretofore made.

I hereby give and bequeath to my illegitimate child, George [last name hard to read; possibly Harris], (who I intend to legitimize and have to bear the name of Samuel Saffell, Jr) and who is now living with Cain Taylor Esq. of Knox County, Tennessee all the estate real and personal that I may own at the time of my death including my lands in the State of Georgia, in Blount County Tennessee & my interest in farm I now reside on laying in Roane County Tennessee, Together with all my cash, notes of hand due me, stock, cattle farming utensils & four slaves: Viz. Alfred S. (Whom I bought from Mrs. Ann E. Harcourt) Alfred J. Hugh and Nancy whom I inherited from my father & mothers estates and which were allotted me in division of same. The same slaves (except Nancy) which I sold to my Brother Sam Saffell on the 30th day of April 1861 and which I since bought back of him.

In fine every thing of every nature whatsoever, which I may own at the time of my death. And I hereby appoint Pleasant M. McClung of Knox County Tennessee my executor of this my last will and testament and also Guardian for my illegitimate, above mentioned. But in the event he removes from the State of Tennessee or should sicken and die, I hereby invest in him the power to appoint an executor & Guardian in his stead provided always that no one in any manner whatsoever related to me, either by affinity, consanguinity should be the one so appointed. As I wish no [?] related [?] in any manner whatsoever to have any thing to do with the childs business before mentioned, or with my own, either now or hereafter.   I [?] wish and request that my son be given a good education, a collegiate one if his means will admit, & that he be raised(?) dreped (?) & furnished money to spend as he pleases, as far as is comfortable with his fortune.  And if P.W. McClung should be unwilling to act as administrator &(?? Guardian: then I hereby authorize the Chairman of the County Court of Roane County to make & appoint said administrator & Guardian.  Provided always no one in any manner related to me is the one so appointed.  Given under my hand and seal, this the 16th day of May 1863. 

                                                            Richard M. Saffell   [SEAL]

 Signed and sealed to acknowledge in our presence on the day the ? bears date.  And ? at the request of the testator and in his presence & in the presence of each other witnessed the same

James Blair

Wm. B. Hope

State of Tennessee County Court

Roane County

Then was the foregoing last will and testament of Richard M. Saffell produced in open Court and its e? and declaration proven by the oaths of James Blair and Wm. B. Hope the subscribing witnesses thereto and adjudged by the court to be the last will of said testator and ordered to be seconded(?) and certified and recorded.

Witness by my hand at office in Kingston this 5 day of March 1866

                        James M. Sturges


Letters of Richard Saffell and family members

University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Civil War era letters of the Saffell and Bogle families in the collection of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (MS 1333) are described at:;query=;brand=default

and (pp/ 12-16):

Family members represented or mentioned in the collection:

Richard M. Saffell

Samuel Saffell (his brother)

Sarah Saffell  (his sister; later known as Sarah Saffell Holland; also known as Sallie Saffell)

Elizabeth Saffell Bogle (his sister, also known as Bessie Bogle)

John C.M. Bogle (his brother-in-law)

Richard M. Bomar (his first cousin)

I can e-mail transcripts of the Civil-War-Era letters to anyone who is interested.  Some PRE-Civil-War letters are summarized in a separate story on this page.

Letter from Richard Saffell's mother about collecting debts

Maryville, TN

Letter from Clementina Saffell to William Fout, 1845, transcribed by Elizabeth Fisher-York

Address area: 

Maryville, Tenn

Oct 23rd                                                                                5

Mr. William Fout Postmaster

Woods Hill

Roan County

E. Tennessee

 Privets Note


Main letter:

                                                                                Maryville Nov. 22nd 1845

Mr Fout

                I received yours a few days ago and thought I had better inclose the note to you on Pruitt as I heard sometime ago he was going to move.  I find it is best not to delay often in collecting bad debts or even good.  I had the same notion about Duncans notions as you have.  When he first came to see me he said it was not worth three hundred dollars the next time six hundred now one thousand.   I hope the next time I will have the offer of 2 thousand.  Please say to Mr. Pruet I want possession.  I hear Mr. Sam Martin claims it.  Do try and collect Pruitts note and I will do as I said.  I can tell you Mr. Fout Mr. Saffell left what he had in notes and it has been paid in a great part? in the bankrupt law and running away or making over their property to their sons or others until I feel poverty will overtake me before my little boys get large enough to do any thing for me.  Please try and get holt of his hogs.  I understand he has a good many.  I will have it in my power I hope some day to do as much for you.  Your friend

C.A. Saffell

PS I have not heard from Mrs. Fout or I would??? let you know.  I thought it best not to wait.  Please just drop me a few lines to let me know if you get the note.  I believe postage is free to postmasters if not I will pay it.

