On April 15, 1861, eighty men from Collierville organized the Wigfall Grays to oppose President Lincoln's call for volunteers to invade the South. The company was named in honor of Senator Louis T. Wigfall who was well known for his eloquent speeches advocating the Southern cause of states' rights. The women of Collierville made uniforms for the men and presented them with a handsewn Confederate Flag made of silk. On August 17, 1861, the men of the company swore their oath of allegiance and formally joined the Confederate Army as Company C, 4th Tennessee infantry.
The Wigfall Grays fought in some of the bloodiest battles of the War for Southern Independence, including Shiloh, Perryville, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Kennesaw, Dalton, Resaca, Atlanta, Jonesboro, Spring Hill, Franklin and Nashville.
(Continued on other side)
The Company fought with great courage and determination for four long years against an invading army with far superior resources. One of the their number, Corpl. Merrit R. Brown, distinguished himself at the battle of Murfreesboro and received the Confederate Medal of Honor for bravery. By the end of the War, most of the men in the company had been wounded or captured. Many were killed and lie in mass graves or unmarked graves throughout the South or in northern prisoner of war graves.
After the Company was paroled on May 1, 1865 in Greensboro, North Carolina, the men of the Wigfall Grays returned to Collierville to find many of their homes destroyed, property confiscated. Despite the hardships inflicted by the northern occupation army, these men worked diligently as farmers and merchants to rebuild their homeland. Descendants of these brave men still live in Collierville today.