Pre-Civil War Saffell Letters in UT Knoxville Collection

Maryville, TN

 Special Collections

Hoskins Library
The University of Tennessee Knoxville
Knoxville, TN, USA  37996-4000

phone: (615) 974-4480


 Folder 1 (Correspondence from R.M. Saffell)

Jan. 25, 1852.  ALS.  3pps.

     From Atlanta to his mother in Maryville.  Mentions a potential job offer as a clerk.

Oct. 5, 1854.  ALS.  4pps.

     From Maryville to brother Sam who recently moved to Texas. He is concerned for his brother's health after hearing of a cousin Richard's illness.  Letter also mentions the academy and college in Maryville and that he and some relatives are moving to Roane County where he will be farming.

Folder 2 (Correspondence from Sam Saffell)

Sept. 9, 1854.  ALS. 1p.

     From New Orleans to his mother in Maryville.  He is on his way to Texas and he is asking his family to write.

Oct. 22, 1854.  ALS.  2pps.

     From Lockhart, Texas to his mother.  Mentions the death of a cousin Dick (Richard) and that cousin Liz (Elizabeth) contracted yellow fever in Powderhorn, but is better now.

Nov. 20, 1854.  ALS.  2pps.

      From Lockhart, Texas to his mother.  Mentions that a cousin Dick is "reading medicine and plans to attend lectures in New Orleans in the fall and other family news.

Folder 5 (Correspondence from Mrs. C.T. Saffell)

April 18, 1837.  ALS.  1p.

     From Maryville to husband John Saffell who is in New York. Letter says that both she and their young son Ricky miss him and await his return.

~1851. (fragment)

     To son Richard who has just recently arrived safe in Atlanta and has written his mother.

Oct. 7, 1851.  ALS.  3pp.

     From Maryville to her son Richard in Atlanta.  Letter tells how much she misses him.

Dec. 8, 1851 (fragment)

     From Maryville to her son Richard in Atlanta.

July 1852?  ALS.  (fragment)

     From Maryville to son Richard in Atlanta.  Tells of a Mr. Norwood asking her to ask Richard if he could send some flour and corn in care of him to Atlanta.

Oct. 9, 1854.  ALS.  4pp.

     From Maryville to son Sam in Texas.  Mentions a cousin Richard's death and her concern for a cousin Ellen's illness.  Also tells of brother Richard's moving to Roane County and other family news.

Nov. 3, 1854.  ALS.  2pp.

     From Maryville to son Sam in Texas.  Letter tells that she is glad he is well and that his brother Richard has moved to Roane County.

Nov. 16, 1854.  ALS.  2pp.

     From Maryville to son Sam in Texas.  Mentions his brother Richard and tells him to improve his handwriting. 

June 5, 1855.  ALS.  2 1/2pps.

     From Maryville to son Sam in Texas.  Mentions the unfinished college in Maryville and a Presbyterian church fair.


Battle of Chickamauga: report of Maj. Richard M. Saffell

Chickamauga, GA

Regimental History
Chickamagua after battle report:
Report of Maj. Richard M. Saffell, Twenty-sixth Tennessee
Missionary Ridge, October 6, 1863.

SIR:In obedience to orders from brigade headquarters of Brig.
Gen. John C. Brown, requiring me to report the action the
Twenty-sixth Tennessee Regt. took in the late battle of
Chickamauga, on September 19 and 20, I respectfully submit the
On Saturday, September 19, and Twenty-sixth Tennessee Regt.,
forming the left regiment of Brown's brigade, and numbering
229 total and 255 aggregate, under the command of Col. John
M. Lillard, received orders about 2 p. m. to advance from a
position a short distance in rear of our line of battle to the front.
Accordingly, the regiment was moved forward, and had
advanced but a short distance before we encountered a heavy line
of the enemy's skirmishers. The regiment was then halted and
Companies A and E, commanded by Capt. J. A. Cash, deployed
as skirmishers, before which the enemy's skirmishers rapidly fell
back to their main line. The regiment was now moved forward
in double-quick time and soon came upon the enemy's main line,
which had taken position upon the crest of a low ridge running
parallel with our line of battle. The enemy's whole line now
opened fire upon us at the distance of about 150 yards.

We then received orders to fire upon him as we advanced,
and the engagement now became general and the fighting on both
sides desperate. Immediately in front of my regiment the enemy
had planted a battery of small field pieces, from which he was
pouring a destructive fire into our ranks. Col. Lillard ordered the
regiment to charge this position, and we succeeded after a severe
contest, which lasted about ten minutes, in forcing him from his
position and driving him back to his second line, he leaving three
guns of the battery between his second line and ours. We had
nearly succeeded in reaching the top of the ridge when the
enemy's reserve line of fresh troops at very close range threw
our line into some confusion, and I soon became convinced that
by attempting to hold my position or to move forward would
involve the loss of the entire remnant of the regiment, as the
enemy now largely outnumbered us. I took the responsibility, in
the absence of orders from my brigade commander, of ordering
the colors and what remained of my command to fall back,
which order was not executed in very good order, as the enemy
was pouring a destructive fire of grape, canister, and musketry
into our ranks. The column was halted a short distance in rear of
our reserve line, commanded by Brig.-Gen. Bate, and the men,
with few exceptions reformed in line.

This engagement lasted nearly two hours, and the regiment lost
in killed and wounded-total, 66; aggregate, 73.

From this position I received orders to move my regiment a short
distance to the rear, where most of the brigade had rallied after
the repulse. We remained in this position until near sundown,
when we were again moved to the front and thrown into position
a short distance in front of Brig.-Gen. Bate's line. Here we
deployed skirmishers and bivouacked for the night, no casualties
having attended the second forward movement.

At daylight on Sunday, September 20, we were moved by the
right flank about 400 yards, and took position just behind the top
of a low ridge, and constructed a temporary breastwork of rotten
logs, stones, and other material which we found convenient.
About 8 a. m. the enemy's skirmishers were discovered about
400 yards in front of our line, and were soon after fired upon by
our skirmishers. The enemy also commenced shelling us about
this time, and continued to fire at irregular intervals until near 12
o'clock, when I received orders to advance. The line was
accordingly moved forward in double-quick time, and after some
skirmishing came upon the enemy's main line near to and
parallel with the main road leading to Chattanooga. We
succeeded after a short contest in driving him from his position
and forcing him back across the road. We drove the enemy back
steadily until my regiment had reached a slight eminence beyond
the road. My attention having been directed to our right, I
discovered that the right wing of our brigade had been forced
back by a heavy fire of artillery; and knowing of no support
near, and fearing the enemy might cut my command off, I
thought it prudent to order the command back to the position we
had occupied in the morning. This order was executed in good
order, and the command rallied promptly behind the breastwork.

This engagement lasted nearly one hour, and the casualties in the
regiment were 24 non-commissioned officers and privates
killed, wounded, and missing, and 1 officer severely wounded.

We remained behind the breastwork until about 4 p. m., when I
again received orders to move my regiment forward, and the line
moved forward in quick time as far as the Chattanooga road.
From here we were marched by the right flank, by order of Col.
Cook, commanding Brown's brigade, parallel with the road in
the direction of Chattanooga, about a quarter of a mile. Here we
were deployed in line of battle perpendicular to the road. We
were now moved forward through an open field until fired upon
by a battery which the enemy had planted on the opposite side of
the field near the road. I then received orders from Col. Cook
for my men to lie down. The enemy continued to fire upon us
rapidly with grape and canister shot, which, fortunately, did us
but little damage. After remaining in this position about ten
minutes, Col. Cook ordered the line to take shelter in the woods
about 200 yards on our right, which order was promptly obeyed.
We remained here until near sundown, when we were ordered to
the support of a battery just to our left, immediately upon the
Chattanooga road. The enemy fired rapidly upon us with artillery
as we moved across the field to the position assigned us. We
remained here until near dark, when we were moved by the right
flank about half a mile to the right of the Chattanooga road,
ordered to stack arms, and rest for the night.

On Monday my regiment remained near where we rested on
Sunday night.

In addition to the above, I have to report that Lieut. A. C.
Hickey, formerly connected with this regiment, and Lieut.
Charles F. Henley, of Company F, on detached service, came in
on Sunday and volunteered their services, and were of great
assistance in Sunday's battle.

The officers and men of the whole regiment, with a few
exceptions, behaved themselves during the whole engagement in
a manner creditable to themselves and the command.

Maj., Comdg. Twenty-sixth Tennessee Regt.

Capt. H. J. CHENEY,
Assistant Adjutant-Gen.


Recapitulation of Casualties during the two days' engagement.

Casualties. O. NCO. P. T.
Killed....................... 1 2 5 8
Mortally wounded............. 1 1 3 5
Severely wounded............. 3 8 20 31
Slightly wounded............. 3 12 39 54
Total................. 8 23 67 98

O=Officers. NCO=Non-Commissioned Officers. P=Privates. T=Total.

Source: Official Records
PAGE 375-51 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., N. ALA., AND N. GA. [CHAP. XLII.
[Series I. Vol. 30. Part II, Reports. Serial No. 51.]

Battles Fought
Fought on 15 Feb 1862 at Fort Donelson, TN.
Fought on 16 Feb 1862 at Fort Donelson, TN.
Fought on 31 Dec 1862 at Murfreesboro, TN.
Fought on 19 Sep 1863 at Chickamauga, GA.
Fought on 15 May 1864 at Resaca, GA.
Fought on 16 May 1864.
Fought on 22 Jun 1864 at Kenesaw Mountain, GA.
Fought on 30 Nov 1864 at Franklin, TN.

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